…This is what happens when Karuta doesn’t.
|So according to Kyo, the Queen and Master matches are up next! Will Yumi become Queen, or will Shinobu’s destiny as Chihaya’s eternal sismance partner rival come through? …Does anyone even care about the Master match at this point? Oh well, I guess I’ll find out once I see the episode.|
|Heyo, readers. I’m feeling completely drained right now, like Chihaya gets after a match. Let me get some chocolates aka tea+coffee concoction to charge my battery. Which reminds me like a shock that this show is ending. Oh well, at least we get to see the King & Queen match. Hope you have your popcorns ready? Let’s go, Kara~|
With pretty much every main character out of the top matches, the one thing left for Chihaya to do is to watch the Queen match! …So she goes to Taichi’s house!! …Unfortunately, his overbearing mother is there and if you don’t remember about 20 episodes ago, she doesn’t like Chihaya very much. But this works out because Taichi invites Chihaya to his room. The other Karuta club members join soon afterwards though, so nothing exciting happens. Taichi’s mother is still her wonderful self, but more important things like card games are going on.
Nishida has obviously been watching Persona 4
On to the Queen and Master matches! The Queen match is Yumi vs. Shinobu, but uh, Shinobu looks a bit… different. Apparently she really wanted a snowman purse so she ate ice cream until she won. The amazing part though, is that she still somehow manages to be adorable. Anyways, the matches are best out of three and Yumi already lost the first one. While Yumi is doing pretty good on the second round, Shinobu has a flashback to her childhood.
Long story short, Shinbu’s mother divorced when Shinobu was still a loli and so Shinobu’s strict grandmother wasn’t too happy, but still let them move in with her. Her grandmother also made a statement that she wants Shinobu to actually be worth something. So Shinobu wasn’t really good at anything, but she thought that cards were cute and her grandmother got her into Karuta. The kids at school thought Shinobu was creepy for liking cards more than people and being jerks, they hid all of her cards. Yeah. I don’t blame her for not talking to them. Fortunately, she was able to find them all with no problem and it’s in this point in the match (yeah, the match is still going on during all these flashbacks), Chihaya realises that Shinobu has some sort of… spiritual connection with the cards. Shinobu completely takes control of the match and Chihaya is so touched by Shinobu’s love for Karuta, that she starts crying…
Some people have their red strings of fate attached to other people. Shinobu is all for the cards.
However, there’s someone out there who’s even faster than Shinobu… The current Master, Suo Hisashi. Shinobu wins her match and Yumi gets upset, but she wants to continue trying for Queen in the future.
Chihaya wants to practice RIGHT AWAY since she wants a connection like Shinobu to the cards, but Nishida says that they need to focus on the Master’s match instead since A.) its apparently important to the men and B.) his playing style is similar to Chihaya’s. Suo is on his way to having that Master title 4 years in a row and apparently he’s not out of college yet despite having an ossan beard. As for how the final match goes, UNTIL NEXT EPISODE.
The fabulousness of this episode can’t be contained
STFU woman! Let us continue with the ~*fabulousness*~ of this episode.
The ~*fabulous*~ facepalm worthy realization of not hiding your porn stash.
The tiger rug’s ~*fabulous*~ comeback.
This ~*fabulous*~ Chihaya-expression can PWN Munch’s Scream.
The ~*fabulous*~ loli service.
Shinobu, “You don’t say? I still ~*fabulously*~ PWN’D you.”
That ~*fabulous*~ ossan beard!
This was an excellent episode for so many reasons. So maybe we’re not seeing Chihaya play Karuta anymore, but I’m finding these side character matches just as satisfying. Seeing Shinobu’s past was unexpected, yet so awesome. I like how her grandmother was at least semi supportive of Shinobu finding something she liked too (…instead of shooting her down completely). Sure, she seemed frigid and overbearing and was probably extremely strict with how Shinobu played, but at least she got to do something she loved. …Plus Shinobu as a child was ADORABLE. ALL THE MOE. On a side note, what’s with the children in Chihayafuru and being complete jerks? Taichi stole Arata’s glasses and those brats took Shinobu’s cards. What gives?
