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Voiced by: Asami Seto
- Big Sister Worship: Chitose Ayase is the prettiest girl in the world, and don't you dare tell Chihaya otherwise.
- Book Dumb: Chihaya notes herself that she is ranked twelfth from the bottom of her class.
- Boyish Short Hair: In her childhood.
- Cheerful Child
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Sings the ending.
- Dude Magnet: Subverted. She would be one due to her looks, but men are usually driven off by her personality.
- Lampshaded in the episode 16 when the male members of the club decide which one of their female collegues they'd rather have as a girlfriend. When Nishida and Komano declare Chihaya 'out of question' Taichi is upset... but after they present their arguments (Chihaya being Married to the Job and a maniac about karuta) he sees no option but to admit they're right and gives off his vote to Kana-chan too.
- Genki Girl
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: The athletic one.
- The Heroine
- Hot-Blooded: She is very dedicated to playing karuta and will make very sure that everyone around her knows it.
- Nice Girl
- The Nicknamer
- Oblivious to Love
- Love Epiphany: In the last episode of the second series. Concerning Arata.
- The Pollyanna: Especially as a child. Always believes in the best of people, in cases of Taichi and her own sister usually incorrectly.
- Taichi's mom on the other hand scares the crap out of her.
- She's All Grown Up
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With her sister
- Super Senses: Her hearing.
- Sweet Tooth: It's a ritual for her to stuff herself with chocolate after a match.
- Tomboy: With Kana-chan or Chitose as girly girls of her.
- The Unfavorite: Subverted as her parents seem to come off as uncaring toward her at first when they seem to have endless picture albums of her older sister and her modeling career, but it turns out that they're overjoyed at the fact the can collect newspaper clippings of both their daughters. Chihaya's only just started.
- Except that they ignore her when she wins her first karuta tournament (which is probably her first big success) in favor of Chitose's photo-shoot.
- Unskilled, but Strong: She's incredibly fast, but has no technique. In episode 17, both Tsutomu and Kana-chan point out her weaknesses, which actually pulls her out of her Heroic BSOD after Harada-sensei points out to her the problem of relying over much on speed. In episode 18, it's all but spelled out to her why her over reliance on her speed and sharp ears isn't the best way to play.
- Abusive Mom: His mother a bit of an Education Mama, for any competition. She even goes as far to say that if he can't come out in first place, he shouldn't even bother competing.
- The Ace: Subverted, as Kanade quite harshly sums his up in one omake: "Jack of all trades, master of none".
- Alpha Bitch: Despite being male, he does a textbook job in his childhood and even transfers into Lovable Alpha Bitch territory as the time passes.
- The B Grade: Until chapter 89.
- Bratty Half-Pint: As a kid.
- Cannot Spit It Out
- Character Development: As the series progresses and also a big one over the Time Skip.
- Closer To Earth: Compared to Chihaya.
- Club President: After the club was officially recognized.
- Consummate Liar
- Crazy Jealous Guy: He's less a Jerk Ass about it as a teenager, but it's still there.
- Dirty Coward: The glasses incident. Though he redeems himself.
- Dogged Nice Guy: To Chihaya as they grow up. In childhood times he might be dogged too, but is anything but 'nice'.
- Freudian Excuse: Young Taichi is such a sore loser and will engage any underhanded trick to win because his Abusive Mom will chew him out if he ever loses a competition.
- Green-Eyed Monster: His resentment and jealousy of Arata sometimes gets the better of him.
- He Is All Grown Up
- In-Series Nickname: "Matsuge-kun" (Eyelashes) by Dr. Harada.
- Jerkass -> Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As a kid he was a Jerkass, but he matured into Jerk with a Heart of Gold as a teenager.
- Kids Are Cruel
- The Lancer: Definitely acts as a clear foil to Chihaya on the karuta team.
