Birthday celebrations out of the way, it's tournament time already for Chihaya and company as we reach episode ten of Chihayafuru. To celebrate the occasion, Mizusawa school's newly formed team are even kitted out in traditional hakama for the event.
Given their entry to the tournament as a team against opposing groups of five players, it seems as if Chihaya, Taichi and Nishida should have enough strength to overcome most opposition, although there are some decidedly tricky rivals laying in wait for them should they progress. That trio of strong players should take the pressure off "Desktomu" and Kana, although ultimately that proves to be far from the case - although the latter actually succeeds in winning a game, Tsutomu's back to back defeats don't sit easily with him.
The feeling that he's nothing more than a spare wheel on this particular bandwagon eventually pushes Desktomu into calling it a day, storming out on his team-mates after something of a row with them and leaving them a man short with the assurance that it won't matter on account of his ability level anyhow. Of course, it does matter to Chihaya in particular, and when coupled with a match against a verbal team who are the epitome of teamwork she soon loses focus to the point of simply forgetting how she wins cards - enter Taichi to show why he's a more than capable club president, as he realises what is required to get the best from his comrades and ultimately lead them to victory in their crucial game to set them up for a place in the tournament's final.
While so much of this series has primarily been about Chihaya, it's really Taichi who shines through this week to grant us an enjoyable episode which comes at us from a slightly different angle than previous instalments - compared to his friend's inability to understand others feelings, Taichi is clearly quite a sharp reader of people's actions and attitudes, and time and again he knows just what to say and how to say it to get the best from people. Of course, this seems to be turned on its head when it comes to his feelings for Chihaya - funny how even an otherwise confident person can have that confidence turned on its head when it comes to confessing their love for someone... thankfully, I have no such problems confessing my continued love for Chihayafuru.