So you thought these “Why X Excites Me” posts would be a one-time thing, eh? Well, even if you didn’t, I’m happy to announce that there will indeed be many of these hype sessions. This time, I discuss an anime that is in no way like, and hasn’t been getting nearly as much as Persona 4. Yes, it’s the Josei manga adaptation, Chihayafuru.
For the record, I’m not even sure that I’ll be blogging this, though as this post will tell you, I have high hopes, but at the moment I’m still deciding if I want to blog two shows this upcoming season,(the other show obviously being Persona 4) and even if I do cover two, I’m still not sure this will be one of them, after all, this season is absolutely packed with great looking shows that I can’t wait to see, and it seems like it’ll just be whatever the most enjoyable show to cover is. We shall see… Anyway, on with the hyping:
#1: The source material is surprisingly solid:
The reason I say it’s surprising is based off of two factors, first is that the author hasn’t done anything particularly noteworthy, and her most famous work, Flower of Eden is more famous for a pretty crappy reason, allegations of plagiarism, which she later confirmed to be true. Her career was put on hiatus and she only returned just under two years later (she did go on to win awards for Chihayafuru, so I guess it wasn’t all bad). The other factor is that the concept isn’t particularly exciting. It’s about a young girl whose older sister becomes a fashion model; her dream is to see her sister become number one in Japan. After telling a poor classmate at school about her dream, he explains that it can’t be your dream if it isn’t something you work at personally, inspired by this and the boy’s passion for Karuta, a game in which players match cards to poems, she decides to take up Karuta at a competitive level. Now I know that isn’t the most exciting premise, but as I learned, it’s better to read the manga before judging it. The art is fairly strong, the characters are all likable and believable, and the writing is great, seriously, check it out.
#2: It’s part of a (hopefully) glorious return to form for Madhouse:
I absolutely love Madhouse, having made Gunslinger Girl, Chobits, and Black Lagoon, I think it’s safe to say that they are my favourite animation studio. Problem is, Madhouse makes some great stuff, but they also like making money, and so you get the Marvel anime. Yes, the same ones that have been plaguing the last four anime seasons, Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men, and Blade. Not a single one of these has been good, all of them were creatively bankrupt, and even lacked the normally excellent production values associated with Madhouse. But they have been recovering, with the recently released, solid adaptation of Supernatural (review coming soon!) and now producing two non-Marvel anime this upcoming season (the other being Hunter x Hunter), I think it’s safe to say that things can only go up from here.
#3: The Director is Morio Asaka:
Look through a list of the stuff Morio Asaka has directed, and you’ll see Cardcaptor Sakura (which I haven’t watched), and then some terrible thing called Galaxy Angel.(Oh, how I hate Galaxy Angel) Look further down this list and you’ll see why I view his directing as a positive thing. He directed Chobits and Gunslinger Girl, two of my favourite anime of all time. Chobits was a terrific, smart, and occasionally hilarious romance with great production values. Gunslinger Girl is another terrific, smart and incredibly powerful drama also boasting great production values (the budget for this was insane). He also directed Nana, which I’ve yet to watch but have heard great things about. Chihayafuru is also the first thing he’s directed since 2007. So if he’s putting as much effort into this as I hope he is (considering the 4-year gap, he better be putting effort into this) and he maintains his recent level of quality, then we can expect another terrific and smart anime with great production values. Hell, Chobits is from 2002, and it still looks good, so we can at least expect Chihayafuru to be great-looking.
#4: Josei anime is almost always great:
Now, people may disagree with me on this, but I’ve almost never watched a Josei I didn’t enjoy. Honey & Clover, Nodame Cantabile, Usagi Drop, Princess Jellyfish… The list goes on. Thing is, I love Josei as it usually boasts a mature approach to relationships and storytelling. If nothing else, I’ve never seen a Josei that wasn’t at least pleasant to watch and really, I could use more pleasant, relaxed, anime that isn’t just about cute girls being cute with almost no plot to speak of.
So there you go. Four reasons I’m excited by Chihayafuru. Seriously, this upcoming season cannot come soon enough. Please look forward to our upcoming preview of the season, it’s looking fantastic.