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「ゆくへもしらぬ こひのみちかな」 (Yuku e Moshiranu Kohi no Michi kana)
“I Do Not Know Where This Love Will Take Me”

Well, that was a surprising turn of events…

Or rather, it would have been if a commenter hadn’t spoiled this week’s ending after last week’s episode. Be that as it may, always lead with the headline – and the banner is definitely, "Mizuswa wins the title". In many ways it contradicts the ineffable laws of sports anime to have a team win on their first trip to the big game, so I was rather expecting Fujisaki to defend and be the bogeyman for Mizusawa to shoot for next year. As some have pointed out most of their elite is third-years, but that doesn’t seem to matter to a school like Fujisaki, which is effectively a Karuta factory – they’d already won four titles in a row, after all.

This certainly takes the series’ development in an interesting direction. Rion will be the ace and gunning for Chihaya and Mizusawa in the team competition next year, and may be Taichi’s opponent in the Class B final. A case can be made for either she or Retro-kun – her coach’s "Take the summer and get better" suggests it could be the latter. It also seems to have taken a major goal off the table – really, there’s nowhere for the team drama to go from here but down, since Mizusawa is already at the summit of Karuta Mt. Everest. The element that could see more play as a result of that is the third-years expanding their role as mentors, shifting their focus to leaving Mizusawa with a capable Karuta Club after they’ve left it to Tsukuba and Sumire.

In many ways the final was surprisingly predictable, apart from the actual result. Chihaya won her match, as you’d expect – Tsutomu and Tsukuba lost (though I’d argue Tsukuba fared very well as a Class D against a strong Class A). It came down, as it’s been looking like it would for a while, to Taichi and Nishida. Fortunately those two matches were knockouts, especially Taichi’s. In a way, it’s as if Taichi has been missing in action for most of the season, but this episode was like a throwback to Season One, where his development was so often at the center of the story. All of his demons were in full evidence this week, his self-doubt and fatalism and desperate longing for Chihaya’s love. And as it almost always was last year, it was riveting to watch. Mamoru Miyano hasn’t been asked to do much this season, to be honest, but it was thrilling to hear him step it up this week.

In a very fundamental way, I think Taichi and his teammates are more interesting to watch as Karuta players than Chihaya – or at least just as interesting. So much of what Chihaya does is based on the spur-of-the-moment – not always her raw physical talents (though those are still her greatest weapon, as her win over Rion proved) but even when she strategizes, it’s mostly seat-of-the-pants adjustments based on instinct. As a result I think Chihayafuru has suffered a bit by focusing probably 80% of its Karuta attention this season on her matches at the expense of everyone else’s. Nishida is the most experienced and purely strategic of the bunch, and has more than his own share of self-doubt. Tsutomu brings his uniquely analytical perspective, and Kana is always aware of the spiritual tenor and pure beauty of the moment. And of course Taichi, in addition to his fascinating struggles with himself, has a phenomenal situational awareness. He knows exactly what’s happening in every game, which cards are left and which are read, the tendencies of his opponents. All of these internal monologues are compelling, and this episode really soared when the camera narrowed down to Taichi and Nishida against the world.

We didn’t get as much focus on Nishida’s match as Taichi’s, but it seems to have been quite close for most of the game. As for Taichi we’ve seen him chip away and chip away at Ryouga’s lead, and it seemed as if the mental control in the match clearly shifted to Taichi. Rarely for him, we saw him use a little gamesmanship to throw Ryouga off his game – long pauses before sending cards, icy glares. More than anything, I think Ryouga had a growing sense that he’d undersold his opponent – and it hasn’t been often that we’ve seen Taichi the one with growing confidence and his opponent psychologically dominated. The pressure eventually forces Ryouga into a rare (especially for a player like him) double-fault – he incorrectly touches a card in Taichi’s territory as Taichi correctly captures one in his. This means a two-card penalty, and the match is now tied at three cards each.

