Posted by psgels on 8 March 2013 with categories: Chihayafuru

Holy crap, that cliff-hanter! I was all set to type up about this episode’s use of foreigners, but first I just have to say that that caught me completely by surprise. Right from out of nowhere the end of this episode foreshadows so many things that we’ve been looking forward to: ARata seeing Chihaya again was already great. But for the Queen to also appear. Awesome.

Anyway, as for the foreigners, I see what you did there, Chihayafuru. First you made yourself seem like you had these horribly voiced foreigners with horrible Engirsh, only to reveal that they were raised in Japan for their lives. Instead this episode touched a bit upon their alienation as foreigners, and how they’re doomed to stand out in the xemophobic Japan. It worked well. Aside from the black guy perhaps. He just looked silly.

But yeah, the first match in a tournament is usually just the one that we breeze through and who hardly pose a challenge. It’s predictable, and this was an interesting way to fill it up: show people with a passion for Karuta, but who aren’t bothered with being competitive. They’re just doing this for fun and because they enjoy it.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

13 Responses

  1. Scruffy says:

    To be honest I’m a bit over the whole love triangle. Not that I want it resolved, more that I don’t want it to be the focus of either Arata or Taichi’s character anymore. Chihaya is clearly not in love with anyone, although perhaps she leans a bit more towards Arata than Taichi, but probably only because he’s some distant character, almost not a real person.

  2. Hogart says:

    I loved the use of Engrish in this episode. I was annoyed at it, then loved it. Never saw it coming.

  3. hal says:

    I have to agree Scruffy. But I think I’m a bit more extreme there. I think this show doesn’t need Arata. He’s more a gimmick. He just shows up every now and then at the beginning or the end of the episode and it feels like the author is saying “by the way, he’s still there”. Shinobu would probably be enough to motivate Chihaya. He always feels a bit forced to me. A bit like, he was going to be Chihayas love interest, but then the author fell in love with her other characters more. They are so much better characters than Arata. Not only Taichi, but also Kanade, Tsutomu, Nishida and even the new ones are better characters than Arata.
    And I also think Chihaya is not in love with either of the boys. I think the feelings she has for Arata are more admiration and friendship. I agree, that maybe she leans a bit more towards Arata, but I hope this won’t be the end result. Because, like I said, I don’t think Arata is that good of a character. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Arata or something. I’m just a bit…indifferent about him. I think the show would also work as well without him. Also Taichi shines the most, when he’s not in “love-mode”. While I’m rooting a bit for Taichi though, I wouldn’t mind a “no one gets the girl” ending either.

    • Joojoobes says:

      I don’t think Arata’s purpose is for a love triangle. I think he is Taichi’s rival. Taichi needs to play against him to bring his character arc full circle.

      • Scruffy says:

        I would disagree with that. In terms of Karuta his rival should be Chihaya not Arata. Chihaya on the other hand clearly underestimates Taichi’s skills.

    • Emma-hime says:

      While this is an all round solid show, it does almost feel that their teasing us with the Arata appearances.

  4. Anon says:

    The use of “foreigners” in this episode was really great, too bad it went over the heads of most of the audience.

    There’s only one problem though – if they attend this international school, all of their instruction is likely to be in English. So it doesn’t make sense for them to say things like “my English is only at middle school level”…

    • LilyGinnyBlack says:

      The thing is though, Taichi was pointing out issues with their pronunciation and speech. It seems as if they were better at reading and understanding English than speaking it, which makes sense. When learning a second language (in which case, English would be their second language) speaking is one of the most difficult parts, because it requires you to put together everything (listening, comprehending, pronunciation, grammar, and vocab) at a very quick pace (definitely a much quicker pace in comparison to reading and writing).

      So, a person can have a higher level of understanding spoken and written language, a higher level in reading and writing a language, and a lower level in speaking a language.

      Also, the some international schools in Japan will have both Japanese and English being taught in them and the level of English in each school will most likely differ.

      Therefore, I definitely think it is plausible for them to have middle school level English, especially when it comes to speaking.

      Anyway, I definitely agree with your first bit there. It is sad, but I think many people, the moment they saw foreigner’s and heard “Engrish” they stopped paying attention to what was actually going on and the messages that were being conveyed, and instead just thought the anime was using the same old stereotypical and xenophobic cliches and tropes surrounding foreigners in this medium.

