Hey, I’m finally back, except that I moved. Errant Princess was basically dead although I may revive it for certain posts. My other site is still a WordPress called Sora e No Kagi over at nanaminocowbell.wordpress.com
I am all out of writing ideas right now! Change of plans:
You may have noticed that I have been inconsistent in general about posting. Basically, I am not having very much fun keeping up with episodic posts. I have decided to quit trying to review shows episodically. There is something really grueling and pointless about trying to find things to say about one show, week after week. I have run out of things to say about Chihayafuru, for instance! I’m done with trying to do that.
I am also going to take a break for another week or two from posting, until I get my inspiration for writing about anime back. I just have not been very enthusiastic as I used to be and I need some time to regroup so that when I return I am able to write something I like, and you will have a chance of liking it more if I am not burned out.
I will continue to do an episode ratings post once a week, (I’ll get episode 7 ratings up before my break) since that isn’t very much trouble and allows me to say something about everything I am watching. Other than that, when I do write a post it will be because I have something I want to say in that moment. I certainly won’t be trying to keep up a schedule I can’t manage anymore. I want to write for the love of it. If I want to write about something that happens in an episode, I will, but I don’t want to be restricted from writing about a different anime if I choose, or obligated to keep on blogging a show I’ve run out ideas for.
The gist of this post is:
1. I need a break.
2. No more episodic reviews, yay!
3. Chihayafuru, I will only write about you when I feel like it.
4. I am off finding writing motivation, I’m totally not too busy reading Hyperion or anything.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sumire’s scouting reveals that Hukou’s plan to beat Misuzawa is to pit strong players against weak ones and have an easy to win match. Retro decides to make he wants to win fairly instead of cheating, and matches equal players against each other instead. The child-like president Amakusa wonders why anyone would want to put in such effort to win. Sudo returns as reader, causing Hukou to have to keep up to not anger the s inside him. Misuzawa’s coach proves useful despite her lack of karuta knowledge. Chihaya tries to copy Shinobu’s style, while information overload gets the best of porky.
I’m sorry it took so long to get this post up. I was glad to see the intensive competition taking center stage this time, and the latest group tournament against retro’s group is the most suspenseful thing season 2 has had to offer us yet. It is hard to appreciate just how much skill it probably requires in order to do what Chihayafuru does all the time, like a machine. It might seem effortless, but it must, like a good karuta match, really sweat to make it happen.
More than any others so far, this episode has reminded me of what I most respected about season 1, the depth this series goes into, and the way it handles explaining all the rules is unique. It doesn’t just explain the rules, either. No two people see anything alike. No two players understand the cards or their meaning in the same way. Each person learns at their own speed, in their own special way, with their own experiences defining just what becomes important to them, and what they struggle with. The fact that it can do all this and usually end on a cliffhanger that leaves me wanting more, is freaking impressive.
There is also another talent Chihayafuru has that I didn’t really realize until now: Multi-tasking. Seriously. The ability this show has to look at karuta from every possible angle, through each player’s perceptions, filtered through each character’s personalities and playing styles while juggling everything else it has to do at the same time, is insane. All that, plus it always considers whatever the obstacles the particular person has had to overcome, and it takes it upon itself to examine even things you would never imagine being integral to the play. That level of attention to character’s emotions and thought processes is incredible and rare in any show, let alone a card game show.
One of the things that is more obvious when watching a group tournament than an individual match is that one of this series prominent strengths is multi-tasking point of view and showing us a bird’s-eye, omniscient view of everything that is going on. None of this could have been so amazing if we had only been in Chihaya’s perceptions, or it didn’t make such an elaborate effort to have each layer unfold like this, until all the myriad layers are unraveled and everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are thoroughly examined. It is such an expert at making even the smallest thing seem interesting, that I don’t even notice if a character I don’t particularly care for takes up the lime-light. This is because Chihayafuru could take a loathsome person and make them seem wonderful if it wanted to, merely because it is so skilled at creating sympathy in you for every single player in every single match no matter who they are.
