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「くもゐにまがふおきつしらなみ」 (Kumoi ni Magō Oki tsu Shiranami)
“The Crusting Waves Almost Look Like Clouds in the Sky”

Only five more Taichi Tuesdays to go. Can it really be possible?

I’d have to say this is a good season on balance, especially as there are several excellent shows (four on Monday alone) that have a chance to make my top 10 list for 2012. But the same thing is true that’s always been true about Chihayafuru – this is the show I look forward to most every week. This is the show I enjoy watching most, the show which touches me emotionally in the deepest way. In much the same way it combines the best elements of shoujo and shounen, it also successfully combines so many narrative styles – comedy, romance, drama, action. It might not be the funniest or scariest or most exciting series on the air (although it might just be, in that last case) but it’s the one that masters all those elements in the most skillful way. To paraphrase Taichi’s catch phrase, Chihayfuru is a Jack of all Trades, and Master of all.

It was inevitable that when Arata re-entered the story in a meaningful way it was going to be dramatic, but Chihayafuru really did the moment justice when it finally happened at the Yoshino Qualifier. Of course as always, the timing was the worst humanly possible for Taichi. If that poor boy goes to the shrine on New Year’s his fortune must say “bad luck” every time, because timing is not his friend. With Chihaya – told she’s about to fail out and be forced to repeat a year – and Nishida studying under the watchful eye of tutor Tsutomu-kun, Taichi – who was the only one who had more at stake than simple practice for the Eastern Master/Queen Qualifier – went to Yoshino on his own to take his last chance to make the leap to Class A. And it seemed to be going well, as he breezed through his first two matches. But then, this is Taichi, so you knew it would all blow up in his face. Harada-sensei points out that Arata has come to compete at the worst moment for Taichi – and even worse, Arata hands Taichi his phone number and E-mail to give to Chihaya. Arata didn’t do it on purpose but that was the worst thing he could have done, and Taichi’s concentration is shattered, causing him to lose in the third round. As this is happening Arata is competing in the Class A tournament (along with Harada-sensei) and Chihaya has ditched Tsutomu, racing off to Yoshino to root for Taichi. Tsutomu’s response to this is a simple and concise text about running away from responsibilities, but the point still hits home.

Here’s where things got intense, sad, and ironic. Taichi was naturally devastated at his loss, distraught at losing his last chance to jump to Class A before the Eastern Qualifier and at having let Arata blow his concentration. Chihaya has gone to Yoshino because, in her own words, she was “worried about Taichi being alone after he won or lost” – yet as soon as Taichi told her Arata was there, she forgot completely about Taichi and let him suffer alone. Not that she displayed any overt romantic feelings for Arata – it was more about studying his Karuta and the reunion of the three childhood friends – but still pretty insensitive on her part (when Tsutomu asks later if Taichi was depressed, she can’t even remember). Yet, being insensitive is so intrinsically part of who she is that I’m not sure Chihaya can be any other way. More than any of the others in the cast, Chihaya is stuck in childhood – her approach to life and to Karuta is simple, direct and often thoughtless. It’s only now that she’s realizing the impact this has on her Karuta – perhaps that will lead her to realize that her personal growth is a victim of her immaturity, too.

As for Arata, he loses to Hiroshi (from Harada’s Shiranami Society – Harada loses in the semi-finals). But then the real drama begins, as he meets up with Taichi. Arata even goes so far as to mention to Taichi – after the latter dries his tears and insists that Arata give Chihaya his number himself – that he hesitated to give his number to Chihaya because he wasn’t sure if she and Taichi were a couple, a notion the startled Taichi denies quickly. There are so many emotional repercussions happening here that it’s staggering – Arata’s effective declaration that he’s interested, Taichi’s effective admission that Chihaya is still available, and the larger dynamic of the three of then being together playing Karuta again. As Taichi himself says, while part of him was angry at Arata, another part of him was thrilled to see him, and to have the old team back together again. I might even go so far as to suggest that in a way, this is the nudge Taichi needed to make his feelings known to Chihaya himself – I get the sense that he was hesitant to do so in Arata’s absence, as it would have been unfair of him to do so and a sort of tainted victory in any case.

The mangaka certainly isn’t doing us any favors in terms of mixed messages. Kana drags Chihaya home to study, and on the way she reads a poem from The Tale of Genji which she states “sounds like a love poem, but is actually about a childhood friend – it sounds just like Arata”. If there’s a theme overriding the episode it’s personal responsibility, and Tsutomu sums it up by quietly scolding Chihaya when she returns – “You have to do the things you don’t want to do before you can do the things you truly want to do.” The words hit home in context – Taichi is the example Tsutomu uses, for the way he works hard at Karuta and manages to rank at the top of his class in grades anyway – and Chihaya takes the message and promises to do what she needs to do not to be held back a grade.

But those words could just as easily be applied to Taichi – what he really wants to do it tell Chihaya he loves her. But before that, he needs to grow up – to accept that he’s been afraid of commitment for his entire life, and to face Arata head on in a battle for Chihaya’s heart rather then hope that battle never comes. Indeed the best scene of the episode is actually the one on the platform between Harada-sensei and Taichi, where Harada offers Taichi the opportunity to advance to Class A based on his two second-place finished in Class B tournaments – something Taichi has earned by right, and which both Nishida and Arata were surprised did not happen. Harada-sensei is very quietly a wonderful character, and he sees what’s happening in Taichi’s heart. The following exchange of dialogue astonishingly captures the very essence of the series and these characters and where they stand, in a few simple words. As Harada thinks to himself “Frustration won’t last forever. Nobody can keep on going without some measure of reward”, an announcement comes over the PA that “an empty train is passing on platform two”. And after a moment Taichi laughs and replies simply that, no, Harada shouldn’t break the society rule and promote him because he’s “Not so much focused on making Class A as becoming someone who doesn’t run away.”

That scene – Harada’s thoughts, the station announcer’s message, Taichi’s reply, Harada-sensei’s reaction – is probably the best I’ve seen in any anime this season. Every thought I’d had about Taichi’s journey (many of which I expressed in last week’s post) was captured in this simple exchange, and it completely validates the experience of watching this series and responding to the character the way so many have. That’s spectacular writing, truly rare and special – maybe the best in a consistently well-written series. It looks at this point as if the anime will wrap up at the Eastern Qualifier, with Arata and Shinobu joining Chihaya in the tournament – but I can’t help but wonder what Taichi’s role in that drama will be. My faith in both the mangaka and the director is strong, and I can only trust that Taichi won’t be an afterthought in that final drama. But for Taichi’s fans as well as the character himself, frustration can’t last forever – indeed, we can’t keep going forever without some measure of reward…

February 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm
82 comments »
  • February 21, 2012 at 10:16 pmh3dvix

    anyone know if there is going to be 2nd season for this? Going by the manga, they can probably fit another 26 episodes after

    • February 21, 2012 at 10:20 pmGuardian Enzo

      I would presume that’s very unlikely based on BD/DVD sales, but you never know.

      • February 21, 2012 at 10:41 pmoshaku

        that’s disappointing. This anime has become my favourite of the season.

      • February 22, 2012 at 1:48 amA

        Life would be unfair if Guilty Crown got more sales. And sadly, I’m guessing that’s the case.

      • February 22, 2012 at 9:22 amGuardian Enzo

        Based on Vol. 1 sales, GC is selling about 7X as much, I believe.

      • February 22, 2012 at 10:41 pmBeckett

        WELP that’s it’, goodbye my faith in humanity, it was nice knowing you but you just got finished off once and for all. Looks like we were wrong all this time to assume people aren’t fundamentally morons, turns out, they are.

        Seriously, GC gets 7x the sales of this? How can there be so many humans with such bad taste?

    • February 23, 2012 at 10:52 amDragonite88

      You will probably here the news at the end of the season or some time during the summer season I presume. And if there is to be second season it would be hinted at the very end.

      This episode was just bril. I could feel the drama init lol.

  • February 21, 2012 at 10:19 pmEnmire

    There were tears in my eyes at the last train scene. There. I cried. Proud of it.

  • February 21, 2012 at 10:40 pmbird

    Seriously, I don’t think I can handle how every episode of Chihaya is better than the last.

  • February 21, 2012 at 10:41 pmgod

    I have zero faith this manga will end well. Probably will end with taichi in his penthouse with his supermodel girlfriend reading a card with chihaya and arata announcing the birth of their sixth kid. I can’t remember a Josei that has ended well.

    • February 21, 2012 at 11:08 pmScruffy

      From what i’ve read of Suetsugo Yuki’s work she likes happy endings but loves torturing her characters along the way. For instance in Flower of Eden the main character Show Spoiler ▼

      • February 21, 2012 at 11:23 pmgod

        The thing with flower of eden that bothers me is.