    • rufe says:

      Not necessarily, though it is likely that instruction is in English. In either case, if they live in Japan their *entire* lives their English is probably not going to be that good.

    • cathy says:

      Every international school is different. They have to compensate for every type of student. For example, my old international school in shanghai had student who just moved from american and student who have been living in china since there were 6(like me), so the curriculum was very spread out and i was considered “native.” When i moved back to the states, i was placed in ESL because i could not keep up with writing and reading.

  5. Sobakus says:

    I think Arata still has a chance to become memorable as a character. I’m really interested in his connection with Shinobu.

  6. Starss says:

    Some of my favourite Chihayafuru episodes are the season one matches in A class where we got to see a lot more depth in Chihaya’s opponents. This episode made me realise that I’m sorely missing that extra bit while we introduce the new characters and battle old ones. The engrish and foreigners were funny and well done but it felt so FILLER. Even the recap episode with all the 4koma is much more memorable and rewatchable than this episode. First Chihayafuru disappointment :( .

    And Arata is a lot more bishie than Taichi.

  7. Machi says:

    I think you guys might be simplifying and in turn missing out what Arata stands for if you simply see him as a mere rival, be it in love or ranking, to Taichi. He is first and foremost an ideal that inspired and kindled the passion of Karuta to Chihaya, and in turn indirectly through her everybody as well. What becomes the challenge with Arata is whether or not he can live up to that ideal that continues to inspire and awe Chihaya in her mind. Simply put I think the series is definitely past the whole love triangle thing as romance takes quite a back seat in this series in favor of pursuing ones passion, lets face it Chihaya seems like a woman who’d put career over love at this point which is to be fair quite a refreshing female lead. Sure she’s simple minded but we definitely know where her heart and head is and its not in the rom-com clouds.

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:32 AM)
    If a series wants to be sophisticated about complex concepts like war and conflict, then it has to presuppose the fact that it is part of human nature. Resources are limited, and even aside from that, greed exists. There is no way to take out a few head figures to stop a war- there will be a vacuum that will almost immediately be filled by a similar, if not worse, individual. A world “where no one cries” or suffers, or dies, etc, cannot exist as long as we have free will.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:26 AM)
    F/SN delved into this deeply with the Shirou/Archer dichotomy, but then it pussied out at the decisive moment. Archer was right, his arguments made perfect sense, yet the arrogant naive Shirou had to pull thru by sheer will alone, and a vague hope and promise that he’ll find a way somehow. I swear, I’m not sure if Nasu gave in to pressure to make a so-called “good prevails” ending, or that he honestly believes in it. Looking at his material, I’ll bet on the former.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:22 AM)
    hehe … that’s why you don’t get me started on Eva or Berserk.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:20 AM)
    It also delved into the depth of what a desperate goodie-two-shoes people-pleaser protagonist would actually be like, and the reception he would get from his peers, specially the women. That alone right there was a deconstruction of the majority of shonen main characters.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:00 AM)
    There was no hype machine back then. The internet was still in its infancy. So when a show became this popular there was certainly some merit to it. The organic/machine hybrid mecha was relatively new, and the scene construction and cinematography was for the most part immaculate. There’s a reason why the mecha genre is divided to “pre-Eva” and “post-Eva”.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:53 AM)
    It also didn’t hurt that the character, costume and mecha designs were slick and attractive, done by the under-appreciated Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:31 AM)
    It came up with clever scenarios to common mecha tropes, and answered the questions that would arise from them:
    -Why do we use mechas with melee weapons against alien invaders instead of conventional weapons? AT fields on Angels.
    -Why use kids to pilot them? The Gehrin Project.
    -What happens when you put kids in sever combat situations? Extreme PTSD.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:27 AM)
    These types of deconstruction shows that are run-of-the-mill now didn’t really exist back then. Eva did afterall became the tropemaker for Gainax endings. To see the creator’s psyche twist in front of our eyes was incredible. The show went from a regular monster of the week mecha series to a deranged psycho-thriller by the end of it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:23 AM)
    Eva was fresh and quite unique for its time. Not that everything they did was original, but they certainly put their own twist on it. I also enjoyed the “fuck-you” ending of the tv series. Anno always defended it as intentional, but we all know it was really a budgetary constrain. well, at least we got the amazing End of Evangelion movie to supplement it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:21 AM)
    @K-of: yup Eva geek here, guilty as charged. In my defense, I watched it week-to-week when it aired back in 96, and the landscape of anime was a lot different back then.

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