- Patient Childhood Love Interest: To Chihaya
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Chihaya's red and red to Arata's blue. In the second case Colour-Coded for Your Convenience.
- Team Dad
- Weak, but Skilled: Not that weak, as Taichi is pretty athletic and doesn't come off than less physically capable than the other players, but the balance certainly leans this way, especially compared to the likes of Chihaya. Taichi is well aware than his physical skills don't match his thinking abilities, too.
- Your Cheating Heart: It's easy to forget since she hardly shows up, but Taichi has a girlfriend for the most of the series.
"Let's do our bes—(phone rings) Yeah? Yeah... okay let's break up *click* —Let's each do our best!"
- Until he breaks up with her. In the middle of a Rousing Speech to the club no less.
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yuka Terasaki (young)
- All of the Other Reindeer: In elementary school.
- Always Someone Better: In Taichi's eyes anyway. And Nikuman's. And Retro's. And, as it turns out, even Shinobu's. Looks like everyone close to him in age and who knows him well, with the exception of Chihaya, has a sizable 'Arata complex' in the karuta field.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: How his friendship with Chihaya started.
- Blind Without 'Em
- Brutal Honesty: To Taichi and Shinobu. But in general he speaks without thinking and is very straight forward.
- Cool Loser: In Chihaya's eyes.
- Guilt Complex: Agonizes internally over things that he's done or thought.
- Heroic BSOD: After his grandfather passed away, he had been too guilt-ridden to play karuta again, since his grandfather died of a relapse while Arata left his side to play in a karuta tournament.
- Hidden Depths: He can be surprisingly tough.
- Had a Beware the Nice Ones moment when he punched his classmate for saying something rude about his grandfather
- Icy Blue Eyes: Magnificent ones.
- Kansai Regional Accent: He got teased as a kid because of this.
- Karmic Nod: Accepts his punishment when he is caught playing for another highschool team.
- Luminescent Blush: Is easily embarrassed in socially awkward situations.
- New Transfer Student
- Nice Guy: He's had a few mean moments like when he kicked the karuta cards, but overall he embodies niceness.
- Photographic Memory: Memorized 200 addresses easily for his paper route.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Taichi's red.
- Real Men Wear Pink: His cellphone (that his mom picked out for him)
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Forced to grow up quickly because of his family situation.
Voiced by: Ai Kayano
- Buxom Is Better: She is also a Nice Girl and is shown as getting approval as the most attractive dating candidate from all of the club members (quite begrudgingly from Taichi's side).
- The Chick: Her love of the hundred poems is what draws her to the karuta club in the first place, and she seems to read the others' feelings pretty well.
- Foil: First to Chihaya, later to Sumire as well.
- Gainaxing: In episode 17 during the relay race. Cheers from the male crowd were extra loud when it was her turn to run.
- Girlish Pigtails: Funnily enough, she's probably the most mature person on the team.
- In-Series Nickname: Kana-chan.
- Serious Business: Traditional Japanese clothing to the point where she joins the club on the condition that they start wearing hakamas. She gets it from her mom.
- The actual hundred poems as well. She takes it as a personal affront to be berated on her card arrangement by Nishida when he doesn't know any more about the cards than how he arranges them for ease of play compared to her, who knows them all by heart.
- Shipper on Deck: She's very supportive of the prospect of Taichi and Chihaya being together, even despite having sympathy for Sumire and realizing that Chihaya likes Arata.
- Silk Hiding Steel
- Team Mom: Has motherly moments with almost everyone on Mizusawa. Provides encouragement and scolding when necessary.
- Weak, but Skilled
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Her goal. In fact she is one, but she sets the bar higher, requiring wearing traditional clothes and mastering classical poetry for the ideal.
Voiced by: Tsubasa Yonaga
- Graceful Loser: Following his match to Kana-chan.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: His initial opinion due to not being able to surpass Taichi in grades.
- In-Series Nickname: Tsukue/Desktomu.
