Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taichi Tuesdays: 2/28/12

It’s been a busy week and I wasn’t able to get my response from last week’s episode up in time, and so I will just briefly touch on it. Afterwards I will cover the newest episode of Chihayafuru. Enjoy!

Chihayafuru Ep. 21: As My Sleeves Are Wet With Dew

It’s been a week since I saw ep. 21, but there are a few elements of the episode that I remember quite well. First it’s the fact that Chihaya passed her exams, meaning she doesn’t need to stay back in school. It also means that Chihaya was able to balance the importance of schoolwork with her passion for Karuta. The image above is the expression on her face when she learned she had passed, and just how thankful she was for Tsutomu’s help as a tutor.

Then we have the small 6th grader Ririka who was Chihaya’s opponent in a qualifying match to play against the Queen of karuta. Chihaya sat back in the match and played the game at a pace where Ririka was able to stay in the game. Eventually Chihaya’s sensei pointed out that she could attack the cards with speed, thus putting her at an advantage. Throughout the match Ririka’s mother was watching as her daughter became upset and frustrated with the fact that Chihaya was winning. There was a true element of magic to this, as we learn that Ririka plays karuta because she doesn’t fit in with her classmates. They pick on her because of her large ears and whatever other reasons there may be, but it’s mentioned that her ears give her an advantage in hearing the cards before they are even called. It was heartbreaking, and heartwarming, to encourage her daughter to do whatever she wanted to do just so she could be happy. As her mother points out, she is supportive for “something that will help you like yourself”, and it’s just great that Ririka has actually found that something.

The rest of the episode focused on Chihaya sticking up for Ririka’s loss and Taichi challenging Arata to winning his qualifying match. Arata also had to deal with the fact that his mentor wasn’t into karuta as much as he used to be, which shows that people can lose interest in the sport. I believe Taichi’s text will encourage Arata into placing well in the tournament.

-Jared Cyhowski

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