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Chihayafuru – 09

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「(しのぶれど」 (Shinoburedo)
“But I Cannot Hide”

I know this is just an anime, and the way we interpret it is a matter of opinion and subject to personal tastes. But I’ll say this – anyone who wants to argue that Chihaya doesn’t belong with Taichi, I’ll fight you right now. Name the time, name the place – I’ll be there. And in true shounen style, I’m willing to battle to the death.

I was really digging this episode, and ready to call it a solid success for the way it built on the last few and brought new insight into the Karuta Club, both as a group and as individuals. But then the last five minutes happened, and made it one of my favorite episodes of the season. More on that coming up, but while it’s tempting to forget everything that come before that epic finale, there was important stuff going on. Starting with the Miyauchi-sensei (Fujita Toshiko) proclaiming that she’d make the club official, but only if Chihaya isn’t the President. It’s easy to dismiss this as her just being a vindictive bitch, and she’s certainly given no indication so far that she’s anything else. But partly because I don’t think this is that kind of series, I wonder if there wasn’t more to it than that.

Part of me thinks she might have been doing the club a favor, by forcing them to choose Taichi, in the knowledge that Chihaya isn’t temperamentally suited to be the President. And indeed the events in the clubroom and at Taichi’s house seem to bear that out. Chihaya is an amazing athlete with incredible, single-minded dedication, but her first thought isn’t necessarily how the other person might be feeling. Let’s face it, she’s a battering ram, a tornado – and just because a training method might work for her that doesn’t mean it would work for anyone else. Taichi on the other hand is measured, patient and sensitive. He provides a much-needed break from Chihaya’s unbridled, one-speed-fits-all enthusiasm. As Nishida said, there’s nothing wrong with having a pushy person around (though I wish she’d ditch the “Pork Bun”) but I don’t know if that’s the person you want as your President.

Fortunately Chihaya names herself Captain, and this contrastingly styled leadership seems to be off to a good start. Tsutomu and Kanade are rank beginners, but between their own stubbornness, Taichi’s patient instruction and Chihaya’s inspiration it seems possible they’ll get strong enough to help her achieve her dream of winning the Tokyo Regionals as a team and finding their way to the national tournament at Omi-Jingu, the “Koshien of Karuta” as Nishida calls it. Now, I suspect that when they get there, they may meet a team from Fukui, with a boy who resumed playing Karuta without telling his old friends from Tokyo, assuming he’d never seen them at Omi… But that’s speculation and a pure guess on my part.

With the episode’s transition to Taichi’s house, things got exceptionally interesting. Once again we see how Chihaya seems very much still the child she was, breathlessly announcing that she’s going to Taichi’s room to see what new stuff he might have acquired in the last few years. Naturally, he stops her – “You shouldn’t go running to a guy’s room like that.” But whether he was hiding a birthday cake or something else altogether in there, the point about the difference in their maturity level is clear enough. Chihaya is at her unfiltered best telling Kana-chan that she doesn’t like Taichi’s Mom, who she calls “Mrs. Pressure” for the way she treats her son. The “camp” is interesting, as Chihaya works Tsutomu and Kanade to exhaustion before Taichi puts a stop to it. But when Taichi’s mother arrives home with his little sister in tow, eagle-ears Chihaya hears her before she’s even at the door and hustles Kanade out the back door, lest Mrs. Pressure discover to her horror that Taichi had girls over.

What happens next is so effective for a number of reasons, first of which that it comes out of left field, with no foreshadowing in the episode. But it’s also full of fascinating and heartbreaking implications, and tells us a lot about the characters on our screen. While it’s Chihaya’s birthday, she’s made no mention of it whatsoever – but Taichi remembers. Not only that, he calls Kanade and has her drag Chihaya out into the night to hold the surprise sweet 16 party he’d planned all along, except now it’s on a picnic table by the river. Of course it says a lot about Taichi that he remembered after not seeing Chihaya for three years, but I think it’s also significant that Chihaya thought so little of it that she said nothing, assuming everyone had forgotten – and indeed, it seems logical to assume that Chihaya’s self-absorbed sister and sister-absorbed mother did forget. In that moment you can see in Chihaya’s eyes that she knows how important she is to Taichi, and the depth of their bond in never stronger – but like a bolt of lightning, Arata strikes out of the blue by sending a birthday message for Taichi to pass along. Arata always, invariably seems to find a way to interject himself into the moment just when Taichi is closest to Chihaya.

