The release of the first Chihayafuru movie offers viewers a glimpse of the complicated relationship between Chihaya with Taishi and Arata. While the first film puts the spotlight on Taishi's side, with love that seems to overflow and can sometimes be heartbreaking, Arata's story is yet to unfold.

I'm pleasantly surprised with the changes (alterations) the live action movie has made. Of course, watching the anime episodes, you begin with the premise that this is more than just a love story, it's also about friendship and connection, of camaraderie and teamwork, of competition and rivalry. Most important, it promotes the sport of karuta - a contest that has a long history and is uniquely Japanese. But we'll get into that later. I just want to say, the karuta tournament scenes are thrilling to watch. [ special mention to Yuki Morinaga who plays Komano and yes! Hiroya Shimizu as Akihito Sudo for excellent acting! ]

If you've read Part One (about our main characters, Chihaya, Taishi and Arata), then you are aware that there is a rivalry between Taishi and Arata - a battle for Chihaya's love and affection. Though you can hardly tell if there is any competition at all - you can just feel the tension and that there is something bubbling - just underneath the surface.

Which gives me the chance to ask you - our viewers - one of the most universal of questions:

Will you choose the one who loves you or wait for the one you love?

When Chihaya called Arata after many months of separation, it was with Taishi's 'blessings.' Chihaya is eternally grateful to Arata for introducing her to karuta and with that - the chance to find something worthwhile to pursue. It shaped her world in ways she could not imagine. Arata, at a young age, is already a legend amongst karuta players. With such a reputation, Chihaya is in awe, looking up to Arata as if he's an idol or a young god.

Taishi saw the glitter in Chihaya's eyes, and he knows he's in for an uphill battle to capture her heart.

For me, I'd go for someone whom I love because that's just who I am. I'm afraid, if I choose someone who loves me, and the feeling is not mutual, we'll both suffer. In the former, I will only have myself to blame if that someone cannot reciprocate. But that's just me.

How about the others, what's their take on Taishi v Arata?

classic-literature-lover has this to say:

I will try to make this short and quick:  Chihaya WILL end up with Taichi, NOT Arata.  The title of the anime “CHIHAYAFURU” screams it out.  That is my theory, and I believe I have some pretty strong evidence to back it up, at least from a literary point of view.

CHIHAYAFURU are the first syllables of a Karuta card that Arata once told Chihaya was her “namesake” card, a word that means “with deep feeling.” Both would always see that particular card as special, and representative of their friendship. Incidentally, it becomes Chihaya’s strongest card because her hand is always drawn to it. Kana later explains its true meaning as “a red colored love/passion that never fades.”

From Arata, we learn the literal meaning of CHIHAYAFURU.  After all, Chihaya’s motivation in karuta was largely due to Arata whom she looked up to as a role model and example.  Memories of Arata and the times they spent playing karuta, led to Chihaya’s “love/passion that never fades”—the literal meaning of CHIHAYAFURU.  [ read more ]

Seyeire has a different perspective: 

It is insinuated that Taichi is the underdog, but may I point out that he has twice as much as Arata's screen time, maybe even four times greater than Arata. He is with Chihaya, supporting her and cheering her on. His point of view is also used, his thoughts and feelings revealed to the viewers. His character is so well-made, he's hands-down the favorite. His experience in the Karuta World makes everyone feel bad and good for him. He loses and doesn't give up. He doesn't believe in fate. He is in love with Chihaya. He's focused and driven. I can go on forever, and the reason for that is because we know him. Everyone can't help but cheer him on because he is not perfect. He also gets jealous, insecure, and impatient.

Because Taichi was presented to be the hardworking guy, it is to be expected that he would win in the end. That is more plausible than Arata and Chihaya right? It would be ridiculous if, after all, the efforts Taichi exerted, he still won't have what he wants. So in reality, Fate sides with him. Because he works hard, he will be rewarded. Arata is not doing anything. Therefore he'll lose. That, for me, is the real score. That is why Arata is Ariwara. Because Narihira did nothing but write a poem that transcended thousands of years. But my only proof against that notion is the Chihayaburu poem. Narihira, not Ariwara is Arata. And he didn't end up with the Empress. [ read more ]

There are plenty of reactions and opinions available, but I chose to refer to these two because I like both reasoning. 

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://psycho-drama.com/hit/106-chihayafuru-p3#sigProId50b2f8ab77

But, this is the big but - we're still a long way to go!

Part Two is coming up and with that, there's the Karuta Queen and the tragedy that has befallen Arata - which will affect their relationship in such radical, explosive ways!

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