Yippy// Welcome back folks, to Chihayafuru Season 2! This week, we have the sensational conclusion to the Tokyo Regional Karuta High School Tournament! With thrills and spills along with *passion*, this is definitely one of the best episodes in Chihayafuru I’ve seen yet!
With Chihaya’s stunning move in the last episode, Team Misuzawa mounts a fighting comeback to even out the odds. However, just their rotten luck, they end up in a luck-of-the-draw situation. Worse still, Chihaya manoeuvres the team into a hopeless draw! Thankfully, Mashima wins a match thanks to his *glare* to even the odds. In the end though, Misuzawa loses thanks to Amakasu’s (shameless) knee-jerk reaction. Still, both go to the next round, so there’s still hope yet! Now do you see why this was such a nail-biting episode? Tofu! What are your thoughts?
Tofu// Yes! I couldn’t believe how close the match was! And Chihaya comments on it brilliantly, saying that the match itself was the most fun she’s played in, but also the most difficult lost for her and Misuzawa due to how close the match was! Chihaya is fast enough to reach her opponents side and touch the card at the exact same time! It really shows just how much her practice has paid off being able to reach such a long distance within the same time frame as her opponent – Amakasu-kun. And like you said Yippy, definitely nail-biting all round. I was on the edge of my seat, rooting for Mizusawa near the end when they decided to not give up as much as the luck-of-the-draw situation practically secured a 99% win for Hokou. Definitely one of the best matches I’ve seen in Chihayafuru.
Yippy// Yup, though I was worried and confused about the situation itself. Why was Porky making such a fuss over the standoff? Why is everyone so agape when it’s coming down to luck? Thankfully, the show came up with an informative explanation though Dr Harada, complete with fancy charts! Apparently, with two of every unread card in their possession, Hokuo would have won by just defending their card. Unfortunately, the one who put them in this situation-Retro-lost his match…Man is he going to get an earful from his team, especially Amakasu. Speaking of our pint-sized slacker though, he did manage to *level up* thanks to the tough pairing against Chihaya; I guess a thanks and not a scolding is in order, huh?
Tofu// Whether you accept it or not, Amakasu changed his thinking near the end of the episode. At first he didn’t care about losing but when pitched up against Chihaya and having the advantage to grasp onto a win, his mindset changed drastically, almost desperately wanting to win and because of this, I think Retro, Sudo and their club adviser completed their objective: to make Amakasu determined to fight head-on with stronger opponents; giving everything he’s got in order to win instead of slack off… even though he practically won the card through the same mistake Retro made, he has come a long way no matter how subtle it was.
I really feel sorry for Porky. He was constantly being distracted throughout the game last episode which caused him to lose his game. In terms of Hokou’s calculations, Porky was supposed to win and this really made him feel much more responsible for Mizusawa’s lost than the other team would burden him with. In fact, it must be a whole different experience during a team match where all you can do is sit there quietly after your match is over; only to see your team losing. It’s definitely a big mental torture for the player who lost and Porky gets my sympathy points. I’m sure he’ll make a comeback in the future game while becoming a better role model for the first years.
Yippy// True, that’s yet another example of excellent side character development from the staff at Chihayafuru. Still, I wish it were longer…
Porky’s loss was a big blow to his self-esteem, so I hope he learns from this humiliation to come back stronger than ever. Honestly though, I was too engrossed in the final rounds to pay much attention to him. Anyway, even after the dust cleared, we still got a few surprises-five, in fact. Apparently, Tsukuba, his brothers and Sumire are joining the Shiranami society. Woots, prepare to see some obligatory montages and level ups soon!And just before the credits roll, we also see a beautiful *romance* scene with Chihaya reminiscing about her final team match with Arata. Of course, Taichi was there watching painfully too. *sigh* Will he ever bring the guts to just TELL HER?
Tofu// Poor Taichi, you could see it on his face how disgruntled he looked after hearing Chihaya talking about Arata’s text message. I do think he will eventually confess as hopeless as it is, but will Chihaya and Arata actually get together? It still feels like she’s friend-zoning both of them. Well, hopefully next episode we might be able to see more Arata action? I’d also like to see Sumire and Tsukuba get into karuta more and become much better at it. Maybe there’s a time skip episode up next! To me it seems to be the more plausible thing to do as training will only be training. Then again, Chihayafuru can surprise most of us with whatever mundane thing they take the story into. Overall, I found the episode to be one of the best in terms of karuta action. Amakasu’s development was more subtle than I thought but all in all, I’m glad to see Hokou up their game. It’ll only get more intense from here on out! Bring on the next episode! My body is ready!