Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chihaya Furu 24: The Queen Match

It's the Master and Queen matches and Chihaya decides that the best place to watch the most important game for her future career is Taichi's place which has a 60-inch television. Unfortunately for Chihaya, the play that Taichi's mom is supposed to watch gets canceled so the crone has to come home early and catch Chihaya hanging out with Taichi. Feeling sorry for her, Taichi invites her to watch the match instead up his room, away from his mother's prying eyes. The suggestion reminds Chihaya of that time Taichi stopped her from going into his room, making her aware for the first time how this might be awkward. And it is almost awkward but the two are soon joined by their fellow club members.

As for the match, Shinobu has changed a lot since last we saw her. She's grown super plump, apparently from eating too much ice cream so she could an exclusive "snowman" collectible item. Her new body gives her some difficulty with Yumi, who is at the top of her game. Still, Shinobu takes away the first win by five cards and wins the second by a devastating 13 cards. A destroyed Yumi nearly collapses into a crying heap in her dressing room but is interrupted by her coach and friends from her karuta society. Realizing that they are all there to support her to no matter what, Yumi bows before her coach and asks for his guidance once more. Meanwhile, the Master match is still ongoing and the Nishida tells Chihaya to watch the match more closely since she plays a lot like the Master.

I actually enjoyed this episode, despite this being not really about the protagonists. I've grown to care about these side characters, too, and actually felt sorry for Yumi. But Shinobu is a monster when it comes to karuta, and for the first time, the show reveals why: Shinobu loves the cards themselves, not necessarily the game nor the poems. This type of connection Chihaya cannot ever hope to have. But there is someone who may be much faster and stronger than Shinobu and that person is the 3-year reigning Master, Sou Hisashi. And Nishida has stated that Chihaya's playing style is similar to his. I guess he means that both of them rely on their their talent to hear things normal people wouldn't pick up. 
 In other news, it looks like Taichi is giving up his role as Chihaya's lap dog. He's going to pay more attention to karuta now. Good for him. I think the only reason Chihaya even likes Arata so much is because of his karuta and his dedication to it. Whereas, Taichi never cared much for the game and only got into it because of Chihaya. But if he's going to focus more on himself and the game, then he'll get better and then he'll have a better chance of attracting Chihaya's attention. 

more screencaps from episode 24: