it’s a sports anime with an amazing female protagonist.
people mistake it as a shoujo but it is actually josei.
the protagonist team is co-ed, yet there are absolutely no qualms that the female lead is the strongest player among them. there are even boys on the team who look up to her as a personal goal for themselves.
there are tons of girls in this anime, and none of them are sexualized. in fact, while playing, the teams wear just regular t-shirts or gorgeous hakama.
the sport they play might just possibly be the most beautiful sport in all of japan: karuta.
a lot of people choose not to watch this because they don’t know what karuta is. in its simplest definition, karuta is a one-on-one card game. a reader recites poetry from the ogurahyakunin isshu and the players attempt to steal their opponent’s corresponding card while protecting their own.
the main rival is also an amazing, badass female, who has so many layers to her character.
in fact, all the characters are so fleshed out and go through breathtaking character development through the series, as do the friendships.
there are so many emotions in this series. you’ll cry (in the first three episodes even), you’ll laugh, you’ll cheer, you’ll be on the edge of your seat. it’s like a journey.
there is a romantic subplot, but it takes a backseat most of the time to give more attention to the teams and the characters and the game itself.
the art is spectacular. the imagery is gorgeous.
there is so much poetry and symbolism that it’ll take your breath away.
you’ll fall in love with karuta. that, i can promise you.
“I’m in love with you, Chihaya. Chihaya i love your fingers, your always short nails, your hair, your mouth that opens so unbelievably wide, your smiling face…and i have always, always been, ever since we were little.”