It’s here when the drama goes up to eleven and the S2 BGM really kicks in. Nishida and Taichi being experienced and the most strategic players on Mizusawa realize their situation – they’re down 2-1, and either of them winning matters not a jot if the other loses. As Retro-kun and Hokuo (who I’m guessing won their match, as they were well ahead at the last look-in) look on like proud papas, Taichi and Nishida use the card-synching strategy Hokuo used on them against an unsuspecting Fujisaki. This means that when both their matches end up in luck of the draw (which happens just a bit too often in Chihayafuru to be truly credible) they have exactly what they want – winner-take-all. They’ve effectively turned the team final into a coin flip, despite being down 2-1 – as brilliant a move for them as it was for Hokuo against them.

I’ll say this for Suetsugu-sensei – she’s certainly not afraid to kick in the drama, or to torture Taichi. Naturally the one card remaining in the luck of the draw is Yuku e Moshiranu Kohi no Michi kana – "I do now know where this love will take me". Whether even Taichi with his hyper-senses is aware of the irony of this is debatable, but no poetic moment slips past Kana – as her teammates (especially Sumire) agonize over the tension of the moment, Kana (who’s certainly a Chihaya-Taichi shipper if ever there was one) latches onto the meaning behind the words, as always. Suetsugu pours everything into this moment: Taichi pleads for Chihaya – who’s fallen asleep immediately after match as usual – to wake up and see his moment in the sun. All of Taichi’s teammates – and Taichi – reflect on the fact that he’s never had his card read in a luck of the draw. He even – ominously enough – promises God that if it is this time, he "doesn’t care if it never happens again". The fact is that even now, Taichi and all of his friends are convinced he’s cursed. "The one card I need won’t be read. It never is. Is that how my life will go? Is everything I do futile?"

It could be argued that there’s a somewhat contradictory message at the end of Taichi’s match. It’s rare in sports manga to see the big moment come down to luck, but there are to be no miraculous faults or stealing the opponent’s card against Ryouga – he’s simply too solid a player. Yet luck it is that finally smiles on Taichi – not only is his card read, but Chihaya wakes up at the crucial moment and sees it all happen. What are we to take away from this – has Taichi’s problem been bad luck all along? As superstitious as Karuta players are that would be a somewhat strange takeaway for a major character, but the fact remains that Taichi has been in this situation before and the only difference between this and, for example the Nishida match, is whose card was read. We know of course that Taichi largely made his own luck here – he clawed his way back from a large deficit against a higher-ranked player, and seized the momentum and psychological control away from Ryouga by sheer force of will. But will Taichi see it that way – especially considering what happens after the match?

After the emotional team hug, the inevitable moment happens – when the team walks into the corridor, Arata is waiting for them. His silence when Chihaya pleadingly asks if he’d watched their match is all the answer she needs, yet she surely misunderstands the meaning behind his absence. She scolds him, but in a sense she’s wasting her words – Arata has already been won over and realized that he’s been depriving himself of an important part of his life as both a person and a Karuta player. How will Taichi react to this instance of Arata once again seemingly intruding upon his rare moments of good fortune – will he curse and fate and believe his curse still stands, or will he rejoice at seeing someone he cares for and realize that everything he wants in his life, even Chihaya, is all about what he chooses to do and not about Arata or anyone else?

The individual matches come now, and with 6 episodes remaining seem likely to carry us to the end of the (knock on wood) season. I would be shocked if Chihaya plays at this point – that would make her injury a Hall of Fame red herring – but she’ll still be part of the drama as Arata (and Shinobu), Taichi, Tsutomu and Kana, and Tsukuba all go to separate tournaments. I have nightmares of Taichi’s promise to God coming back to haunt him as the last card of the Class B final is read, and even with an Arata-Shinobu final looming that’s the storyline that still holds the greatest potential for drama – Ryouga has pegged Taichi as "That guy who’s on his way up" but as he also says, Taichi has been "kicking around Class B" for a year. Remarkably, Taichi has not lost a match in any of the team competitions this season – that he should be Class B is a lead weight on his shoulders, and his arc can’t possibly go anywhere until he takes his rightful place alongside Chihaya and Arata in Class A. I summed up the difference between the two seasons of Chihayafuru this way: "It’s still massively entertaining, but I used to have Chihayafuru on the brain all week long because I was so wrapped up in the characters. Now, once an episode ends I don’t think about it until the next one starts." This episode marks the first time when I really feel that same sense of anticipation bordering on obsession that I did last season, and next Saturday can’t come too soon for me.

