Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Chihayafuru - Episode 21

If karuta has taken a back seat to exams in Chihaya's life, it isn't for long - no sooner has pencil hit desk at her final exam than her thoughts return to her real passion, although her hard work in terms of study does at least pay off and see to any concerns her teacher may have about her academically for the time being.

With that done and dusted, it's time to start preparing for the Eastern qualifying tournament - although only Nishida and Chihaya are involved as the club's Class A participants, the others still seem keen to learn all they can from the experience, with Taichi in particular seemingly keeping his rivalry with Arata close in his mind.

By the time the first round of the tournament starts, Chihaya (who takes all of our attention here) finds all of her focus dissipated between one thing and another, with even her hair under threat if she can't outperform Sudo, who does a fantastic job of winding up his rival.  If that isn't bad enough, her first round opponent is a surprisingly tough one - she might be a little kid, but the fact that Ririka is already in Class A herself speaks volumes.  In many ways, this young girl mirrors a young Chihaya in terms of karuta ability, using speed and good hearing above all else.  This proves to be a perfect test for the "new-look" Chihaya, as she looks to reign in her speed and play the game tactically - an approach that brings mixed results before her teacher takes the reigns off and lets her go all-out in her usual style to blitz her way to the finish.  That's one game down, but still plenty more to go on her way to the national finals.

Although this was a pretty karuta-focused episode above all else (and I realise it sounds a little daft saying this, but Chihayafuru's focus often lays elsewhere), it was still those magic moments that often came outside of the game which made this episode fun to watch, often due to Taichi's actions as we witness a man torn between friends and love.  Of course, Chihaya herself also continues to entertain, as we see her grow both as a person and a karuta player, to ensure what could well be an engaging final straight for this wonderful little series.

No comments: