Despite Chihaya and her friends making it to the national karuta tournament once again, our protagonist hardly seems hyped up about the prospect as this week's episode starts - not only is she still ruing the club's defeat in the final, but perhaps more importantly she finds herself feeling responsible for that defeat on account of her "selfish" desire to win while imitating current master Shinobu's playing style.
Anxious to turn over a new leaf in light of such perceived selfishness, and with some parties still anxious to see the karuta club moved out of their current club room, Chihaya offers up the opportunity for the growing music club to take over the room above their heads regardless of the disturbances it might cause - of course, this decision all comes down to karuta ultimately, in the hope that it might allow a little luck to find its way to the group.
That aside, and ignoring some further evidence of Sumire's "tsundere" attitude towards karuta, this week's episode finds its real focus in the relationships of the Ayase family - things aren't going so great for Chihaya;'s sister, giving her second thoughts about her career path, while we finally see Chihaya getting some attention from her parents even if it seems to come at a time when Chihaya herself really doesn't want it. From here, it's on to the nationals, although it's thoughts of love that preoccupy us before the tournament begins...
Although this week's Chihayafuru could easily have powered itself straight through to the national tournament, this was instead a great episode that once again showed how supreme the show as a whole is at getting the small things right - it was wonderful watching the mother-daughter relationship between Chihaya and her mum, underlined further by her sister's troubles. There were also some great snippets of comedy to be found here - a self-aware reference around the show's title was hilarious on account of being so unexpected, and there were a number of other great lines to be found too. Despite having none of the tension of its direct predecessor, this is another one of those episodes that proves there is far more to Chihayafuru than just drama.