Saturday, 15 June 2013

Chihayafuru 2 - Episode 23

Having been eliminated from the tournament, you might think that there no further big decisions for Chihaya to make as the national tournament comes to a close - however, you'd best think again.

In short, our protagonist now has two important finals to choose between watching - the Class B final featuring Taichi against familiar opponent Rion, and the meeting of karuta powerhouses that is the Class A final between Arata and Shinobu.  With Nishida making no qualms as to his allegiance (that being watching the Class A match), Taichi assumes and even hopes that Chihaya will do the same for the sake of furthering her own abilities - imagine his shock when she turns up to his match instead.

Ironically, Chihaya's decision initially proves to be counter-productive, breaking Taichi's previous no-nonsense move and setting him off over-thinking his final match in the hope of finishing it in time for Chihaya to see at least some of the Class A final.  Such distractions were only ever likely to be a mistake again an opponent as talented as Rion, and for a spell Taichi looks as if he's on the ropes.  Luckily for him, this is enough to bring him to his senses and put all of his knowledge and instincts into action to turns things around and post another success for Mizusawa and, perhaps more importantly, himself.

For a series that has been about so many other things aside from karuta underneath it all, this week's Chihayafuru felt surprisingly "pure" in comparison - of course, there was still a fair amount to say about the relationships between various characters, their motivations and so on, but at the heart of it all the two finals on show here were all about talent and technique as much as anything else.  Luckily, even this is still more than enough to ensure that the series is unceasingly entertaining, and come the end of the instalment we once again find ourselves with that trademark lump in our throats as elements of the plot come to fruition in beautiful fashion, serving as another potent reminder of why this series is so good.

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