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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  • ak184
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 11:53 PM)
    Out of curiosity, for those who were watching it, what did you all thought of jojo stardust crusaders? Now that it has recently ended
  • ratsgnoF
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 05:35 PM)
    IMO I think that emphasizes how important their relationships are with each other. It shows how the characters have developed and change. They’re very vocal about how they feel and what they want. To the point where it would seem melodramatic.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 03:17 PM)
    @Emma, I never disliked the movie. And I do think it did that archer vs Shirou fight much better. But the problem with it is that it basically removes coherency from the story. People would just be downright confused watching it if they have no knowledge. The movie is pretty much fan service.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 03:13 PM)
    I was actually thinking of writing up a Yahari review. Overall I enjoyed it but I felt that it got far too melodramatic at points over relatively little. It just felt like the characters where making mountains out of molehills.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 07:59 AM)
    That exactly why it’s so good. It’s not very cliche like most animes. The characters themselves have very interesting personalities. Personalities that are actually unique. Not those personalities that every main lead has. Very cliched anime is bad. I can literally predict what happens next watching it the first time. Seeing those 3 interact and struggle is very enjoyable It’s kinda down to earth in a way.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 07:02 AM)
    I think, watching Yahari, that its time I stopped bashing the “Too many teenagers thing in anime”, better to make the teenage characters we get actually interesting people.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 06:57 AM)
    If they do plan a season 3, it probably won’t be out for about a year or two. The last 2 episodes were adapted from volume 11 which was released 5 days ago.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 06:48 AM)
    That final episode of Yahari’s second season pretty much left me saying “Season 3 where and now”
    And “You can’t end this here”.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 06:35 AM)
    I preferably want Yukino. She’s the favorite IMO. I have no idea how it’s going to end. I’m a little scared to found out, but I want more! WATARI more LIGHT NOVEL NAO!!!
  • ratsgnoF
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 06:34 AM)
    I was getting confused there because you were talking about a manga and just all of a sudden starting talking about yui. So I wasn’t sure whether you were talking about 2 different things.

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