May 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm
43 comments »
  • May 17, 2013 at 8:32 pmSolara

    The super train of AWESOME occured the instant CHIHAYA WOKE UUUUUPPPP!!!!! And then the show trolled me. Whoa. ಠ_ಠ

    I was like “PLZ READ HIS CARD FOR ONCE OMGJWDJHGGW” but the show was all like “NO, I’ll also make Chihaya wake up to witness it! 8D”

    Then on my last comment was about a group hug toeven a excluisive hug from Chihaya to Tachi, but the show was all like “NO, group hug damnit! 8D”

    Last week I was all like “YAY, the Queen checks out the future queen”, and then the show was like “NO, even the super cold teacher notices it and points out that no one in her team is a match for her! 8D” Troll man. Epic troll.

    YEAH! DON’T SAY YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED IN TEAMS ARATA! Making Chihaya cry and whatnot. How dare theeee. D<<< Not gonna lie, but I was bawling like a baby at that scene. OhJezuzMyfeels. ಥ_ಥ My only qualm with that scene is that Arata didn’t say much besides.. a grunt of a responses that I’m guessing was agreement. You finally see each other in person in quite a while and all you could do was.. grunt? I think if I was reading it it would had worked since it was simple and strong, but I guess seeing it executed the way it did left me hanging some. Grunt grunt, ending credits like what the fuck. But yay, the team matches are over. I demand more Shinobu time. With Chihaya. I figured I was being greedy, so why not.

    • May 19, 2013 at 7:02 pmnagi

      I beg to disagree, I think Arata’s “grunts” are the best responses that he can give at that time. As cheesy as it may sound, it showed how deep their friendship is that there’s no need for much words. It’s a golden moment, and the perfect wrap-up to this great episode.

      • May 20, 2013 at 4:08 amSolara

        Well when you put it like that it sounds freaking sweet. But that’s quickly annulled the instant Chihaya cries out about team matches. Making it a clash, which is a disagreement of mutual understanding. So they’re not really in sync as you may had think. Now Tachi and Chihaya, that’s another story which puts Arata at a disadvantage.

  • May 17, 2013 at 8:32 pmFaint Smile

    Individual tournament!.. Arata’s time to shine!..

  • May 17, 2013 at 8:36 pmShalaKairos

    Team hug!!!

  • May 17, 2013 at 8:37 pmArc

    Does Taichi have bad luck? If it takes 40+ episodes for him to have a successful conclusion, I do say he does!

  • May 17, 2013 at 8:57 pmgrey

    Your last summary is wayyyyyyy too true. It’s still a very solid season, but nothing like the magic that captured me in the first season.

  • May 17, 2013 at 9:00 pmBOJ

    Tears started flowing out my eyes when Show Spoiler ▼

    :’) Love this episode!

  • May 17, 2013 at 9:15 pmJason Isenberg

    The best thing was that the wining verse was the exact name of the episode, epic.

  • May 17, 2013 at 9:36 pmhwighting

    What a roller coaster of an episode. Definitely worth the long drawn out build up. I loved every moment from Taichi telling Harada sensei to GTF to the encounter with Arata where he has fully grasped the situation and could only manage a grunt of agreement.

  • May 17, 2013 at 9:51 pmKarutaku

    Is the tide finally turning for Taichi? He has always been the most aware of the Misuzawa team, to the point of over-thinking things. At least we see him trying to do things differently and be no more Mr Nice Guy with his psychological tactics.

    The whole monologue was great but my favourite part (besides the part begging for help from the gods) was his realization that Chihaya was right. They have the rest of their lives to try and become Meijin and Queen, but you can only be the best team in Japan when you’re in school. It IS relatively harder to be on a winning team than to win on just your own.