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • February 22, 2012 at 1:09 amEliteF22

      Chihaya’s almost supermodel already, if Taichi gets with her he’d have cleaned house. What I wish they would go in depth in is the reasons why he likes her. There’s been scarce details about that. So far it seems like they met up again in high school and she’s gorgeous so of course he likes her. Of course lot’s of teenage relationships are based on just physical attraction, but its almost too realistic a route to follow. I’d give major kudos to the author if she went that route though. At this point I much rather prefer watching them mature and overcome their various hardships than any couplings.

      • February 22, 2012 at 5:21 amDave

        I think he’s always liked her, even loved her. And when he initially left to go to another school, he was running away from her and her alleged feelings for Arata.

        That’s why he’s saying now that he doesn’t want to run away from his feelings anymore.

        That’s just my .2

      • February 22, 2012 at 9:23 amGuardian Enzo

        What Dave said. I don’t think he’s ever loved anybody else.

    • February 22, 2012 at 3:50 amKim

      I don’t actually know what you consider a good ending but I was happy with both the endings for Honey & Clover & Nodame Cantabile (although in the case of Nodame I meant the ending in Opera-Hen)

      Also wow the manga-ka’s other work sounds much darker than Chihayafuru in comparison.

    • February 22, 2012 at 5:48 amKarmafan

      If she ends up choosing Arata over Taichi I will be so pissed at her. Taichi has stood by faithfully and supported her every step of the way. She needs to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to Taichi. Sad part is she is clueless how he feels about her and how much it probably hurts him for her to forget all about him once she sees Arata.

      • February 22, 2012 at 12:15 pmScruffy

        Well to be fair to Arata he hasn’t ‘stood by’ Chihaya all this time, although mostly not his fault. He went off to an elite middle school and apparently didn’t keep in touch with Chihaya during that time and only when he met her again in Hight School things between them started happening. Actually that brings up a good point. The Middle School that he went to was supposed to be an elite school with a path to all the best High Schools. I wonder why he ended up being in the same High School as Chihaya?

      • February 22, 2012 at 3:18 pmshin

        Shes so dense she still doesnt even know. Im guessing someones gotta step it up and spell it out for her.

      • March 8, 2012 at 9:23 pmzani

        @Scruffy- It was mentioned in the first episode. Show Spoiler ▼

        But of course that doesn’t stop us from making possible inferences.

    • February 22, 2012 at 3:56 pmHaruka

      Show Spoiler ▼

    • February 23, 2012 at 9:51 amunderMebius

      What’s with underwhelming support for Arata? I much rather prefer Arata and Chihaya with their 6th child.

  • February 21, 2012 at 10:47 pmdarkkodiak

    I felt split on Arata’s loss. One side of me wanted him to destroy everyone at the tournament but another side of me was glad to see that he was just an extraordinary player who was rusty after a long absence of playing Karuta. For me there were two highlights in this episode. One was when Taichi realize how happy he was to see Arata back. Second was his response to Harada-sensei’s offer to promote him to class A. That showed me that he’s changed like how Arata pointed out when they met. He’s no longer taking the easy road but will slug through the hardship to get to where he wants. I did however found it funny that all the effort Taichi put into not directly pursuing Chihaya was for nothing because of Arata’s assumption that the two would be a couple. That made me like Arata more because he didn’t have any delusion that he had a shot with Chihaya due to his absence in her life physically. After that exchange he had with Taichi, I’m no longer hoping for a ArataxChihaya and more comfortable with a TaichixChihaya because now I want to see a ArataxShinobu. Man, talk about a powerhouse team haha.

    • February 23, 2012 at 5:58 amewok40k

      Arata is still a teenager… But he’s on a par with adult players aspiring to Master levels. I don’t think we will see any of our young karuta players in the Master class before anime ends, and I like as it keeps things quite realistic.

  • February 21, 2012 at 10:48 pmScruffy

    Taichi Tuesday came (well Wednesday for me) and it certainly delivered! I think that this was THE BEST episode so far for Chihayafuru. And I agree about that scene with Harada at the train station. I was tearing up after Taichi’s slump over the note for Chihaya but that scene pushed me over the edge. What got me the most was the way Taichi responded. It was not what I was expecting. It seemed like he grew up all of a sudden. After all the way he treated his girlfriend as he was pined after Chihaya was VERY dickish so you certainly can’t say he has acted very mature so far.

    • February 21, 2012 at 10:54 pmGuardian Enzo

      Actually, I think Taichi has been very mature for most of the series – I think this issue with the GF was mostly a case of the writing never doing anything with the character.

