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.

Review

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

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)?

Personally, I love UNO and DaiDi =P (Regretfully, I am too much of a coward to gamble and while poker and stuff like that is fun, cash is usually the driving force behind those games. =D)

Btw, anyone seen the Jap Movie adaptation of Paradise Kiss? Is it any good?

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About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself. Find me on: Instagram | Twitter

Posted on November 2, 2011, in Anime, Chihayafuru, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. why did Arata stop playing Karuta?

    -I agree , I was quite confuse of the reason as well, and if the answer ends up as you said despising the game because it cost him the last few moments with his grandfather, then it’ll be a disappointment, since the reason itself was too shallow. well, maybe because he was asked to look after him but arata didn’t follow his parents and just went to the competition, still this reason is too cliche. I want to expect something new from it.

    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 second the motion : ) besides, I don’t think arata changed much : /

    The major LOL was the end though

    – The windows were close, how did chihaya managed to hear arata shouting? lolol.

    What is/was your favourite card game (anything is fine as long as there is some form of cards used in the game)?

    I like playing Big Deuce/Top Dog, Solitaire, Uno & crazy eights : D

    Like

    • “- I second the motion : ) besides, I don’t think arata changed much : /”

      I actually think that he has definitely gotten more emotional and darker. Previously he seemed to be a cool headed person, but now, he is appearing as more of a emotional teenager =/ nothing bad with that, i just merely don’t think that his reasons for quitting karuta was all that justified seeing as to how much he did love the sport.

      “- The windows were close, how did chihaya managed to hear arata shouting? lolol.”

      Heyhey, she is a magical girl remember? That was pretty funny too, but that was an example of the “shoujo soul mate connection”? =P

      “I like playing Big Deuce/Top Dog, Solitaire, Uno & crazy eights : D”

      Solitaire. =D Such a lonely game!! =P What is Big Deuce and crazy eights?

      Like

      • tsubaki.seishuu

        -ah, what i mean is how he looks, unlike taichi and chihaya who both changed phisically :3 i like them to be paired up too, but it seems like taichi is better off to become the major supporting character in the story.

        Heyhey, she is a magical girl remember? That was pretty funny too, but that was an example of the “shoujo soul mate connection”? =P

        – haha, i just thought it was funny, i know if we think too much about everything then nothing really would be answered but hyeah, btw, i liked the part where chihaya pulled arata in the bike too X D

        What is Big Deuce and crazy eights?

        both are shedding card games played by 2 up players with all the cards in deck Its kinda hard to explain but it’s a strategy game too, its fun to play since its interactive and if you use pressure then your opponents can get intimidated.

        Like

      • “-ah, what i mean is how he looks, unlike taichi and chihaya who both changed phisically :3 i like them to be paired up too, but it seems like taichi is better off to become the major supporting character in the story.”

        LOL! I did not know you meant his look.

        Well, he really is just a grown up version of his younger self, but that was what I had expected I guess. I liked the fact that he did not change too much, he has simple features and it has matured in the same simple way? =P

        But Chihaya really has grown into herself.

        Poor Taichi, the supporting character. =P

        Like

  2. I think that if Wataya stopped playing karuta it’s because the game is linked with the memory of his grand father, it’s just painful to play knowing that he person who taught him, the person he liked to play with, isn’t there anymore.
    Also, from how I see it, dealing with a very close family member’s death, especially at this age, definitely closes childhood, quitting karuta seems logical. In a way, Taichi and him are really similar.

    And I played that card game http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_tarot
    And we did a variation on karuta except with more players and a regular card deck. It’s wonderful. And violent XD

    Like

    • “, it’s just painful to play knowing that he person who taught him, the person he liked to play with, isn’t there anymore.”

      That thought also did pop up in my mind, but then his passion for Karuta was so strong that I thought he would have wanted to be as great as his grandfather or play to remember his grandfather. =/ But like you say, the opposite could also happen.

      “And I played that card game http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_tarot

      Looks fun! =D

      “And we did a variation on karuta except with more players and a regular card deck. It’s wonderful. And violent XD”

      Lol! How did that turn out? Have you invented a new game and created a new trend? Don’t forget to pitch the idea to some big game conglomerate. =D

      Like

      • Well, I guess he didn’t have quite the heart to play alone either.

