Anime Series Like Chihayafuru

Growing up in the shadow of her older sister, Chihaya Ayase is strong-willed and a tomboy with no dreams of her own. However, after meeting a young boy with a passion of a card game called karuta, he inspires her to become a karuta master.

This isn’t your little brother’s Yugioh. As a card game anime, Chihayafuru puts focus on more than just the game. If you are looking for anime recommendations similar to  Chihayafuru, then head on down below.

For Fans of Classical Japanese Games

Hikaru no Go

One day, Shindou Hikaru is rummaging through his grandfather’s attic and finds and old Go board. This board also happens to be possessed by Fujiwara no Sai, a once great Go player that committed suicide. This spirits begs Hikaru to play Go so he can search for his perfect game.

While Hikaru no Go has a distinctly more shounen vibe to it, it matches the occasionally more shoujo vibe of Chihayafuru. Both are about traditional Japanese games and find ways to make watching them being played more interesting than you would think.

March Comes in Like a Lion

Rei Kiriyama recently started to live alone in his last year of high school. He is able to financial support himself as a professional Shogi player, but while he officially became a pro in middle school, he is collapsing under the pressure to succeed. Burdened with his own problems, Rei has found solstice among a kind family of three sisters, the Kawamotos. The oldest, Akari, likes to take in strays and Rei is the latest. While he feels conflicted about spending time with them, they provide accepting affection that he has gotten nowhere else.

Karuta and shogi aren’t exactly the biggest draw to most people, but that’s not really what Chihayafuru of March Comes in Like a Lion are about. They are about the characters and they do those characters really well.

Stop This Sound

After the senior members graduated, Takezou is now the sole member of his Japanese string instrument club. Facing termination, he now begins his search for new members when suddenly a wily one bursts right into his club room.

While playing the koto isn’t a Japanese game, per say, it is an activity that many anime watchers probably aren’t familiar with. As such, you learn about it through the guise of very relatable characters.

For Fans of Extensive Character Development


After being inspired by the small, but talented volleyball ace Little Giant, Shouyou Hinata revives the volleyball club at his middle school. However, when he is brutally crushed by King of the Court Tobio Kageyama, his first match ends up being his last. Swearing to surpass him, Shouyou joins the volleyball team in high school only to discover Tobio is now his teammate.

Both Haikyuu and Chihayafuru don’t shy away from characters. Even extremely minor characters get their spotlight when it comes to character development, and it makes the casts feel more fleshed out than they actually are.

Hanasaku Iroha

Ohana Matsumae is an energetic teenager that lives with her mother in Tokyo. However, when her mother decides to run off with a man, she is sent to the country to live with a grandmother she has never met. As it turns out, her grandmother is not only cold to her, but runs an inn. Eager to earn her keep and grandmother’s affection, Ohana begins the hard work that makes sure an inn runs smoothly.

Both anime series have a big focus on characters chasing their dreams, but Hanasaku Iroha also has a focus on characters actually realizing their dreams first. While Hanasaku doesn’t have the same card game element, it does make up for it with drama.

Kimi ni Todoke

Quiet and relatively timid, Sawako Kuronuma is misunderstood by her classmates. Due to her long black hair and shyness, they have taken to calling her Sadako, the ghost girl from The Ring. Longing to make friends, she is drawn to Kazehaya Shouta, the most popular boy in school and his refreshing personality. However, when Kazehaya starts talking to her, Sawako’s lonely world begins to open up.

While these two series feature female protagonists, they both have different personalities. However, what really ties them together is how much of a focus the shows give to character development. Even non-main characters get nicely fleshed out in poignant ways.

For Fans of Passion

Skip Beat

Although extremely bright, Kyouko Mogami’s naivety shines brighter as she toils endlessly to support her childhood friend and rising pop star Shou Fuwa. However, when she learns that all her hard work is like free servitude to her friend, she decides to get back at him by joining the ruthless world of entertainment herself.

These shows, despite being about vastly different subjects, are really quite similar. You have a sort of energetic main girl character that is all about chasing her dreams in an area that she is passionate about. There are obstacles, there are love interests, and there is kind of an addicting element of drama there.

Nodame Cantabile

Shinichi Chiaki is a first-rate musician that has dreams of playing among Europe’s elite. However, due to his fear of flying, he has remained firmly grounded in Japan. In his fourth year at Japan’s top music university, he meets Megumi Noda, or Nodame, as she prefers to be called. At first she seems unkempt and without direction, but when he hears her play, everything he thought he knew about her was wrong.

Both series focus on specific subjects, karuta or music. The main characters are very passionate about it, but also perhaps not quite people you would expect to have a true passion for it. The series both explore the subject deeply as well as more personal and romantic stories of the characters.


As a child, Moritaka Mashiro wanted to be a manga artist like his uncle. However, after certain events transpired, he refocused his efforts towards studying in middle school. One day, aspiring writer Akito Takagi notices some detailed drawings in Moritaka’s notebook and approaches him to propose they become a mangaka together. Realizing that he might be able to get his crush if they make an anime adaption of it with her as the voice actor, Moritaka agrees, and thus, the mangaka Muto Ashirogi is born.

Both series are about people that had a passion for a subject since childhood. The series is about their ups and downs as they are following that passion. They both go into great detail on specific subject and have a touch of a love story to them.

Do you have any more anime recommendations like Chihayafuru? Let fans know in the comments section below.

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