Posted by psgels on 7 February 2012 with categories: Chihayafuru

So, this was meant to be about the introduction episodes, in order to build up for the big matches as we reach the end of the series. And even there this show found a very good scenario: Chihaya’s loss against an opponent unimportant to the plot, and having the finale be amongst the rest of the main cast.

Also, this show really has the tendency to not show Taichi play. This episode really was apparent in that: for Chihaya it fully details how the match progresses. This episode also took a good look at how Tsutomu and Kanade played, but with Taichi we just got the description of “it’s fierce”. The episode ended with a cliff-hanger, so I wonder whether they’re going to keep this up.

One thing that is also apparent here is that the matches are kindof predictable. I’m not yet sure whether that’s an actual flaw here, because this show does not have any miracle comebacks or anything. While it’s of course natural for those to happen, I’ve seen so many sports series by now that those twists start to stand out as a bit convenient. To make up for it, this show plays around with its interesting match set-ups. Like, having the most important match right at the beginning at times.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

11 Responses

  1. Hogart says:

    I liked that older lady they pitted against Chihaya.. it was a nice touch to show a well-adjusted character playing Karuta passionately. I’m also quite happy they’re spending a little more time on the side characters, because I was fully expecting them to mostly dismiss them in favor of building up Chihaya and then Taichi.

  2. kurini says:

    I like the woman player too! She was interesting as a character that will appear only one time (I think)!

    Is it just me or this episode felt longer? Maybe because we kind of have 2 matches in one episode :O

  3. Rasphberry says:

    Kanai-san (Middle-aged woman) is like, the perfect example of how Kana-chan will become when she’s her age.

    So graceful and beautiful.

  4. lolcat says:

    strange.. at the first half of an episode i felt like there was a lot of rushed shots. Otherwise episode was awesome!

  5. gracenote says:

    Even though the Taichi/Nishida match wasn’t shown in this episode, it seems likely that next week’s episode will be a continuation of the tournament and will probably focus on their match. Since Chihaya was only focusing on the Kana/Desktomu match, we’ll probably hear Retro-kun’s commentary on the Taichi/Nishida match that he was following next time.

    • kero says:

      It’d be interesting to get Retro kun’s POV on the match, it might add something to it.

      The insight into Kana and Desktomu was great. Kana looked soo graceful in the way she carried herself at the game. It was brill.

      what I like is how they introduce the snippets of strategy and the ways of playing into the story.. it doesn’t feel forced.

      anyway. Great episode.

  6. ojisan says:

    Anyone else think that Chihaya’s ever-more-comic facial expressions were giving Hyouge Mono a run for its money?

  7. Kevin says:

    Psgels, i know what i did was wrong and i understand if you want to block me from talking with the rest of the community on your site… Im talking right now from a library computer and im just asking if you could at least allow me to look at the site from my own computer… Please this site means so much to me… Im begging you..

  8. imredjimmy says:

    Once again, a nice episode. I love the focus they put on the side-characters. Especially Kana/Desktomu.

  9. Machi says:

    I think for what its worth it may be better to forget that this series will be ending soon and one way or another it will necessarily be incomplete – we can always hope for a second season. However, given series like Natsume Yuujinchou, Oofuri, and yes even HXH prior to announcements of a subsequent season – ones that take especially long e.g. Oofuri and HXH – the animators did manage to generally find a great point to end a series. I feel that I’d rather give them the benefit of the doubt at the moment and think that they’ll be able to find a proper point to end the series rather than believing it will feel half finished like Eden of the East did given the track record of how they’ve handled Chihayafuru lately, I doubt they expected it to be a crowd drawer in the first place.

  10. RABUJOI says:

    Pitting Tsutomu and Kanade against each other in the final was a great way of keeping them relevant, as their play, combined with that of Chihaya’s adult opponent this week, all conspired to show Chihaya exactly how much she has to learn about this sport. No one else approaches a match as carelessly as she does. All of them have STRATEGIES and TACTICS and are constantly analyzing their opponents’ play.

    Chihaya points out that Kanade’s particular style of recognizing thematic similarities in the poems themselves isn’t easy to pull off in competitive karuta, just as her own speed-first strategy is a dead end she must overcome. The best way to do that is to play a lot, lose a lot, learn from the losing, and continue carefully observing her teammates.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 04:50 AM)
    @Emma: I still think Cameron is substantially more talented than Rupert Sanders. At least Cameron knows how to get the package together and made a watchable, and technically groundbreaking, film out of Avatar which would’ve been utter B movie shit in lesser hands. GitS was never going to work regardless of Scarlet Johansson, while Alita could’ve been something. I do believe however that Nolan and Snyder would’ve probably been a much more compatible match for the franchise.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 01:57 AM)
    @Bam: James Cameron hasn’t made a film I’ve enjoyed since terminator 2.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 01:55 AM)
    @Bam: Wow, someone else who noticed the Elysium/battle angel commonality, I’ve been thinking about that for a while myself also.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 01:18 AM)
    Also looking back I notice heavy thematic similarities between Elysium and Battle Angel Alita. The labor division and the great disparity in life-quality of Earth versus Elysium is almost a direct parallel to Tiphares and the Scrapyard. I wonder if this is going to hinder the Alita’s Hollywood adaptation, in which case good- that horrendous GitS one is more than enough.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 01:13 AM)
    Truthfully Seinen is an age/gender demographic and not really a genre or category, but even within Japan the term has come to be identified with manga that have sexuality and violence like the works of Go Nagai instead of those that contain general adult themes. That’s why comedies are pretty much never considered Seinen, even though some are probably only appreciated by the Seinen crowd.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.

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