Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekly Review: 2/6/12

Chihayafuru Ep. 18: The Plum Blossoms Still Smell The Same

This episode of Chihayafuru is interesting in that it divides into two halves. The first being a match between Chihaya and the aged Karuta player Kanai Sakura, and the second focusing on the advancing match between Tsutomu vs. Kanade. Of course it was intense!

There are a few items that should be pointed out in this episode, and one of them is Chihaya’s acceptance that speed isn’t everything. We saw in previous episodes that Chihaya has her biggest strength with one-syllable cards, and that she doesn’t seem to have much of a strategy. Although she ultimately loses to Kanai, Chihaya learns that Karuta is a game where tactics need to be thought out more thoroughly. It was a good thing that Chihaya lost her match as she also learned from it. The comedic effect that Kanai is older than Chihaya is entertaining, but even Kanai knows she will likely never become Queen. Chihaya’s reaction to seeing Kanai’s family is terribly funny, especially when they all turn around!

The second half of the episode features two matches and Chihaya seems to only be able to follow one of them. So who does she choose? Tsutomu and Kanade of course! All the while Retro-kun pays attention to the match between Taichi and Nishida. Poor Retro-kun lost in his first match!

As Chihaya watches Tsutomu and Kanade, one aspect becomes engagingly clear: both players have grown and they are ready to advance to the next competitive class. Tsutomu takes the analytical side and picks Kanade apart. Kanade uses the form she must maintain with her Kimono to take an advantage on gracefully swiping cards away from Tsutomu. They both have very different styles of play, and they look at the game in complete difference to one another.

To be continued in the Weekly Review for 2/13/12.

-Jared Cyhowski

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