Poor Taichi – it’s much easier to fight a man than a memory, and Arata can forever remain a perfect ideal in Chihaya’s eyes, frozen in time as he was when they parted. But at least Taichi can eat the cake Chihaya offers him and share an indirect kiss, something a guy in Fukui can’t do, before he shows her the message. That was a pretty heartbreaking moment for Taichi, as his reaction showed, but I’m heartened that his actions and body language didn’t show surrender, but a willingness to fight. I’ve been defending Taichi from the beginning so I won’t claim impartiality, and I know the “poor little rich boy” trope is overplayed. But the thing is that while I love all the characters here – and I do – Taichi seems to be both the most real person in the cast and the heart of the series. He’s a somber, serious person really – but despite his actions as a child he’s proving over and over that he’s sensitive to others and that his feelings for Chihaya are completely genuine. Being Mrs. Pressure’s son has clearly had it’s impact, and he sometimes sags under the weight she places on him and that he places on himself. But we’ve gotten inside his head in a way we haven’t with any other character (I don’t see how that can’t mean something in the end) and the guy I see is a good soul who’s harder on himself than he is on anyone else.

Divine and I were chatting earlier about what a weak year it’s been for romance in anime – though a pretty good year overall – and I argued that Steins;Gate might just have been the best romance of the year so far, even though it’s not a romance series. Frankly I couldn’t think of a more compelling romance in 2011 than that of Okabe and Kurisu, but I’m starting to feel that way about Chihaya and Taichi. As with S;G this isn’t really a romance anime per se, but it’s certainly romantic – and I bring all this up now because it’s Miyano Mamoru at the heart of both series. It’s hard to imagine guys much more different than Okabe and Taichi, and I’ve really found new admiration for Miyano-san as an actor this year. It’s a credit to him that he can play totally different guys in totally different series, and be so likeable, believable and compelling in both.

November 29, 2011 at 10:22 pm
72 comments »
  • November 29, 2011 at 10:42 pmHitoha

    As you know! anime rule of thumb the first person never works out….. it’ll be Arata ;(. Though I really hope for it to be Taichii. Chihaya also needs to let her hair down more.

    • November 29, 2011 at 10:45 pmGuardian Enzo

      I can point to a number of series where that isn’t the case, actually – sometimes it’s “first past the post”.

      I think it’s be kind of a waste for all this Taichi development if she ends up with Arata (who I like a lot, as it happens). Taichi is basically the main character – he’s certainly had the most development. Of course, the manga is ongoing so I’m not necessarily banking on anything definitive happening with all this anyway, but it’s fun to speculate.

    • November 29, 2011 at 10:48 pmAlec

      I’m leaning on it being Arata, but right now, Taichi has the edge.
      Lol. at the moment, the romance talk aren’t getting anywhere xD

      I hope the creators have not forgotten about Taichi’s girlfriend

      • November 29, 2011 at 10:58 pmThe Moondoggie

        I’m betting against you on this one Alec…

      • December 1, 2011 at 3:59 amEnmire

        It wouldn’t be the biggest plot hole in the world, but it would be nice to see them address it.

    • November 30, 2011 at 1:54 pminnerchihiro

      Yeah, I highly disagree. So many times it’s the opposite, with the protagonist moving away from “the one” and coming back to them in the end.

  • November 29, 2011 at 10:59 pmmoshi2wei2

    Fav moments in this episode: when chihaya wanted to go to taichi’s room but was stopped by taichi & taichi sharing indirect kiss with chihaya :))

  • November 29, 2011 at 10:59 pminfo600

    Really liking those one word description of Chihaya, and the gruesome “training” during the “camp”…*shudders*

    still, when Taichi was first introduced along with both Chihaya AND Arata, it’s more of 3 “guys” rather than a love triangle, so I’m rather set on the effort being wasted even if that was his specific character development.

    one fun theory: maybe Chihaya’s ears can sense multiple types of “pressures”…aka. Spiderman!!

