Unfortunately, unlike the last couple weeks, there was only one episode that aired this week. I’m a little saddened by this development in some ways because I like having these short Chihayafuru films to watch every week. The first cliff hanger from the first episode was immediately resolved to settle for a more powerful cliff hanger for the next little arc or mini movie. Now, we are stuck with the first half of another Chihayafuru movie with a massive cliff hanger we need to wait a week for. I suppose that is fine though considering that gives me more room to talk about things in each episode and not just skip over details like not mentioning Chihaya’s family appeared for a small amount of time last episode. Yeah, woops. Sorry about that everyone. It wasn’t important for the episode itself, but it was important for Chihaya.
This episode starts in a way that makes me think Kana is the best girl of this series because she comes from a long line of best girls. The final round of Karuta doesn’t start right away because first we get a scene of Kana’s mother straightening Taichi’s Kimono. While that is happening, she gives Taichi a lot of words of support somewhat veiled as some historical talk about the meaning behind every bit of the Kimono itself. It’s all very interesting actually and I’m glad that Taichi gets a push for encouragement before his match with Chihaya starts. Also, Retro-kun gets a quick scene with his opponent for the Rank B finale. A man whose in his late thirties and picked up Karuta because of his finance. It was a pretty funny scene honestly but not important to the grand scheme of things.
Finally, the finale match between Chihaya and Taichi starts. The first comments or reactions made during the match? Everyone commenting about Taichi’s very innovative card placements. Everyone comments on how bizarre it is and ponders why he broke from his usual strategy now, but it’s pretty obvious that this formation is designed specifically for playing against Chihaya. It wouldn’t work on anyone else because of the thought and attention put into it. Chihaya’s stronger and weaker cards are put into strategic locations specifically to put an offensive playing Chihaya on the defense. Taichi is pretty wonderful in this sort of way I think.
So that starts the arc of this particular match with Chihaya as the focus. This particular karuta battle has a very dynamic and romantic focus to it. There is some very clear tension because they forgot the ties on their around their arms for to reduce the amount of fabric, so they could mount their attacks on a top level. Taichi is laying out that he knows Chihaya’s strengths and weaknesses and it confuses Chihaya for a little bit. Her game is thrown off for a little bit until she re-centers herself and looks at Taichi. The playing style is from her usual matches, but it’s still Taichi. She looks at Taichi through out the rest of the match and they attack card after card. The match isn’t over yet, but it’s obvious that this matches result is going to be very close either way. I wonder how Chihaya will take this flirting afterward. Is Taichi going to confess? Oh man, so many implications here. I don’t even care who the winner is.
The characters that pick up the subtext of this match are Hanano, Kana, and Arata. Ok, not completely fair, but a lot of other players misconstrue what is happening here. Hanano sees Chihaya looking at Taichi and cries in sadness because of her self processed crush on Taichi. Kana finally sees her ship sailing and cries in happiness. Of course there were other things here like this being the first time Hanano feels like she’s watching a couple strangers playing considering that she has watched them playing together all the time and other things. There is a lot to be scared about here.
Then there is is Arata with all sorts of jealousy in his eyes from the battle in question happening. In front of him are his two childhood friends playing with all the heart and joy possible. Arata is watching all the time and energy Taichi and Chihaya spent away from him right in front of his face because he decided to stay and watch this final match. How is he supposed to feel here? Happy? Nope. It’s pretty evident that Taichi laid out his Kurata card in front of everyone for Chihaya and by all rights, Arata feels like that should be him. That very scene in his memories when swapping him and Taichi in his important scene was heart breaking in a way. I do feel sorry about what happened to him because of his life choices and other attributes behind his control, but he did decide to stick around for his match because of a pouting Chihaya. He should have known what was coming to him.
Then there is the analyzing of what’s going on from Deskotomu-kun and the others to what is going on. According to Desk’s results, Taichi has a much higher rate of improvement over Chihaya, but I think there is something to be said about how Chihaya hasn’t fully gained control of her right hand at the level that she wants to. Here, I think Chihaya is finally doing that. She’s just playing at the best she could here because Taichi is pushing her further. There is also the fact that these are two high schoolers in a tournament for people of all ages and they are at the finals showing off the best that they can play. It’s hard to not be intimidating by everything. Chihaya and Taichi really do work well with each other.
So what is the main thing to get out of this pretty great episode? That we ended with a cliff hanger, so I am a little upset about that fact. This is what this season three has been building up to since episode one, so not seeing a thematic and story conclusion to all of this is a little frustration for us viewers and watchers. Aside from that, the visual presentation and direction is at it’s strongest here since the first episode of this season? It’s obvious the animators had a lot of fun. For a conclusion, the message of this episode is obviously. Find yourself someone like Taichi who knows how to speak your language when confessing their love/flirting who has a strong enough will to do it in front of almost everyone that you know. That’s a massive power move.
That’s all from Chihayafuru for now. See you the next time I post.