- Opaque Nerd Glasses
- The Smart Guy: He takes very dedicated analysis of every match that the team members play and writes up their stats accordingly. He helps to deduce a lot of the other players weaknesses that way.
- The Strategist: He is able to use even the most minute details about a player to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and he advises his team accordingly.
- Weak, but Skilled: He went from total noob to Rank B in two years!
Voiced by: Tooru Nara
- Big Eater: In episode 11 of Season 2, he ordered several dishes of curry rice to quell his frustrations. Chihaya did not think she would find him in the cafeteria as he had consumed three bento boxes before then.
- Big Fun
- The Big Guy: One of the most experienced members on the team as well as the guy to go to for information on matches and competitors.
- Eyes Always Shut
- Hidden Depths: You wouldn't take that mean, chubby kid met in grade school tournament seriously, but after years he proves himself as a decent player, valuable team member and, despite his appearance, a guy athletic enough to win a relay race for his team.
- In-Series Nickname: Nikuman/Porky.
- Embarrassing Nickname: He doesn't like it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- The Rival: Sees himself as this to Taichi and actually is more than a threat to him.
Voiced by: Megumi HanA freshman who joins the Karuta club in order to get close to Taichi.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: With Akihiro, occasionally.
- Brutal Honesty: She makes no secret of the fact that she isn't interested in karuta and only joined because of Taichi, and is generally pretty straight-forward (much to Kanade's horror).
- Foil: To both Chihaya and Kanade.
- Girlish Pigtails
- Hidden Depths: She's less shallow than she initially appears and is capable of understanding beauty of the Hundred Poems actually quicker than most of her teammates.
- Love Freak
- Sempai Kouhai: To the original club members.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: Joined the club to meet Taichi.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: She views herself as the "main character" of a shoujo series due to her slightly above average looks, plus having a beautiful rival to defeat for her love interest's affections. Just as well, she first becomes interested in joining the karuta club because the one-hundred poems are a collection of love poems.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Thinks she's the main character of a shōjo series.
Voiced by: Miyu IrinoAnother freshman and new member of the Karuta club.
- Big Brother Worship: The object of one.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: With Sumire, occasionally.
- Eyes Always Shut: Though when he opens them he instinctively licks his lips creeping people out.
- Glory Hound: To his credit, this trait makes him try harder to improve... and occasionally, cheat.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: He's sure of winning a game in the tournament despite not winning any during the practice, to the point of trying to swindle with a list of his team players' names. Given the chance, he loses. Several matches later he tries this trick a second time... in the finals.
Voiced by: Takashi Oohara
- Arrogant Karuta Guy
- Bishounen: Not as much as Taichi or Arata, but he's quite attractive compared to majority of the male cast.
- Breaking Speech: Fond of bringing down his opponents psychologically.
- Eyes Always Shut
- Jerkass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Has a honorable side as a karuta player, but still remains rather petty and ill-tempered.
- Lean and Mean
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To a degree to Chihaya.
- Put on a Bus: Graduates from the high school by the time Season 2 starts, which means he's not gonna take part in the high school tournament.
- The Bus Came Back: But he returns as the guest card reader in the finals.
- Unknown Rival: Treated that way by Shinobu, even though she's obviously mocking him.
Voiced by: Kazuya Nakai
- Accidental Misnaming: It's Hiro, not Hyoro.
- Defector from Decadence: To his club after Sudo graduates.
- Eyes Always Shut
- Hidden Depths: Hyoro is not just a Gonk-looking annoyance, but also a determined karuta player to a degree of being Taichi's counterpart to a sense.
- Official Couple: Dates Nikuman's sister much to the latter's horror.
- In-Series Nickname: "Hyoro"note , Crunchyroll's subtitles change it to "Retro" for the sole reason of making the "Hyotarot/Retarot" pun more palpable to an English-speaking audience.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Psychic Powers: Just how does Retrot exacly work?
