Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chihayafuru "Ketchup"

Hi there! So as I stated in my update on 2/4/12, I have fallen behind in my Weekly Reviews. I also stated that I may drop both Guilty Crown and Last Exile Fam, but I have yet to make up my mind on those titles. But in the meantime I have caught up on Chihayafuru and I would like to discuss some of the events and turnings in the episodes. Instead of going over each episode individually I will collectively refer to them as an entire segment. And please, forgive the ridiculous naming of this article!

Ep. 13 – For You, I Head Out
Ep. 14 – For There Is No One Else Out Here
Ep. 15 – As Though Pearls Have Been Strung Across The Autumn Plain
Ep. 16 – The Autumn Leaves Of Mount Ogura
Ep. 17 – World Offers No Escape

These episodes of Chihayafuru were magnificent and joyful just as the rest of the series is. Even with Ep. 16 being a recap episode, it was completely entertaining. Usually when you watch a recap episode the most major of events are shown and events are strung along systematically, but Chihayafuru handles it so much better. Ep. 13 – 15 helped to finalize the first half or so of the series, Ep. 16 recaps it, and then Ep. 17 introduces what will be happening next.

Ep. 13 – 15 feature Chihaya and the gang attending a large-scale Karuta championship. Remember how they made it to finals in the tournament before this? Well that was a big deal! Now they face the best teams in the country! Though it’s not all fame and glory for Chihaya, Taichi, and the others. The team falters early as Chihaya passes out from heat, nerves, stress, and exhaustion. Taichi forfeits the match for her, when suddenly she wakes up to Arata watching over her. The love triangle is so interesting! Admittedly Arata hasn’t expressed his feelings though…

The team goes on to lose but the following day features a tournament for individuals. Chihaya is matched with the current Queen (highest ranking female Karuta player) in the country, and her name is Wakamiya Shinobu. Shinobu is an excellent character because she contrasts Chihaya greatly. Her smooth black hair and the glare in her eyes truly expresses that of rivalry. Chihaya suffers at first in the match, but then recovers a bit to take some cards from Shinobu. Impressive! But clearly Shinobu is the queen for a reason, and thus Chihaya loses the match. This isn’t quite so heartbreaking as it is a learning experience for Chihaya. Just after her match she practices swift arm movements in order to take Karuta cards faster from an opponent, as opposed to usually falling asleep after a match.

The recap episode is simply that but it features a selection of shorts from the manga that are quite entertaining. For example Taichi’s word game where they need to come up with something that expresses each character. Taichi was given “jack of all trades, master of none” which is too true in his eyes. Then there’s the skit about how everyone would rather date Kanade because of her breast size, which is hilarious. But we all know it’s Tsutomu who should end up with Kanade.

And so we are left with Ep. 17 where summer vacation is over and the Karuta club is participating in a track race! (?) But hey, the cogs are moving and the story is set forth for Chihaya to get better and face the Queen and it seems Taichi is closer to revealing his feelings for Chihaya. That train scene was incredible and hilarious! I especially like how the show’s creators tricked everyone into thinking he was going to take Chihaya’s hand, but then suddenly clapped. Too good. Chihaya learns from Tsutomu’s studies and Kanade’s passion for the poetry that there is so much more she can do to improve on Karuta. Every character has space to grow and to learn, and with the series coming around to its final bend, we will be able to see just how far they have all come.

Other considerable moments:
-Learning of Arata’s Grandfather and what happened with the entire situation
-Taichi’s break up with his girlfriend, which lasted all but 2 seconds. So funny!

-Jared Cyhowski

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