      • February 22, 2012 at 12:05 pmScruffy

        I guess you could be right, but from a viewers perspective you see his girlfriend in Ep1 (i think) and from then on until he finally dumps her a few episodes ago he’s been pining after Chihaya. There was even the lecture that Harada gave him about not two-timing which while it was not particularly about his feelings for Chihaya he ment it for that as well.

        Anyway, I think he probably acts like a normal teenager and IMHO he’s one of the most realistic teenagers that I’ve seen portrayed in Anime since .. well I cant think of anyone except perhaps Ko from Cross Game (although he is a little too perfect)

      • February 22, 2012 at 3:20 pmshin

        I’m guessin the gf was just to show tachii was popular and smart and everything else.

  • February 21, 2012 at 11:10 pminfo600

    @ Enzo: I think there’s 2 things wrong in there:

    - Arata lost to Hiroshi in the 3rd round, not the semi final, as Harada himself exclaimed that he and Hiroshi both lost in the semi-final…

    - Kana was watching the whole time (there’s a freeze frame bonus style scene where Taichi saw Arata for the first time) wearing the very thin disguise (think Clark Kent)

    one thing to note: Chihaya mentioning how she rarely sees Arata in a similar fashion to the mentioned poem was endearing (to me) and should’ve have more impact than what was shown, shame Taichi’s impression upon Harada-Sensei with his “not-running-away” line stole the show.

    Taichi Tuesday, it’s not overrated. (He’s in a rich family yet he’s not bothering to taking the easy way out. That’s character.)

    • February 21, 2012 at 11:22 pmGuardian Enzo

      My impression was that Harada and Arata lost in semi-finals in different sides of the draw, but you might be right – I’ll double-check the dialogue later. I confess I missed Kana in that scene – good eyes.

      • February 22, 2012 at 1:44 aminfo600

        I was trolling around Animesuki (no account setup there though) when I found it, so it wasn’t me, and I’d take a grain of salt on Harada-sensei’s claim as well (I think I was basing it on CrunchyRoll’s subs)

  • February 22, 2012 at 12:10 amh3dvix

    @Guardian Enzo
    You’re right about chihayafuru DVD/BD not selling well… But from my research… it’s actually doing better than “Kimi ni todoke” and “Nodame cantabile”, 2 series from similar genre…
    So there is still hope :)

    • February 22, 2012 at 12:18 amNico

      It’s not doing better then Nodame or Kimitodo at all. Both those shows sold more then 5k, whereas this series is way below that mark.

    • February 22, 2012 at 1:32 pmhikari

      Yup, I second Nico there, where do you get your numbers anyway?If you look at the dvd/bd’s animes list throughout the years in MAL or oricon charts, etc it’s clear that Nodame&Kimitodo sales are totally above Chihayafuru, if i’m not forget even the 1st season of Kimitodo sold over 10K, and the manga sales boost hugely until 1 million copy each vol. While Chihayafuru’s manga sold well(around 200-300K), but it’s nowhere near Nodame&Kimitodo which sold over 1 million copies per vol, makes the two titles with Nana as the only 3 powerhouse shojo/josei mangas in japan right now among Jump’s titles. But let’s just hope though how tiny it is, that there’s still any possibility for 2nd season.

  • February 22, 2012 at 12:36 amstarblacks

    I just wanted to give taichi a hug, so I hugged my laptop. TAICHI NEVER GIVE UP!

  • February 22, 2012 at 12:52 amMaichain

    I’m going to miss Taichi Tuesdays :’(

  • February 22, 2012 at 12:54 amEliteF22

    Didn’t Chihaya already have Arata’s phone number and email? Chihaya really shouldn’t be with anyone right now, she’s got a lot of growing up to do first.

    • February 22, 2012 at 5:06 amkyosei

      The phone number she has is for his home phone and the e-mail is just his personal e-mail. The number and e-mail he was giving to Taichi was for his cell which she does not have. In fact that was actually one of the personal notes/reminders she made for herself to get back in episode 5 if I recall correctly. Since she left those notes behind I’m pretty sure he’s been giving it a lot of time to read them over and think about it.

  • February 22, 2012 at 1:22 amNeko

    well…i love Arata sorry (not) =]
    but fair play Taichi has really bad luck and feel sorry for him.
    It is rather obvious that someone will have to shout at Chihaya for her to even realise she’s making the two wait for…well forever.