    • November 30, 2011 at 1:56 aminfo600

      now that I have some more time to mull it in my mimd, I have this really weird deja vu, as if I’m watching an identical situation as Star Driver…(where the main character-whos name was in the title- was not expanded, but the rest of the cast were)

      so anyone else has some similar feeling about it?

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:03 pmlilu

    Taichi already has said that he is dating her only because she asked him out and he thought why not. It was implied that if Chihaya asked to dump her, he would do it. If a girl wants Taichi, she needs to be the initiative(the pushy) one.

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:03 pmFencedude

    But I’ll say this – anyone who wants to argue that Chihaya doesn’t belong with Taichi, I’ll fight you right now. Name the time, name the place – I’ll be there

    Bah. Team Kanade FTW!

    Taichi’s just too much “perfect shoujo male love interest”, and now he’s going to start brooding, which I really hate.

    Not that I like Arata much more, mind.

    Also Kanade had her hair down. BEST EPISODE EVER.

    • November 29, 2011 at 11:07 pmGuardian Enzo

      Fence, pushing the yuri angle? I just did a spit-take with my coffee from the shock! ;-)

    • November 30, 2011 at 12:15 amEliteF22

      I second the yuri coupling. Chihaya acts just like one of the guys most of the time anyway.

    • November 30, 2011 at 4:51 pmTre

      I don’t know about the yuri. But I do know that after even after 3 episodes after her introduction, I still can’t help but marvel at how big Kanade is. Not in height, of course, but big where it matters.

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:05 pmPtolemaios00

    Important fact: Taichi has a girlfriend. This shouldn’t be the kind of show that will cut out that minor character just for convenience (they better not or that’s way too douchey). Her mere existence will stall any budding relationship for ChihayaXTaichi so far. This is pretty much the only detractor from the perfect nice guy that is Taichi. He decided to say yes to some side character confession just because he can’t work up the courage to confess himself to his childhood crush. Major (only) character flaw right there. There will definitely be at least one broken heart at the end of that.

    • November 29, 2011 at 11:11 pmFencedude

      I’d have more confidence in that if she wasn’t voiced by the same person playing the love-interest for the other male lead as well.

      Now, I’d love to see both Taichi’s girlfriend and Yuu treated respectfully, and them not just brushed off in the name of Taichi/Arata’s ~destined love~ with Chihaya…but I’m not holding out hope. Yuu at least has a name.

      Also I still say Yuu’s a saint for not smacking Chihaya upside the head in episode 5.

    • November 29, 2011 at 11:33 pmGuardian Enzo

      I agree that he should cut the cord, assuming he hasn’t already off-screen, but in fairness it should be pointed out that when he started dating “Girl with no name who has the same seiyuu as Arata’s neighbor” he hadn’t seen Chihaya in 3 years and had no idea they’d be going to the same school. So he didn’t “decide to say yes” because he was scared to go after Chihaya – she was out of his life at the time and as far as he knew, it was for good.

      • November 30, 2011 at 12:48 amFencedude

        I certainly don’t blame Taichi for starting the relationship with Nameless Girlfriend. I WILL blame him if he jerks her around.

    • November 30, 2011 at 4:53 pmKim

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Tags added^^^^ ~GE

      • November 30, 2011 at 6:47 pmKim

        Apologies for not adding a spoiler, I debated about it but I didn’t really think it was one (although I know some people don’t want to know anything whatsoever even if it won’t actually reveal anything important).

        Actually I wish people would understand this little “spoiler” because most of the criticism is based on not realizing it. Although really in this case I think it’s the manga-ka’s fault for Show Spoiler ▼

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:05 pmJoojoobees

    I agree with a lot of what you said, but I’m not going to explicitly support Taichi. That doesn’t mean I’m willing to fight you on Arata’s behalf, though. Essentially I don’t think anyone deserves Chihaya who isn’t willing to fight for her themselves. At this point, I’m pretty glad that Taichi is having a hard time fighting against Chihaya’s idealized Arata, but in the end, I wouldn’t be satisfied if he waltzed in and swept her away without having to work for her either.

    I completely agree, by the way that Taichi has seen some great development, and that is coming from someone who took an immediate disliking towards him. He was a selfish, cowardly, brat as a kid, but he really has shown that people can grow, and become better people.

