Chihayafuru 2 Episode 22: The Rematch
“Next time, I won’t let her take a single card.”
It’s the A Class quarterfinals, and Chihaya’s been matched up against Wakamiya Shinobu. Even though she’s using her right hand, Shinobu’s pinpoint accuracy and fast reflexes are taking complete control of the match – how far will Chihaya be able to go against the Queen?
FEELS. FEELS EVERYWHERE. I’M DROWNING IN FEELS.
Ahem. After last week’s reveal, expectations must have been sky-high for this episode as Chihaya finally took off her bandages to play an opponent worthy of her full power – and I must say, all my expectations were satisfied! Chihaya’s clearly spent a long, long time agonizing over her match with Shinobu last year, even going as far as to mutely stare at the Queen’s match with Yamamoto Yumi on TV. Now that she’s finally got the chance to play her once more, it’s understandable that she’d want to go all out and play to the best of her ability against the best female player in Japan – she wants no regrets. At this point, I’d imagine Eva would say something like “EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND NOTHING HURTS!” which is very true. Well…apart from Chihaya’s right hand.
It’s painful. It must have been. While she managed to gain an extra burst of speed from removing the gauze and tape from her injured finger itself, I can’t imagine that doing any good to her injury. Part of me wanted to see her take flight and go for it, yet I also wanted her to think of her long-term health/future as a karuta player and restrain herself a bit – but of course, her passion and determination is what sums up Chihaya the best. I’m sure we all cheered when she managed to take the Queen’s best card from her, as well as when she used what she learnt from playing left-handed to defend a card – something she’s always been bad at. In comparison to her match with Rion, this time Chihaya’s pain was much more noticeable – she had to try twice to pick up a card, and the swelling really did look nasty. I really, really hope nothing bad comes out of this.
Shinobu never fails to make me laugh :D I see she’s still got her strange Snowmaru obsession, and her reaction to Chihaya’s Mommy Bear tank top was hilarious. But at the same time, her karuta is as stunningly powerful as ever – there’s something captivating about hearing absolutely nothing except the sound of a card hitting the wall. In contrast to Arata’s wild (yet totally legitimate) thrashing, Shinobu’s silent karuta has a strange grace and finesse to it. She never fails to remind us that she’s the Queen, and that she deserves to be where she is. Yet I can’t agree with how she got to the top – she was forced to stay away from those in her age group, so that she would learn to never go easy on anyone. Shinobu got stronger by isolating herself completely, and it’s rather ironic that she’s playing Chihaya, the ace of this year’s team champions. However, I was happy that Shinobu did what she did. Chihaya decided to give it her best effort despite her injury, so I’m glad that Shinobu answered it by showing her no mercy – it’s exactly what Chihaya wanted her to do. And in the end, Chihaya leaves Shinobu unsatisfied with her win yet again: “next time, I won’t let her take a single card” – the exact same words she said after their match last year! Best of all, Shinobu’s interested in playing her again, as someone her age whom she can go all out against (the other being Arata).
The A Class quarterfinals had 3 Fujisaki students as well as Chihaya, Shinobu, Arata and Megumu – here’s to hoping that we get a Shinobu vs Arata finals match. Taichi and Tsukuba are still in for the running, with Taichi in particular steamrolling his way over Retro to the B Class finals match (against Rion I’m presuming). Even though Chihaya’s out, the tension won’t be lifting any time soon xD