Ok, I couldn’t stop myself with this episode caption. It just quickly came to my mind after watching this particular episode given what happened in it. I don’t even listen to Macklemore, so this is the one song that I know. Probably why my mind went to it. Regardless of that fact, Chihayafuru is back everyone. It seems to have taken a break to celebrate the New Year and New Decade. That’s ok, there was some other things to talk about because the anime season and decade did end. Chihayafuru is here for the return of the decade to bring peace to our time where it seems like the world is about to end again. You know, thanks to a lot of stupid people and elections and such. Let’s talk about episode 13 before I dig deeper into that.
The first match of the day was between Haruka and Megumu in the round two of this challenger qualifying event. At first, I was a little upset because the match was short for a singular Chihayafuru karuta match. The more I thought about it, the more it kind of made sense. All of Haruka’s development came from episode 12. It would be a lot of copying and pasting of what is going on. Haruka receiving a couple daisies from her child Aki who called her a queen is extremely cute (and truthful). It’s also nice to hear Megumu’s voice when she got embarrassed with her many head band uses. I can’t definitely feel that saying of brevity is the soul of wit in this episode.
That still makes this episode feel a little clumsy and cut into pieces a little bit. Very good pieces though and I will push that on the Haruka and Megumu a little bit. While I really do love everything about Haruka and seeing her raise to prominence again because she’s good and deserves everything, it’s just that it all doesn’t connect well with everything else because of the lack of Chihaya involvement. You know, besides Chihaya being extremely jealous. Chihaya directly influenced the last round of this qualifying event with a few sentences and she also met with Suo for the first time. Chihaya is the glue that holds everything together. Yay transitions?
The match between Harada and Arata (say that three times fast) started so much differently then the first match. Almost like the two switched roles. Harada was like the young karuta player waiting while Arata showed up in his grandfather’s Kimono. Something that shook the foundations of that room to heights that were completely unexpected and also very in line with what Chihaya told him after the first match. Something along the lines of “you can’t defeat Harada as you are”. The psychological combat that Harada has been flipped with Arata’s appearance and his grandfather’s play style he’s now using. Of course, the result is different here. Harada is being psychologically pushed as a younger adult in an older adult body with a lot of pain. That’s incredibly mean, but also shows that Chihaya might be the smartest karuta person in that room.
Before moving onto the final scene of the show, let’s talk about the scenes interspersed between important moments in the Harada and Arata Karuta match. They met at the part, Suo gave her food and many other things happened. Chihaya seemed show about asking Suo things and pretty sure Suo was confessing to him. Yeah, almost no one even seems to understand Chihaya at all except a few people.
I do think that someone who was in college for 8 years to expect being asked out by Chihaya to be a little creepy, but at least it makes sense in context of the scene to once again push that Chihaya is just as unusual as our current Karuta master is.
The quick lines when the two ran back to the Karuta game between Suo’s “I don’t have a girlfriend” and Chihaya’s “I don’t either” are gold. Still, I’m getting a little frustrated by this “Chihaya is an object of desire”. Stop please. Taichi and Arata have a large reason for their crushes on Chihaya and being jealous of seeing the other with her. (That moment at the end of episode 12 was clearly from Taichi’s point of view.) They’ve known Chihaya for a very long time and actually know all sides of her instead of all these shallow people who see her outside and that’s it. She greatly affected their lives without realizing it.
With that, Chihaya and Suo finally show up to Harada and Arata’s match where Arata is currently in the lead. That’s right, Chihaya shows up late to a karuta game she directly affected late. Suo automatically decides to just support Harada to play against him because he’s just….shallow apparently. Or maybe he’s just spiteful for no reason against Arata because they’ve only really talked once. All so different compared to Chihaya who knows Arata and Harada personally and suggested the one game changing thing which can change the entire situation of this entire qualifying event. Oh wow, I wonder what’s going to happen next here because the match isn’t over. I guess we will see though.
With the disjointed nature of this episode with some really solid material and parts with important elements, this was still a really great episode. Just not one I want to watch again and again and again because it’s not as great? Is that mean? It probably is. I really like seeing Haruka in her element and then Harada thinking he is in his and then remembering that he’s too old for the way he’s moving. Arata’s change really did strike him that way though. So with all of that thought put into this episode, I’m giving it a rating of Really Great over Perfect. I hope next episode was like episode 12.