Saturday, 23 March 2013

Chihayafuru 2 - Episode 11

Just as everything seems to be going smoothly for Mizusawa, out of nowhere conflict appears on the brink of their first play-off match, as Nishida loses his rag over what he perceives as Tsutomu's lack of ambition in terms of actually wanting to play in their line-up.

As he storms off to the canteen to comfort eat while berating himself for upsetting the apple cart at such a pivotal moment, it's left to the others to make a decision as to what their line-up should be.  Surprisingly, it's Chihaya who takes the lead here, deciding that they should stick with the selection that has worked for them so far, and thus ensuring that Nishida's anger at Tsutomu doesn't dissipate.  Once engrossed in the match however, the full extent of Tsutomu's hard work as a pivotal member of the team becomes clear - every member of Mizusawa has been fully appraised of the quirks of their opponent, leaving them ready to face down and capitalise on what should be the strengths of their opponents.  Furthermore, Chihaya has realised how exhausting this data collection must have been for her team-mate, hence her quite correct decision to leave Tsutomu out of the line-up.

With another victory in the bag, it's on to the semi-finals, which sees Mizusawa having to rely on Sumire's "unique" notes - even here, Tsutomu is impressive, making full use of her notes about fashion styles, accessories and names to effectively make a psychological profile of each opponent to figure out who they are and what might be expected of their playing style.  From there, it's time for the big game to start... but are Mizusawa's latest opponents underestimating them?

Although I feel as if I must sound like a broken record in saying it, this week was another wonderful episode of Chihayafuru - its drama managed to feel natural enough, and led to another opportunity for our lead characters to develop both as individuals and a team.  Even when the depiction of the matches themselves aren't set up to generate any major tension, there's still a real thrill and sense of enjoyment to be found from watching Mizusawa's accomplishments that never seems to ebb.  No doubt we'll be focusing more on that in-game tension next week, but once again we've been reminded about how proficient Chihayafuru is at everything it does, from comedy to character-building and far beyond.

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