Chihayafuru S3 Episode 4 & 5
Gosh I really admire Chihaya’s passion. She is so fired up, that no matter how powerful her opponent may be, she is the type to looking forward to playing against them rather than being intimated by it. Hilariously, she actually didn’t know about Haruka being a former and powerful Queen who is known for having an even better game sense than Shinobu.
And Haruka is a great example herself of someone who is extremely passionate about of the game, and wants to prove that she is still in her prime, and yet to reach the peak of her game. In fact it’s quite heartwarming to see these mothers play the game with the support of their family. Haruka’s husband in particular has been especially supportive of taking care of their newborn so that she can pursue her passion to reclaim the Queen’s title for the upcoming qualifiers. What also makes Haruka a fun opponent for Chihaya to be against is her depth of her game sense. She and Chihaya share the strength of having strong hearing, but while Chihaya has only recently become aware of and began to focus on the pitch of the sounds, Haruka is way ahead of her. She already understands the large variety of the sounds’ distinctive characteristics that sets them apart. But that isn’t the only thing that makes her game sense so good, it is also her unique layout for the cards. The way she sets it up forces her opponent to have to target a specific card, rather than attempting to breach her defences by swiping the whole lot of them.
This kind of layout actually benefited Chihaya in a way of offering her an opportunity to test how far she has come with direct-point attacks, since it requires the precision. Thanks to that, she was able to successfully snag her Impassionate card that Haruka is known to be one of her strong cards as well.
As for the other matches, Taichi is up against Sudo, and even though the guy been trying to mess with his head all game, Taichi has been able to keep himself grounded and enter the zone he excels in by telling himself that Sudo is tired. Even though he just saying that to keep himself calm, I think there is definitely some truths to it haha! Taichi isn’t going down without a fight! It’s also great to see him be more daring to test some of the techniques he he has picked up from others.
Although Shiranami all started off strong, there was a point when they all started lagging. Fortunately they were able to close the gap and make it a close match thanks to to Dr. Harada’s boisterous intervention by encouraging everyone to go on the attack. Bless this man and his crazy antics! He’s the best!
And finally was also really sweet moment though when Retro unapologetically announced and celebrated he had won the B-Class tournament in the middle of their match. Both Sudo and Taichi were really happy for him, and I am too. Retro you’ve worked hard!!!!!!!
Not going to lie, I am really glad these two episodes came out back-to-back because when episode 4 ended I was like, “GAH! IT CAN’T END THERE!”
Continuing where we left off, the quarter finals wraps up with a Chihaya, Hiroshi, Taichi and Maruo emerging victorious— and good grief, Taichi’s match ended up being left to the “luck-of-the-draw” as per usual. Good thing he has long given up on luck being on his side, because it has certainly not been kind to him!
But on the flip-side, I can’t help but be sad that both Arata and Dr. Harada had lost their matches. Arata ended up losing to Hiroshi by four cards (partially afflicted by Hiroshi’s student’s curse). A surprising twist for some, but it goes to prove once again, karuta is unpredictable and while he is talented, he is certainly not invincible. (Also Arata’s reaction when he loses is adorable. He really hates it hahahaha!) Dr. Harada in particular has been working really hard towards his dream to obtain the Master’s title, but as we saw today, his knee which he has to wear with a brace is clearly taking a toll on him. It was a tough loss for him to swallow, and it was a bit bitter for him to see Hiroshi willingly yield his match against Chihaya. He was certain to give him an earful about it. But on the flipside of things, team-wise, Dr. Harada definitely did his part, as he had successfully drained the life out of Maruo, who Taichi was up against for the semi-finals.
AND WOOOO~! TAICHI FINALLY FINDING HIS GROVE! I’m so proud of him!!!!!! As it turns out, the reason why Taichi is thriving is because he has discovered defensive karuta is actually his strong suit. All this time, having been raised in the Shiranami Karuta Society and coached by Dr. Harada, he has been taught to the aggressive offensive play-style. He has been able to pick this up at Nationals and been testing it out ever since. Better yet, this breakthrough is the key to Taichi tapping into his true potential and forging his own “free” play-style, as he has been proving he can be quite a scary player when he’s in the zone, undisturbed and focused, and using the right strategy that benefits him the most. It also serves as a validation to Hiroshi’s words, when he told Taichi that it’s his skill that has gotten him this far. He definitely needs to give himself a lot more credit when it comes to his skills, because we all know it is certainly not luck that has gotten him this far!
And geez, I was almost a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see the extent of Taichi’s match against Maruo, but it will be totally worth it now that we are about to see him go against Chihaya in an official match. I absolutely cannot wait to see how this is going to turn out, it’s going to be so epic! It is a match-up we have all been looking forward to for a very long time!
However I thought it was quite interesting how Hiroshi ended up yielded his match against Chihaya, which gave her a free pass to the finals. It’s not an uncommon thing when members of the same Karuta Society are pitted against each other, or perhaps it’s getting too late and players can’t afford to risk missing their rides home. But what makes his decision so interesting was when he was asked if he would have done the same if it were Taichi instead, turns out he would have tried to crush him. It’s quite an interesting dynamic, especially after having been the one who has acknowledged Taichi’s skills. I suppose it is because he recognizes Taichi as the dark horse who is creeping up the ladder.
Speaking of which, this was also Arata’s first time seeing Taichi perform in a tournament. Ironically, Chihaya wasn’t present during the match (because she had fallen asleep right after hers ended, and hilariously, was still playing the match in her dreams), but to perform well in front of Arata, who had faith that his friend Murao would beat Taichi also serves as a confidence boost. Actually, rather than being a distraction, Arata’s presence for this match had actually helped him perform better. Taichi proving himself to be a force to reckon with makes their three-way rivalry among them even more exciting.
Last but not least, it was so heartwarming to see Haruka ask for Sakurazawa’s contact information so they could practice together. I absolutely love it when rivals maintain this kind of friendship. It also pulled my heart-strings to see Sakurazawa get teary-eyed seeing Haruka’s strength to continue on, when she ended up giving up when she (as a fast player) started to lose speed. It’s tough, not everyone has the strength to do so, that’s why Haruka and others like her are wonderful people to look up to.
Next week, the tournament match-up we have all been waiting for! Taichi VS Chihaya!!!! WHO WILL WIN?!?!?!?! I’m looking forward to seeing how Taichi’s new style is going to fare against Chihaya’s full blown strength!!!!