Saturday, 11 May 2013

Chihayafuru 2 - Episode 18

Mizusawa might have fallen behind in all of the games that make up their team final at the national tournament, but that doesn't mean that their collective spirit is broken - far from it in fact, as fire burns in their bellies stronger than ever before.

As the match rumbles on, so this grand final is told in a generally personal fashion, taking each match-up and the characters involved with them on an individual basis, as they face up to their various faults, worries and foibles to battle against their own psyche just as much as their opponent across the tatami.

Throw in other elements such as Chihaya's hand injury, which seems to be increasingly problematic for her, and some glimpses into Shinobu's back story and why she loves to hate team karuta, and you have yourself a heady mixture of an episode which once again manages to cover a vast amount of ground over a large number of characters without ever feeling too fragmented or "messy".

Of course, sitting tightly beneath all of those narrative elements sits a good old-fashioned sports anime, which does a superb job of relating the tension of this final in a way which is palpable and lending an edge of the seat quality which accompanies the more cerebral elements of the show.  With Mizusawa's current state in the game teetering on the brink of failure, it's fair to say that this episode succeeds at leaving me teetering on the brink of my chair as I once again contemplate waiting until next week to see what happens next.

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