    As for the point about too many luck of the draw situations, I don’t know the game enough to judge how rare it is, but if two opponents are evenly matched I’d guess it would come down to the last card quite frequently

    Everything changes now that Misuzawa are champions. No longer are they an unknown school. The Empress might even get 10 members now :) And Chihaya herself is now a known threat after her showing against Megumu and Rion. The Fujisaki coach and the Fukui officials can see her strength.

    • May 21, 2013 at 12:11 amMi-Chan

      It is like what Deskman-kun said “Taichi has too much pride”, but I guess, when Taichi says he will do it, he will!

  • May 17, 2013 at 9:59 pmcarpe

    Enzo, I don’t believe that Chihayafuru contradicted itself when Taichi (and Nishida) won that luck of the draw. Taichi’s problem has never been about having bad luck–it’s that he’s never believed in himself–most notably in that he doesn’t think he’s good enough for Chihaya. However, if I remember correctly, he didn’t believe that he was really ‘worthy’ of ascending to Class A in the first season, either. This episode, Taichi never gave up. Even though he doubted that he would get his card, he still prayed to God that he could win (and what with the symbolism behind the remaining cards in the match, it’s clear that Taichi is also conquering his fears of not being good enough for Chihaya). So, Taichi didn’t lose hope. That’s what let him win the match–his hope and newfound belief in himself, not sudden good luck.

  • May 17, 2013 at 10:25 pmronbb

    This is one awesome episode that reminds of season 1…it’s been too long the wait.

    I love the title of this episode…how fitting it is to the story and the characters. “I do not know what this love will take me…” Allow me to tweak the poem and use Taichi’s motto to finish the sentence…”I do not know what this love will take me, but I won’t give up and run away…”

    The fighting spirit in Chihaya, Nishida, and Taichi — even though he sank into self-doubt from time to time and questioned if it was futile for his effort — was so apparent. Even without knowing where this love (of Karuta) will go, the fighting spirit made them turn the table around and successfully won the team match. It is also very true to both Taichi and Chihaya — they just keep going and never give up on what they love.

    One thing that I just noticed… Congrats to Taichi for winning the match against the captain of Team Fujisaki — what a nice come back for him when he lost to a member from the same school last year at the Class B individual match.

  • May 17, 2013 at 11:17 pmTadaima

    @Guardian Enzo
    Your posts are a bit odd to me. They are too well written and too intelligent in its analysis. I keep wondering what you are doing wasting your time writing mere anime reviews. :D I am happy to see that someone like you also admires Chihayafuru.

    1. [She scolds him, but in a sense she’s wasting her words]

    Beside the divine moment of Taichi’s victory, this is the other awesome treasure moment of the episode. It is technically a scolding. But it functions as a pleading or even a begging. She is not just saying “Arata, you are wrong: team Karuta is just as important as individual matches.” She is also appealing to him to appreciate as she does their history of having loved played together once. Teen Arata has not yet given Chihaya an assurance that their brief childhood friendship was as meaningful to him as it obviously is to her. This seems to be one of the causes of her anxiety and insecurity about him.

    But the outburst also makes me feel that she probably has decided not to compete in the singles due to her injury. We spent almost an entire season following Chihaya working up to the individuals at nationals. Now, she may have to sit out Karuta for the rest of S2! This could also be her way of rationalizing her disappointment. What a plot twist if this turns out to be the case!

    2. [As a result I think Chihayafuru has suffered a bit by focusing probably 80% of its Karuta attention this season on her matches at the expense of everyone else’s.]

    But the focus on Chihaya was inevitable. It reflects where the three protagonists have been up to now. Until recently, Arata and Taichi spent a great deal of the first two seasons privately moping and running away from various fears or regrets. In contrast, during this time, Chihaya has confronted a number of obstacles and insecurities and have pressed on despite setbacks and well-founded doubts . Her relentlessness has been a source of inspiration for the other characters, even her own sister.

    In the great arc of the story, S2 allows us to see Chihaya as a heroine deserving of our respect, admiration, and even adoration. Arata and Taichi have noticed this, too. Their ability to move past their own insecurities is a direct result of noting or observing Chihaya’s awesome pursuit of her own dreams. Chihaya is one of the key factors leading Arata to refocus on his own ambitions. And Chihaya is the reason Taichi is in the process of becoming a self-respecting man here at nationals.

