“Chapter 66 Where the Sun Shines / Chapter 67 Small World”
After winning the Rookie King Tournament, it seems obvious that the natural progression for Rei Kiriyama would be to start plying his trade against heavier weights. But I don’t think many people would have expected his fateful encounter with Souya to come so soon. Though a title may not necessarily be on the line, this is a chance for our boy to test his mettle, and see how much further his meteoric rise can last. There’s no doubt that the winds of destiny are lifting him towards higher places. However, defeating Souya will evidently require much more than mere talent and good fortune.
Although Gotou makes poor judgements for himself, he ironically has pretty good insight regarding other people, since he was the only one that predicted how Shimada would quickly bounce back. On the other side of the spectrum, Shimada has slowly worked his way back into relevance following his crushing defeat against Souya, grinding his way to successfully mounting a title challenge against Yanigahara. Like Kiriyama, I was also displeased when the old men expressed dissatisfaction towards such an outcome, and had a difficult time deciding whether their concerns were superficial or warranted. From what I can tell, shogi professionals are greatly respected by society. But given the rapid changes brought about by an increasingly disparate modern age, I have a hard time saying whether shogi might actually be slowly dying. While I reckon that the chief of the shogi association is worried about the board game’s future, I get the feeling that Yanigahara isn’t particularly troubled by such a thought.
If I had to guess, Yanigahara is driven by a desire to leave behind an enduring legacy. He has such a want of recognition for potentially holding on to his title for ten years, and rightly so. His achievement is absolutely impressive, and even though I’ll be supporting Shimada, I wouldn’t be unhappy to see this old codger establishing a remarkable record.
Shogi Science Club
Seeing Rei cry out of sheer happiness was so heartwarming, because for the first time in his life, people cared enough to sincerely celebrate his achievements. Considering the quirky effort put into throwing together such a scientific party, there is no question that these people are true friends, the genuine variety that we all seek out in the course of our lifetimes. Though it might have taken him many years, Kiriyama was finally able to find them. But alas, our time on Earth is limited and all good things must come to an end. Just as he found a place to belong, the Shogi Science Club’s current iteration disbands for the sake of focusing on exams. It’s a shame that most of its members were third years who will be graduating. Even though teachers join the club, saving it from demise, Rei will no longer mingle with fellow peers of a similar age. In a broader sense of the word, he goes back to figurative loneliness.
While I think he will survive the same as always, but there’s no denying Rei is about to lose a valuable part of his daily life, and it makes me so god damn sad for him. But as Noguchi says, gaining and losing is a natural part of life that one has to come to terms with. It seems cruel because Rei has already lost too much in his life – but I digress, he needs the experience so that he can continue surging forwards. Treasuring people seems to have been the epiphany allowing Rei’s shogi to attain evolution, seeing how he has come to play for the sake of others. As we look ahead at a new tomorrow, bringing him closer to a fantastic encounter with destiny, what will the future hold for Rei Kiriyama?
P.S. – Merry Kurisumasu everyone! ^_^