Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weekly Review: 2/13/12

Chihayafuru Ep. 19: As The Years Pass

Episode 19 begins exactly where 18 ends, and so that is why this is a direct continuation of the previous post. Tsutomu and Kanade seem evenly matched until Tsutomu begins to shed his stance in the round. It seems that when he is under pressure he gets nervous and begins to fumble. He made a few faults and Kanade eventually comes around to winning the match. The emotional stress is so much that they both take care of one another in companionship. It’s a truly heartfelt moment to see Tsutomu place his hand on Kanade’s shoulder, and it proves their bond to be realistically strong. Their personalities and play styles differ greatly but it’s obvious that at least Tsutomu is crushing on her. Maybe at the end of the series something will become of it.

The episode dramatically turns tides to Taichi and Nishida’s match, which as you may guess, was extremely close. As soon as Chihaya realizes the match is still going on, she turns to Retro-kun for an update. He is speechless and can’t answer her, mainly because the match is that close. Both Nishida and Taichi have dwindled each other’s cards down to one card. As long as the announcer continues to call dead cards, the match remains in session.

Taichi takes the offensive even though there is only a 50% chance he can win. He puts the pressure on Nishida in that he remembers which cards have been called and those that haven’t. Of course the pressure is also on Taichi, and the animators make this clear by the expression in his face.

Eventually Taichi loses by the hand of luck as we see a slow build up of his comparing of speed to Chihaya and if she is watching him. He wants to advance to Class A so that he can prove to her that he is just as good as Arata. This has always been part of his main conflict and he must continue to struggle in competition with him. Although we don’t know if Chihaya would be swept off her feet by Arata’s potential for a relationship, that doesn’t matter. The main idea that eats Taichi away is losing Chihaya to Arata. It would be great if Arata and Taichi could settle the matter over a Karuta match, but the show is more serious than that. Maybe I am thinking this way because the last handful of episodes have been mostly dedicated to Karuta and not to relationship building. Well it has been in terms of the team playing in tournaments and each person growing individually.

Even after the match Nishida sits with Taichi and announces how glad he is that Taichi is captain of the Karuta club. It’s a heartwarming moment that tells a tale of friendship and not rivalry. Nishida feels at least a little bad that he won to luck, but with a one-card match they were both equal in skill. That can be argued in that Taichi is the one who had a better memory, but you know what I mean.

In an act of kindness on the way back home, Chihaya takes a sleepy Taich and rests his head on her shoulder. This is similar to the seen that I so loved in a recent episode. The only difference is that the nervous Taichi didn’t take the risk to grab her hand, while here she freely grabs him without thinking. It’s a beautiful gesture that then turns into Chihaya stating her wanton to have a team match. Every one of them has grown exponentially and they are coming together in an even more solid group.

There is something to look forward to in the next remaining handful of episodes of Chihayafuru. There may be some devotion to relationship building and the rivalry between Chihaya and the currently reigning Wakamiya Shinobu. And what of the tension that Taichi has created within himself that his pointed him into rivalry with Arata? I wonder if any relationship will bud in the series, as I expect at least something to happen between Tsutomu and Kanade. It’s hard to tell if Chihaya would be with Arata if the potential for such a situation were to occur. If that did happen I think Taichi would back down and never mention his feelings to Chihaya. It would be a turn of events if Chihaya acknowledged his feelings and that she knew all along, but it’s fairly clear that by the definition of her character that she is completely clueless. Oh Chihayafuru, there’s such little time left for you to answer these questions!

See you next week!

-Jared Cyhowski

No comments:

Post a Comment