    But now, will injury force Chihaya to lose an opportunity to achieve three of her key goals: win class A at nationals and beat both Arata and Shinobu. Most of S2 has largely focused on her improving her Karuta. But S2 may end with Chihaya physically barred from it, negating all that effort put in…in S2.

    There is another interesting point about the focus on Chihaya’s Karuta. We were able to learn about the other challengers to Shinobu’s crown. We learn about their dreams and experiences. These stories were interesting and lovingly told. But the point is that Chihaya lost the matches against her key rivals towards becoming the challenger. And the story makes it seem that these rivals cannot defeat Shinobu. Thus, transitivity makes me worry about her present chances against the queen.

    3. [their matches end up in luck of the draw (which happens just a bit too often in Chihayafuru to be truly credible)]

    This does not bother me. It is a gimmick. And it seemed false to me, too, the second time I saw it. But now, I like it very much because I see that it works both as a metaphysical and as a characterizing tool for Taichi. The fact that Nishida also ended up with 1 on 1 is also about Taichi, not Nishida. Nishida, like Taichi went for the attack. Why? Because team Mizusawa believes that luck does not favor Taichi. This is different from when Tsukuba went on the attack in the semis. There we learn he did it because he picked up some irrational beliefs that is obviously countered by probability. Here, Nishida has no such beliefs. Instead, he fears, as the team does, that the winning card is whatever Taichi does not have.

    Moreover, I am starting to think that this sort of end game may not be all that unusual at high level play. I just do not know much about real life Karuta to know better.

    4. After the events of the last episode, what was conspicuously absent this episode was Shinobu’s reactions to the results. We see her face briefly. And then a cut results in our seeing only her left shoulder. The last episode created an anticipation in us to know Shinobu’s reactions to the match. Now, we will have to wait to learn what they were. Suetsugu and Madhouse have been too meticulous in developing the emotional undercurrents in the story to leave us hanging.

    5. Question. Who is the karuta no kamisama?

    We first encounter Arata and his grandfather talking about the god of Karuta. Each deny that they are the god. Chihaya wanted to ask Arata whether he was the god. Arata knows he is not. Later, during his punishment, Arata sternly says he will not see Chihaya and Taichi play in the finals because he does not want to cross the god of karuta.

    And now, Taichi prays to the god of karuta. When his prayer is answered, something interesting happens. Chihaya wakes up. It is true that Taichi wanted Chihaya to wake up and see him win. But I do not think that having Chihaya wake up is part of Taichi’s actual prayer at that moment. Instead, Chihaya wakes up and looks upon him as Taichi’s card is read. A Tarantino-ean golden glow emanating from Chihaya’s direction washes over Taichi at this moment.

    Thus, the question. Is the god of karuta just a metaphor for wishfulness? Or did we witness the waking of the god(dess) of karuta, Chihaya? I do not mean this literally for there is no actual meaning in this in the story.

    • May 17, 2013 at 11:27 pmTadaima

      I mean, the meaning is unclear to me at this time…

    • May 17, 2013 at 11:37 pmTadaima

      I should also mention Sakurazawa telling her team that were she the god of karuta, she would have given the win to Mizusawa, too. Does this mean that the god of karuta smiles on those who fight for victory? Would the god of love do the same if it saw Taichi fighting valiantly for Chihaya’s heart?

    • May 18, 2013 at 4:07 amGuardian Enzo

      Thank you Tadaima. I guess I don’t see it as wasting my time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could do it for a living…

      As for the God of Karuta, I think it’s similar to Hikaru no Go when everyone (especially Sai) refers to the “Divine Move”. In Shinto there’s a Kami for just about everything, so no reason there shouldn’t be a Karuta no Kami as well.

      • May 18, 2013 at 9:12 amTadaima

        I should rephrase the question.

