「これやこの」 (Kore ya kono)
“As Friends and Strangers”
It’s qualification time for our favourite karuta players. All except one of course. All our beloved characters are meeting up in Eastern and Western Japan to compete against one another. I’m surprised we’re going to get such a long arc without Chihaya being the glue that holds the whole story together, but it’s actually quite refreshing.
This arc will provide space for supporting characters to show a little growth in both their abilities but in character as well. Take for example the calculating Sumire. For the first time, she’s put Taichi’s feelings before her ambition to sweep him off his feet. And with such a beautiful gesture, she’s perhaps even caught his attention the right way, inadvertently and without any mischief. We all know she’s fallen for karuta as much as she has Taichi and she just won’t admit it yet, but this is the first time she’s truly putting herself at risk for the wellbeing of her senpai.
On his end, Taichi has a whole roaster of competitors to go up against before he can qualify for the master finals. Will he succeed? Will his mother come between him and his newfound dream? It’s difficult to say. Perhaps for the first time in his karuta playing career, he’ll be able to sway his mother’s opinion of the sport. Or maybe not… It must be difficult for Taichi to find motivation with that kind of pressure, yet, he’s made it to the qualifiers.
Arata, on the other hand, is having a rough start with his stomach taking the bulk of the load before his first match. But he’s showing a lot of promise and improvement since last we saw him compete. I’m hoping he’ll go head to head with Taichi. I really want this season to build up to that. These two boys should have another match against one another, just as they did way back when. But this time, Arata will be able to complete the match.
But who between the two will dethrone the current Master? I can’t even put my finger on who I want to see up there or who I would like to see as Master, side by side with the Queen.