It is still weird seeing one side in traditional dress, and the other in t-shirts.
Who cries the most in this episode: Chihaya, after Arata sends her a text. Taichi is doomed.
Chihaya’s uses her neat trick of hearing a sound before it is read, allowing her to steal cards at super speed. It takes Amakusa awhile to figure out what she is doing, but Sado knows exactly what is up. After Porky’s early loss, the other four matches come down to the luck-of-the-draw, but the only way for Misuzawa to win is to attack their opponent’s side. Chihaya decides to go on the attack, which cements Taichi’s determination to do the same, this shakes up Retro’s confidence. No matter who wins the tournament, both teams still get to go the nationals. Sumire, Akihiro and his little brothers all join the karuta society, and Arata texts Chihaya asking how she felt about her match.
In any case, if anyone else out there felt like some of the karuta rules Hukou put into play during this game were complex to understand, I have to agree there. While the show does a great job explaining things and catches us up to a game we don’t understand as much as it possibly can, there are always going to be things about how karuta works, and tactics that I miss. Not knowing Japanese is a big handicap in that regard. It doesn’t prevent me from generally understanding what is going on enough to follow (in a somewhat crude sense sometimes, albeit) and it doesn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of the series, and that is a relief.
I don’t think the audience in these things ever wears any other expression, as much as the mouth-hanging-open-in-blank-eyed-shock look.
No, I can’t keep track of where every card is, and what every card that is taken means, and so on, and if that was a requirement I would have given up a long time ago! I am laid back about following Karuta when watching Chihayafuru, in the same way I was laid back when following the basketball when watching Kuroko’s Basketball. I have no idea if they stretch belief in Chihayafuru the way Kuroko did, but I wouldn’t really care if that was so.
That isn’t the last time someone will equate Chihaya to non-human, I think.
I love how Chihaya’s extremely good ear causes Amakasa to wonder whether she is really human, I’ve often thought “Is she human?” When it comes to Chihaya, and I think this match only further resolves that she is an alien in many ways. Hell, just look at how she instantly falls asleep after a karuta match, yet can always seem to open her eyes the moment she needs to join the conversation again. It is only a small detail of her personality, but it illustrates why she is such a likeable, and fun character to watch in action.
Chihaya has grown as a karuta player so much in such a short time, and so has everyone else on the Misuzawa team, including Kana and Desktomu. So even though Hukou’s experience ends up paying off in the end, even the ace Amakusa has to admit that they are not the best team anymore, since he only moved when he felt Chihaya moving to take his card, and Chihaya has the better senses of the two by far, as well as a greater drive to be the best, I think. Hukou winning despite being lazy about karuta, is interesting, because it proves that Mizuzawa deserved to win just as much if not more than Hukou, and the next time they meet it will be a real challenge for Hukou to pull off a second victory. I doubt that will even be possible for them, given just how far behind Misuzawa they seemed beyond knowing certain veteran strategies to secure a win, that Misuzawa did not know.
The “are you thinking what I’m thinking?” face.
I’ll admit that Hukou’s and especially Amakusa’s willingness to fall back on “easy” plans in order to win are a more boring way to play, in my mind, than to challenge yourself as much as possible and make it harder on you, rather than your opponent. In a way, I feel that them employing these kind of strategies is inevitably only going to weaken them as a team, in the long run, since although you can fool a team at the level of Misuzawa once, you would be hard pressed to fool them with the same tricks twice. Hukou had better start relying on their skills a bit more in future. If playing Chihaya isn’t a wake up call for them, I don’t know what is.
I also don’t think we’ve ever seen a reader who is so personally invested in what was going on before, since Hukou was his team and he was their previous ace. It is cool to see what is going on in the reader’s head while he watches Amakusa deal with the newest karuta monster, Chihaya. I do feel pretty bad for Porky in this episode, he is a little hard on himself after losing his match, I mean, it must happen to every karuta player at some point. He doesnt need to call himself “Pathetic,” that is harsh.
Not sure why he said that.
One minor issue for me is how Amakusa thinks, “I might be small, but I can still defend my cards against a girl.” What the hell? If any show should know better than to discriminate against someone because of gender, it should be this one. Yet we have that one guy thinking Kana was “boob girl,” and even Kana seemed to know what he was thinking and had a saucy reply regarding her boobs during the match in the previous episode. I doubt anyone would be thinking about their boobs that much when they have more important things to think about, and even if Kana does think about her larger than average chest, focusing on something else about her character would still be better, in my opinion since boobs get too much focus in other shows to begin with. This one doesn’t need to start doing it too.
Taichi channeling Chihaya insanity.
To end on a good note: I am happy to see that Sumire is becoming more willing to put effort into helping the team, by joining the karuta society. It also looks like Kana and Desktomu are not just going to take a backseat to the A and B players, as this episode shows that they are learning some skills of their own and contributing to their team’s success as much as anyone else is! Also, Go Taichi! I think I like him best when he is on fire, and on the attack with that crazy look in his eyes!
Errant Princess Says,
Another awesome episode, it is striking that when I compare how well Chihayafuru season 2 is already doing this early on compared to shows like Psycho Pass and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure which are already seventeen or so episodes in, that Chihayafuru can hold its ground just fine even against the best that the fall 2012 season had to offer.