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Mainly to Taichi.
Voiced by: Takako Honda
- Butt Monkey
- Hidden Depths/Took a Level in Jerkass: In the first season he looks like he's just easy-going and you can feel bad for him when he's being creamed by Shinobu. In the second season he comes off as rather cheap and unsympathetic when he berates Hyoro for wanting to give the best shot.
- Older Than He Looks: A year older than the protagonists, but looks more like a middle school kid.
- Smug Snake: Surprisingly.
- The Worf Effect: An A-Class player introduced to be defeated first by (then B-Class) Nishida, then sometime later by the Queen... by 24 cards.
Dr. HaradaThe head of Shiranani Society and is also a doctor.
Voiced by: Unshou Ishizuka
Hiroshi TsuboguchiHiroshi Tsuboguchi is karuta Class A player, and the ace player of Shiranami Karuta Society.
Midori SakurazawaThe coach of the Fujisaki Karuta club. She played for the title of Queen five times, though she never won.
- Buxom Is Better: Emuro definitely thinks so.
- Hot Teacher
- Iron Lady: Most of the other coaches are a bit scared of her unbreakable attitude.
- Older Than She Looks: She looks like an obviously mature lady, but, seriously, 39 years old?
- Stern Teacher: Her training style emphasizes the sports aspect of competitive karuta, so she puts her students through Training from Hell to increase their stamina.
Ryoga EmuroThe captain of the Fujisaki team and an A Class player. Serious-looking and even perceived by Taichi as similar to Arata, but his personality is in reality quite different. A third year student.
- Covert Pervert: Well, not exactly covert (his whole school knows the fact), but to the strangers he looks like a calm, seious type, so it comes off as a surprise.
- Has a Type: And the type has big boobs. Eromu has hots for Sakurazawa-sensei, took an interest in Kana and regretted deeply that he couldn't play against her "lovely jugs". And the reason of his lack of interest in Rion? Oh come on, she has breasts of an infant.
- Hot for Teacher
- In-Series Nickname: Eromu. Guess why.
- Stoic Glasses
Makoto YamaiAnother Class A player, a third-year and a very self-aware Bishounen.
- Chick Magnet: Most of his female club-mates, with the exception of Rion, seem to have a crush on him.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady
- Jerk Ass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Loving Bully: And his popularity apparently caused all of the female members of the club to follow the "bullying" part of the example. Poor Rion.
- Shadow Archetype: Of Taichi. Both have a Bishounen appearance and popularity. Makoto's exaggerated Tsundere behavior, Jerk Ass-ness with flashes of Alpha Bitch mentality and tendency to throw tantrums when he doesn't get his way, fit Taichi's early characterization and show how the latter would be if he hasn't matured. Also, Makoto has even more prominent eyelashes than Taichi.
- Smug Snake: The cockiest of the club members. And while he did beat Tsutomu (a two classes lower ranked player) in the finals, it didn't seem he made a big impression in the individual tournament.
Rion YamashiroA second year student and the granddaughter of Certified Karuta reader Kyouko.
- Big Eater
- Oblivious to Love: Doesn't seem to notice Makoto's crush on her. Or care about it.
- Shadow Archetype: Of Chihaya, playing style-wise. She basically has Chihaya's talent and good game sense, but a lack of stamina and psychical strength makes her weaker.
- The Stoic: Rarely shows her emotions.
- Stoic Woobie: Bullied and discouraged by most of her schoolmates, stuck in Class B...
Other prominent karuta players
Shinobu WakamiyaThe current and youngest Queen of Karuta
- Adorkable: Despite being a beautiful, aloof epitome of Lady of War in karuta for most of the time, Shinobu's love for Snowmaru, her fashion senses and tendency to make weird facial expressions at times (probably most notably during her first on-screen encounter with Arata) make her cross into this territory.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Beautiful, distant and known as the Queen… ninety percent of the time.
