Chihayafuru begins, on probation

April 25th, 2012 by Author

The video was only 5 minutes 14 seconds in when I thought: “This is going straight into the `disliked greats‘ folder”. The anime gave off that unmistakable masterpiece wiff. More than a wiff actually.

Reading various anime blogs, I slated Ano Natsu and Chihayafuru as best just-complete titles to try. Ano Natsu enjoyed a much higher profile in the ‘sphere. Everyone who’s anything blogged it: I saved links to Hung, Suguru, Mike, Omo, RP, Zyl, Peterburd, CKS, and a few others for the traditional “Bloggers on Foo” compendium. It was a popular, quality anime. For Chihayafuru, I only picked Diego, Tappan, and Omo again (he’s so pro). But when I polled people who’s seen both, they were unanimous in rating the later higher of the two, and it only took me a couple of minutes to see why.

So many good shows struggle with the introduction and exposition. Chihayafuru‘s slick writing and direction are absolutely effortless in tackling the problem. Art, design, animation, timing, afureko – everything is top notch, seamlessly. Masterpiece. The only incongruent piece for me was the comical hall monitor, and that’s it.

And yet, I’m not “feeling it”. Taichi is a bit of a jerk. I tell myself that it’s a show about real people, with real flaws, but it’s not working. The two other principals are ok, but… again. Not working. Maybe I’m just too prejudous against sports anime.

I’m going to give it an honest try. Anime this good does not come along often. But it’s quite likely that I’ll Tutu this.