  • February 22, 2012 at 1:43 amDobs

    The scene with sensei and Taichi at the station was filled with so much passion, manliness, intensity, and dare I say foreshadowing (in an optimistic sense).

    The music just increased the intensity of the scene too. Hooooooly this series <3

  • February 22, 2012 at 1:57 amKRILL

    Arata! Oh man he’s already the winner in my book. That guy is the Lelouche of karuta, or maybe the Kakashi. Just cool calm and collected ready to hand out cans of whoop a$$. You basically hope your not on his list of sh*t to f*ck up that day. But it’s like I’ve said! The queen parallels Arata so well. Arata should shack up with her instead. I mean they have the same hair color too! Same with Taichi and Chihaya. Everyone’s happy.

  • February 22, 2012 at 2:33 ammtle

    Arata’s speech is so strange to hear. Is this what kansai dialect sounds like?

    • February 22, 2012 at 1:29 pmR

      It’s actually Fukui-ben. Shinobu (the Queen) speaks in Kansai-ben.

    • February 27, 2012 at 1:30 pmDecember’s Landing

      I actually think Arata’s accent is pretty hott. I just love how low it is. *_* umph.

  • February 22, 2012 at 4:37 amHungryKoala

    To be perfectly honest, dense girls like Chihaya really irritate me in real life.

    It’s actually worse when they do pick up on people’s feelings but act like they’re not aware because they cant be bothered to deal with it.

  • February 22, 2012 at 5:07 amLeticia

    This is sooo good! I love it! And Taichi, oh Taichi, he’s so easy to adore, it’s like ‘come on Chihaya, can’t you see it?’ oh man, I wish we can have a decent final, not an opened one…

  • February 22, 2012 at 5:08 amn0216332

    one day i will be just as manly when i am telling people about my flaws…. i’d be like “i’m dumb” and they’d be like
    http://randomc.net/image/Chihayafuru/Chihayafuru%20-%2020%20-%20Large%2035.jpg

  • February 22, 2012 at 5:34 amFaint Smile

    Great episode(well every episode of Chihayafuru was great).. Cant wait to see the upcoming tournament and see who’s gonna be on the finals.. And could there be a chance that Chihaya and Arata will have a game?..

  • February 22, 2012 at 8:16 amikki

    here i am, bawling my eyes out for taichi when i have an exam tomorrow. that said, chihaya’s a dick. i remember enzo saying that if she were a male character, people would be hating her left and right. well, i second that.

    • February 22, 2012 at 9:29 amGuardian Enzo

      “You’re hot, so it’s easier to take.”
      – Dr. Robert Chase

      Yes, Chihaya fills the role of the driven, super-talented but dense shounen male lead here. And yes, if she were the male lead, she’s be on the business end of tons of fan hate. But just as I often defend those characters, I’ll defend her – she’s dense and insensitive, but nothing she does is mean-spirited – it’s just who she is. I love her, but it’s high time for her to start to grow up.

      That said, it’s always been my contention that Taichi is the MC of Chihayafuru. He’s had easily the most development, the most exposure to his inner feelings, and his character arc is the defining one of the series.

      • February 22, 2012 at 10:55 pmronbb

        I agree – Taichi’s the character that gets developed the most…we get to know his inner thoughts and feelings, and it’s hard not to get drawn close to him… That makes me wonder if he should be the main protagonist instead of Chihaya, or we should simply change the tile to Taichi Tuesdays…lol. This episode is another great one, or some even said, “this is the best” again… I am not 100% convinced that Chihaya has to be there at the tournament simply for creating a reunion, but I can deal with that. Like Guardian Enzo and a lot here, I love the train station scene a lot – the music, the train that comes through without stopping…it’s simply brilliant. I really like Taichi’s response – rather than simply taking a title, he’s not going to give up fighting against himself…proving himself not to be someone who runs away… That reply amazed me, as it did to Harada-sensei…the inner strength that Taichi is seeking as contrast to what he used to or taught to do – quitting when not winning. I also like the scene when Chihaya just simply grabs Taichi’s arm…how ironic… All in all, I love this episode. I am guessing, which I am not good at, the ending will be something like the three of them will once again join hands in fighting for becoming better and stronger – both at karuta and in life…

      • March 8, 2012 at 9:30 pmzani

        Even if Taichi has the most development we’ve seen, I think the title Chihayafuru is very good actually. It’s a play on words with her name Chihaya and a kurata card. Also, it is Chihaya who ties all the characters together. Furu means full. Not because she’s full of her self but rather full of kurata- the double meaning I mentioned. If she wasn’t so obsessed with kurata, we wouldn’t have our story in the first place. She wouldn’t have bother to make a team, get Taichi and the rest involved and even try to convince Arata to go back playing.

