I think this post will be a little shorter then the last one considering all the material that comes with it. This episode was the finale to the battle between Arata and Harada plus a little bit afterward. The split between where the episode ended last week and started this week makes a lot of sense considering the battle changes at that exact point. It’s pretty crazy considering everything that happens here. Plus, the after material was pretty shocking and I honestly feel like those moments took off a lot of the steam from the competition. Possibly on purpose. I mean, Chihayafuru is pretty well written after all from multiple perspectives. I should probably talk about the episode now.
The ending of last episode with Harada looking at Suo really was the breaking point for the arc of this specific Karuta fight. Before that, Harada let himself be in the reality that Arata created from wearing his grandfather’s clothes and playing the same way his grandfather was. Considering that Harada was behind 7 cards, it was working. The illusion, like Harada’s knees, is now damaged. Suo brought motivation back into Harada’s eyes and he fought back in his own way. You know, after falling on the floor and being confident in how Karuta doesn’t have a time limit so he has enough time to get back up.
That’s where Harada’s backstory is quickly revealed. Dr. Harada was a talented Karuta challenger whose passion for karuta always came second to him being a doctor. That must really say how much he loves being a doctor and helping people if it means pushing him away from his hobby of Karuta. He went to places that didn’t have karuta or Okinawa with wooden karuta cards. All until he was much older, made his private practice in Tokyo and could form his own Karuta society. All of that lead to this point where this very motivated but focused man gave up his youth and his natural ability to find other ways to win at Karuta besides hearing words faster then other people. The man is an inspiration for building a school around that.
With all of that combined and Chihaya finally reviewing why she is cheering for Dr. Harada after showing that she really has grown up, Dr. Harada pulls off a win off an Arata who only knew how to draw Harada in and not something he mastered himself. It’s been mentioned two episodes ago about how Chihaya has grown, but the flimsy opinion of “I have a hard time choosing who I want to win” really didn’t show itself better until this episode. This short segment actually proved how she has grown. She chooses Harada to cheer for because Harada helped her out more then starting her on this journey like Arata did. I feel like Chihaya really is like a playful god in these two episodes because her decision on who wins kind of influences who actually does. On purpose? Something to explore? So much to look into. Go age and experience.
With that, all of the after party blows everything in the karuta game away on an emotional level. Chihaya walked into the karuta room with Suo’s scarf, so Taichi aims to return it. That moves Taichi in a much more complicated way for Taichi. Suo asked who Taichi is to Chihaya, while Taichi lies with conviction saying “she’s my girlfriend”. Damn man, what a scene. It’s a lie considering that Taichi hasn’t asked Chihaya out in the normal way, but with Karuta cards up to this point and she’s only sort of responded without understanding the full context of why Taichi was doing that because he never said. Also, this scene took place at a park where Haruka was playing with her kids so that was a good time to remind her to return to get her awards. Damn, what do you say? Taichi is such a sad mess of a character, but he’s great.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Arata actually confesses to Chihaya. He loves her, plans on going to Tokyo University to be closer to her, and wants to continue playing karuta with her. Damn man, where did you get this bold? Was it losing the karuta match after listening to Chihaya? Something else? I’m completely amazed and about as confused as what to think as Chihaya is in the scene. Especially since it was Arata and so genuine and caring. It’s a lot to think about really which is why Chihaya is currently stuck outside in a very confused state while Kana and Hanano are just as shocked as Chihaya is because they were present. Arata even did this in public. Kind of stunning honestly.
Then lastly, while the celebration giving Harada and Haruka the title of this year’s challenger, Arata is given some support by Murao. You know, the older brother figure in Arata’s life, asks Arata about why he lost. I’m glad he’s giving him so much support while asking Arata what he was missing lead to his loss. There was a lot of usual answers here with Arata focusing on love by repeating it multiple times. Especially since he just confessed to Arata completely. I guess that wasn’t as sudden of a confession that he let go off after leaving Chihaya was it? He’s obviously been thinking about all of this for a while too.
So I guess this post wasn’t as short as I thought about here. I guess the next episode didn’t have enough of an arc to build off of here with Suo and Shinobu feeling more vulnerable then they’ve ever been before going against older opponents who have shown how hard they are into playing the game. No, the love triangle angle needs to be pushed even further in a believable way too. Once again, Chihayafuru aims to go above and beyond with it’s cliff hangers then most normal anime do? I do have to appreciate the effort put into everything I suppose. Chihayafuru does more in one episode then normal anime do in three, so it’s fine. Once again, a great episode here though the episode two weeks ago still takes the cake for this season.
Episode rating: Solidly Great/10
I’m sorry about the lack of screen caps on this post. I just didn’t feel like I have enough time to go back and rewatch the episode so I can get them. I don’t watch things on my computer or phone most of the time which is why I don’t usually gather them for what I watch.