If you want to be good, you have to suffer. Chihayafuru really nailed that in this episode without going overboard like most “hard work and guts”-series. This show has really convinced me that these kids are really good because of how they grew up, and not just because the plot demands it *coughSakicough*. I loved Chihaya’s mindset in this episode: it’s of course safer to just gradually introduce them to Karuta. But Karuta is a game about the mind. Being able to play against someone very talented is a much better way to get that mindset that is needed for this game. If you continue to play against amateurs, it’s much harder to.
My only complaint about this episode was that the creators have now completely forgotten that Taichi was supposed to have a girlfriend. In particular, no effort whatsoever has been spent into why he fell for her. At the moment it’s much like he figured what the heck and just picked a random girl to hang out with.
But still, there are two shows that really stand above the others this season: Un-Go and this one. Chihaya doesn’t just drag every character along with her, she also does so with the viewer. The final part of this episode in which Arata showed signs of life again only reaffirmed this. With this kind of reaction, he has the potential to become a really good rival, miles away from the usual rival.
Rating: ** (Excellent)