Just when you think it can’t get any better, Chihaya and company raise the bar once again in As My Sleeves Are Wet With Dew. The introduction of Ririka, a new character, certainly doesn’t hurt, especially one that’s a miniature (in the sense of age) version of Chihaya. Ririka’s adorable, fiercely passionate about karuta, adorable, arguably faster, adorable, makes endearing faces just like Chihaya and did I mention adorable?
I do find her background problematic however. This may seem trivial to most viewers but the practice of a feel good story via a triumph over bullying is not only overused but a disservice. Bullying is wrong and the show could have taken the opportunity to discuss this universal issue and encourage the audience into praxis. Instead, it’s mostly wasted by just adding depth.
The show maintains its consistency in holding me captive. The parallel lessons in karuta and character growth remain a winning combination. It succeeds in giving the illusion that the viewer’s karuta skill is improving by simply watching when in reality it’s just our understanding of the game. The fleeting bursts of emotion like tears also get me. (Don’t worry, it’s more nuanced than that so I am not spoiling much.) Yours truly is easily amused and moved. Finally, the continuing tease of the love triangle promises a climax that will knock away the collective underwear of the entire universe.
Speaking of which, has there been a cast drawn more beautifully? Arata has grown to be rather handsome. The glasses only makes him look more sophisticated, distinguished. Taichi’s haircut alone would make most teenage girls swoon or squeel if not both. Add in his coolness factor, that’s a lot of posters waiting to be sold. Of course, there’s the one and only Chihaya. Enough said.
This is likely something only I find awesome but I have a fetish for animes that segway into the ending theme. This isn’t unique to Chihayafuru but the bubblegum poppines of “Soshite Ima” is so catchy it should propel Asami Seto into a pop star before long. For that matter, 99RadioService‘s “Youthful” is equally convincing in getting one to put on dancing shoes, grind them on sticky checkered marble floors and re-re-repeat.
At this rate, I can’t be alone in wondering if school clubs and karuta societies will seep into American culture.