The TV anime adaptation of Chihayafuru, a josei manga by Yuki Suetsugu about a high school girl seeking to become the greatest competitive karuta player in the world, is returning for a third season that will broadcast as part of Nippon TV’s “AnimeU” block in 2019.
Although details about the new TV series are currently scarce, it has been confirmed that voice actors Asami Seto, Mamoru Miyano, and Yoshimasa Hosoya will return to reprise their roles as the main characters Chihaya Ayase, Taichi Mashima and Arata Wataya, respectively.
The original Chihayafuru manga is serialized in Kodansha’s Be Love josei manga magazine, and an English language version is also available from Kodansha Comics. The two earlier TV anime adaptations of Chihayafuru are directed by Morio Asaka and feature animation by Madhouse.
Sentai Filmworks describes the story:
Chihaya Ayase is a beautiful and headstrong young woman with a passion for karuta, a card game inspired by classical Japanese poetry. As a child, Chihaya was introduced to the game by a quiet, gifted transfer student named Arata, and she was instantly drawn to it. Now in high school and reunited with her childhood friend Taichi, Chihaya dreams of finding Arata and the three resuming their love of karuta, only to discover that Arata has quit the game due to personal reasons. Determined not to let Arata’s passion go to waste, Chihaya and Taichi form the Mizusawa High School Karuta Club, where they learn that in karuta – as in life – working toward your dreams is the key to winning, even when what you want seems just out of reach.
The 22nd volume of the manga additionally bundled an original anime DVD when it shipped in September 2013.
Suetsugu launched the manga in Kodansha’s Be-Love magazine in December 2007, and Kodansha published the manga’s 37th compiled volume on February 13. The manga has more than 21 million copies in print in Japan. Kodansha Comics is releasing the manga digitally in English.
Suetsugu’s manga has also inspired two live-action films. The first film, Chihayafuru: Kami no Ku (Chihayafuru: Upper Phrase), opened in Japan in March 2016. The second film, Chihayafuru: Shimo no Ku (Chihayafuru: Lower Phrase), opened in Japan in April 2016. A third film, Chihayafuru: Musubi, will open in Japan on March 17. A five-episode live-action tie-in series, titled Chihayafuru -Tsunagu-, premiered on Hulu Japan on February 20.