    This show continues to be my favorite of the season. I am so glad that it is continuing, as I don’t see anything yet that excites me in the Winter lineup.

    • November 29, 2011 at 11:09 pmGuardian Enzo

      I think he’s already working pretty hard, myself!

      • December 1, 2011 at 11:34 pmJoojoobees

        Oh, I meant I wouldn’t want Arata to waltz in and get Chihaya without putting any work into it. I agree that Taichi is showing an effort.

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:06 pmDelwack

    “I know this is just an anime, and the way we interpret it is a matter of opinion and subject to personal tastes.”

    Yeah, personal tastes and all that jazz, but I think it’s fairly clear what emotions exactly the author and screenwriter are trying to instill here. It feels like this show is going for a longer-term setup, so I think they’re just laying a very strong foundation between the viewer, Taichi and Chihaya that can be later build on.

    That isn’t to say that they won’t have the ability to exit this path, but rather that they’ve committed a significant amount of emotional investment from a viewer standpoint into it. I think it would take a few rather heavy-duty developments, a heinous act or two (to turn the viewer away from a Taichi-sympathetic POV), and a fundamental shift in character focus in order for this not to be Taichi-centric. Ultimately, despite the title being Chihayafuru, the show looks like it’s going to be about him.

    I can see the writers have definitely worked their magic on you Enzo (and me too actually), since you sympathize and empathize. What I predict now is that this be slow, subtle but solid development (as we’ve seen here), but it mostly taking a backseat to Chihaya’s immediate goals as she continues to be as single-minded as ever. I think more than anything else, Chihaya has always wanted to share something that she’s passionate about and she finally has had that opportunity.

    It’s funny you mention Steins;Gate being the romance of the year. Good romances have to be character driven, I’d say that Steins;Gate is really a very solid story about it’s characters and their interactions, where the plot devices have to be well-executed science fiction. Yes, I make the science-fiction parts sound almost incidental for Steins;Gate, but in my opinion that’s what they ultimately were, incidents that helped to drive the character development and character relationships.

    Chihayafuru functions in much the same manner, it’s really about the characters, in a setting involving Karuta. I’ve always thought that actual topic and premise of a show to be of very little interest. A premise can be awesome or ridiculous; it really doesn’t matter since ultimately it is the characters that drive any show. That is why Steins;Gate, Madoka Magica, and Natsume Yuujinchou and Chihayafuru are so strong, and why a show like Guilty Crown feels relatively weak.

    • November 29, 2011 at 11:09 pmDelwack

      minor correction:

      have to be = happen to be

      (It’s funny you mention Steins;Gate being the romance of the year. Good romances have to be character driven, I’d say that Steins;Gate is really a very solid story about it’s characters and their interactions, where the plot devices happen to be well-executed science fiction.)

      I really should read what I’m about to post a 3rd time before I hit submit =(

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:10 pmlilu

    I mean Taichi’s girlfriend was introduced like Miss Nobody.

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:12 pmliz

    I posted this somewhere else and now I’m putting it here lol ^^

    its funny in skip beat it took the main guy to realize he was in love with the main girl for the first 13 volumes and the main girl is taking 10 or 20 volumes to figure it out lol. So I’m not worried about of arata barely showing up Show Spoiler ▼

    and appearing every now and then. I hope the creator will have something planned for his character in the future. But I love how big of an impact he makes by not being there at all 0_0. Arata certainly has a strong presence to not only chihaya but to taichi as well. Its amazing how a guy who was so good at everything can be intimiated by someone who has alot of passion for something he is truly good at and was able to impress the girl that taichi liked so easily.
    I think chihaya is a great character I may not like her all the time due to being too pushy at times but she wants to be the best so be it.
    I still like arata more than taichi for the simple reason that no one expected anything of arata unlike taichi. Taichi has always excelled in anything that he did (except karuta lol) people always had high expectation of him so when he is finally in a position that he cant get what he wants (like chihaya) it challenges him to do better. I do like him as a character and I’m happy to see that he has matured over the years but I just can’t see him getting chihaya in the end for some reason.
    Arata has always had to prove himself to other people and as a result he had confidence in the one thing he could do best which is play karuta. It is his determination and passion that really won me over to his character. I can see why chihaya cares deeply about him and heck he inspired her to become the karuta Queen in the future. It would be a huge waste in my opinion if the author does not use him more in the future.
    Maybe its just me but I love rooting for the underdog. The manga is still ongoing so there is still hope that she will do something more with him.

