Chihayafuru – 18

Wait a minute. I thought this show was about Karuta.

I was kind of clueless at the direction of the plot because training mode was ON last episode. But as it seems there are many tournaments and Team Misuzawa is all set to make a name for their own. Let’s cheer them on, shall we?
I only just realized that Chihaya’s seiyuu, Seto Asami, also sings the ED to this anime. Not only that, but she also voices Lan from Lagrange. …I feel like I’ve failed as a seiyuu enthusiast. OTL On the bright side, the week’s Chihayafuru was excellent.

It’s another tournament already for Chihayafuru and this time, it’s not just limited to high school students. The team wears their trademark hakama and Chihaya explains to Kana that this is what she’s always dreamed of.

Chihaya’s first opponent is some fashionable obaasan with a youth obsession named Sakura. With the goal of not taking cards by speed, Chihaya starts her round by doing what she always does: taking cards with speed. However, as the match goes on, Chihaya finds it harder and harder to win cards with the obaasan saying “lucky!” EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Finally the words of advice that Harada gave her hit home, but it’s still not enough for Chihaya to win.

It’s after Sakura notes that the match is dull because Chihaya is only playing against the cards, not her opponent that Chihaya realises something. Just as Desk-kun warned her last episode, she’s playing an opponent that has noticed how Chihaya plays and is taking advantage of her weaknesses. Chihaya realises that she’s been putting too much force into her playing and moves back by a few centimetres. She also has a new way of playing in mind. Following her opponent’s method of observing the other person’s move, Chihaya manages to play on more even ground with Sakura. However, she still loses by 6 cards.

Hmm let’s see. A fashion sense. …And wrinkles.

Afterwards, Chihaya meets Sakura and her family who, uh, are all wearing matching outfits. Chihaya thanks Sakura for helping her learn something and announces that she wants to be Queen. Apparently Sakura does too and despite the fact that she’s been playing Karuta for 35 years, she keeps losing to younger players. She hasn’t given up though and Chihaya seems to feel some sort of kindred connection with her.


However, things aren’t over yet and Chihaya has to watch Taichi and Nishida battle it out in the Class B finals, and Kana and Desk-kun go against each other in the Class D finals. While Chihaya is at a loss about who to watch/cheer for, she notices that Retro-kun was in the tournament as well (lol but once again, nobody seemed to care). After watching Kana play for a bit, Chihaya notices that Kana is playing differently due to the hakama and everyone is impressed by her grace.

I’m just impressed that we actually got to see her play.

However, Desk-kun knows Kana’s karuta and is able to win cards because he knows that she’s looking at the poem and not for the syllables like he and Chihaya do. While Chihaya admires both of her kouhai, Nishida and Taichi are having an all out battle that only Retro-kun is paying attention to. CLIFFHANGER!

Behold the future! Card games in SPACE!




( `_)乂(_’ )


Aaaargh, woman, GTFO my face!

Be more like Kana’s mom. Now she’s sweet!

End Thoughts:

Alright, Karuta is HARD and the opponents are killing me, while they beat Chihaya. It’s quite hard on the audience when we have to cringe at an old lady, who is all flowers and bloom yet very calculating, shouting ‘Lucky~’ all the time. Chihaya was right to realize that she was doing all of that while strategizing against her play speed. You know the reason? Because she’s an evil modest lady like that. Of course, I digress and she could be an amazing mother but she annoyed me to no end. I wanted to throw rotten tomatoes at her… Yeah, I’m kinda at my limit with the losing streak right now. It’s pissing me off.

