Chihayafuru – 05 Review
Taichi: “I thought Arata was the faceless one, not me?”
Episode 05 – The Sight of a Midnight Moon
(I assume the Midnight Moon is referring to the dark aura that surrounds Arata’s existence =P)
Arata is no longer the faceless character and thank god that the whole emo face was rather short-lived. =P
This is one big revelation episode and is probably the turning point of the series as it seems like after this episode, the story might take a turn and focus on the development of the club.
Is it possible that this episode has more sparkles than the previous episodes? =D
We finally get to see adult Arata and learn all about his past. This episode is probably the best episode of the series ever since the first episode aired. There was a right amount of suspense, romance, revelations and a signal of a turn in the focus of the series. To add to that, we are given a much needed break from the theatrics of Karuta under the competition setting.
I felt that the pacing of the episode was just right and loved the way the story played/dragged out the two of revelations in this episode.
The start of the episode unfolded so nicely that one can’t help but feel as excited about as Chihaya seeing the grown up Wataya. The train scene and the whole journey managed to build up the anticipation without a boring moment as they played on the jealousy and the romantic aspects of this series. There was a moment in the episode where I had felt like I was going to bang my head against the computer, and that was when Taichi had said that he did not mind going straight home without seeing Arata. Thank god for “destiny/fate” or what whatever you want to call the shoujo invervention of fate. =P The scene with Chihaya tugging on Arata’s sweatshirt really highlighted her impulsive “do first, think later” attitude.
I was so happy when we finally got to see the teen Arata, and apparently so were the animators. They really did not hold back on the whole flower stamp theme with that scene, it was quite funny to see the cool teen Arata surrounded by random flowers. =P
Then from that revelation, the writers immediately moved onto playing up the reason behind why Arata had quit Karuta. To be honest, I hadn’t expect the writers to divulge the information about this secret so soon but I am glad that they did.
Last week, I had said that I had dreaded the fact that the reason was going to be some emo blown out of proportions reason, and sadly, I felt that it was.Why did Arata stop playing Karuta? Was it because he developed some sort of mental phobia? Or was it the whole idea that he will never be as good as his grandfather? Or perhaps he despise the game because it cost him the last few moments with his grandfather? Whichever the reason is, they don’t seem to make sense to me. I really hope that they would explain it in more detail instead of writing it off as Arata’s grandfather died when he was in a match —> Arata is now unable to play Karuta. =_=” That feels like a cop out of sorts. Arata had known from the start that his grandfather was ill, if this is really all there is to it then I guess it is simply the show playing up the whole story and dramatizing everything the same way they do with the Karuta matches. Well, it is either that or I am perhaps emotionally stunted. I would like to hear your take on his whole cloud of darkness attitude as that revelation did feel a tad half-assed to me.
Since we are focusing so much on Wataya, I shall move onto Chihaya. This episode had hinted at Chihaya’s budding romantic feelings for Arata with blushes embarrassment when she thinks of Arata. My issue with this was that while it is cute for a 10 year old to be unable to recognise her feelings, Chihaya is a full grown teen and I would like to see her come to terms with her emotions and actually face them since the whole obsession with Karuta is not a good excuse for me. Although it does seem like she is slowly starting to realize it for herself, I can’t help but feel annoyed that her personality is still as childish as when she was a kid.
It was one of those iconic moments that every decent shoujo series must have. I really could not help but feel bad for Taichi.
Then we have our dear Taichi. You have to love those subtle bursts of jealousy intertwined with insecurities. I really do like his character. I was originally supported Chihaya getting together with Arata, but after seeing this episode and realising that Arata has taken on the “wimp” character of the series (in my mind at least), I honestly would rather Taichi win Chihaya’s affections (although the show seems to set itself up in such a way that she either ends up with none of them and they will play this whole ambiguous romance until the end or she would end up with Wataya). I know that Taichi had stooped to some pretty low means as a kid to get what he wanted, but the way I see it, despite being a coward, at least he manned up to them in the end whereas Wataya’s whole reason for stopping Karuta just feels so unjustified and an overreaction to what had happened. Then again, both male characters do have their issues when it comes to having the “guts” to follow through with something important. Well, there is plenty of room for character development in that aspect and I can’t wait to see it happen.
I have nothing interesting to say about this shot, I just liked it. =P
What I would like to say to Taichi before he starts his jealous fits in the following episodes is… “dump your girlfriend before chasing another girl since you have already admitted to the fact that you pretty much don’t care much for her”. Well, this is probably another thing that shows his lack of confidence in himself and thus requiring a backup in case he fails. =P
Overall, I really like this episode, the next episode hints at the change in focus of the series and will be bringing everything back to the school’s Karuta club and the probably introduction of new characters. Also, the last sentence that Taichi had said about Arata’s return in the future hints at the fact that, Arata’s character and the trio’s friendship, would probably be taking a back seat for the next few episodes.
Episode Rating: 8/10 – Was entertaining and worth the wait. Tip of advice though, try not to question the reactions too much.
A random thing that I had picked up (which probably does not mean) – I liked the sound of the crows in the background as Arata picked up those childish “note cards” that Chihaya had written. I am not sure if the production values in that scene was done on purpose to mimic the sweatdrop moment or if it was just a mere coincidence.
Ra’s Question of the Day:
What is/was your favourite card game (anything is fine as long as there is some form of cards used in the game)?
Btw, anyone seen the Jap Movie adaptation of Paradise Kiss? Is it any good?