    • November 30, 2011 at 12:10 amwhatever

      Taichi is actually the underdog here…..so far I see that arata is winning:D. But oh well, more than rooting for arata and taichi, I think chihaya’s character is really bad. She is typically those “bold” main heroine that doesnt know the situation she is in. So so so typically boring…..hate this kind of girl>.<

      • November 30, 2011 at 12:30 amAlec

        Thought you’d be able to see more than just that. She has typical feautures, alright. But try looking for the subtle things in her, because there is a lot to her that meets the eye

        an example would be is that she realizes her wrongs, or that she is mature & thoughtful when needed to be. There’s a lot more.

        I mean, if she is just the typical bold lead, then the anime wouldn’t be so awesome.

      • November 30, 2011 at 12:33 amAlec

        typos -_- oh well

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:36 pmAnonymous

    Sorry boys, but Chihaya belongs with Kanade. ^_^

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:50 pmMitsuba

    i would let chihaya go to my room anytime

    • November 30, 2011 at 12:25 amGuardian Enzo

      Even if it had stacks of porn?

    • November 30, 2011 at 1:22 amshin

      maybe then she would finally get the message ^^

  • November 30, 2011 at 12:02 amSoiyeruda

    Just about cried at this scene. http://randomc.net/image/Chihayafuru/Chihayafuru%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2029.jpg

    That face is too adorable. Curse you shoujo.

  • November 30, 2011 at 12:37 ammistress_kisara

    Team Taichi FTW!

  • November 30, 2011 at 1:22 amshin

    This episode was great. Finally something going on again. I do have to say I agree with Chihaya in that beginners should play a good opponent when you are getting into competitive play so you have an idea of what you are up against. I don’t really see the point in always playing against Chihaya though as that is pretty dumb. You can learn more from playing against more skilled players but you should still play against someone close to your level so that you can practice.

  • November 30, 2011 at 1:25 amAlec

    finally?

    so, to you, there really was nothing going on in the previous episodes?

    Coz those episodes, gave depth to the main characters, and gave more detail to the sport itself

  • November 30, 2011 at 2:27 amSlushiZ

    That fight to the death? I’m right behind you Enzo. Taichi’s childhood flaw (according to Arata) was that he’s a coward and just as he was about to slip back into old habits and close his phone, Chihaya’s voice gave him the strength to grow and FIGHT! Not to mention how he is a calm complementing balance to Chihaya. And hell yes he’s part of the overused pretty rich boy etc. troupe but who doesn’t like winning in a competitive society? and how many people would pass on a message from a serious love rival in that situation? That’s probs why I’m feeling the real-ness from Taichi… And then he gets left staring at the water in a shadow that indicates he’s being overlooked and that Arata, miles away is ahead. ~sigh~ i swear their just messing with us, Arata is going to have to pull something amazing to get my sympathy over Taichi right now.

  • November 30, 2011 at 3:27 amRickyMack

    i know it started last year, but nothing can beat the romance between madoka and homura!

    as for having to fight a memory, taichi doesn’t have it nearly as bad as anaru. at least arata is still alive and they’ve met him in present day, rather than being dead or “somewhere out there in the world, i’ll find them someday, i just know it!” there’s no way you can compete with that!

  • November 30, 2011 at 3:34 amewok40k

    both Chihaya and Taichi are growing on me, with Chihaya starting to realise her pushyness, and Taichi having the courage to convey birthday wishes from his greatest rival…

  • November 30, 2011 at 3:40 amn0216332

    ARGH THAT TEXT MESSAGE… taichi so sour about life right now.

  • November 30, 2011 at 4:25 amawek

    “anyone who wants to argue that Chihaya doesn’t belong with Taichi, I’ll fight you right now.”

    HEAR HEAR!

    • November 30, 2011 at 10:48 amDonyo

      My thoughts on this, pretty much, lol.