- Always Someone Better
- Being Good At Karuta Equals Isolation: How it went in her childhood and affects her view on team play now.
- Beauty Mark: Behind her left eye.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Her obsession with Snomaru apparel.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Treats this way her matches with Sudo and Yumi Yamamoto. Taken to ridiculous level in the second case, because Yamamoto is the former Queen, whom Shinobu was playing previously exactly at the occasion of taking the title from her.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: All of her Karuta battles has been this except vs Arata.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: After several episodes of talking about group tournament with contempt, she eventually (under Arata's influence) decides to watch it's finals.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Arata in a sense. Explored; they turn out to have had a karuta history together (and Arata used to always win against her).
- Fat Girl/Formerly Fit: When she shows up in the Queen Qualifier, much to everyone's shock.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Magnificent ones.
- Loners Are Freaks
- Perpetual Smiler
- Politeness Judo: "The Kyoto's women's temper" seems to contain greatly of this.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin
- Shameless Fanservice Girl: She seems to share Haruhi Suzumiya's views about changing in front of boys. Of course, being Shinobu, she wears a Snowmaru underwear more fitting for a 6-year-old.
- Slasher Smile: When she's really excited.
- Smug Smiler
- Smug Super: in a sense being the Queen of Karuta. She goes on and on berating team tournaments, karuta societies and basically almost everyone, whose level or potential in the game she sees as inferior.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: A few times because she's so quiet.
- Stealth Insult: 'Kyoto's woman's temper' again. Quite prone to this, especially towards people engaged in team tournaments.
- Worthy Opponent: Played with. Take an interest in Chihaya despite only losing five cards to her since Chihaya is one of the only opponents she's faced who never gives up in the middle of the game until Shinobu had won the match. Also definitely has this attitude toward Arata.
Yumi YamamotoThe former Queen of Karuta after losing to Shinobu.
- Alliterative Name
- Always Someone Better: Shinobu to her. Continuously.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Feels this way about her karuta.
- Manipulative Bitch: Her style contains shaking her opponents' rhythm and morale by questioning every close call in taking cards.
- Office Lady: Her job.
- The Resenter: Toward Shinobu and Chihaya, who, in her mind, represent a certain type of person: a lively, beautiful and talented high-school girl, who would take everything from her effortlessly. Note that Yumi herself is a rather plain young woman (no Generic Cuteness here) with the probably not very fulfilling job of an Office Lady, whose Hard Work Hardly Works in the karuta field, so it's kind of understandable.
Hisashi SuouA college student and the current Meijin. He's been holding this title 4 years in a row.
- Bishounen: Quite good-looking...
- Unkempt Beauty: ...if not especially clean.
- Book Dumb: He's the king of Karuta, but he's stuck for eight years in college (to the point, where all the karuta officials beg him to graduate already) and he doesn't come off as an intellectual type in general.
- Which might be a case of Brilliant, but Lazy, because later it's revealed that he's a Toudai student.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Played with. We first encounter him as an incredibly strong karuta player, who's holding the Meijin title for several years... and sometime later we can have a glimpse of his personality.
- Man Child: Gives off that impression when he's not in a karuta Bad Ass mode. He even (at age of about 26) picks a childish crush on a schoolgirl Chihaya.
- Spear Counterpart: To Chihaya, in terms of playing karuta and school work.
- Super Senses: His hearing ability is so remarkable that he can catch the sound before it barely leaves the reader's lips.
- The Unfavorite: In karuta environment. At least in the eyes of the officials, who consider him a bad role model and generally can't stand him to the point of willing to bend tournament's rules for Arata, so he has a bigger chance to replace Suou someday.
Megumu OhsakaA student at the First Akashi's Girls Highschool.
Voiced by: Aya Endo
- Arson Murder And Life Saving: During the Christmas Skit.
- Big Sister Bully: Not that Chihaya notices.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: The fashionable one.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Chihaya.