「よはのつきかな」 (Yoha no Tsuki Kana)
“The Sight of a Midnight Moon”

This was the week Chihayafuru left the kid stuff behind and ventured into altogether more depressing territory. But I have a suspicion this was a change-of-pace and not a trend.

While I’ve often compared this series to Hikaru no Go, it’s obvious that there are going to be some stark thematic differences. Whereas HnG was totally devoid of “relationship” drama unless you count bromance (enough with the longing gazes, Hikaru – just kiss Akira and get on with your life already…) that’s clearly going to be a strong subtext at the very least in Chihayafuru. If there were any doubts that Taichi is hopelessly in love with Chihaya this episode dispelled them. He accompanied her on the 4-hour train ride to Fukui (Shinkansen to Maibara, switch to Shirasagi, 14000 yen – not cheap!) to visit Arata, he came very close to holding her hand, and he shot her with enough hints to knock out a bull elephant.

Problem is, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Chihaya is still very much a little girl. While all of the leads are showing their emotional immaturity, it’s Chihaya who seems most frozen in time as a 12 year-old. She still worships her big sister, she appears to be totally oblivious to the subtleties of relationships, and more than anything she wants things back to the way they were, when she could play Karuta with her friends and that was all that mattered. She’s an odd girl in many ways, a creature of impulse – as demonstrated by her odd choice of yanking Arata off a moving bicycle when calling out to him would have made a lot more sense. She’s fast at least, I’ll give her that – she does run track, after all.

So we have Chihaya stuck in sixth grade, Taichi hopeless for his childhood crush and still with his current girlfriend because he hasn’t been able to confess outright and get an answer, and then we have Arata. He’s got problems of his own, starting with the fact that he has indeed quit Karuta. I’d hoped the reason might be a little more surprising, but the most obvious reason was indeed the correct one. Between the slow demise of his Grandfather due to a stroke and the fact that he missed his death due to a Karuta tournament, Arata simply finds the game too painful to play now. Ironically the last thing his Grandfather would have wanted was for Arata to give up the game over him, but it’s easy to see that from a distance.

Given all that, it’s no wonder the visit to Fukui was a disaster. Arata has at least one friend, a neighbor girl who seems to have a crush on him, Yuu (Anzai Chika, the same seiyuu who plays Taichi’s girlfriend, interestingly) but generally seems to be about as unhappy as you’d expect. Arata is punishing himself, Chihaya is stuck in the past, and Taichi is silently seething over Chihaya’s cluelessness and doting on a memory. It’s a mess, as adolescence usually is – but I don’t get the feeling this is going to be a series that fixates on the depressing, soap opera aspects of its teenaged heroes. As witness Arata’s change of heart at the end of the episode (who could resist Chihaya’s heartbreaking notes to herself), it’s obvious he wants something better than the life he’s been leading. And we know that Taichi is going to be forming the Karuta club with Chihaya – indeed, they even have a prospective convert from the archery club already lined up. So as bad as things are now, they’re obviously going to get better.

The big question remains, what happens with Arata? If he’s to move back to Tokyo the mechanics of that aren’t clear at the moment. And if he does, well – at this point we don’t have any hard evidence that either he or Chihaya see each other in a romantic light. But they’re high-schoolers now, not sixth-graders, and this isn’t Hikaru no Go. So it’s hard to escape the notion that a triangle is inevitable. Right now the only one whose feelings are clear on the matter is Taichi, but first-in doesn’t always win, even in anime. In the meantime I look for the focus to swing back to Karuta for a bit, and the show to get back to a somewhat lighter and more upbeat tone.


  1. seeing Chihaya as a tomboy in her 6th grade year, it shouldn’t be that surpriseing to see her as dense as the typical harem lead character (I might be exaggerated it a little). If what was seen of her in the first episode was to be her typical manner in school, most boys would stay away (gravitating towards the bubbly type like Taichi did)…

    …and we have 2 cours for the Arita and Chihaya to snap out of their little world of friendship…

  2. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance…. Please let this show have some romance….

    The Moondoggie
  3. This episode made me teary-eyed, kinda reminds me again why I like anime in the first place XD

    As for the episode, the change of pacing is something I have expected after the final moments of ep4 and I like how everything turns out.

    1. You were able to put it down? I’m impressed by your restraint. I plowed through the current 13-14 volumes in a weekend or so (it’s not even close to done), and I still want more. It’s good stuff.

