Posted by psgels on 18 March 2013 with categories: Chihayafuru

Let’s first talk about the story of these two episodes. Most notably, Arata. The creators used him for a story that involved two completely unrelated characters and at the start, I really had to wonder why they had to spend an episode on them. It could have easily be omitted… or so I thought. But even then, it looked like a bit of an odd choice to spend an episode on when you look at just the premise: Arata almost gets into trouble when he breaks the rules. It’s this kind of hijinks side story that is often used to fill up time or something.

But holy crap, the execution. These two episodes were roller-coaster rides. These two episodes just kept going with the mood switches and plot twists that just went completely against my expectations. At the start I really wondered what the heck the creators were thinking with such a random subplot. Then Arata nearly got expelled, and I wondered why on earth the creators would be including this. Wasn’t it in the benefit of everything if he just ended up playing? What are you doing here creating “pointless” extra drama? And then the Queen randomly appeared from out of nowhere, and I understood completely. The climax for that subplo really surprised me, but it paid off incredibly well. And in the meantime it did a brilliant job of fleshing everyone out: Arata’s feelings about not competing in the team matches, the Queen’s feelings over Arata, the headaches that everyone is having with the King. Not to mention how Arata’s shadow has been constantly looming over Chihaya and Satoru.

And then, there was the match against that ultra high-class school. That was pretty much one of the best told karuta matches against gimmick teams. The opponents were really interesting, but what really made it stand out is how it was brought, making clever use of how it appears to lump everyone together, only to do the complete opposite. It’s the kind of match that the team was bound to win due to the other team being completely insignificant, and yet Chihaya’s win just felt so incredibly good. The creators really cleverly just focused on one match: Chihaya’s. At the same time it just casually ignored that she pretty much was the only one in big trouble by the opponents’ playstyle, not to mention that she was up against their best player who really was a complete genius in terms of memorization.

The creators just kept throwing different twists and turns to the match. They gave some good characterization of the guy, Chihaya’s mix of admiration and fear was hilarious, the Queen’s random appearance was also perfectly timed and the moment when there were only six cards left and Chihaya’s strengths started to show: it was glorious.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

6 Responses

  1. Joojoobes says:

    This show keeps bringing it. I loved the way they worked Shinobu into this episode, she was at various times bizarre, a distraction, a goal, a savior, and very very human.

    • Oroboros says:

      I am looking forward to Shinobu and Arata play more than anyone else. I feel Shinobu has long surpassed Arata at this point, but I thought the individual competition was divided along gender lines?

      • Machi says:

        If you’re going for title matches, i.e. Queen and Master, then yes it is divided by gender. Otherwise for individual non-title tournaments such as these, as well as team competitions, you’re not segregated by gender.

  2. suu-chwan says:

    Satoru? lol

  3. cathy says:

    so exited to watch the rest of the season
    i hope it is as good as the manga, because there are couple matches i will really look forward to.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 05:18 AM)
    Oh, awesome, dark horse is releasing volume 10 of black lagoon in April, its been nearly five years since the last complete volume…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:56 AM)
    @Aidan: I think theres something seriously wrong when theres the actually possibility of there being a good PA works anime but we all have our opinions =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:13 AM)
    @Raggers, I will go into detail when I review it. But I think something is seriously wrong when I get a far more satisfying ending out of shirobako than Death parade.
    Looking forward to writing a review of shirobako too.
  • Raggers
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:56 AM)
    @Aidan: it wasn’t bad though. I think it suffered from too high expectations and lack of focus (or overreaching).
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:29 AM)
    Well. Death parades ending was quite underwhelming.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:21 PM)
    Waiting between releases for this will be a good thing, its the sort of manga you pick up and put down, then go back to with breaks in between.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:13 PM)
    13 volumes into dorohedero, I’ve found it good enough to buy now that I’ve caught up with the official English releases. While the plot meaders and is kind of messy, isn’t up to much, I love how crazy the gory action is, the gritty artstyle/world and the black comedy more than well make up for it. It works best when focused on those masked gangster magician guys and also the main character, the others are only alright.
  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.

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