Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Chihayafuru - Episode 19

Chihayaa aside, it's crunch time for the rest of the individuals that make up the Mizusawa karuta club, as all four of them find themselves caught up in their respective finals at their current tournament.

As per the end of last week's episode, it's the Class D final between Komano and Ayase that grabs our instant attention in a game of statistics versus style.  However, a couple of mistakes by Desktomu sees him end up on the back foot, which only pressures him into further errors.  At this point he'd normally just give up and wait for the next game to come around, but given that there is no next game on this occasion he almost literally throws all of his eggs into one basket with some irregular tactics to try and win back his current deficit.  He might not quite pull it off, but his efforts and place in the final deservedly see him promoted alongside his team-mate.

All of this excitement has led many attending, and not least Chihaya, to complete ignore the on-going Class B final between Taichi and Nishida- a match that has literally come down to a sudden death, luck of the draw situation with both competitors only having one card remaining.  In this scenario, it's usually up to both players to defend their own card so that the winner proves to be whichever card is read first, but this is a convention that Taichi seems to have little time for as he desperately searches for his win.  Understandably, the immediate aftermath of such an epic match causes a little bad blood between the two, but this is soon resolved and only leads to strengthening the friendship between the pair of them... and the rest of the team for that matter, as they look forward to some more opportunities to play together as a single unit.

Having not been hugely drawn into the action by last week's episode, I have to confess that this week's Chihayafuru turned things around by capturing my attention hook, line and sinker - the emotional end to the Class D final worked perfectly, while the stand-off at the climax of the Class B tournament had all of the tension of a penalty shoot-out before once again leveraging its characters perfectly in the aftermath of those nail-biting events.  It's those wonderfully observed character interactions that keep me coming back to Chihayafuru week after week, and this series staunchly refuses to let me down in this regard.

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