Chihayafuru is the most enjoying series that I’m following on this season. Aside from its interesting shoujo plot and adorable characters, as I watch Chihaya, I’m feeling the deep urge to learn and play competitive Karuta.
Come to think about it, almost every moves she does is an art according to its own right. Of course, body movement is a behavioural and cultural thing. However, as humans, the appreciation of these gestures is something that is, I believe, universal to all of us. As a sports fan, I always enjoy whenever a slow motion and intensified body action is being previewed. It is such a visual feast wherein every move is integrated and sensationalized as poetic and artistic.
Karuta is a Japanese card game. Basically, it’s played by being able to quickly identify which card out of an array of cards corresponds to the recited poem and then being able to snatch it before the opponent does. At the end of the game, the player who stole the most number of cards wins the competition.
I neither have knowledge nor experience on how this game is being played. That’s why as I follow Chihayafuru, I become fixated and eager to try this game. The more and more I pay attention, I realized that my desire to learn this game was actually brought the stylized gestures and agile movements of the characters.
Take for instance, I’m captivated by how the emotion filled noise overtakes the muteness of the room. The free flowing movements of the stretched and flexed arms are so engaging to look at. It’s like an abrupt shift that visually defies the friction in the air—which is embellished by the visible traces of the motion hanging in the vacant atmosphere. Also, I’m so impressed by how the body weight shifted accordingly with the swift movements of the shoulders and hands. Such actions look so stylistic, sporty and engaging.
Moreover, the hand movements are so entertaining to look at. I enjoy how the players’ hastily chase and tease each others’ hands; most especially, whenever they snap and break the silence on the room as they try to quickly snatch the card. In fact, the competitive feel of the scene commandingly hooks and shuts me up. In addition, I truly appreciate how the hands are being used to express emotions, for example the simple closed fist, and firmed and extended fingers openly convey the feelings and passion of the character.
Lastly and my most favourite part, the cards were grippingly thrown and flipped into the air. This creates an illusion which effectively stirs sensations and excitations. Often, I find myself silenced and looking so attentively as the card leisurely suspend and spin on the empty space as it eventually bounce and slide on the floor. For me, this scene creates an adrenalin pumping and literally breathtaking atmosphere due to the stillness of the scene.
Thus, as Chihayafuru shown, body movements are forms of language and art. We may not be noticing that much but we enjoy anime not just because of the plot and pretty faces of the characters, but also because of how these characters move and communicate with us. Body movements are lingos that help us grasp the story and internalize the characters. We must feel what is happening as much as we see it. With this, we’ll discover that our personal thoughts and own experiences will be submerged in the course of watching for this moment. Hence as an outcome, we’re becoming acutely sensitive and receptive to new world of information—or 2D world, as in the case of anime.