  4. I got chills watching this episode. Chihaya is such a refreshing character. It’s amazing how many times the characters cry in one episode. I felt bad for Taichi, that at the moment he attempted to hold Chihaya’s hand, she spun around to chase Arata. It felt like a symbolic moment, although I would imagine it would have been really awkward if he succeeded.

    I didn’t expect Arata to call Taichi a coward right off the bat. It’s the little interactions between the characters that make this so interesting. And, what do you know, Arata is in Class A 🙂 I thought he had quit before advancing. I guess Taichi has a lot to catch up on.

    I like how the show doesn’t forget the supporting cast and mentioned the doctor. I thought it was funny how Arata’s girl-next-door seemed so plain next to the tall and athletic Chihaya. I couldn’t help thinking “Chihaya = anime, Girl-next-door = normal people.” 😛
    Looking forward to seeing who the new member is.

    1. I just read the second chapter of the manga. I totally forgot that Chihaya had superhuman hearing (I think it was mentioned in epi. 1)! I thought wrong that in this episode she had heard Arata’s call through.. telepathy, LOL.

    2. I agree with you, Chihaya is an exciting character. Her impulsiveness is funny as hell. It might seem childish to some, but it reflects Chihaya’s personality real well… to follow her heart. That’s why Chihaya has no problems expressing her emotions and acting on some crazy impulse, it sure makes her more lovable and human that way.

  5. Ah, I was under the impression that Arata was at home when his grandfather had a stroke, he could have supported him with medicine and therefore save his life. But instead Arata.was at the tournament when he was supposed to be home.

  6. I was feeling sorry for the other passengers on that train, having two morons yelling at someone on the other side who, obviously can’t hear them. xD

    This anime can never seize to amaze me. Astonishing artwork and lovable characters. I hope this will turn into a friendship anime rather than a love triangle.

  7. Triangle, plz. This is going to be a battle royal.
    disposable girlfriend > Taichi
    Taichi > Chihaya
    Chihaya > arata
    Neiggbour girl > arata
    arata > ?

    And then you still have 2 wild cards. Archery girl and karuta teacher old dude.

    p.s. otp chihaya > karuta teacher.

  8. Also I can’t help but notice that while Taichi always lived near Chihaya’s house she hadn’t stayed in contact with him throughout middle school and who knows if they would have met again if they hadn’t attended the same highschool. Now, Arata who lives I-don’t-know-how-many-miles aways she DID stay in contact with through mail (New year’s post card and everything) and went to the lenght of taking this trip to visit him.
    Of course she believes him to be a Karuta God and all that jazz but I think this fact speaks volumes. And though she hasn’t noticed yet, Taichi sure did.

  9. Although with every episode I start to feel the reality that Taichi will probably never end up with Chihaya, I enjoy the idea that he will continue to try. I personally love his character and will silently root for him as he tries throughout the series! As for Chihaya, I want to smack her senseless for being thickheaded.

    1. Also! I love the fact that Enzo brought up the fact that Taichi and Arata seem to be able to progress forward in maturity while Chihaya is lagging behind. If you pay attention to the opening credits, you’ll see subtle symbols of this mentioned.. the most obvious is during the step scene when Arata and Taichi start out young and transform to their high school selves while Chihaya does the exact opposite. Even if it’s just a coincidence, I think it’s one that works perfectly given the personalities of these three characters!!

  10. Every flag out there says Taichi has no chance with Chihaya, but I’m still pulling for him for whatever reason. While she certainly hasn’t acknowledged romance as a factor in her life yet, it seems obvious enough that her obsession with the abstract ideal of Arata is more than just a Karuta thing, whereas boring old Taichi is only there right beside her.

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

    2. ME TO! Taichi might be a bit of a pushy/insincere jerk sometimes but i can kinda relate to his realistic and pretty normal flaws. Well, maybe I just want to encourage him because he’s so hopelessly in love and trying to convey that despite all the flags being against him.. 🙁 darn you flags!!

    3. My main problem with Taichi is that he’s playing the Nice Guy, and God knows we seen enough of those. But I like Taichi. I like his relationship as it is with Chihaya, but the problem is that the relationship just doesn’t seem strong enough to be two sided at the moment. I guess we could blame Chihaya’s immaturity partly for that, but most of it has to do with the fact that Taichi is just a guy who’s going to keep waiting and waiting, and inevitably, that’s his fault, and I can’t help but have no sympathy for a dude who just expects the girl to fall for him one day if he becomes a loyal puppy.

