Sunday, March 25, 2012

Taichi Tuesdays: 3/20/12

Chihayafuru Ep. 24: Nobody Wishes to See the Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

Next week is the final episode of Chihayafuru and it seems we have some sort of ending locked in place. The group is now together and watching the national karuta finals for the Queen and Master positions. Shinobu is playing against Yumi for the title of Queen and the current Master is playing against someone else. We really haven’t received much attention to the current Master so it’s a bit awkward that Chihayafuru is making a big deal out of him. Nonetheless this is a great moment for the guys, and ladies, to study both matches and to learn from them.

The episode starts similarly to an episode that aired weeks and weeks ago. Do you remember when Taichi had Chihaya over and he wouldn’t let her in his room? Well this time Chihaya comes over but Taichi’s mom is also there, and boy is she ever intimidating for Chihaya!

To escape the awkward tension Taichi invites Chihaya up to his room, but this time it’s Chihaya who feels weird about it. On another note, what’s up with Taichi’s mother telling Taichi that karuta isn’t worth it? I know she wants him to be the best he can at so many different things but if he loves karuta, why not go for it? Actually that brings up the idea that Taichi may not exactly love karuta, as it’s his love for Chihaya that seems to have kept him going all this time. If it weren’t for her, Taichi likely wouldn’t have started playing again.

Tsutomu, Kanade, and Nishida arrive at Taichi’s house to watch the final matches, and we learn that Shinobu has… gained a lot of weight?! Apparently! It’s kind of ridiculous and I’m not sure why this even happens in the story, but Shinobu ate a ton of ice cream to win a special collectible and themed item: the snowman mascot that Chihaya knows about as well. All the ice cream made her fat and so she’s been struggling throughout the match. It’s a bit random but I can live with it.

We learn from Shinobu’s flashback that she got into karuta because her high-expectations Grandmother needed Shinobu to find something worth doing as a child. It’s a bit weird but it makes sense to a degree. And so Shinobu eventually put her talents into karuta and that’s where she is today. Finding strength from within, Shinobu eventually defeats Yumi. This match could have gone either way if you ask me, as we have seen the rise of both players in recent episodes. It’s just interesting that things could have turned out differently altogether. Chihaya could have defeated Yumi for a chance to play against Shinobu, and there was all that story built up around Shinobu and Chihaya being rivals. Whatever happened to that? It’s likely only explored in the manga’s storyline.

The episode finishes with the current Master Suo Hisashi starting his third match with his opponent, who is someone we have never seen before. Apparently Hisashi has the ability to move so fast and with such grace that he barely touches the cards in front of him. He’s been the Master of karuta for a few years now so it’s awesome to see him in a match. The only thing is, his match started at the end of the episode. I only hope that the next and final episode of Chihayafuru doesn’t take most of the episode to go through his match. We need a resolution to the story and we need to see what happens between Chihaya and Taichi. I know that Arata obviously has a lot to do with that relationship, but he’s barely a part of the story at the end that it barely even matters. There may not be any definitive relationship status created between any of the characters, but I would enjoy seeing some form of well-done conclusion nonetheless. Only next week will tell!

-Jared Cyhowski

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