What the hell is up with this week? Just about every series surpasses itself. And here Chihayafuru comes, and effortlessly matches that level as if it’s nothing!
I mean, even for a sports series this was just really, really good. Only Giant Killing was better at developing such a large cast at the same time. This episode focused on a team-match between ten different characters, and in one episodes it somehow pulled it off to develop ten characters at the same time. Unlike Giant Killing though, which stood out by its great concept and outstanding execution, Chihayafuru makes everything look so incredibly easy. As if it’s the most normal thing in the world to have such tight character-development.
There is Chihaya who is trying to copy the styles of both the king and queen at the same time, Taichi’s rivalry and admiration for Retro-kun, Retro’s awesome development as he continues to try really hard to get ahead just like Taichi. There is Nishida with his sister who suddenly got a new boyfriend, Kanade and her pride for her kimonos after getting insulted, the small kid and his struggles amidst the A-Class in which he never can stand at the top, Sumire who actually does her job, Akihito who got a new job as a reader and holy crap how did all of that fit within 20 minutes?!
And the thing is that all of it was just really good. The matches themselves also were brilliant. One addition of the second season that I really like is how it uses those manga-styled notes all over the screen with nice little details that they can’t otherwise fit in. It’s a very clever idea to add even more detail to the characters. I’ve seen this done before, but never this consistent or well. Oh, perhaps Shaft-series had more text on the screen, but that never really related to the characters as well as it does here.
And good lord, Arata wasn’t even in this episode.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)