Chihayafuru is a surprisingly intense anime about the unusual, and quintessentially Japanese, card game or sport  of competitive karuta. There are some spoilers in this review.
Part of the attraction of Chihayafuru for me is the way the series calls a Steven Brust poem  to mind:
Success leads to stagnation
Stagnation leads to failure
Failure leads to maturity
Maturity leads to success
This was partly because Chihayafuru is so heavily invested in poetry, and partly because the poem matches Chihaya’s character arc through the first season. Continue reading