Posted by psgels on 3 February 2013 with categories: Chihayafuru

This was one of those episodes that really caught my attention. It played with a common trope in fiction: the Underdog. With these kinds of competitive series, the underdog is a lot of times the focus: the people who you would not expect to win, yet prove to be surprisingly skillful. They’re very often main characters.

In Chihayafuru though, the characters aren’t underdogs. Perhaps the juniors, but all of the seniors have this undoubted talent, and stand out like they will get very far. And in this episode, they had to fight a group of underdogs. A group of players who only started recently, and yet who made a a huge improvement thanks to a very passionate coach who has regrets over never reaching his own goals.

And I love how they gave the cast a challenge, especially Taichi had a difficult time, and his opponent would have fitted perfectly in any underdog team. I also lvoe the way they were announced: completely out of left field. Taichi has always had his problems, but this was a big moment for him to realize that he thinks too much. In this way he really needs to take an example of Chihaya, whose entire mind is filled with nothing but Karuta. In that area, they really are the complete opposites.

One detail I really loved: Taichi finally dares to ask for a towel, and Chihaya immediately leaps over Tsutomu to give him one. No dialogue, no animation even. The creators just kept focusing on the same shot for what felt like ages. That was simple, but made a ton of impact.

Beyond that this episode also showed how important good readers are in order to keep people on their focus: a different rythm must make things more difficult for the seasoned player who is always used to the same timing.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

6 Responses

  1. Puran says:

    Yup, this was an awesome episode. The scene where Taichi asked for a towel was amazing. It restored my faith in the series direction.

    The animation does still seem like a step down from season 1 though. There are no distorted faces any more and stills from the series look just as good (or even better) as the first season, but the actual animation is lacking I think.

    Season 1 had a few super-smooth animated shots during the matches (usually when a significant card is being taken), these kind of shots are absent in season 2. Maybe it’s just that we haven’t seen a super-important match in season 2 yet.

  2. Kim says:

    I notice people complaining about the animation, I don’t really notice myself. But I do wonder if the series got a bit less budget this time around. Even though we got a second season (which I am ecstatic about) keep in mind that the first season didn’t sell all that great. I mean the manga sold wonderfully which is probably why we have the second season but low anime sales might still have affected the budget.

    • Puran says:

      Rewatch the first episode of the 1st season. It’s not really fair, because studios usually pour more budget in the first episode, but it will be easier to get the point across. Notice how in the first episode there is always a lot of movement and still frames are kept to a minimal. The first season had a bit more of that compared to what we’re seeing now.

      It’s not that big a deal of course, the anime is still good regardless. And yeah, it does seem like they got a smaller budget.

  3. kero says:

    I definitely noticed that the animation wasn’t as good, but the story line is still A++

    Just happy it got a second season!

  4. Random says:

    I loved how this episode explored so many aspects of the show at the same time. It had individual, group, relationship and game development. Really, really good one.
    The towel scene was indeed well done. Funny, revealing and endearing at the same time. The director made the right choices here.
    It still strikes me how brilliant this series is in spite of its simplicity. I just love everything about it xD

  5. laren says:

    hahaha this was 1 of the best
    hope this anime still be on the air for a long time

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:29 AM)
    Also no, a critic doesn’t need to “show both sides”; they just need to express their own opinion on the matter. The only times objectivity is required is when dealing with facts, like talking about the talent behind a work or the story, not personal interpretation. If someone wants to just hear their own perspective gratified then they need to search the web for a reviewer that agrees with them, which given the scope of the internet is not that hard to do.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:24 AM)
    @Bam I believe that was Kevin as well.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:21 AM)
    Wait, so who was the moron that chipped his tooth by taking a ball to the face?
  • Mike
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:03 AM)
    As someone who has interacted with psgels since 2008, it’s quite clear you’ve never actually read any of his work Kevin. If you care about intellectual integrity, scroll down to the index, randomly go to any of his posts, and you’ll find he’s quite good at what he does after 9 years of it. I suggest you don’t waste any more of your time here Kevin, because you’ve seen for yourself that no one will ever accept your puerile antics.
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:37 AM)
    Lastly as for all the accusations of spamming I’ve gotten over the years, yes SOME of it were mine. Only two. I also never spammed the chat besides the ONE TIME I posed as Psgels saying some dumb shit about pregnancy last year. That’s literally it.
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:33 AM)
    And now Aidan cries that I’m being a meanie poopy head because I called Psgels a closed minded person who couldn’t be bothered to back up his opinions if his life depended on it. Again, @Aidan you cunt, it had nothing to do with me obviously disagreeing with psgels shitty opinion. I just wanted a damn reason for why psgels thought the way he did.
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:30 AM)
    @afgm When you’re a critic like Psgels or Aidan you’re supposed to be able to show both sides, and if they’re going to have an opinion they better make sure they have some reasoning behind it. Being right or wrong is irrelevant. That’s the problem I had with psgels he just said he didn’t like something and ignored me when I called him out.
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:28 AM)
    @Wolfe Shut the hell up, you don’t know what we’re talking about.
    @Afgm I might as well put an end to this fucking nonsense once and for all by destroying you retards. After this I’m either going to stay or leave for good.
  • afgm
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 06:56 AM)
    @Kevin: There are no ‘right’ answers in interpretation. In fact all right answers are essentially the answers that readers want to read. The only way that you can refute an idea is by putting forward ideas people want to agree with. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to have the cognitive capacity for this, resulting in your reliance on criticizing critics. You know how they say that critics are all skillless hacks? What does that make critic critics?
  • WolfeTCG
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 05:16 AM)
    WHY DOES IT MATTER? You are literally getting mad at psgels who isnt even here anymore yet here you are anyways still angry.

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