I normally dislike anime about sports cause almost always the main character wins everything.
This show is an exception.
We start the series with a girl named Chihaya and she is extremely pretty.... as well as fairly dense.... mostly because ever waking moment of her time is spent on Karuta
what is Karuta? it's an old Japanese card game that's kind of like memory on crack.
there are 100 poems each split into two cards... one gets read while the other is on the playing field. players have to find and take/knock away the match to the card being read.
the goal of the game is to clear your side of the field of cards.... so if you take a card from the opponents side you give them a card from yours or if they make a mistake you give them one of your cards.
Chihaya is introduced to the game in elementary school when Arata, the new kid who's being bullied but she stands up for, invites her over and she finds a desk... he asks her to play...
and promptly wipes the floor with her, this kid is so good when he hits the cards they are imbedded in the wall.
Chihaya fights in vain to try and get even one card from him... and she does.... she remember the card because it starts with Chiha like her name...
the amount of fun the two have together and the new friendship helps her love the game.... her other friend Taichi still wants to bully Arata so when the school holds it annual Karuta tournament Taichi takes Arata's glasses.... Arata tries his best to play based on memory but at the cards get moved around it's impossible.... Chihaya pushes her way into playing the match for Arata.... she loses again cause she's not good but Arata appreciates the gesture... and soon all three are friends. they join a local Karuta society and start to practice... they even try to win a competition.... but just as they are all getting to be closer... Arata's grandfather becomes Ill and Arata need to move again.
Fast forward to highschool.
Karuta isn't particularly cool but Chihaya wants to make a club for the school... they need a minimum of 5 members. the show is mainly about how she acquires more members and how each person plays the game a little different... some more with technical skill, others with gut feelings and some who just love the poetry aspect of the game.
I really liked this show... yes it is about a sport that as someone who isn't Japanese i know NOTHING about... but the show knows that may be the case and introduces the rules fairly slowly.... in fact we don't even start with any rule other the pick the matching card till after the required members are brought it.... which means about halfway through the show. And while the main focus is the sport there is so much character development that i found it extremely enjoyable.
it's lovely to look at and is really quite touching in some scenes... i will admit it made me cry quite easily.... especially in the beginning.... and the middle.... and i guess the end too.... hmmmmmmm.
but it made me cry so much because when the character were in pain i could feel it, i cared about these people and wanted them to keep fighting even when things seemed impossible.
also they seem to have left it open for a second season... here's hoping.