  • February 22, 2012 at 9:49 amJoojoobees

    It will be such a shame if Chihayafuru doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Here we have obviously excellent source material that has been been brilliantly interpreted as an anime. It is my favorite of 2012 so far, and I just can’t believe how good the execution has been. And then Guilty Crown outsells by 7x??? Aargh. My faith in humanity is slipping away.

    • February 22, 2012 at 1:47 pmhikari

      Haha3x…if you often take a look at yearly sales of dvd/bd’s animes, you’ll be very surprised to see what kind of titles that sold the most anyway^-^ I’m not saying all of those best seller are bad titles, there’re some good ones, but take a look at the rest of it. Anyway, it’s already obvious since the start that this beautiful series aren’t the kind of material that’ll attract otaku&fujoshi to buy it, while there’re the ones that willing to spend more money to buy any anime related stuffs since casual fans/common people obviously just prefer buying the manga since it’s wayyy cheaper than anime’s bd/dvd.

    • February 22, 2012 at 1:55 pmhikari

      Ooops..I forgot to add, atleast the manga sold well(around 200-300K)per vol, although nowhere fantastic like Nana, Nodame&Kimitodo, but it’s still good nonetheless, plus the manga has already won several awards and now also being nominated as one of Tezuka Award nominees^-^ So yeah, it’s still get the recognition it’s deserved though not from the anime sales.

  • February 22, 2012 at 10:39 amdustshadow

    Poor, poor deluded Taichi. Refusing something that you’re by all means entitled to is not being strong, it’s being masochistic and selling yourself short. And if you don’t win a tournament very soon, Harada will be right. You’ll end a bitter and frustrated B-player and quit. Or didn’t you notice how there are no adults in B/C/D. They either promoted to A (where all the fun is) or they just quit.

    But it will be interesting indeed how the writers will handle the fact that Taichi has very expertedly sidelined himself. Looking forward to the next Torture-Taichi-Tuesday

  • February 22, 2012 at 12:44 pmgrey

    O the joy and curse of being so emotionally fixed on a fictional character. My heart goes out to you Taichi, come here and let me hold you ;___; I will give you the love you deserve.

    • February 22, 2012 at 2:53 pmTori no uta

      hah I’m in the same boat as you. I spent the entirety of this episode just muttering “I hate you arata” to myself over and over again. Now in reality I cant really say I hate his character but I’d so much rather see Taichi x chihaiya work.

      • February 22, 2012 at 6:12 pmgrey

        Yes yes, poor Taichi and his one sided love. But hey, I’m in it for the whole ride, every character is awesome in their own right. I don’t really care about how it ends, or who ends up with who. (although I do want to see Taichi happy in the end..) I’m just glad this show exists.

  • February 22, 2012 at 3:22 pmshin

    Thought this episode was quite well done. Only part im lost on is the whole water deal.

  • February 22, 2012 at 4:01 pmIntricateRadiance

    I must say, Mamoru Miyano does an outstanding job as Taichi. I know he won Favourite Male Seiyuu for Best of Anime 2011, but I’m rooting for him in 2012 too. Yoshimasa Hosoya has also been amazing and hope to hear him in more shows this year.

  • February 22, 2012 at 5:23 pmcarp

    I can’t say that Chihaya’s rushing over to Arata during the tournament was the right thing to do, but Taichi brought it upon himself. He decided to pick that exact moment, when Chihaya was worrying about him, to tell her that Arata was playing. He knew that Chihaya would get distracted by the shiny — he was either testing her, or too ashamed of his loss. I love Taichi, but he needs to gain some confidence.

    I think that’s why he doesn’t want to accept Harada’s offer and “take the cheap way out”, even though he honestly deserved to be in class A. When it came down to it, too, his loss to Nishida last episode was pure luck (no matter how much Taichi beat himself up about not avoiding that in the first place, the fact is that he’s just as good as Nishida, which means he’s good enough for class A). But not by his standards. I think that in a way, Taichi is running away because he doesn’t think he’s ready. He doesn’t want to move up until he’s sure that he can face Arata as an equal. Like dustshadow, I think Taichi’s selling himself short.

    Also, if Taichi’s been friend-zoned, Arata’s been rival-zoned. Seriously, Chihaya sees him as the Queen and looks up to him more than anything.

