Anime Blu-ray Review: Chihayafuru Season 2

Chihayafuru Season 2 includes three discs that contain all 25 episodes of the second season of the series. The release includes the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and an English dub.

Chihayafuru Season 2
English Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: March 20, 2018

Season 2 picks up where Season 1 left off. Chihaya and Taichi promote the karuta club at the first years’ entrance ceremony, and around 20 girls go gaga over Taichi and decide to join the club. Unfortunately, all but one of those girls drop out of the club after going to a couple of meetings. One girl, Sumire, follows Taichi one day when he heads to the karuta society to hone his skills. Sumire stays in the club at first because she’s only interested in Taichi, but as the season progresses, she begins to build an interest in karuta. While she’s not as excited about it as the other members, she at least recognizes that there’s some worth to karuta. I admit that for most of the season, I really didn’t care much for Sumire. But by the end of the season, though, I came to gain a little better appreciation for her character.

Another new member also joins the club: a boy named Tsukuba. He used to play second verse karuta when he lived in Hokkaido. While he has a basic understanding of how karuta works, his challenge is to learn the version that Chihaya and the others play. Tsukuma can be prideful, though, and thinks of himself as a rising star in karuta and keeps trying to force his way into being a starter for competitions. He has three younger brothers that he wants to impress. While I didn’t find him quite as annoying as Sumire, I still thought he was a little obnoxious. But like with Sumire, we got to see some character development for him, and I also came to gain a little better appreciation for him.

The other members of Mizusawa’s karuta club also work at improving their skills in karuta. Porky-kun has the biggest struggles, though, and questions whether or not he’s really helpful for the team after he keeps losing his matches early on in competitions. Chihaya also learns an important lesson about helping others out by agreeing to let the orchestra use the upstairs part of their club building to store their instruments. The support the karuta club receives from the orchestra after this is simply amazing.

We also get an unexpected twist: Porky-kun’s sister starts dating Hyoro from Hokuro Academy, Mizusawa’s biggest rival. Porky-kun doesn’t even know about it until their first competition with Hokuro Academy. I’m sure this didn’t help Porky-kun with his karuta playing.

This season sees old rivalries renewed, but new rivals are introduced as well. Of the new rivals introduced, my favorite was the team from the Chiba International High School of Information Sciences. Megumu Ōsaka, the previous year’s western queen finalist is also introduced, along with her team from First Akashi Girls’ School. There were also the players from Yamaguchi Mioka, but to me, they were the least memorable of the new schools and teams.

This season also sees Arata returning to the world of competitive karuta, although he’s doing so as an individual rather than as part of a team. His goal is to compete against Chihaya and Taichi. And when Arata qualifies for the Omi Shrine tournament, he also learns valuable lessons about playing karuta as part of a team.

Of course, when we get to the individual matches at Omi Shrine, Chihaya is pitted against Shinobu again. But the real matchups to look out for are Shinobu versus Arata, as well as Taichi’s final Class B match.

Chihaya gets the biggest lesson of all after sustaining an injury during the team matches and ignoring it until the end of the day. But even after being told not to play in the individual matches the next day, she still goes ahead and does it, anyway. She has to learn an even bigger lesson after trying to play in this condition. Even though Chihaya grew a lot as both a character and as a karuta player in this season, she still hasn’t learned yet when she needs to let her health take precedence over her karuta matches.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the second season of Chihayafuru. I thought it was a realistic progression for the characters between the first and second season, and I came to appreciate the two new characters after being initially annoyed by them. My only real gripe with this season, is one I had with the first season (which I believe I forgot to mention in my review for the Season 1 set), is the recap episode that appears in both seasons. To me, these episodes didn’t really add anything of any importance, and just basically felt like “clip shows” to kill time in their respective seasons. Even with that gripe, though, I’m still looking forward to a time when I can see the third season of the series and continue the story of Chihaya and the others.

The quality of the animation continued to impress me in the second season. I didn’t see any degradation in quality between the first and second seasons of Chihayafuru.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1080p High Definition / 16×9, while the audio has English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I had no complaints about either the video or audio quality of this release.

Once again, the bonus features on this release are what I expect from Sentai Filworks: a textless opening, a textless closing, and trailers for other releases from the company.

If you’re a fan of Chihayafuru and don’t already have the second season in your anime home video library, I would recommend getting this release in order to have the episodes.

Additional post about Chihayafuru:

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