Tofu// The first thing that came out of my mouth when I started watching episode 3 was “ARATA!!!” I’m so happy they opened up the episode with him in it, indirectly challenging Chihaya and Taichi in the highschool championship! It allows us as an audience to reconnect the strong, competitive bond they share while setting up for something big in the later episodes. But hey, the Toyko Regional Championship is playing once again and boy was that a thrilling experience to see Chihaya and her team battle it out with two others within one episode, right Yippy?

Yippy// I’m not a HUGE fan of Arata because of his overpowered _love_ quotient, but I’m glad he’s back in the ballgame with his mentor (what’s his name?). Still, our karuta Queen Shinobu’s strange (and suggestive-to me at least XD) “flashback” with him raises some major questions and the potential for future showdowns. Why so stunned at Arata’s name? How much of a lead did Arata get over her? Most importantly, how will she fare against a weakened but still talented Arata?

Anyway, the star of the show was undeniably Tsukuba. Although I was shocked and disappointed at his sneaky “editing” of the entry list, I was glad that Tsutomu saved the day. He’s really turning out to be an upstanding senpai.

Must. Concentrate. Chakra!

Must. Concentrate. CHAKRA!

Tofu// That’s true, although the episode did bring back Arata, it was Tsukuba and Tsutomu to really shine this time around like you wished Yippy. Although I didn’t anticipate it, putting the spotlight on these two really brought back memories of how Tsutomu was still an undeveloped character. Asaka Morio is a great director who knows how to cater to what we want as an audience; even if we don’t know it ourselves.

These two characters – like Sumire and Kana-chan – connect with each other and I found it to be quite the emotional ride once again within episode 3. It was a brilliant idea having the two freshmen connect with the previous freshmen; allowing us to see more development within multiple characters at the same time. Hell, Tsukuba’s mindset changing throughout his match really touched me and seeing his little brothers sticking up for him even after he lost almost made me tear up. I’m serious! I found it to be that emotionally moving surprisingly so.

I totally forgot about this MILF- *ahem* I mean Kana-chan's mother :)

I totally forgot about this MILF- *ahem* I mean Kana-chan’s mother :)

Yippy// I can really relate to Tsukuba wanting to be a hero since I have siblings of my own. You just want to impress them so much that you’d do _anything_ to look good. Still, I think his actions were too severe. If I were Mashima, my reaction would be much more furious! A member changing line-ups secretly isn’t something trivial, y’know. Besides that, Sumire and Kana getting along was rather funny, if not a bit too predictable.

Kana’s jab at Chihaya being a guy was quite hilarious alongside all the other jokes made at Chihaya’s expense. She really is the go-to punching bag for jokes in Chihayafuru. Sadly, her screen time wasn’t much thanks to the new members, but I foresee a return to “Chihaya-vision” when the tournament bigwigs finally appear. Oh, and speaking of Sumire, that streak of feminism with Sumire was kind of out-of-place, if you ask me. I viewed it as a guy in love with her, not as a guy who’s giving her a gender handicap. What did you think, Tofu?

Heey giirl~ Let'ss put a smilee on that faccce'a!!

Heey giirl~ Let’ss put a smilee on that faccce’a!!

Tofu// We’ll definitely get to see more Chihaya next episode as I expect to see them face off against Hokou Academy but in terms of the girl vs boy matchup we saw in their first game. I viewed it more as comedic than serious. Serious when Sumire started to understand that she needed to concentrate and actually play the game properly but humorous with the less-than-average-looking creep who’s trying to do anything in making a move at Sumire. Whether he knew Sumire’s team was already winners or not, that guy’s a mega virgin and I can understand why you think it was out of place. Even so, it’s good to see the two new members take things more seriously but from here on out, it’ll be the awesome 5 of Mizusawa playing till the end! And hell I’m getting really excited already! If only anime aired daily!

Guess what Sumire? That was the hand I use to wan- *BITCH SLAPPED!*

Guess what Sumire? That’s the hand I use to wan- *BITCH SLAPPED!*

Yippy// Nah, it was out-of-place because Sumire took it as an offence to her karuta skills. To me, it was more of a bad pick-up attempt than disdain for her as a girl. Still, I’d probably feel the same if someone were going easy on me. Well, we’ve come to the end of this week’s Chihayafuru co-review by Tofu and Yippy. This week, Chihayafuru gave us the first tournament “drama” of the season. It also showcased the bonds between the senpais and kohais, who’ve come to depend on the former’s guidance. With Team Misuzawa High going into the next round, will we tremble at Team Hokuo’s still-secret “weapon”? And what of Miss Miyauchi’s artful deception? Will this come back to haunt the club in the future? Tune in next week for more shounen tournament action! Till then, keep on taking one card at a time in life, folks!