        I mean, which do you think Chihaya’s waking up signifies? Is her waking part of the response to Taichi’s “prayer?” Did he pray to an vague notion of a god of karuta? Or is she the goddess of karuta, itself, who has finally given Taichi good luck? In other words, is she the goddess of karuta Taichi prayed to?

        One way to draw the relationship between the three protagonists is something like this. Originally, Arata was chasing his dreams of becoming master. He then showed Chihaya how to love karuta. Arata’s impact on her was so life-defining that he has become a kind of god of karuta for her. Ever since, Chihaya has been chasing Arata, hoping that he will see her play and think her game worthy. In fact, I wonder whether part of her dream of becoming queen is because it seems like a shared vision with Arata. What Arata told her once is that if he becomes Master, then she can become queen. Chihaya believes in Arata’s potential. She also believes that Arata believes in himself. So she fights for herself mainly, but also for him.

        For Taichi, Chihaya has become for him what Arata has become for Chihaya. Chihaya gave him his karuta dream. Chihaya is the unrelenting karuta force for Taichi. Chihaya is the one he chases. Chihaya is the one whose gaze he desires. It is Chihaya who he wants seeing him win and finding his game worthy.

        Isn’t Chihaya sort of Taichi’s goddess of karuta then?

        :)

  • May 18, 2013 at 3:05 ambaseone

    Never watched an anime this intense. Damn, great job Chihayafuru!!

  • May 18, 2013 at 6:01 amEliteF22

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • May 18, 2013 at 6:08 amapiculturist

    “It’s still massively entertaining, but I used to have Chihayafuru on the brain all week long because I was so wrapped up in the characters. Now, once an episode ends I don’t think about it until the next one starts.” Thank you for summarizing it so well! I used to lie awake at night thinking of the characters. Now I think about the cards (I’m slowly learning karuta) instead of wondering where the series will take the characters or secretly agonizing on their behalf.

    I would like to ask if you have noticed that the animation is getting shoddy? This is something that truly bothers me and I feel like I need someone else’s view… To my biased eyes, the beginning of the second season started off with shoddy animation, with characters of poorly drawn proportions; I tried to see if I’d merely romanticized the carefully drawn art of the previous season, but I still feel the same after a rewatch of the whole season 1. The animation in S2 seemed to have improved a bit towards the middle but now the last frames (the careless way Arata and Chihaya’s bodies were drawn, etc) make me think that the animation is slowly going downhill again. I know it shouldn’t matter so much, but for some reason my love of Chihayafuru is very dependent on the central message of doing your best and this seemed to be reflected in everything–the beautiful music, the carefully drawn frames. It makes me feel bad if I feel that someone somewhere is slacking off when it comes to the illustrations. I wanted to ask if you’d noticed anything like this at all. It would put my mind at rest.

    I always love reading your commentaries! Thank you for this new one! :)

    • May 18, 2013 at 6:42 amGuardian Enzo

      You’re very welcome. If I’m to be honest, I would say that to my eyes it looks as if there’s been a very modest decline in overall animation this season. More inconsistent, a few off-model characters, a drop in background detail here and there. But I don’t even really think about that most of the time, because I usually don’t find it noticeable. So I’d have to say no, I really don’t have the same reflections as you, but we all see what we see.

      Are you a beekeeper, BTW?

      • May 18, 2013 at 11:38 amapiculturist

        I’m not a beekeeper but I’ve always wanted to be one! (Admittedly inspired at age twelve by Sherlock Holmes.)

        Thank you. I appreciate what you said about the quality. I just have this tendency to think of the first season as the most perfect animated thing I have ever seen so I get mildly disappointed by any perceived change. It’s just, I love Chihayafuru so much and I dread that the drop in quality, now modest as you say, will become even more marked later on if we’re ever fortunate enough to get more seasons.

        I really love your commentaries. I need to wait until I’ve seen the Commie sub before I even look at one, but each time it’s always a joy to read because you always seem to capture well what I love about this series, especially how much I sympathize with Taichi as a character. Thank you! Keep going! :)

    • May 18, 2013 at 7:55 amTadaima

      I concur with Guardian Enzo. I do not see a significant drop in quality.

