Gamer Girl: Chihayafuru First Impressions

A few posts ago, I mentioned media biases, which were described as particular concepts portrayed in fictional works that draw people in unconditionally. While I listed five, there was one particular genre that I failed to mention: sports and competition.

I have a particular soft spot for games and sports. At its worst, it explains why I was able to withstand half a season of Ro Kyu Bu, and at its best, it explains why I listed Hikaru no Go as one of my top nine favourite anime of all time. There’s something about the spirit of competition that drives main characters to become the best that they can be. It’s the pokémon philosophy at its purest, and Chihayafuru, because of its classification as a romance/shojo story, takes a rather novel approach to sports/games genre.

That isn’t to say that female-centric sports/games shows haven’t been done before. There’s Saki, Princess Nine, Ro Kyu Bu and Taisho Baseball girls among others, but for some reason, there’s a lot of emphasis placed on the fact that the characters are girls to begin with. It leads to unnecessary distractions like yuri undertones (saki), implied lolicon (Ro Kyu Bu!), or some sort of gender-based message that girls can be as good as boys in particular activities, achieved by using You Go Girl or the Jackie Robinson Story, two tropes that I’m not really keen on seeing in competition-based stories.

Chihayafuru is refreshing case, then, because so far, I’m getting the impression that there’s no particular emphasis being placed on Chihaya’s gender in relationship to the game that she’s clearly fallen in love with. On top of that, the romance/shojo aspects are layered on top of the sports/games genre, providing another plot avenue with regards to romance and all that good stuff that you would not ordinarily see in something like Hikaru no Go. In Hikaru no Go, Hikaru and Akari’s relationship was barely touched upon in the anime, which is why I’m rather intrigued by the already building triangle between Chihaya, Taichi, and Wataya.

I feel that there’s enough plot substance in this show for me to blog about on a weekly episodic basis. I’ve only tried it once before with Fractale, and I failed miserably. However, media bias will surely help in sustaining my attention to the series, as well as the fact that the show is an adaptation of a well-received manga. The mangaka has a history of plagiarism, but that’s more of an artistic fault than it is a writing one, which is why I’m not worried about it.

I’m quite excited to cover this show to a particular extent, and I can’t wait for the next episode to come.

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6 thoughts on “Gamer Girl: Chihayafuru First Impressions”

  1. That’s the one that blends Shogi with Murder/Mystery, right? I’ve heard lots of good things about that one. I really need to check it out sometime.

  2. I’m definitely watching this one. I really enjoyed the first episode, the sport angle (as you said) is interesting. Plus I kind of want to see Taichi get his hat handed to him by Wataya after the way he acted in this episode.

    1. Yeah, there seems to be a rooted hostility between the two, but we don’t have a clear idea of what their relationship is like at present. It’s definitely something that will be brought up in upcoming episodes.

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