    • November 30, 2011 at 7:57 pmThe Moondoggie

      Chihaya doesn’t belong to Taichi. She belongs to the game. There.

      cracks knuckles

  • November 30, 2011 at 4:42 amzani

    What an enjoyable recap to read! :) I’m actually for Team Arata, but I do see the TaichixChihaya chemistry. I’m starting to really get drawn to it because of your comments plus I’ve read spoilers that Show Spoiler ▼

    The reason why I was on Arata’s side was I though he was the apparent pair when I first read the plot. I imagined that he will go back to school with Taichi and Chihaya and he’ll slowly be convinced to join their kurata club. The purpose of her making the club was that she wanted to reunite with Taichi and Arata. I just love how this love triangle is going. It’s not about showing off whose better or what not but something that resembles real life. Can’t wait for the next episodes.

  • November 30, 2011 at 4:44 amskylion

    Score one right her for Team Taichi! At the end of the day, he knows her best, is not some ideal, and challenges her in more realistic ways that just karuta. Arata, probably wouldn’t know what to do.

    As for my the teacher gave her demand: would you want Chiase in charge? Someone has to reign her in….

  • November 30, 2011 at 4:55 amjames

    Spolier alert I guess? It’s only a prediction lol

    I have a odd feeling that she’ll never choose one boy over another. It just doesn’t seem like her personality wise to do that sort of thing. The series will probably end on a good note where they’re all just friends lol.

  • November 30, 2011 at 5:34 amShiranai

    In a way I kind of see Taichi and Arata being a split version of the standard shoujo bishi. On one hand we got the guy who plays the part of introducing the heroine to a new world, changing her perspective on life through karuta. On the other we place the standard traits i.e. good looking, rich, smart, etc in Taichi.

    What I love about Taichi’s character is that even though he’s the type that girls are meant to fawn at, the authors developed him in such a way that feels realistic. Right now I really do see him as the underdog in the triangle’. His feelings towards Chihaya aren’t so easily returned and he seems to need to do so much more in order to get her to really notice him, comparing to how she excited she reacts to everything concerned with Arata. Personally I’m rooting for Taichi too, I assume it’s going to be a slow slow slow development but I hope in the long run Chihaya starts to reciprocate his feelings showing that the “underdog” Taichi can triumph even if it takes a little effort and patience.

    I’d hate this series to end on them all just being really good friends in the end. The only one really stopping romance from developing is Chihaya. That’s why I want to see more sides to her character, one that thinks about love and is more aware of the people around her. After I’m (still) not watching this show for karuta, but for the character interactions. If it was ChihayaxKaruta with Two Guys the whole way through I’d just be left really unsatisfied.

    • November 30, 2011 at 5:37 amShiranai

      Oh awkward. Enzo (or Divine or anybody with ze power), can you edit out the first two “paragraphs”?

  • November 30, 2011 at 6:01 amCarol

    Anyone else wondering about Taichi’s girlfriend?

  • November 30, 2011 at 7:34 amJin

    Chihaya has to choose between someone she’s comfortable with (Taichi) or the person she’s chasing after and is her goal (Arata). Just like Honey and Clover and NOBODY saw that shit coming in the end. Its definitly not a sure thing with Arata x Chihaya like everyone thinks it is. My bet is she chooses Karuta ^^

    • November 30, 2011 at 5:34 pmshin

      That would be pretty sad tbh. At least art is a way of communicating, and Hagumi wasn’t at the point where she was ready to be in a serious relationship. If you are going to devote your life to something at least make it something meaningful. Imagine a 40 yo Chihaya replacing the karuta sensei lol.

  • November 30, 2011 at 7:56 amBobet01

    I don’t care about taichi X chihaya, all i wanna see Arata making a comeback and play Karuta. Just imagining it giving me a goosebumps. damn with those blue eyes in serious mode. XD

  • November 30, 2011 at 1:34 pmStöt

    Well, for it to be Taichi and Chihaya, There has to be a big show down between him and Arata. Or. Something really bad has to happen to Chihaya. Wow. That would be an amazing plot driver, wouldn’t it? I don’t think I would resist that, if I was one of the writers.
    At the moment, Chihaya needs to grow up, and fast. How else could she do that?

    Shit, I’ll battle you Enzo. This is a tragedy, and neither Arata nor Taichi will end up with the girl, that’s the conclusion I’m willing to fight for.
    How about right now, in the Beta World Line?

