Sixth grader Ayase Chihaya, a tomboy with no ambitions or goals of her own, gets to know Wataya Arata, a transfer student at Chihaya's elementary school and an outcast. Through Arata, Chihaya picks up karuta and they form a team with their other friend and classmate Mashima Taichi. After graduating elementary school, Chihaya continues to play karuta hoping for a chance to meet Arata again after he went back to Fukui to take care of his sick grandfather. As time passed and Chihaya enters high school, she starts a karuta club with Taichi so that they can finally meet Arata again.
Cast & Credits
Before watching this I already knew that the director is Norihiro Koizumi, the same guy who directed Taiyou no uta(movie) and the liar and his lover so I am confident that this would be a good adaptation when I first heard about it and I am not wrong. He is great creating meaningful scenes for the reason that cinematography is one of his strongest points especially long shots, people who saw taiyou no uta know what I mean. The other thing is that he is great in showing the emotions of his characters, even an angle where only back of a person is seen. He's an actor's director, the one who makes his actors looks better and probably the reason why Suzu Hirose looks so fine here.
Visuals in this movie is so damn fine as slow motion in those karuta battle works so damn well, it gives those scenes so much impact, also give kudos to editing . The music they use really adds up to the feels of the movie it makes such scenes epic and those battles engaging. The only complaint I have is the song they use in the end, I'm a huge perfume fan but that the song didn't capture the whole atmosphere of the movie.
Perhaps the best casting in a live action ever as all those character are well played, a great ensemble of talented young cast that would probably become A class actors in the future namely Suzu Hirose, Mone Kamishiraishi, Hiroya shimizu, Nomura Shuhei, Mackenyu, Mayu Matsuoka. At first I was bit worried that suzu hirose might not give justice to the role, although I still felt the same in the first movie but this second movie prove me wrong. I think it's just right to cast her as chihaya, she is fun, she's passionate and she has done a nice job of giving energy and freshness to the character. Mayu matsuoka nailed the role as the queen, she really looks like queen, spot on casting, but more than looks it's the acting that makes her standout in this movie, her facial expressions and that way she handled the character change, she's a versatile actress indeed. What I thought would be the cutest card battle ever ended up becoming the most emotional card battle I had witnessed as it serves as a venue for the character development of chihaya and the queen, this is really important because this is the theme they wanted to convey here, like in any sport solo or team and definitely in life "doing it with friends is better than alone".
I agree that most Manga and Anime should not be made into a live action but stories that are so good should be shown in different platforms and chihayafuru is among them. Also, the good thing about watching a live action is that it would be a fascinating experience if the feels from watching an anime translates well into live, I will never get tired of watching live action for this reason.
The cast is perfect. Absolutely perfect. They all embody the characters from the anime so well. It's truly as if you get to see them come to life. Especially the actresses for Chihaya and Kana. I think those two could have been easily overdone, but they straight up nailed it.
The beauty, the poetry, the camaraderie, the magic, the feels... this film really captured it all and then some. I still had my chills after the end and tears forming. I'm very much looking forward to watching part 2. But most of all, it has me having a hard time being patient for the next season of the anime.