When Chihayafuru started, every watcher was sucked in not because we loved Karuta (Dude, I didn’t even know what it was!), but because the characters and their interaction pulled us in. We saw them grow up and get over their mistakes and even traumas; in short, we connected with them. Now, I’m all about cheering for the new members showoff their play and train like demons but mannnn, something is missing. I feel like every character progress has been at a standstill and yes, I’m talking about the romantic angle. From what we have seen till now, from it’s-all-because-of-friendship-and-bonds, it has gone towards train-like-hell-and-lose-so-much-that-you-can-win direction. I know learning is very important and yaay for Desk-kun, Kana and Nishida to get some limelight but hey, I miss my love triangle! Should we just do a big EHHHHH after Taichi breaks up with his girlfriend and shut up? Sure, I wanted to throw stones at him for being a coward but shouldn’t he move along and do something about his feelings for Chihaya? Seems like I’m asking for too much.

You can tell, I didn’t like how things are going and to be mean, I bet on Nishida beating Taichi’s ass because he’s being an idiot currently. Of course, something completely opposite can happen, and Desk-kun can actually win against Kana if he relies on his accumulated data and tactics but we’ll have to see in next episode. Currently, both Chihaya and Taichi need to change and improve their play to progress towards A-class wins and A-class status respectively. We have seven more episodes to a supposed conclusion and I can only appeal Madhouse not to leave us in the dust like Brains Base did with Kuragehime. And don’t get me started on figure-it-out-yourself end; that would be the worst. Ja ne~

Chihaya lost. Again. Whatever happened to her massive winning streak that happened at the beginning. They set up the image of Chihaya as some great Karuta playing machine at the beginning, but I guess the difficultly level of her opponents increased or something. If pretty much every Class A player can beat THAT Chihaya, then just how good are they? How much skill does Chihaya really have? Has she just been playing easy opponents? Were all of her previous wins just luck? What I’m trying to get at here is that they made Chihaya good enough to beat Sudo, who made it to the national finals and can play at somewhat even grounds with the Queen, but she can’t beat Sakura, who has never won any major tournaments. Yes, there is some psychological stuff going on as well during the matches that either gave Chihaya the advantage or disadvantage but I wish her power levels could be a little more consistent. Or at least I wish that Chihaya had figured out more on Harada/Desk-kun’s advice before heading into a tournament instead of just figuring it out there. I’m not expecting any big revelations off screen, but it looks like she just listened to what the two told her and didn’t do anything about her problems. Though learning as she goes is what Chihaya does, so asking anything else out of her is a bit much.

KANA ACTUALLY PLAYED KARUTA THIS EPISODE!!! I’m sure there’s a lot of you extremely happy so see her in action and I fall under that category as well. There’s just something about her character that’s so refreshing. Especially watching her act so graceful in that hakama. It was animation, but you could actually tell that she was a complete yamato nadeshiko from the way she moved as opposed to some anime where you go “oh look at those flowers in the background and the way it’s in slow motion. I guess she’s acting graceful even though she’s not moving any differently than usual.” Madhouse knows what they’re doing. Plus I love the fact that she goes for the meaning of the poem as opposed to the syllables. If only we could hear some of her inner monologue because I’m sure it would be interesting and informative

So despite the gigantic loss streak Chihaya is on, SOMEONE from the team has to win next episode, right? Right?! …Though I would be impressed with the author if nobody managed to win despite the team playing each other. It takes serious determination to have the entire team lose in a situation like this. The final round here looks like it will be intense! More so than it already is. Not only will the side characters get some screen time, but also it’s team member vs. team member. Next episode will be good! …But since Kyo has brought up the topic of the ending, yeah. Let’s hope for a conclusive one.

Preview: The team plays against each other! Who will win?!

At least Retro-kun cares


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12 Responses to “Chihayafuru – 18”

  1. Bob from Accounting says:

    I’m pretty sure there’s an ongoing manga so we’re either going to be dealing with a rushed anime-original (god forbid) or they’ll just leave us begging them for season two.

    • Kyokai says:

      Fifteen volumes already released. I can only wish for the latter with a quick announcement of the S2.

  2. Joojoobees says:

    I would be happy to beg for a season 2.