        It turned out I got bruised, and crushed all of my hopes of dating a certain guy when I punched him (not on purpose ^^). But it was worth it XD
        Well, it’s a game that’s not fun without being a lot of us but we still play sometimes.

        Like

  3. I think that the reason Arata stopped playing is mostly because, if he didn’t play that match, he could have been with his grandfather when his relapse started, and could have helped him survive the relapse (calling for doctors, for example). So if he didn’t play, his grandfather wouldn’t have died that day, which is quite a bit bigger than just he could have been with him his last moments.

    Like

    • “if he didn’t play that match, he could have been with his grandfather when his relapse started, and could have helped him survive the relapse (calling for doctors, for example).”

      That would make sense but the thing was also the fact that his grandfather had gotten better and he is blaming himself for something he couldn’t have known would happen. =/ Plus he has other family members as well. I think that he is just being a bit over emotional and taking the blame upon himself if that were the case. =( But I can understand the fact that he is feeling upset but I guess all of this is understandable if I were to see it as him being the insecure kid that he is with only his grandfather as his closest connection and thus takes the blame upon himself. Oh well…

      Are you enjoying the series thus far?

      Like

      • “Plus he has other family members as well” – he was the one who was supposed to be there that day.

        “I think that he is just being a bit over emotional and taking the blame upon himself” – he is a teenager. This is their default state.

        His reaction actually brings me back to Hikaru no Go.

        “Are you enjoying the series thus far?”

        Oh, yes, it is an immensly enjoyable series. In fact, I hope to show it at our anime club in the Spring, if Crunchyroll gives premmission to do so.
        Truth be told, I have a general fondness for sports series overall. The drive, determination to succeed, to become better, to advance to the next step… That alone makes the series worth watching for me (plus, it is undeniable that they are baits for fangirls). But it isn’t every day that you find shoujo sports series about a card game. So that makes it a bit special.

        Like

      • “His reaction actually brings me back to Hikaru no Go.”

        There are quite a few aspects of this show that reminds me of Hikaru no Go despite their differences.

        “Oh, yes, it is an immensly enjoyable series. In fact, I hope to show it at our anime club in the Spring, if Crunchyroll gives premmission to do so.”

        Ooo, what shows do you generally show in your club?

        “But it isn’t every day that you find shoujo sports series about a card game. So that makes it a bit special.”

        Quite true. =D

        Like

      • “Ooo, what shows do you generally show in your club?”

        We try to be as non-discriminate as possible when it comes to the genres, and, since we show 9 shows per semester, we try to get as many genres as possible. So it is hard to say what we show “generally”
        Though, we do lean more toward shounen, because our membership consists of mostly guys, and well, it is a tad more versatile than shoujo – school romances do get a bit old.

        Like

  4. His grandpa wasn’t getting any better. After having a brain hemorrhage, he became paralyzed. Furthermore, his body is deteriorating due to old age. He could die at any minute.

    Thus, due to his grandpa’s diminishing health, Arata was given the duty to look after his grandfather 24/7. Thus, you can’t blame Arata for his depression. He was his grandpa’s arms and legs. And it really hurts to find out that the only time you’re not there for your grandpa is the time he dies. Imagine the emotions going in his mind.

    Putting myself in Arata’s shoes, I would definitely feel upset playing karuta. Karuta just became a curse for him because it took his grandpa away from him. It’s a pretty harsh price for a loved one to die in exchange for an A-rank in karuta.

    In conclusion, I don’t think the reason he stopped playing is shallow at all. I really empathize him because I have been exposed to so much disease and death that I have come to really appreciate the people around me. Losing them would hurt so much. It pains me to think what would happen if I went off somewhere else when a family member of mine dies when I’m not there looking after him/her.

    If you’ve ever lost a loved one or that person nearly died, you would completely empathize Arata.

    Like

    • “If you’ve ever lost a loved one or that person nearly died, you would completely empathize Arata.”

      I do empathize with Arata, however I am not sure about whether I would quite my job and change the field that I worked in if I were in that situation. I would be upset but I doubt I would change the way I lived. I see Arata playing Karuta as a job as oppose to it being merely a game as he seemed to want to be a professional and have dedicated his life to it since he was young.
      But like you had said, I have not lost a loved one and I am thankful for that so I really can’t say if that is normal. =) But I do understand what you are saying and your explanation does make plenty of sense.

      Like

  1. Pingback: Notes of Chihayafuru Episodes 2-5 « Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

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