      I especially have not noticed any significant changes in the quality or look of body proportions. The key art seems to be pretty consistent from season 1. Would you link to some images of what you are referring to?

      I do not like Suetsugu Yuki’s own bishoujo style. I think Madhouse’s character design is more beautiful. But Madhouse’s designs also have some peculiarities. Notably, the design of the eyes of some characters, like Chihaya and Taichi, are creepy but I have come to love them because they belong to characters I love. My quibble regarding body proportions is the length of the area between the nose and upper lip on Chihaya’s face. When her face is in profile, Madhouse draws it too long on Chihaya. Girls have shorter lengths than boys. But the style looks the same from S1.

      • May 18, 2013 at 7:59 amTadaima

        I think pretty girls should be given shorter lengths…I mean.

  • May 18, 2013 at 6:43 ampimpolla

    BEST ANIME OF THE SEASON!! no other anime can make me fell like this!! i almost cried when they win!!

  • May 18, 2013 at 6:57 amtomoyostar

    I love Chihayafuru <3

  • May 18, 2013 at 7:31 amMi-Chan

    Every breath Taichi took, I took it with him. The moment when the camera goes to Arata, and the whole crowd soars, was just the highlight for me as I jumped off my bed wanting to go and hug the group, we made it Misazawa! I didn’t expect it at all, in fact, particuraly Nishida’s continuous loss, and Taichi’s not losing any match yet, has made me believe he’d lose one and I’d end up shedding many tears.

    “Is that how my life will go? Is everything I do is futile? Still god, I beg you, I don’t care if my card is never read in the luck of the draw again. so please just today, this one time, just this once.” I think those lines put all Taichi’s stress, anxiety, and the viewer’s presepective and relative emotions all out, I never felt my heart pound more, with the music, that’s all I need to say that Chihayafuru is just great.

    That Arata moment in the end where he says nothing and just an ‘Um’ is when I was on Chihaya’s side. That in itself was one of those moments I won’t forget.

    Amazing episode. Really, we all have felt Taichi’s lack of luck massively. Will the tide shift? I just hope it does, we know that the win he won today, was not just a game win, but rather everything for Taichi. Could it be a resolve? I hope.

    Thanks for your review. I think the next match for Taichi to win in Class B would be him and Rion, he passed the Arata-look-alike test, now he has to face the Chihaya-double test.

    Cheers, M.

  • May 18, 2013 at 8:51 amewok40k

    to quote my last weeks comment:
    Despite Fujisaki dominating the game so far, Mizusawa still can pull off 3-2 win. Remember, those out are younger players with not the level of skill of the veterans. Both A-class players and Taichi are extremely strong and can with a bit of luck (can Taichi’s luck turn around just once?) push through with a surprise last moment win.

    What I DID not anticipate, though, that the match will be down to DOUBLE luck of the draw… including famously unlucky Taichi!
    But sometimes you just make your own luck. Taichi, you have engineered the win above anyone else, winning your game, and helping Nikuman win his. As for Chihaya, no one in the Fujisaki could have beaten her. She has grown enormously and soon may be able to challenge the Queen herself.

  • May 18, 2013 at 9:36 amHD

    Congratulations Misuzawa on being the best in Japan!

    Unbelievable last draw drama! The captain leads with his comeback display & Nishida shows he is A Class. Chihaya gets the win in the most important stage but her participation in the individual tournament is in the balance.

    I have to say that Tsutomu’s guts to go for the opponent’s side card in the semi-final was my most defining moment in the team’s championship glory.

  • May 18, 2013 at 11:29 amKrim

    Wow, I loved this episode! My favorite in quite a while. I was unspoiled for the conclusion of the match and really didn’t expect them to win. And this ep brought back the great team focus that I love, giving us time with multiple players rather than focusing on one character for the ep. It was awesome. I hope there will be even more Arata interaction next ep! Gosh, silly kids, the three of you just need to all hug already.

