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As sad as one might be to see this season come to an end, you have to give it to Chihayafuru for leaving us wanting more.
By all means, this is not the end. There is simply too much left in the air, to be continued by a potential season three or just the manga. There were no real winners in romance, and only temporary winners in karuta. Open-ended right to the end, am I right?
I actually prefer it this way. Aside from leaving us with the hope of another season, it felt like the most appropriate way to end when factoring in all the development the characters underwent this year. Taichi more than anyone surged ahead, and as much as seeing him suffer is a guilty pleasure, he at least deserved the shred of hope he got from this ending. Not just for his advancement in karuta, as pointed out by the Fujisaki coach, but also in the battle for Chihaya's love.
As for Chihaya's "love," I refer to the good point made by other bloggers on twitter. The assumption throughout Chihayafuru has been that she's been into Arata and Taichi has been fighting a losing battle. Not actually the case. Taichi may be loosing but as Kana-chan so astutely points out, Chihaya won't remain naive forever. Right now she's as in love with karuta as with Arata, without a clear distinction between the two and that means Taichi does have a shot.
Our naive heroine is still too confused to know who she truly loves. It's that uncertainty that allowed for the episode to play out and end in a less pronounced fashion. An ending that was understated and left a "To be continued.." feel to it. Some might feel uneasy about accepting such an ending, but to me it fits right in with the forward-looking tone of the national competition epilogue.
Final Note: If you plan on switching to the manga, the anime covered up to chapter 93. Currently 112 are available.
Chihayafuru Season Two (Mini) Review
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There's no doubt season two's end brings with it a lot of sadness. A series that no one expected to get a sequel, Chihayafuru continued it's streeak of excellence with a fantastic second season to compliment its first. A season that saw some key changes in the style and content, but maintained a high quality.
For me, it was a great addition to season one. A switch from drama-centric to sport-centric episodes, that worked well to give us something different and more exciting (for the most part). Not to paint the first season as unexciting, but the sports aspect really brought out the other characters - divesting from a Taichi-Chihaya only spotlight - and gave us more gut-wrenching moments than first season.
it's sad to say goodbye to the series, but it's something we've had coming for a quite a while. Madhouse has really stepped up this year, and Chihayafuru has been another one of their great successes. Whatever the OVA coming may be, it won't change how much affection I'll hold for it. And looking ahead, it's more than likely Chihayafuru will end up towards the top of my Best 10 anime of the year.