      Arata on the other hand, as Divine pointed out last week, seems to be more of a psychological presence than a physical one according to Chihaya (as seen with her saying that he was like a God to her) but I feel like there’s much more potential for development between Arata and Chihaya as a pair rather than a one sided relationship. I feel like Arata grows off of Chihaya, and Chihaya grows off of Arata- or has been for the past several years. There are far more parallels between the two than between Chihaya/Taichi, but I still do like Taichi as an individual. I’m just kind of tired of the whole Nice Dude trope that’s played around in stories these days, I guess (see: 500 Days of Summer).

      Then again, this show seems to be more about Chihaya’s devotion to karuta rather than just a romantic title, so we’ll see how it all plays out.

    4. It’s very hard to assess Chihaya-Arata at this point because in reality, Arata is a stranger to her. If she has any romantic feelings for him, she’s in love with a fantasy, not a reality. And the only hard evidence we have is that she’s in love with Karuta.

      While it inevitably hogs most of the discussion, I still don’t see this as ultimately a romance series first. That’s why I think the most likely ending is “none of the above”.

    5. I am getting kind of frustrated with Chihaya playing the typical dense male lead. I would hope that she at least realizes Taichi has feelings for her, but at the same time I can’t really appreciate how Taichi already has a girlfriend for safety and is still making advances on Chihaya. I did like how Taichi stole Arata’s glasses though lol.

  11. Yup, I’m gonna be that kid. That kid that falls hopelessly in love with Enzo for accepting the bromance of Hikaru no Go. I actually believed that all of mankind (note: MANkind) could not accept it….I felt so jaded…but now… 😀

    YAY ENZO!!!!!

    1. LOL! I didn’t think it was so much a matter of accepting it as being hit in the face with a two-by-four full of it. Does anyone not see just how obvious that element is in HnG? We’re not talking yaoi here or even shounen-ai, after all – just bromance.

      1. Sorry, “bromance” isn’t in my anime vocabulary, so I’m just going to lump it in with shounen-ai out of personal convenience. It makes for a much more interesting tagline that way. 🙂

        If you said “yuujou”, then it’d be a different story. Regardless, I meant it in a good way. It’s always a good thing to appeal to our female readers.

    1. Team Arata for now, but I get the feeling that there really won’t be any major romantic developments. Something just seems off about Taichi’s feelings. Chihaya was the only one who stood up to him in their class as kids and he seemed to become infatuated with her because of that. All the personal issues of the 3 need to be resolved before I want to see any romantic developments.


      I doubt there will be any major romantic stuff going on for a while, as the focal point of this show is the game Karuta, and Chihaya earning her way to the title of Queen (and Arata for King), but seriously, I love it when Arata flags shoot up in this anime. *_*

      December's Landing
    1. Chihaya’s way hotter than she should be for the story to work.

      Maybe the fact that she’s fucking gorgeous will be a plot point later on or something.

      If I were Yuu, I’d have had an intense desire to smack her silly after that scene on the roadway.

  12. Arata x Chihaya all the way! If Chihaya chooses Taichi, I will be very disappointed.

    As several people have commented, Chihaya learns from Arata and Arata learns from Chihaya. By watching the current episodes of Chihayafuru and skimming through the manga, Taichi’s role in his relationship with Chihaya seems to be that of a very loyal friend that merely supports her in any way he can. The problem with this is that Chihaya does not grow from him as she does with Arata.

    Furthermore, the subtleties in both the anime and manga have established a very likely romance between Arata and Chihaya. For example, in episode 1 to 3, Chihaya has put so much attention to Arata than in Taichi, which are evident in her sudden interest in karuta to having her eyes fixed on crying Arata in the end of episode 3 while Taichi remains left out in the background. And in episode 4, her phone does not even contain the number of Taichi, who lives much closer to her than Arata. And this remains the same throughout the manga. Though this detail is miniscule, it portrays many feelings of Chihaya.

    Although she doesn’t notice it, she definitely cherishes her relationship with Arata more than Taichi.

    [My reasoning below contains spoilers.]

    Show Spoiler ▼

    I also highly doubt Arata would do something so treacherous that Chihaya’s feelings would switch over to Taichi. After all, this anime is about karuta, and Arata is the one who introduced this game to her.

    Arata is the connection between karuta and Chihaya.


    The rules of anime can keep screaming “Taichi! Taichi!” But reason and careful analysis of subtleties established by the mangaka and how she portrays the story will always win. And reason favors Arata.


    (This is what you get for having to analyze so Shakespearean plays for school.. You start to notice the nuances in stories. x_x)


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