  • November 30, 2011 at 2:03 pmOrinX

    3:30 EST
    Miami Florida
    Disney World

    Weapon of Choice: Whiffle Bat

  • November 30, 2011 at 3:20 pmkaiiri

    “In that moment you can see in Chihaya’s eyes that she knows how important she is to Taichi, and the depth of their bond in never stronger.”

    i personally saw it as more as 3 part reaction: 1) her team didn’t hate / was mad at her like she thought, 2) in shock by the birthday thing, 3) realizes she’s playing karuta as a team like she did back then. which is why i think taichi follows her silence with ..

    “Chihaya, as long as you have a smile on your face, karuta will always be fun.”

    • December 1, 2011 at 10:44 amMinnako

      I have to agree that I also saw it as more of a dawning recognition that she has karuta friends, people with whom she really feels a connection with, who are in turn willing to spend time with her for its own sake. She’s talked before about how she didn’t really have any friends who play karuta with her. She isn’t particularly portrayed as being close to her other friends (if she has any, I think we saw a few classmates earlier?)and even in flashbacks her friends always seemed more interested in her sister.

  • November 30, 2011 at 3:38 pmLeticia

    Taichi is adorable! He’s so responsible, attentive and caring! He’s just my type! Haha~ Nah, I really wish him the best, but I’m guessing he won’t end with Chihaya, she’s simply too childish to even think about him as a man =( Anyway, I’m enjoying this show a lot, I LOVE IT.

  • November 30, 2011 at 3:45 pmsomeone

    Your last paragraph is EXACTLY what I’m thinking, even down to the newfound appreciation for Miyano Mamoru.

    I’m really rooting for Taichi, he’s one great character. He didn’t have to pass that message onto Chihaya, but he is a good enough guy to pass it on anyway. I felt awful for him when he leaned in to share that indirect kiss.

  • November 30, 2011 at 7:49 pmgrey

    friggen awesome episode. i agree with everything you said. :)
    this is how you do anime right! something about this episode had a very classic shojou anime feel to it, especially the last five minutes that just blew everything away from this already awesome episode.

    team taichi all the way. whadda hunk.

  • December 1, 2011 at 10:41 amMinnako

    I see your point, Joojoobees. I don’t think it should be about fighting for romance per se. To me that always implies forcing things and kind of stalking people into going out with you. An unfortunate trope in shoujo anime, but not necessarily a well-written romance.

    Chihaya still has lots of maturing to do in terms of how she relates to others, platonically and romantically, and hopefully the karuta club and especially Taichi will nudge her in the right direction. Certainly she seems to be getting more self-aware slowly. Interestingly, I wonder how much of her lack of self-awareness is down to simply being neglected – it’s like her whole family and most of her friends have never really paid much attention to what Chihaya was actually like, leaving her to become extroverted to the point of a little attention-seeking and rather emotionally dense.

    I seem to be leaning towards Team Taichi at the moment (Arata’s continued absence is a bit of a deal-breaker for me, can’t be waiting for 968 episodes for him to turn up, anyway), and rather than expecting him to do wild, dramatic things to ‘win’ her over, I look forward to seeing if the little things that reveal he cares eventually come to her notice. Though at the moment I’m finding it refreshing to watch a series with a main female character not completely obsessed with some pathetic fantasy of love. Seeing as she’s perfectly interesting as is, I wouldn’t mind too much if there’s little romance in the series…

    *as for the Pork Bun issue – this episode had him teasing Tsutomu, so I guess the nicknames (wanted or not) are just some sort of running gag in the series.

  • December 1, 2011 at 6:05 pmkennyBoy

    Arata is so like Edward.. Team Jacob for Taichi!

    Excuse the Twilight reference, but like Bella I can’t help but feel Chihaya as another empty shell character. Of course that’s my opinion.

    • December 2, 2011 at 1:02 am

      omg wtf no. And I’m not even a Twilight hater but seriously…just no.

  • December 1, 2011 at 6:10 pmYukie

    If this Josei series leans toward the general shoujo love triangle pattern, then Chihaya will most likely end up with Arata. It’s almost a rule where the more effort a guy puts in to win over the girl, the less possibility he’ll end up with her heart. Whereas, the guy who’s distant and only occasionally drops a few hints of interest almost always wins. I think this was one of the few reasons why I had boycotted shoujo a long time ago. Too damn frustrating.

    • December 1, 2011 at 9:09 pmGuardian Enzo

      I’m not sure that holds up if the girl is basically a shounen male lead, though…

  • December 2, 2011 at 9:53 pmnagi

    This show should have more episodes like this! I don’t like them focusing on Karuta that much Show Spoiler ▼

    Sorry I’m still rooting for Arata though ;)

  • December 3, 2011 at 1:02 amBakaMochi

    Team Taichi all the way!

    Maybe when Arata comes back into the show things will be different, but as of now Taichi has proven that he’s a good match for Chihaya; he points out her flaws and helps her grow, which is what a good romance is supposed to be made up of. Meanwhile Arata is (as of this moment) a goal Chihaya strives towards, rather than a viable romantic interest. Her monologues towards him don’t really denote a romantic interest (at least in my opinion) and same goes for Arata – even when he was younger I didn’t think the care he showed her was necessarily romantic. Of course it’s hard to make these assumptions with children;;;

    But one thing that throws a wrench into things is the fact Arata was the one who gave Chihaya her dream, and that’s kind of hard to overlook. But since Taichi is the one helping her get there, hopefully it has some impact on the end game.

    Sorry for the rambling – just had to get it out! ;;;;

  • December 4, 2011 at 8:53 amyumeruhime

    This episode officially made this my favourite show of the season, without doubt! I just love how the characters are fleshed out, if only there were more teams eager to pick up the manga XD

  • January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pmDecember’s Landing

    Ah, lol, after reading this, I recognize my question for you has been answered. Oh well. It’s hard for me not to admire Taichi as well. I mean, really, when I saw him in the first episode as a teenager I was like “He is so gorgeous!!! He’s going to be my favorite for sure!” Taichi has all of the physical characteristics I adore in a bishounen: perfect hair, long eyelashes, beautiful eyes (it almost sounds like I’m describing a girl ._.), plus he developed a mature and caring personality to boot. Taichi is the kind of boy I usually support when it comes to love triangles: the good-looking boy, once a spoiled brat but changes his ways for the girl he loves, but ends up being the hopeless romantic (ex. Strobe Edge’s Andou <- I love this guy to pieces), but oddly enough, Arata wins my heart and Chihaya’s too. I don’t know, maybe it’s partly because he reminds me of Harry Potter (lol), but I mean, he is the one that helped Chihaya recognize her passion: Karuta. Without him, it’s hard to imagine what kind of anime this would turn out to be. I for one sure as heck would not want some typical shoujo manga/anime where the clumsy and oblivious girl falls in love with her childhood friend who has always had a huge crush on her. BORING. Fortunately, however, Arata IS in it and he is what made the anime interesting in the first place (my jaw dropped and eyes widen with heart racing when I saw little sixth grader Arata practically puncture the wall with a Karuta card, “Dang this kid is good!!!”), plus he is the one that made Chihaya find her favorite favorite card which in essence represents her deep red love for Karuta and Arata, and most of all is the reason why Chihaya now has a dream of her own, to be the Queen of Karuta beside her King Arata, and maybe even most most of all, her great passion for the sport. So despite all arrows pointing to Taichi what with all the “I’m the one you should choose!” vibes he’s been exuding, every small moment Arata and Chihaya share together regardless of distance has just as much of a profound effect on their relationship I believe. Therefore, while you say that “anyone who wants to argue that Chihaya doesn’t belong with Taichi, I’ll fight you right now. Name the time, name the place – I’ll be there. And in true shounen style, I’m willing to battle to the death” I shall do the same for Arata.

  • February 19, 2012 at 5:45 pmWilfredo Devone

    The Government is operating so far outside of its design parameters that this type of discussion is futile. IMO the place to start is eliminating income tax which would force massive reductions in power and programs, bringing the govt. more in line with the founders structure. Only then can a discussion vis-a-vis federal and state govts. become worthwhile.

  • November 30, 2011 at 7:47 pmGuardian Enzo

    I think any time you reveal something from the manga it should be tagged, even if it’s relatively minor (as your post was). No biggie.