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Hey ho, it’s the Tofu-Yippy Chihayafuru co-review! We hope you’re enjoying this rather special review format, but if you have any ideas, comments or critiques you’d like to share, comment away! Your thoughts are invaluable as we strive to improve. Arrigato in advance! (^_^)

Tofu// Yippy and I are back once again to bring you our thoughts on Chihayafuru episode 5. We do apologize for this post being delayed and would like to ask for your forgiveness. Continuing on, our episode revolves around the start-up to Hokuo and Mizusawa’s battle in the final, showing only a few competitive karuta engagements before we reach the end.

However, this episode brought us not just the start of a spectacular game, as we will see in the next episode, but also the revival of Hokuo’s pride as the strongest karuta school in the Toyko region. And who better to use as the catalyst than Retro-kun in making his own team regain their pride once more. To be honest, after Retro’s stunt, I have to say that he has leveled up a lot in my likability list. What say you Yippy?

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Yippy//  I thought they managed to portray Hokuo quite well, Tofu. Instead of having them go through the same motions, they mixed it up a little with Retro’s “betrayal”Lying to your team must look bad at first, but Retro’s desire to face Misuzawa as equals speaks well of his sense of honour. What’s the point of matches if you never test your limits? It’d be just a farce. Besides that honourable betrayal, Retro also pulled out a surprise with his “secret weapon”-his very own girlfriend! Honestly, I wasn’t that surprised at the fact itself, but her identity was a real shocker. What was your initial reaction, Tofu?

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Tofu// That’s true, you wouldn’t want to lie to your team as that will ruin chemistry, but in this case, Retro couldn’t give his pride voice until confronted by Amakasu. Although I’m pretty sure Sudo is the ‘secret weapon’ Retro was talking about since both of them share the element of pride and Retro would believe that with Sudo’s presence there, Hokuo will remember just what kind of team and school they are. Retro’s new girlfriend was a big shocker. Poor Porky, he ended up losing a game because of so many distractions! Hopefully he drained most of the bad luck from Taichi and we will see a win from him against Retro.

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But there’s another character I want to talk about, and that’s Tsukuba. In the last episode, we commented on how Tsukuba learnt how bad it was to change the team order. I thought he really developed a bit into a more likable character but he does it again in episode 5! Like… what the hell man? Why would you go changing the order again? I don’t know about you Yippy because he’s your favourite character, but I’ve started to dislike him once more.

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Yippy//  Ah, I forgot about Sudo! His mere presence really put Hokuo on alert throughout the match, so he definitely was Hokuo’s trump card (pardon the pun). Still, wouldn’t that be a conflict of interest? I know he was professional the whole time, but I can’t shake the feeling that this is slighty unfair. I hope Misuzawa can take advantage of their familiarity with Sudo too.

Back to Porky’s sister, I still think she was another one of Retro’s secret weapons. She may not have helped the team directly, but Retro’s pride definitely had a boost whenever she was around-just look at his stocism! However, with a loss by Porky thanks in part to her (datte, anyone?), she did have a role in Hokuo after all.

And while Tsukuba’s still one of my favourite karuta players, what he did for the second time was unacceptable and disgraceful. Not only did he abuse Team Misuzawa’s trust again, he also insulted “Desk-kun” Komano’s faith in him! There better be an improvement on his side, or Team Misuzawa will have a huge liability on their hands in future tournaments. Tsukuba, I’m counting on you!

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Tofu// In a way her presence did play out towards Hokuo’s favour whether it was intentional or not. I have to admit though, Miyauchi-sensei really described karuta spot-on as to why it’s so enjoyable to watch. “Age, gender, size, intelligence and strength does not matter in this sport while every poem read sends you back a thousand years”. I really love this quote from her as it’s something I would definitely agree on as to why I love watching Chihayafuru so much. I would not have been able to explain how great this sport is if it weren’t for Miyauchi and her wise words.

But besides that, Chihaya’s trying to copy both Shinobu’s and Suo Hisashi’s style of karuta playing. If she can master both of them (which in most cases she actually might) then Chihaya will be unstoppable by anyone. Even Arata will not be able to beat Chihaya! Oh boy, I’d love to see them play agianst each other again.

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Yippy//  Miyauchi made an impact with more than just words, Tofu. With those tasuki strips, Misuzawa don’t have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions again! (I wonder why the Oe’s hadn’t thought of this. They should know a thing or two about hakama practicality, right?)

Anyway, although Miyauchi’s line was sappy, it does ring true if you think about the timeless nature of poems. Words and feelings enduring through time…that’s the power of writing there, folks. I think Chihaya’s at a turning point now. With her speed combining with the best of both Masters, I shudder to think of her full potential. And yes, we’re all definitely waiting for them to finally play together again!

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Tofu// Yeah definitely, Tsukuba needs to get his act together soon or else he’ll end up on a lot of peoples dislike list. Besides that, I found episode 5 to be quite the fun episode. It’s getting more and more entertaining as the match progresses and I love how the supporting characters get all the ‘cool’ moments. It’s beautiful how well Chihayafuru can juggle between their main and support characters in terms of development and giving them life.

Retro-kun is definitely a more respectable character and the same goes for Miyauchi-sensei. I’d say please give us more! I’m loving the direction it’s going and I can’t wait to see who wins between Hokuo and Misuzawa. Will Hokuo get another teary loss? Or will Mizusawa actually lose this one, allowing Hokuo to regain their title and pride?

Yippy// Tune in next week to find out, folks! Till then, keep on practicing with those Retrot(tm) cards!