Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Chihayafuru 2" WTF Is It About? "Da Capo III" Episodes 4-6 and "Maoyuu Maou Yuusha" Episodes 4-6 Thoughts

So with +8 anime to keep up with (and also my recent conclusion of both seasons of To Aru Majutsu no Index), I have fallen a little behind on my anime posts. To spice some things up, I am going to talk about my experiences with three very different anime. The one I hate (Da Capo III), the decent one (Maoyuu Maou Yuusha), and the one that covers something I don’t give a damn about but still like the characters (Chihayafuru 2).
Brace yourself for the super skinny but big breasted boring characters. Boobs...IT'S PLOT RIGHT?
So let’s talk about Da Capo III first since someone actually took the time to leave a comment on my previous post. So far six episodes have rolled on by and not one has kept me interested for more than two minutes. I do not know why so many people are just raving how awesome this show is when the only redeeming qualities are the animation and the music. The show is god awful boring because nothing happens….NOTHING. Every scene just consists of Kiyotaka talking to possible romance option #1; five minutes later we now have Kiyotaka talking to all possible romance options in the club room. This would be fine if we had some character development going on but every conversation is just a static progression and nothing important comes out of it. I want to like the characters I really do but since Rikka and Sara are the only female leads that have been somewhat explored, it’s kind of hard to root or even care for the others. The music however is another story entirely. I absolutely love the music they chose to put in the anime because it is so fun to play on top of. In fact, if the music wasn’t so good I would have dropped the show. The only reason I still watch the show is because while I watch some static characters, I can play along to the songs on my guitar. So yeah I will definitely buy the OST but there is no way I will financially support the anime itself. If you are looking for a school romance try Clannad or the Amagami SS series.
Now for the decently interesting Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. Last time I spoke out how the initial episodes make the anime feel like a spiritual successor to Spice and Wolf; that statement unfortunately praises this anime too much. Six episodes have now completed and unfortunately it is starting to drag. The main hook-line-and-sinker for me initially was the character development between the Demon King and the Hero. The show unfortunately separates the two after the initial episode and it is not until episode six that they reunite. Another issue is the pacing of the show; one second it’s spring and a conversation later it’s winter…? There is so much time skipped that I started to feel a little detached from the world the anime was trying create. I know that the whole purpose was to show how the Demon King’s plans were working out (with the crop rotations) but fast forwarding too much will leave an undesired effect on the audience. Another issue is the blatant fan service surrounding the Demon King. There isn’t any nudity or suggestive themes but the whole G cup bouncing physics is starting to somewhat get in the way of the mood the anime is trying to set. But one thing that cannot be overlooked is that yes this anime has striking similarities to Spice and Wolf; economics and trade play a huge role, the wise non-human female character is very clever, and a slow developing romance between both main character slowly pans out. These are all things that made Spice and Wolf so enjoyable but it will take a lot more than these traits to pull this anime out of the small rut it has dug itself into.
And finally the anime that brings in a sport that likely 90% of the world has never even heard of; Chihayafuru 2. This season of Chihayafuru picks up directly off of where the previous one left off so there shouldn’t be any confusion if you haven’t watched it in some time. The show does a pretty decent job of giving a very short explanation of what has been going on but you really do need to watch the first season to get the full entertainment value out of this show. The show revolves around a card game called Karuta which is a fast paced game that utilizes the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu poems as a reference point. Each player has a stack of cars (the poems) that they lay out in any particular order they see fit. The object of the game is to match up the correct poem’s read by the reader before the enemy player can. Cards are won when a player reaches out and grabs (or in anime fashion bash the card clear across the room) the correct corresponding card with the rest of the poem being read. So yeah sounds interesting right?...no it’s really not but the show makes it interesting which means it’s doing a great job. If you look at different anime in the past, you will find many of them make certain sports look way too fun and interesting. Tennis had The Prince of Tennis, baseball had Major Season, racing had Initial D and Capeta, and the pastime of beating the crap out of people was glorified in the Dragonball series. 
If this show doesn't make you want to go buy a racquet, then something is wrong with you.
By far one of the hardest working protagonists I have ever seen.
What each of these anime (including Chihayafuru) has done is make the subject matter very interesting. Even if the sport being showcased somehow didn’t appeal to you, the characters started to grow on you. If you have seen any of the Major seasons then you know how charismatic Goro is. Even if you did not like baseball, Goro made you want him to succeed. If you did not feel anything for Goro and his dream then you have no heart. This is exactly what Chihayafuru is also riding on, the likeability of the characters to present you (the audience) with a story based around something that normal people would not care for. I have kind of rambled on how sports anime work and not how and why Chihayafuru is worth picking up. What I can tell you about this anime is that you will like Chihaya, Taichi, and the rest of the Karuta club because they all have ambitions and in typical anime fashion will do anything necessary to make them come true. I promise to actually get in-depth to what is going on in the show in a later post but I thought I would at least explain why you should give this anime a shot. Most people read the synopsis and pass it off because they think an anime based on a card game would be boring to watch. I strongly encourage that if this show interests you that you start on the first season as this season directly follows the events from the first.

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