  • February 22, 2012 at 6:08 pmPanda

    I may be the only one who feels like Chihaya ending up with Arata would be a good thing.While I do like Taichi, and I the only thing I don’t like about anime’s like this, is that even though the girl is dumb when it comes to love she knows who she likes, and feel that she might end up with taichi….

    That scene where she is on the train and is talking about the poem and how its about the two childhood friends she also mentions love and she mentioned that it reminded her about Arata, I feel like that is a way of showing that Chihaya is slowing realizing that she might like Arata more that just as an awesome Karuta player. I am shipping ArataXChihaya but I still love you Taichi

    • February 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm7godeohs

      What I don’t understand is where the affection comes from. Taichi has seemingly always loved her. Chihaya meanwhile played karuta with Arata and found that she loved it. There was not much after that except them parting ways. I think Taichi always help a place in his heart for Chihaya but as always, was too much of a coward (per Arata) to do anything about it. He finally meets up with her again and realizes that he is completely in love with her regardless of his GF. Taichi then goes on to form a club with her, supports her during her journey, etc.

      Meanwhile, Arata sits in his house while being guilt stricken and rightly so. Chihaya does the ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ routine and builds him up as this god among gods. Arata introduced her to her dream, while Taichi has been helping her achieve it – the drive is from Arata, the effort is from Taichi.

      Taichi loves her but is still too cowardly to tell her and uses his standing at karuta as his excuse. In the time it takes for Taichi to finally consider himself ‘good enough’ to confess to Chihaya, she will have already had enough sparkling water moments just looking at Arata to decides that she likes him over Taichi. Taichi has been their from the beginning of their high school quest, while Arata walks in and already stands at a higher position in Chihaya’s heart.

  • February 22, 2012 at 7:54 pmJason Isenberg

    Man this show just makes me think it rivals CLANNAD, no seriously it’s just so darned good. Both were so amazing. I feel like I’ve watched season 7 of this show, that’s how good it is to me :(

  • February 22, 2012 at 8:45 pmR

    Whether Arata meant it that way or not, his attempt to go through Taichi to give Chihaya his phone number and mail address was such a clever scheme — it could almost be considered a declaration of war. He let Taichi know that he was romantically interested in Chihaya without specifically saying so. If Arata was a malicious character, I wouldn’t find it hard to believe that he purposely strategized this to get the information he needed, all while scoping out the competition.

    Ultimately, Chihaya needs to grow up before she can have any sort of successful relationship… from the manga alone, I feel like the end game is Chihaya/karuta. If this series has to end with romantic pairings, I’m still rooting for Taichi/Chihaya and Arata/Shinobu.

  • February 23, 2012 at 2:50 amSlushiZ

    Arata came of as surprisingly sweet this episode. Still, he’s no match for Taichi for me. That last scene with the train casting shadows on Taichi just made him look epic on so many different levels.

  • February 23, 2012 at 3:07 amnagi

    Why all the hate for Arata? Just like one of the commenters mentioned, Arata has been “rival-zoned” already since Day 1. He was never “higher” than Taichi in terms of romantic progress. I actually doubt we would have a couple (except for Kana and Tsutomu) once the mangaka decides to end this.

    And seriously, no one actually felt that it’s more probable for Taichi to end up with Chihaya than Arata? It’s so hard to be an Arata shipper because there’s almost no character/romantic build up for him plus you get down-voted. :( I also love Taichi but even if I don’t, I won’t ever bash him for the sake of bashing.

    • February 23, 2012 at 7:32 amanon

      You know, I find it kind of funny that Taichi/Chihaya shippers think Arata has the upper hand, while Arata/Chihaya shippers believe the one who will win is Taichi. Quite funny, really.

      • February 23, 2012 at 8:23 pmChiyo

        But Arata is the guy introduced Chihaya to karuta “changing her world” and all that mumbo jumbo and he also gets all the fancy sparkly freezeframes! Of course he’s going to win ):

        But you know, guess we all just like to root for who we think is the underdog. If there wasn’t so much focus on Taichi’s development I would have assumed he had lost from the get go and would have rooted for Arata (cause you know I like to root for the pair that wins). But they’ve been showing us so much of Taichi’s inner turmoil that’s it’s hard to brush it off like one pairing is more canon than the other. At least for now…

        I still think Arata is going to win and the manga readers don’t seem to be refuting that. Gah. I honestly hate being on the losing side.