I think that is why it is so successful and so brilliant. For two reasons, really. The information flow is coming from so many different places, one moment you are in Retro’s head and the next in an audience member’s head. You never get bored or tired of hearing about anything because the view is kept fresh and shuffled enough that you can feel you are being given a broad enough knowledge. Yet it is also smart enough not to be too scattered and knows when to slow down and let you simmer with one character’s thoughts too. This moderation is working in Chihayafuru’s favor.
Errant princess says,
Best episode of season 2 yet!
This week’s selfish came out of someone’s desire to cross the street without waiting! Ira, The white-haired boy who created the last selfish, returns, and changes some kid into a street-light with the ability to freeze people and cars in place. I guess I am having a hard time seeing such mundane and petty desires as truly evil, but I can be patient and wait for the villains to tempt people to do more Machiavellian things later. The great part about this episode, is when Mana’s best friend Rikka sneaks up behind the street-light and pushes the button.
I think I get the picture here, the formula doesn’t appear to be very complex: A selfish appears/messes with an innocent person/Mana defeats it, (excuse me) purifies the selfish so it can join the human race again. The days work is over and everyone is happy, until the next attack.. I am finding what is essentially my first experience with Pretty Cure to be a fun one, despite any instinctual sarcasm on my part. If I sound as though I am putting it down don’t worry that is just my nature to sound underwhelmed, I don’t hate it.
I couldn’t help but think the villains would be better served to try a different town where precure aren’t nearby and can’t come to rescue, if they really want to accomplish their goals. Like, why is the street so close to Mana’s school anyway, was it all part of the plan to let Mana beat them by causing chaos right next to where she studies? Than again, there would be no show if they were smart like that. Another thing I found difficult to believe was when the other students witnessed strange shit happen before their eyes, and waved it off like, “Well, as long as you are alright Mana we won’t ask any questions about giant crabs and the damage to the building.” Such blind acceptance is a little frightening.
I am typically a fan of mahou shoujo, starting with Sailor Moon all the way to Madoka. Precure seems to fall somewhere to the left of Madoka, as it shares some visual affinities with it, but with more of an emphasis right now on exaggerated comedy and a big dose of corny sentimentality. When Cure Heart purifies the selfish it turns all pink with hearts and yells, “Love, love loooove!” At which point the Beatles “All You Need is Love,” starts playing in my head.
For all I know it gets much darker later, Cure Swords scenes suggest it will, and I am hoping it does! For instance, Cure Sword asks Mana/Cure Heart if she will be able to protect her loved ones, and suggests that the role of a precure is full of peril. That could mean anything, though. In my first impression I didn’t mention that Mana has a best friend Rikka who seems like a nice person. I forgot Rikka last time because she didn’t really do much in the first episode, or at least my memory totally didn’t think she did. This time she appears long enough to worry about Mana, try to help her out, and to tell a story about a happy prince statue who reminds her of Mana. Both Mana and the prince in Rikka’s story, have a habit of displaying excessive kindness even when it hurts them.
I found the fact that Mana’s urge to share about what happened last time won’t let her get away with not telling her best friend to be realistic. Most young girls are not exactly masters of secrecy and subterfuge, after-all. How is Mana going to not just blab her secret to everyone though, considering her transparent personality? It seems like she is one of those people who can’t keep a secret, for better or worse. Mana is fun to watch, which is all that really matters.
Perhaps she only has the compulsion to tell Rikka, either way it isn’t really a problem if Mana is too honest, I’m sure she can still carry out her work just fine, considering Rikka found out the truth and nothing happened to her yet. This gig doesn’t require any great level of subtlety, therefore Mana can probably not expect much in the way of consequences. Except not being able to find her normal clothes, that is.
Errant Princess Says,
This was good, I am enjoying it so far!