Chihayafuru is one of those few animes that found the perfect balance between competitive sports and shoujo romance elements. What makes the anime even ore unique is the focus on a traditional game like Karuta. Chihayafuru, without a doubt, ignited a lot of interest in Karuta, especially in the younger generations.
If you enjoyed how Chihayafuru displayed passion for sports, here are 10 anime that you might like.
1. Kono Oto Tomare! : Sounds of Life
Despite focusing on different traditional Japanese arts, Chihayafuru and Kono Oto Tomare are two anime series that share many similarities. Both anime highlight the importance of hard work, perseverance, and dedication in achieving success. In Chihayafuru, our main character Chihaya strives to become the best Karuta player in Japan, while in Kono Oto Tomare, the Koto club members work hard to compete at the national level.
Additionally, both series emphasize the importance of teamwork and the bonds that are formed between team members. Similar to how Chihaya and Taichi recruited a bunch of misfits into their Karuta Club, you’ll get to see how the team members in Kono Oto Tomare bond together to form a great team.
Furthermore, both anime showcase the competitive nature of their respective arts. In Chihayafuru, the characters compete in intense Karuta tournaments, while in Kono Oto Tomare, the Koto club members participate in various contests.
2. Sangatsu no Lion (March Comes In Like A Lion)
While Chihayafuru centres around Karuta, Sangatsu no Lion focuses on Shogi, Japanese chess. Both main characters in the show, Chihaya and Rei displays immense passion for their games.
Sangatsu no Lion is more focused on the psychological aspect and personal development of Rei, and therefore has a more somber tone. Chihayafuru is more energetic in nature, the main character, Chihaya is a more positive person compared to the introverted Rei.
Nevertheless, both anime will allow you to see the character development from different angles as the characters navigate to get better in their craft.
3. Yuri!!! On Ice
Although Chihaya has amazing listening abilities which helped her in her Karuta game, she’s no prodigy like Rei from Sangatsu no Lion. Similarly, in Yuri!!! On Ice, our main character Yuri is also a talented individual, who is not a particular prodigy. Instead, he found someone who was willing to coach him to harness his figure skating talent in the Grand Prix competition.
Yuri!!! On Ice and Chihayafuru focuses a lot on the determination and discipline in order to succeed, and the journeys of successes, triumphs, defeats and learnings are definitely one to watch.
Both anime also managed their romance subplots really well. Yuri!!! On Ice, in particular, received a lot of praise for depicting LGBT relationships in anime.
Free! is an anime centred around swimming competitions. Similar to Chihayafuru, the members of the swimming club in Free! worked together to help each other become better in their respective sports. Each character’s individual strengths were highlighted and all of them lift each other up in very supportive ways.
Both Chihayafuru and Free! also revolves around a group of old friends start a bonded over their love for sport when they were young, and along the way run into an old childhood friend who have changed a lot.
Although Bakuman is not a sports anime, it is similar to Chihayafuru where the character is not a prodigy who is extremely passionate about their art and really pushes to be the best in their field. Chihaya aims to be the Queen of Karuta while Mashiro works hard to get his manga published.
Both anime also had a tinge of romance as a subplot which is equally interesting as the main storyline.
6. Ballroom e Youkoso
In Ballroom e Youkoso, the main characters compete in ballroom dancing, while in Chihayafuru, they play Karuta, a traditional Japanese card game. Both anime series show the intense training and dedication required to compete at the highest level in their respective sports.
Like any other sport anime, our characters also face tough opponents along the way in their path to be the best in their sports.
7. Sakamichi no Apollon
Sakamichi no Apollon or Kids on the Slope is not a sports anime, but you will get the same amount of passion from its characters. Instead of karuta, the main characters of Sakamichi no Apollon, Sentarou, Kaoru and Ritsuko, play jazz music together.
Unlike Chihayafuru which sees its characters go through many tournaments, Sakimichi no Apollon is more focused on the slice of life, friendship and romantic elements. The love triangle is ever-present in both anime.
8. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Chihayafuru and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjo both feature traditional Japanese arts- Chihayafuru on karuta and Shouwa Genroku on rakugo, Japanese storytelling. If you enjoy the poetic part of the karuta game, Shouwa Genroku would be a great introduction to the rakugo scene.
Both anime are also under the Josei category. Nevertheless, Shouwa Genroku is more set in a more mature and somber setting, in contrast with Chihayafuru‘s brightly-colored and more cheerful nature.
Haikyuu!! is one of the most popular sports anime out there. So, if you love sports anime and have not watched Haikyuu!!, you are in for a treat. Just like Mizusawa Karuta Club, Karasuno Volleyball Team in Haikyuu!! also went through a lot of trials and tribulations in their journey through school tournaments. All the competitions were suspenseful and gripping.
Both the main characters, Chihaya and Shoyo, are relatively “normal” individuals who put in a lot of hard work to get better in their sports.
10. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso or Your Lie in April, is also not a sports anime, but the romance and slice of life elements is similar to that of Chihayafuru. In both anime, a boy loses his passion for his craft after losing someone important in their life. We also have two energetic and passionate girls who helped the main character rekindle their passion for the craft. there is also the quintessential love triangle as well.
Although both anime focuses on the craft (karuta and music), Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is more focused on the romantic elements compared to Chihayafuru.