    I’m not concerned that Chihaya can’t roll over all the A-rank players. She is currently a one trick pony. She has the speed to snatch single-syllable cards, but other players have been shown all along playing clever Karuta and able to give her a run, or even beat her on occasion. Now it is time for Chihaya to clean up the holes in her play. If she does, she can use her speed, along with a strong foundation, to challenge the queen. The alternatives to her struggling now would be either a very boring story of her rolling over every opponent always, or her losing the Queen match.

    Just one thing about Taichi: I think he is showing courage by chasing after Arata. He cheated in his match against him as a kid, and gave up on Karauta, because he was afraid he could never be as good. I believe the story of Taichi putting everything he has into his challenge against Arata is not only about the Karuta, though. I think he can’t see himself as getting Chihaya’s attention without besting Arata. Knowing that Arata is likely the stronger player, he is willing to try anyway, because he wants to impress Chihaya the way Arata impressed her when they were kids. In other words, I don’t think the love triangle has been dropped at all, it is just being fought in a proxy war on the tatami mats.

    • Kyokai says:

      Yeah, same here for S2. And I agree on the struggles of Chihaya because you can’t always pull a Sasuke with a I-will-power-up-every-time-I-meet-you crap. Her opponents are definitely stronger and have been training as hard as her.

      About Taichi, I did mention in my previous reviews that his goal to surpass Arata is because he wants to impress and get Chihaya but definitely, it’s going to be a road filled with thorns.

  3. Rakuen says:

    Alright, Chihaya did beat Sudo, but it went right down to the wire with that match. It’s their performance against the Queen that tells the story. Chihaya lost by 20 cards, while Sudo only lost by 12. So, how do the matches end up playing out this way?

    Sudo recognized Chihaya relied on her speed to win and mentally called her out on it. He greatly underestimated that very speed. He confidently placed her best card directly in front of him, only to have Chihaya take it in the end. Incidentally, if the other card had been read, the outcome might have been entirely different. He also underestimated her tenacity. Chihaya’s strong desire for success drove her to victory over Sudo and also allowed her to get a foothold in her match against the Queen. On the other hand, Sudo would not underestimate the Queen in any way, as her title alone reveals her skill. Even without that though, having already been chastised by his loss, I would imagine he’d take any opponent a bit more seriously.

    I guess what I’m saying is the psychological aspects really have had a great impact on Chihaya’s success up to this point, which has already been pointed out. But I already typed all that up, so… yeah!

    As for the losing streak, I’m glad she’s losing. It makes her a little more human, if you will. After all, even the best warriors lose from time to time, but it’s their drive to get back up and learn from their mistakes over time that makes them the best.

    • Kyokai says:

      I agree on all points and even discussed the same things in a few reviews before this episode. Most probably, this episode didn’t impress me as much as the previous ones and that old lady just pissed me off so bad.

      Chihaya has always been emotional but it doesn’t help that she’s an airhead and loses concentration between a match. Though, she is improving and noticing her faults; that’s halfway towards discovering her own brand of play. I just can’t wait for her to get in form and be a fierce opponent to the Queen.

  4. tatsuya says:


  5. Kitty says:

    They couldn’t just tell us who won!! Since when is Chihaya in the business of cliffhangers? And the lack of Taichi was upsetting…

    • Kyokai says:

      There have been very few cliffhangers in Chihayafuru so this was understandable. However, one week to wait for Taichi’s result was suffering. >.>

  6. anaaga says:

    I don’t mind having Chihaya losing non-stop IF at the start of the anime they didn’t say that Chihaya is DA BEST KARUTA PLAYER EVAAA. Harada was practially worshiping her, but suddenly he treats her as a normal student? I just don’t get the logic in this anime

    And face it Kyo, the main pairing here is Arata x Taichi. Chihaya will make karuta cards babies

    • Kyokai says:

      I think what was implied by Harada is the potential in her to be the BEST Karuta player EVER~ IF (which is a big IF), she practices and work on her strengths. I guess, we just have to be patient.

      LOL, anaaga, don’t SAY THAT!!! >3<

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