Keep calm and play awesome karuta~
Now that we are over the inevitable match-up between Shinobu and Chihaya, let’s get on with more excitement of Class A and B matches, which were nothing but brilliant. Of course, it’s not the end yet but you can’t beat the excitement when there’s a face-off between karuta titans (teehee) named Arata and Shinobu. Not to mention, Taichi’s hanging in there and all ablaze to win the glory! These last few episodes have really gone up the pacing so if you have been missing on this wondernut, I urge you to join back again because it’s shibireru da ne~ What do you say, Kara?
Unfortunately, Arata’s parents didn’t appear this episode, but it was amazing nonetheless. All of it. With the split storyline between the A Class finals and B Class finals, the episode was just full of tension. Man, Chihayafuru has just been putting out great episodes for the past 3 weeks and every single one of them somehow manages to be just as great (if not better) than the last. I hope they can continue with this momentum for the next two episodes as well!!
// Class A final - Yay! Megumu lost! …By 14 cards, so I hope that Chihaya’s injury was really holding her back since Megumu seems to have done levels better than her against the Queen. I also kind of wish we could have seen Megumu’s thought process to see just how much (or maybe how little) Shinobu put her in her place, but that’s not overly important. The important part is that Arata had a nice and easy match too, and finally we have Arata and Shinobu facing one another. There’s pressure from all sides (or at least, a lot of people watching Arata due to his grandfather’s legacy) for both of them, but yet, you couldn’t even tell by the way the two of them were playing. Arata was kind of sadistic with his “attack strengths to break opponents” strategy and Shinobu was just… well, how she normally is. Arata attempts to trip her up only seemed to result as being a minor inconvenience to her. …Though thats only so far. Arata seems to have had the upper hand from the beginning and not once has he backed down in this match mentally, so he could still probably make Shinobu break down this match. Really, I think
I had thought that Chihaya had slightly changed Shinobu’s view a bit on being so lonely all the time, but I guess it’s hard to change that easily. Arata seems to have different thoughts on the matter (due to childhood friendships~), but it looks like Shinobu needs to play with Chihaya more before she fully embraces playing Karuta with actual people instead of playing Karuta with just the cards. I think the fact that she was talking to them in her head like friends and saying that she could “only save a few of them” tells a lot about her mentality there. The contrast with theA Class and B Class finals was interesting to really interesting to see. While Taichi and Rion were struggling with every single card, Shinobu and Arata were making calm and calculated judgements the whole time. I guess this is the mental difference with Master/Queen material players? Though Taichi was off because of reasons (that he did manage to overcome), plus the terrible reader didn’t help Rion, but I’ll let Kyo talk about that match.
// Class B final - Taichi’s back-seating finally let up with focus shifting to him. I won my own bet and though I pitied Retro-kun for a few seconds, I got over it in a hurry when he jibed against Taichi after not getting viciously flicked by Mr. S, Sudo. On the only glimpse we saw of Taichi when the individual matches were beginning was him wondering to himself, “What am I doing here?” That had made me fear the worst for him but contrary to losing patience he was actually a signboard of “KEEP CALM & PLAY AWESOME KARUTA” throughout the Class B matches until… Chihaya showed up… All his calmness ran away in a hurry with her presence; though, like Kana-chan I was super glad that Rion had a hard time concentrating as well. Karuta reading exam or not, we didn’t have to wait too long for the results to show. If the same had happened last season, Taichi would have lost his way but his continued training paid off with strategy against pure skill and him becoming the unrivaled winner in Class B.
From day one, we have known Taichi to be very selfish. It doesn’t need a reminder but I’ll still say this, from the time he filched Arata’s glasses so that he couldn’t play well to the time of him trying to take a quick lead so that Chihaya would get a goddamn move on to see the Class A play speaks louder than words on how much he has changed. Of course, his rivalry with Arata has intensified with time but same has happened with his forever-support for Chihaya. Facing your fears is very hard but Taichi has grown to do just that even if he gets flustered due to emotions. Some people might say it would have been better if Chihaya hadn’t showed up but damn it, I’d rather be an emotional sap and scream in delight seeing Chihaya root for his win and break down to cry in happiness. Yes, no one can really get how Chihaya thinks but I was glad she chose to show up for Taichi’s win, which has been much awaited and was fabulously glorious!
// Fun with Chi
These two need to go down! щ(゜ロ゜щ)
Death by flicking… ヘ（。□°）ヘ
“Will you join my harem, Chihaya?”（○゜ε＾○）
“HELL NO, SHE WOULDN’T!” (¬д¬。)
So, I talked a lot about Shinobu and Arata, but OMIGOSH Taichi’s match was absolutely amazing as well!!! Watching him clam down and use his super memorization powers to strategize was amazing. Plus, having him calm down like that and take control of the situation makes him seem like he’s a bit closer to Arata’s level. He’s still struggling to make it there of course, but he’s definitely much closer to the goal than he was before, and really, I’m sure he’ll get stronger with time and experience. And of course, I can’t mention Taichi’s match without mentioning Chihaya ditching the A Class match of legends to go watch him! Maybe Taichi didn’t do as well as he could since Chihaya disrupted his thoughts with showing up, but it was well worth her support in the end. HNNNG both of them crying at the end was just a greatest way ever to end the episode. Actually, looking at it now, this is really good timing for Taichi to win and Chihaya to lose. Since you know, it sets up a great opportunity for a high tension round next year of Shinobu versus Chihaya and Taichi versus Arata. …So there are two episodes left, Taichi’s accomplished his goal, and Arata and Shinobu are in the middle of a match already. What on earth are they going to do with the hour or so of animation that this show has left? Though I guess there’s still the Queen and Master matches.
Aaaah, this episode! I know the pacing in this season hasn’t been perfect but after the slowdown of team matches, the supersonic progress is welcome and an awesome way to end another season. I first have to whoop for Shinobu, who won against Megumu with fourteen cards! Bound to happen but damn, revenge is sweet! Same for Arata, who showed it to Ero-kun how a smile goes a long way rather than groping gestures… Elation aside, I have two observations of this episode:
Firstly, Taichi can be an amazing player if he lets go of his perception of putting his opponents on a pedestal, not to mention the emotions he feels whenever Chihaya is added to the mix. He needs to be in control to not lose his touch. He imagined Emuro as Arata, which didn’t help but realizing the difference was the catch similar to when he imagined Chihaya in place of Rion to battle their syllable catching gimmick. He can easily battle raw talent with his customized strategy and I have a feeling, this ability will grow with time. He has come a long way in facing his fears and if he keeps up, I’m sure he could even challenge Chihaya in a full-on serious match some time later. Let’s remember that they only play practice matches together but has he played Chihaya seriously till now? I don’t think so. And I am ready to bet that if Taichi keeps on growing the way he has been, Chihaya has another rival that she would love to play and beat along with Arata and Shinobu.
Secondly, Arata’s play. Even with this episode, we haven’t really SEEN how he super-swings. But, the most glaring fact is that the calm smile doesn’t slide off from his face… at all! In some of his previous matches, we saw him spewing blue flames of regret after the game (when he lost), but the all-new Arata, who has come back to karuta seems to be a much more calmer version of his previous-self. He tests the water in the beginning of a match, ticking his opponents strengths and viciously attacks them BUT WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE. HNNG. I can’t help but admire him more and can’t wait to see more of his play tricks. It would be amazing if he remains true to his word:
So, readers, just two more episodes left in the second season. Your thoughts on the progress and theories?