Mar 28, 2012

Posted by in Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru episode 25

It’s finally here! Chihayafuru’s final episode. It was as I feared; the anime ended with a few holes in the story. There was no match between Arata, Chihaya and/or Taichi. Neither of them became a master of queen and now they surprised us with a strange ending. I’m starting to get the feeling that this may not be the complete end of Chihayafuru.

I knew that they would focus some more on that master-match. It took up almost half of the episode, but it was a valuable thing for Chihaya to see. She realized, thanks to Tsutomu-kun’s data, her weak and strong points, and decided to work hard on improving even more. She is really nuts about Karuta. I doubt that she will ever change, not Chihaya, not anytime soon.

Things got a little difficult as it became a little bit tense. Everyone was dead-set on fulfilling their dreams. Chihaya wants to become a queen, Taich wants to become a master, Kanade wants to become one of those Karuta readers, Yuusei probably wants to become a master as well, and Tsutomu wants to help his friends reach their goals with the use of his data.

Meanwhile Arata was improving as well. He finally realized what he was playing for. Even his mentor, the guy who didn’t want to play against him earlier, returned in order to teach him some more. Everyone is growing up I suppose, time truly is a scary thing. Still, I was really looking forward to a match involving Arata.

The final episode was pretty good, but nowhere near the best. I’ve seen better Chihayafuru episodes, but that doesn’t mean that this one was bad though. Definitely not, I was pretty moved at the end. A year had passed and Chihaya was still being her old goofy self, hanging up posters for the Karuta club. The anime was a good, really good, and I would most certainly recommend it to those who like a bit of drama and sports. Go for it!

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Mar 21, 2012

Posted by in Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru episode 24

So it’s another one of those serious episodes with a few hidden comedy scenes, huh? That’s fine, I suppose, but I’m a bit worried about the ending. Next week’s episode is the last of Chihayafuru, but I can’t figure out what they’re planning, I have yet to see a set-up for a good ending. I’m not going to lie; that worries me a little bit.

The episode starts with Chihaya’s visit to Taichi’s house. It seems that Taichi’s mother isn’t particularly fond of Chihaya. I think it’s probably because she thinks that Chihaya got Taichi into “wasting his time” by playing Karuta. A fearsome mother indeed, and that’s why Taichi suggested to watch the queen’s Karuta match up stairs when the rest of the club arrived.

Now the match itself wasn’t anything special. It showed us the Shinobu’s, the current Karuta queen, past and how she came to love Karuta so much. But my god… She has become one chubby little mare, hasn’t she? It seems that she’s been eating a lot of ice cream in order to get some kind of “super rare” and “super cute” items. Women…

The match was though for both Shinobu and Yumin, her opponent, but things soon turned around when Shinobu picked up her own style and started using that infamous accuracy of hers. It didn’t take long before the match was over. Yumin was heartbroken… I sat here while watching her as she cry her eyes out. I felt bad for her, I really did, but I wonder why I could stop smiling? Oh, I remember, it’s because she’s actually an underhanded player.

Next week’s episode will show the masters’ match. How is that an appropriate ending? That’s the last thing I would want to see; some unknown characters playing Karuta. That’s why I’m a little worried, there’s absolutely no sign of an ending, even though last week’s the final episode. I guess we will have to be patient and see what happens.

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Mar 14, 2012

Posted by in Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru episode 23

Finally! It took me three attempts before finally getting a working version of this week’s Chihayafuru. The first two were out of sync and stopped after a few minutes. That is absolutely unacceptable. It’s not HorribleSubs’ fault though, I think it’s because I’m currently using my wireless instead of the usual Ethernet connection.

Anyway, the start of this episode really pissed me off. I cannot believe that Chihaya lost against Yumin, a pathetic little girl that questions every close-call in the hope of scoring an extra point or two. How could such a player be allowed to advance to the finals? It’s simply unacceptable. What’s even stranger is that nobody there disliked her for it. They all seem to think that it’s a normal way of playing Karuta. How could that possibly a normal way of doing anything? I would’ve kicked that lying little mongrel out the door if I caught her doing things like that. And yet nobody, absolutely nobody complained. That’s even stranger.

Meanwhile Chihaya took it pretty hard this time. It’s not because she lost against an opponent who used such tricks, no. Chihaya was upset because she lost her cool. She couldn’t concentrate anymore, lost track of her own style and started making mistakes. The fact that she lost that bet to Akito, the loser would shave their head and whatnot, didn’t even upset her. It was all merely because she lost due to her own shortcomings. Besides, her coach, Harada, already defeated Akito in a match, cancelling the bet between him and Chihaya by doing so. It was either an act or not, but it seemed like he didn’t really care about that bet, the old man just wanted to win.

It was a pretty interesting yet disappointing episode. I hope that Arata wins his upcoming match in order to become Karuta Master. We’ll find out shortly, seeing as Chihayafuru is almost over. The only thing I haven’t seen is a relationship between characters, that’s just a shame. I honestly think that a little bit of romance would do this show good, especially if it’s a love triangle between Arata, Taichi and Chihaya.

Oh, before I forget; the chances of us seeing a second Chihayafuru season are slim to none. It seems that the show isn’t doing so well financially. The show’s financial performance turned out to be very poor. That’s a real shame. What’s wrong Japan, not enough panty shots or wiggling breasts?  Sigh, I suggest you all enjoy the remaining few episodes of Chihayafuru, I know I will!

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Mar 8, 2012

Posted by in Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru episode 22

Chi-chi-chihayafuru timeee~! I have been waiting three days for the new Bakuman episode, so I’m kind of on edge. It’s a good thing that HorribleSubs never let us down by ensuring us that they always have something to release on schedule.

The episode revolves around one single match between Chihaya and a former “queen of Karuta”, a girl named Yumin. My first impressions of here were pretty spot-on. It all comes down to this; I don’t like her. She’s very jealous of others, has no self-confidence whatsoever, likes to give up before the match is even over, and she turned out to be an unfair player, but I’ll get to that later. What’s important here is that Chihaya was on a winning streak. That soon changed when she realized that her opponent had mentally given up. This is when she started playing aggressively, and by doing so making a lot of stupid mistakes. It was very foolish of her, as she could’ve played it safe and slow until the end.

Yumin started retaliating as soon as Chihaya started making mistakes. She regained some confidence in her game and started playing by her old style again. This is when I started hating this character. She thinks it’s necessary to call out on any and all “close call” cards, hoping that I would grant her a win. That’s just dirty and unfair. However, wouldn’t be such an issue if Chihaya wasn’t so impressionable. She would probably end up giving her all the cards.

That’s right; I decided to keep this post short. I found that match very difficult and aggravating to watch. The fact that Chihaya didn’t really fight back was what pissed me off even more. Being nice is one thing, but being a pushover is something else entirely. I hope that she catches up with her whilst growing a pair during next week’s episode.

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Mar 1, 2012

Posted by in Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru episode 21

Damn, just a few episodes left till Chihafuru meets its end. It’s been a good run, I have enjoyed most of the episodes, despite that it was always about Karuta. I don’t understand it; Phi Brain is always about puzzles, but it can’t possibly be compared to Chihayafuru, which is always about the same card game. It’s not just the obvious difference in artwork; I think it has something to do with the fact that Chihayafuru has always been a bit more exciting and unpredictable.

Moving on… This week’s episode was pretty good. Not just good, it showed us a very rare sight; Chihaya doing her schoolwork. That’s right, Chihaya has been doing her best to study so that she could perform properly during her exams. She even put Karuta on second place during that time, and that’s something that doesn’t happen all too often. I can’t blame her, nobody can. You can always play Karuta, but you can’t always get those diplomas. One has to be capable of getting one’s priorities straight, before it’s too late that is. I’m just curious about her grades at this point.

However, my mind soon focussed on something else entirely; namely the match between Chihaya and a little girl. I know it sounds strange, but it’s actually rather simple. That little girl is known to be a Karuta prodigy, a gifted child, just like “the queen of Karuta”. She has, according to some, very good hearing thanks to those big ears of hers, allowing her to hear the correct syllables better and faster.

The girl enjoyed that match. Then again… she has to enjoy something, seeing as that poor little girl is being bullied at school due to her big ears. Also, she turned out to be the perfect opponent for Chihaya, a Karuta player who, just like that little girl, used to rely solely on her speed. She noticed that little girl’s speed and the mistakes she made because of it, so she started realizing what she did wrong in her previous matches.

Hehe, that coach of hers is a very smart man. He probably knew all along that Chihaya would come to realize her own shortcomings during this match, which is probably also why he decided to let Chihaya play at full speed during her match, allowing her to turn the match around in her favour. Chihaya was a lot more focussed and patient than ever before. Still, I could help but feel bad for that little girl. She started crying as soon as she realized that Chihaya started getting ahead.

Side note: if you laughed when that little girl started crying than you’re probably going to hell later on, just saying… But that’s no concern of mine. I’m just happy that Chihaya has improved so much, as she most certainly deserved it, especially having stood in the shadow of her older sister for so long. I’m looking forward to the match between her and Arata, now more than ever. Please guys, make it happen!

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Feb 22, 2012

Posted by in Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru episode 20

What a strange episode this was… I knew I could expect to see Arata in the next couple of episodes, but I just didn’t expect to see him so soon. Could be a miscalculation on my part, but it still seems a little quick, seeing as there’s no major tournament going on yet. I guess that’s part of the Chihayafuru charm; always expect the unexpected.

The story continues as the Karuta club recovers a little bit from their last tournament. No time to rest, at least not for Chihaya and Yuusei. Chihaya appears to be failing most of her subjects, while Yuusei only needs to polish his English and Math. Chihaya is the biggest problem here. She is easily distracted, lacks the willpower and motivation to study, plus she rather spends her time on Karuta than with her nose in a book. Understandable, I feel the same way, but who here doesn’t? Still, I don’t think that it was a smart of her to go and cheer for Taichi, even though she ended up seeing Arata again.

That’s right, she met up with Arata. It seems that he was there for that unofficial tournament. However, Arata was in the A class, while Taichi had to manage with B class. He wants to be in A so badly, but I don’t think he’s ready yet, seeing as he lost during the third round. He must’ve been distracted by having seen Arata there, because that’s not like him to lose so quickly. Chihaya came to cheer for Taichi, but ended up watching Arata instead. It’s not something one would expect, but it’ll do. I’m joking of course. It was really nice to see Arata work his magic. I guess he hasn’t lost his touch, despite the fact that he started playing again recently.

It was a touching moment to see the three of them reunited again. However, I’m not sure what Taichi thinks of the whole situation between Chihaya and Arata. Is there something there, isn’t there, who knows? We all know that Taichi has more than just a crush on Chihaya, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a little jealous. He’ll be fine though, as long as he doesn’t make a fool of himself in public.

Meanwhile the day comes to an end as everyone heads back. Chihaya has learned her lesson and went back to school in order to study. That’s right, Chihaya came back to study out of her own free will. You probably thought that miracles didn’t exist, huh? I’m still a little worried about Taichi though. He’s a nice guy and overall a good Karuta player, but he tends to get a little bit too emotional when loses a match. That’s not good at all.  He’ll end up hurting himself if he’s not careful.

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Feb 16, 2012

Posted by in Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru episode 19

Uwaa~… I noticed only recently how popular Chihayafuru actually is. I’ve been reading a lot of responses on anime forums and saw how many people love this anime. I somewhat agree as well, it doesn’t get boring quickly. Personally I’d rather watch one more Chihayafuru season than another Phi Brain season, but enough with the Phi Brain bashing.

The story continues as Tsutomu and Kanade are about to finish their match against each other. Remember last week when I said that Tsutomu-kun’s strongpoint as his calm composure? Well… he lost that. He was no longer calm and relaxed. The poor kid had completely given in to the pressure, thereby making all sorts of rookie mistakes. It didn’t take too long or he was down by no less than eight cards. It seems that Tsutomu has a bad habit of giving up before the match is actually over, which was one of the many reasons why he last to Kanade. The match could’ve gone either way if he had just maintained his composure, but sadly he didn’t.

Meanwhile the match between Taichi and Yuusei was coming to an end as well. Chihaya was a bit angry at herself for not paying attention to their match. You see, Taichi and Yuusei had both only one card left. These situations, apparently, are called “fifty/fifty luck of the draw” moments where it all comes down to one card. The one who manages to draw the correct cards is declared the winner. Pretty basic stuff, don’t you agree? But it got very complicated when there turned out to be a few more cards left in the box. Several of these cards, also known as “dead cards”, were called out in a row. This only added up to all the pressure. It all came down to one card. The moment finally came when Yuusei quickly stretched out his arm to take it.

It was quite the stressful match. Taichi may have lost this time, but he can be proud that he lost to someone like Yuusei. Okay, so he acted a little bit strange, but come on… the guy was a little bit agitated. Yuusei is a pretty good guy, which is why he talked it out with Taichi. I guess they’ve all grown during these past few episodes, huh? The question is; is their growth sufficient?

Things happened during these last few episodes, but the Karuta club managed to push forward all this time. And not just that, it seems that their hard work is about to pay off, seeing as they are about to face Arata and his team. I just hope that they remain the same, because Chihaya was already thinking about changing when she overheard Yuusei’s conversation with Taichi. They cannot afford to do anything reckless at this point, otherwise they might as well forfeit before they even start. But anyway, I’m sure we’ll see what happens very soon.

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Feb 9, 2012

Posted by in Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru episode 18

I finally got around to writing about Chihafuru. It took a bit longer due to all the other episodes, but it’s finally here. This episode is a little bit different from the others. They explain a lot more about Karuta during this episode, which was kind of pleasant, seeing as I had a few questions. I’m rather worried about the story though. There are just a few episodes left, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover.

Anyway, the episode continues and so do the matches in Chihayafuru. Poor Chihaya had her first A class match against some manipulative old hag. Okay, okay… that’s a bit harsh, she was pretty nice. Her style of Karuta was very different from Chihaya’s, as she used her opponent’s weaknesses to her advantage. Chihaya’s strength as well as her weakness is that she relies on her speed. Her opponent took notice of that and utilized that knowledge to her advantage. You see, Chihaya makes a lot of faulty moves due to her speed. She’s terrible with multiple syllables, so if she goes after cards too quickly then she’ll only end up losing more and more cards to her opponent. But her opponent this time was pretty manipulative, but she still ended up giving Chihaya a lot of advice on how to go from there.

Meanwhile things get a little more complicated as friends play against one another. Taichi was up against Yuusei, while Kanade-chan had to play against the strategic Tsutomu. Kanade was doing pretty good. She has a good pair of ears on her, good reflexes and she can move even better now due to her clothing. However, this isn’t enough to beat Tsutomu. He’s very smart and has played a lot of times against Kanade, so he knows most, if not all of her moves.

Tsutomu started gaining more cards while Kanade was struggling to keep up. Tsutomu-kun’s good points are that he remains calm during the match, the he’s good with multiple syllables and that he has the ability to find his opponent’s flaws in order to make good use of them. He’s a very cunning player indeed, but that might just win him the match. His key point is that he remains calm during most of the match, that’s very important.

Next week’s episode will probably focus on the match between Taichi and Yuusei. I have seen Yuusei play before in one of the previous episodes, and he’s pretty fast for such a “big built” (yeah, I like to sugar-coat things) young man. Still, as we’ve seen with Chihaya; speed alone does not win you the match, it takes a lot more.

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