Chihayafuru 2 Episode 18: Team Spirit
“Three wins. We’re getting three wins, guys.”
Wow, I can’t believe we’re already at Episode 18! Whatever will they do for the individuals? The finals will probably be finished by next episode, so it’s likely we’ll be moving on to the individual tournament – but with Chihaya’s hand in that sort of condition, it’s debatable whether she’ll see any progress. They’d better show Arata vs Shinobu at least xD
So this is how it feels when five people refuse to give up…all the Mizusawa players have an intense desire to overcome the odds and win, no matter how unlikely it may be. But as Fujisaki’s coach Sakurazawa said, sometimes passion just isn’t enough – and Komano’s analytical skills recognized that before his match even started. For how weird he is, Blondie (who almost certainly has a crush on Rion) is also an excellent karuta player, who has his own set of circumstances. Like many other opponents, they aren’t just blank slates who just happen to be good at karuta – Chihayafuru succeeds yet again in slowly providing them with their own goals and motives that we learn about throughout the course of the match, and end up sympathizing with.
Rion is probably the best example of that – despite looking emotionless for most of last episode, she immediately felt guilty once realizing that Chihaya was hurt, despite feigning she was alright to the referee. Chihaya’s strong will to win and fight the pain is admirable, but I’m pretty sure it’s not doing any wonders for her injury from a medical viewpoint, and it’s also not going to make Rion feel any better. But then amidst all that guilt, she has expectations to live up to – Sakurazawa-sensei expects her to win, and so does Blondie (I’m sorry, I have no idea what his name is!) Most of all, Rion expects something from herself – with her grandmother as the reader, she expressed enough confidence to be able to win against the Queen, yet she’s having trouble against a person who has an equally keen game sense, the likes of whom Yamashiro hasn’t seen since Master Suo asked to record her reading. Both Chihaya and Rion instinctively went for the “eternal” card, not the “dead end” – if anything that’s a subtle metaphor for their desire to win.
Then you have Taichi, who is still drawing the short straw in life. I swear, Taichi thinks of Arata more than Chihaya does…and it doesn’t help when he’s against Pervert (I don’t know his name either), their captain who happens to look like Arata. Taichi’s got the passion, and he’s got the motivation to act with it (with a bit of flashback help from Harada-sensei and his 5-card handicap) but his many inner demons are leaving him drowning in his own conflicts. If he can beat this Arata lookalike, maybe that’ll serve as some sort of closure for him – closure he really needs.
Tsukuba was beaten soundly – yeah, not too surprising there. Again, passion’s all well and good, but as a C-class player (I think?) the gap between him and Weirdo was pretty huge to begin with. Weirdo didn’t even take him seriously for the majority of the match. Losses from Tsukuba and Komano have put Fujisaki at a massive 2-0 lead, and they only need one more win to secure their overall victory – it’s all down to Chihaya, Nishida and Taichi now. MIZUSAWA FIGHTO!