        And nagi it’s not about disliking Arata, it’s about preferring Taichi being with Chihaya :) You know…shipping wars…I have nothing against Arata, in fact I really like him or at least what we’ve seen of him. If we weren’t already Taichi biased this episode was actually a pretty good Arata episode.

      • February 24, 2012 at 1:47 amnagi

        @anon: Haha you’re right. Actually it makes me happy that many Chihayafuru shippers were not just shouting “OMFGZZ i LuvZZ taichi x chihaya GTH arata” and were actually looking through the possibilities quite well which makes the discussions healthy.

        @Chiyo: I agree, honestly I think both Arata and Taichi are underdogs on the romantic side of things. I just got pissed a little as an Arata shipper. Anyway, I’ve actually come to like Taichi to the point wherein even if Arata wins Chihaya I’d still be heartbroken. Well, to make it lighter for all the shippers, may the best man (or the one the mangaka chose) win. :)

  • February 23, 2012 at 5:52 amewok40k

    Taichi, my hat is off to you. You are better man than most of us will ever be.

  • February 23, 2012 at 7:22 amBentoBoxd

    Man, this summary is far too biased to one side of the love triangle. But i guess that’s fine, the way the manga is progressing at this time will leave alot of shippers hearts broken (⌒▽⌒) ψ(`∇´)ψ (⌒▽⌒)

  • February 23, 2012 at 7:44 amBobet01

    I feel sorry for Taichi, as well as Arata being separated from his friends and being left alone to. :(

  • February 23, 2012 at 8:29 amKusabi

    Sorry off topic but, Enzo, will you blog S:G ep 25? It’s been released.

    • February 23, 2012 at 2:09 pmKusabi

      Also, Ufotable released Gyo, horror anime recently. Knowing your in-depth analysis on Another, I think you should blog this one, coz Gyo mangaka is the same person who creates Uzumaki, the most disturbing manga I’ve ever seen. Please consider it.

  • February 24, 2012 at 9:44 pmRih148

    This show is so inspirational, and I admire Taichi so much.

    “You have to do the things you don’t want to do before you can do the things you truly want to do.”
    This just make me want to study harder in college, even though I feel like failing one of my classes.

  • February 27, 2012 at 1:20 pmDecember’s Landing

    I have wondered this for a long time now… is Guardian Enzo a female or a male? I always thought he/she was a guy because of the name, and the composition of the writing reminds me of a male (don’t know why), but then there’s this great love for Taichi the Guardian has… maybe it’s just admiration. I apologize if I don’t have the right to ask that…

    And sadly for me, I haven’t been able to watch Chihayafuru because my computer lacks the lates Adobe flashplayer; therefore I’ve been coming her to read the updates on the anime. Thanks Guardian Enzo!

    • February 27, 2012 at 2:35 pmAcane

      Definitely a guy. To my knowledge all the RC writers are men, unless one of you have been misleading us all along!?

  • April 3, 2012 at 9:22 amEtanWals

    ‎”Long last we meet, only for me to leave hurriedly, for I could not recognize you, like the moon hidden behind the clouds.” It sounds like a love poem but it was actually for a long lost childhood friend.

    What makes an author stand out from ordinary is the way it lead the audience on with all the phrases and words written. Giving out superbly decorated mixed messages, making it fascinating to interpret and analyze the many different possibilities.

    I was thorn between two or more as I carefully go through each and every single alphabets, words, expression, breath and sound of this scene. Just so I wouldn’t miss the smallest of details and miss my chance to get a glimpse into the thought of such a wonderfully compose romance~

  • April 13, 2012 at 8:55 amAshen

    You took the words right out of my mouth, Enzo. It’s so rare for me to fall in love with, root for, and empathize with the characters of a series so completely, but after just two episodes, I can say those feelings were firmly established for Chihayafuru. And, impossibly, they’ve only increased over time.

    I desperately want to own this series on DVD, and I hope that happens (Is there any way to show the licensor it has support from a monetary standpoint?). Almost as much, I want there to be a second season, as I know there’s so much more to be told.

    The theme of karuta may never be something that Westerners can relate to or fully understand, but the human aspect of this series – what I see as the true beating heart – is universal and, as you said, something execuited in a truly stellar, skillful fashion.

    • April 13, 2012 at 9:03 amGuardian Enzo

      There’s no licensor to show support to, but you can buy the Japanese Blu-rays or manga and support Kodansha and Madhouse that way. The links are in the comments for the finale post.