Yumi might have lost, but at least she didn’t give up after that. After all of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that if Chihaya lost to someone, at least it’s someone good enough to face Shinobu in the Queen’s match. While I’m kind of surprised that this match didn’t go to the stereotypical intense round 3, it just proves once again that this anime is great because it never does what I expect it to do. Ah, speaking of characters, his introduction is kind of late in the series, but the current Master seems like an interesting guy. I keep saying that he has an ossan beard, but really, I think he looks kind of like Jrow if he had longer hair (…maybe). Anyways, yeah. A playing style like Chihaya’s? Very interesting. He was faster than Shinobu too. That’s impressive. I wish there were more episodes so that we could learn more about him, but I guess I’ll have to settle for next episode instead.
…I hope Taichi overcomes his personal problems before the end of this series, or else I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe table flipping. His whole inner turmoil kind of brought down the episode for me. I mean, he’s already been dissatisfied with himself 4 episodes. If it were Chihaya, things would have been solved already. (Though of course, Chihaya is an optimist who doesn’t dwell on things while Taichi is all about thinking.) Once again, I’m here wishing that they’d go ahead and announce a season 2 already so that all of these loose ends could be tied up, but no such luck.
I told you so and I know I cheated but whatever, I feel satisfied with this episode. Like Kara, my hate for Yumin dissipated seeing her work so hard even if she contested it too much. I’m amazed that she didn’t overly contest against Shinobu because it would have been hilarious. The time I was going through RAWS, I PPPFFFTTT’d so hard looking at Shinobu and was thinking what the readers’ reaction would be as I didn’t want to spoil it. This fact becomes even more interesting now as we got to know more about Shinobu and what motivates her. If she wants something, she gives it HER ALL. From the love of Karuta cards to getting that special snowman purse, she hasn’t cared about any consequences and just got into her passion head first. I have to admire this quality about her because it takes a lot of guts and determination to do so.
So, if you get this, you should not be complaining, why Chihaya, Taichi and Arata are not among the finalists but sitting at their homes, staring at the TV to learn the king and queen moves. Because karuta is not a game that you can train for by simulating like an air force pilot. Except for the set game rules you can’t predict your opponent’s moves unless you play against them because that is what makes this game unique because it conforms to the way how individual players play it and adapt to opponent’s play. If Yumin guards all her cards like a mother hen, Shinobu is in touch with all of them through an invisible link and whenever a card is read, the distortion tells her, which one is being called. Of course, it seems poetic as I write this but she has befriended the cards and thus has honed her skills to the talented level.
All of this now makes our trio seem completely talent-less but NO, this is the story of how they will progress. They had to cope with a lot of stuff in the process as well. Though, I’ve complained before about lack of romance but there are times that you need to set priorities because life’s goal does not only include: get the girl/guy you like. Unless you are comfortable with what you have achieved, no kind of relationship/intimacy can replace that feeling of being comfortable in your skin and life. Of course, these are not the topics usually covered in anime but Chihayafuru in totality has taken karuta and even the relationships quite seriously. Some people might actually get pissed off with this fact but I like this realism. I liked how Taichi decided to watch the match rather than baby Chihaya; the thing is, he has been there for her all along and rather than his own skills he has been working hard to power her up. Sure, they need to help each other out but he has to practice and level up as well (just like Nishida previously advice to practice his attack rather than just memorizing all the cards). His goal should be to beat Suo rather than ogling after Chihaya (who seems even more talented than Shinobu). Chihaya too has to get in her game and be even more serious than Arata on the play-level to face Shinobu in the next finals.
I’m already feeling sad thinking about the last episode next week but this series has been all kinds of awesome. I hope like everyone of you who have been following this to get another season so that we can actually see the trio use this acquired knowledge into practice. Ja ne till the finale~
Preview: The Master battle is next!