  • May 18, 2013 at 12:54 pmLiche

    My favorite episode of the season!
    Also… “What are we to take away from this – has Taichi’s problem been bad luck all along?”
    Maybe we should see it in the light of Tsukue-kun’s comment “Taichi’s trying to change himself”. As often said in sports, you don’t “receive” luck, you have to “create” it yourself.
    Or it’s just me trying to explain the unexplainable…

  • May 18, 2013 at 12:55 pmMikako

    Nishida was there too. As the friggin’ half of the final countdown. Did anybody notice that? Did Sumire, Kana and Empress notice that? DID THE SHOW NOTICE THAT? I have an idea, let’s bring Arata to Tokyo and send Taichi to Fukui instead. I feel like I need a solid rest from him.

    • May 18, 2013 at 8:45 pmronbb

      I think people appreciate Nishida alright…it’s a team match after all. I feel that you have a resentment towards Taichi. I also want to see Arata getting more screen time, and bringing him to Tokyo to play with Chihaya and Taichi as a team would be great — playing together with Taichi and Arata again as a team is what Chihaya wants, and this will bring us viewers a nice nostalgia. However, removing Taichi from Tokyo, Chihaya, or the story will be a bad idea. He’s one of the male leads and an awesome one — without him, Chihayafuru would not be as great as it is. You may try to appreciate Taichi the character a bit more — just like how a lot of the Taichi fans accept Arata; otherwise, you may not be able to fully appreciate the show.

      • May 21, 2013 at 11:39 amMikako

        You are mistaken. I’m not a big fan of Arata nor I’m trying to suggest that Taichi is unimportant. I’m just sick of him, because he’s a fangirl bait and the show flaunts it. I know he is a main character and Nishida isn’t. But here we are, on a friggin’ team match, when the drama should lay equally on Taichi’s and Pork’s game, and what? We barely see Nishida playing. We hear too well in-show fangirls yapping ‘Mashima-kun, oh, Mashima-kun and his bad luck, and his constant suffering :<<<'. It's jarring. It's not that Taichi is a bad character or his actions are uninteresting. It's that he is lately in more focus than Chihaya herself, his every little drama is shown as the biggest drama ever and the show just loves damn too much and it's balance suffers as a result.

    • May 18, 2013 at 9:51 pmMi-Chan

      I agree with ronbb. I think most of Chihayafuru would lose its ‘base’ if Taichi is not on the focus. If you wanted to see Nishida’s game, you would have to ignore one of the most important scenes in this anime where Taichi overcomes a hurdle, a scene that many of us have been waiting for, that I do not wish to have two people focus on that episode – an episode which needs full attention on Taichi. Don’t forget, I remmeber this from some episodes ago, that I can’t remember, but if Taichi wasn’t on Chihaya’s side, the Karuta Club wouldn’t be as it is.
      I also think Nishida’s constant failure might be reflected in future episodes. I think he has to face Arata, to overcome the reason he stopped playing Karuta for a while. I think.

  • May 19, 2013 at 12:29 pmronbb

    ??? I think this is the wrong thread for your comment…and you may want to add spoiler tag if you happen to add your comment back to the right thread.

    • May 21, 2013 at 12:09 amMi-Chan

      glad the post was removed :) honestly, if it turns out true I’m gonna curse that spoiler freak for months :)….

  • May 19, 2013 at 8:16 pmFrog

    This is going to sound really irrelevant and really stupid, but Taichi won because he trusted in the heart of the cards.

  • May 20, 2013 at 2:09 amafterstory100

    seriously… this episode almost make me shed some tears, i always love chihayafuru when it comes to akiramenai time

  • May 21, 2013 at 8:14 pmSherylfan

    just glad Nishida finally pulled through seems he’s been in a slump this season. Also damn taichi actually got some luck for once.

  • May 28, 2013 at 8:40 amAshen

    The best episode of the season so far (Tsutomu’s spotlight was close behind it, too) and I agree with you on the feeling of anticipation and endless pondering that I felt so much in season 1. While season 2 has been different in a lot of ways, it’s still proved to be an immersive and incredibly emotional ride.

    Oh how I pray for season 3. I want to own this series so bad. WHY HASN’T IT BEEN LICENSED IN THE STATES YET?! (So help me, I will import it from Australia if I can’t get it anywhere else).