Posted by psgels on 7 March 2012 with categories: Chihayafuru

Holy crap, Chihayafuru. Out of all of the minor characters that Chihaya had to face so far, this was by far the best match against it, and it totally went against my expectations. Yamamoto Yumi was wonderfully fleshed out in just one episode, and as a first I actually found myself rooting for both, rather than the match being a simple “protagonist versus non-protagonist”.

I really thought that at this point, Chihaya would get to the queen finals, but then again that may also be because the story is nowhere finished, I kept hoping for some sort of finale with Arata and the Queen. At this rate that ending is not going to be about an important match at all, but who cares? With this series’ writing talent they can still find a ton of great points to end on.

I loved how this episode was even more full of emotion than usual. The hot sun had a lot to do with that, but also Yamamoto and her coach really brought life to this episode, and did so in a way that I’m really not used to for characters who only appear in one episode. And as an added bonus, she wasn’t one of those “I’m really pretty”-girls like you see everywhere in anime, and yet she still looked great. The thing with anime is that it’s so focused on “hot” looking characters that more often than not, it’s the plain looking characters who stand out (and more often than not, the supposedly “hot” characters try way too hard to look good). In this case the animators gave her just as much attention as the rest of the cast, and it showed here.

Also, Chihaya: I really thought that she learned by now. And yet she was taken over by her instincts again. It just shows how hard it is to get rid of things that you’ve been doing for years. Just one tiny incentive is enough to get back to your old patterns. This episode was a great point for Chihaya to actually mess up on the show’s title card “Chihayafuru”.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

15 Responses

  1. jzar says:

    I was a bit disappointed…..I guess I really thought Chihaya would have pulled through. She didn’t even question those ‘I got the card first’ statements. I do wonder about that. I don’t know the rules about if the players don’t agree on who touched the card first. What happens? anybody know?

    I don’t know it didn’t seem like Yumi won by skill but by cheating…. i.e. it’s very easy to ‘claim’ first touch. Yet by my view Chihaya moved the card…she won the touch. When players are that fast it has to come down to an almost simultaneous touch, and if they both touch the card at the same time it has to be down to who moved the card. So sorry you couldn’t get more than your pinky on the card when I clearly moved it first…..So, as I am a fan of Chihaya I ended up with a wtf was that moment.

    So Yumi remembered how to win by playing very dirty. So I ended up feeling bad for Chihaya. It’s like all of her hard work and skills didn’t even exist.

    Chiyaha, my god girl, raise you hand and just say no.

    • Scruffy says:

      Agree with you there it was a very dirty way to play the game and I guess that is why Chihaya didn’t respond to her at the end. If she gets through I hope she gets her ass whipped by the current queen.

      However, saying that I’m sure that if Chihaya had managed to keep her cool instead of letting her cheating (seriously that’s what it was .. little pinky my ASS!) get to her then there is no way she would have lost. I think she’s pretty close to being up there and like Taichi mentions needs a bit more mental toughness.

    • joojoobees says:

      They said at some earlier point that, when there is a contested card, the players discuss it and decide amongst themselves. It probably is supposed to lead to amicable play, but it clearly is open to exploitation by conniving bitches.

      So next episode is about Chihaya shaving all her hair off?

  2. starry says:

    I didn’t mind Chihaya losing a match and not even coming close to becoming Queen. But I have to agree with the above that Yumin exploited the system in order to claim cards in her favor. In a real regulated sport, they would have had refs or cameras watching them to see who touched a card first and Yumin wouldn’t be able to contest so many close calls without getting penalized for it. But since it is an honor system, one just has to intimidate the other or hope on their opponent not raising a stink to win cards you may not have even gotten (she may touched the card first, but I have a hard time believing it was every single time).

    I think it shows that Yumin required that tactic since when she became Queen and stopped herself from using it, and then she lost the title just a year later to somebody with more skill.

    Sure, its great Chihaya who is still pretty new to class A can come close to beating somebody like the Ex-Queen. But not when she has to lose to borderline cheating exploits. I’ll just be hoping for an S2 or the manga scanlations to cover past the anime.

  3. Raggers says:

    After this ep, there better be an S2. There is so much more to the story.

    At least aren’t going to leave us hanging or pull a No.6 (I can think of ways it could, but it better not).

    And this ep showed the idea of sportsmanship well. As a player of tennis, I’ve often given my opponent points they thought the lost. That gives you maximum enjoyment. Victory is hollow if it isn’t earned 100%. And, as Chihaya learnt, accepting a loss is made more difficult as well.

  4. kero says:

    Absolutely the correct rating!

    Can’t add much more to what has been said, but that I love how it tells us something new each time, like about rankings for the readers, I wonder if Kana-chan will aim to be a reader! She’s so adorable.

    Re contesting close calls, I think here it is represented that Yumin only contests the ones that she feels she is right, since she is so respected, there’s no indication that she lies about the close calls? Because at the end of it, we are also half rooting for her.

    Sudo is so mean <3

  5. Kim says:

    Okay people before you accuse Yumin of cheating she wasn’t, she really did touch those cards first. She was only fighting for what was rightfully her cards.

    Someone created screencaps to demonstrate

    http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?p=4042472#post4042472

  6. Taara535 says:

    Eh. I am very surprised I am saying this, but isn’t this series creating the trope of losing?? We may have seen Chihaya lose more than win recently. Idk, can we actually see her win a game for once please?

  7. Jon says:

    If I recall Taara, didn’t Chihaya win a match just 2 episodes ago? Anyway while I agree that Yumin’s tactics were underhanded, it is merely a reflection of reality on how there are people in every sport and even in all walks of life who will play dirty and exploit the rules or find loopholes in them to make it to the top. Was Yumin’s playing style cheap? I definitely think so, but it’s within the rules of the game. What makes her different than the football player who fakes an injury (applies to both American football and “soccer”) or the basketball player who argues every single foul and delivers cheap shots once every few games? I really admired the fact that they actually threw a dirty karuta player into the mix here.

    • kero says:

      Kim posted up a link to a screencap which shows that she DID touch it first. It’s not underhanded to fight for what is rightfully yours.

    • Andrew says:

      It seems to me that every match lately has Chihaya losing her first card, and acting all surprised about her opponent’s speed. I want for once for her to overwhelm her opponent from the beginning.

  8. RABUJOI says:

    I predicted Chihaya would lose to this girl because, well, that’s just the feeling I got from this episode. The more I learned about Yumi, the more l liked her, and the more I believed it was rightfully her turn – not Chihaya’s – to challenge Shinobu.

    Chihaya has her whole life ahead of her, but Yumi’s life was structured around becoming Queen, and she can’t be satisfied with the new Queen brushing her aside so easily. She wants a rematch. I want to see them in a rematch.

    Yes, I felt bad for Chihaya, and I found Yumi’s arguing to be contrary to the spirit of the game, but Class A is all about killer instinct, and if you passively concede close cards as she did, you won’t get far.

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