Chihayafuru – 06 Review
Episode 6 – Now Bloom Inside The Ninefold Palace
Although I had guessed that this episode would be focused on the building of the Karuta club in school along with the introduction of new characters, the episode had turned out to be more than what I had expected it to be.
I must admit that I have been weary of the series as it is easy for series like this to turn lame and bad real quick, real easily.
I was really quite surprise that the show hadn’t left Karuta simply as a game that was only about having a good memory and quick reflexes (lets not forget about the hearing as well). But instead, through the new character Oe Kanade, the show explores the meaning and history behind the poems and the game.
A New Insight
I really love the way Kanade introduces this new side of Karuta. The explanation of the poems were really interesting to listen to and it had added a sentimental value to the game and series as a whole. I couldn’t help but feel the same way Chihaya had felt about the explanation of the poems. (Sure, I wasn’t jumping around all excited like an Energizer Bunny, but I was definitely looking forward to hearing more.) Naturally they had to fast forward since they couldn’t possibly go through all 100 of them. *sniff*
This new aspect had also introduced a new key point to the game when it comes to the strategy aspect of Karuta. We can already see a new front forming with this idea of imagery aiding the memorization of cards. I am not sure what this will end up playing out to be like, but I do like the fact that the series keeps adding more elements to the game that may play an important factor in deciding the winners from losers in the competitions.
Like I had said, I really enjoyed the story behind the poems and it was refreshing to see Kanade’s take on the whole situation about the cold hearted manner of competitive Karuta. Plus, her reaction to the game when she had first saw it was kinda funny (I can’t blame her for being shocked by the ninja fighting style of playing). Speaking of that style of playing, is it even legal to send multiple cards flying with that one swipe? You might as well just swipe half the cards on one side and have a 50/50 chance of winning =P There should really be some penalty for lack of care whilst going after cards. =P
Oe Kanade + Karuta Club
The best part of Kanade in this episode was when she was explaining the poems to Chihaya. Prior to that, I really didn’t have too much love for her. However, it was definitely refreshing to see the introduction of a character who understands and appreciates Karuta’s history instead of only seeing it as a tool.
What I thought was hilarious was Kanade’s imagination portraying Chihaya as a gentle beauty and Karuta being a game that was feminine and a method for female bonding.
I had mentioned that I didn’t like Kanade’s character all that much, and the main reason for that is simply because she had decided to get all whiny about her parent’s store in front of utter strangers out of the blue. Sure, there was some justification behind her explanation, but it was an awkwardly timed conversation and it would have been better if the topic was brought up in a different scenario. However, since the show had to set the situation up for the rest of the episode to play out, I shall accept that odd whiny conversation and move on.
However, I must say that the writers of the series really do know how to pace themselves by not let things drag on for no reason, and I really appreciate this aspect.
The way the show had touched on Chihaya’s lack of seriousness towards the game through Taichi’s words was also a nice way of showing Chihaya’s character growth through the events that followed in the rest of the episode. Taichi had mentioned that Chihaya was only doing it because of Arata, but the by the end of the episode, Chihaya seemed to have grown to really love the game for what it was. Naturally, we have Chihaya once again being her impulsive self resulting in her smashing into a window in her excitement. I find her extreme enthusiasm to be a negative aspect of the show. I don’t mind it when she is portrayed as enthusiastic, but the show goes past my tolerance threshold and she comes across as like an excited puppy that wouldn’t stop barking. Her bright and hype personality can really be tiring to watch at times.
As for Taichi, well, we get to see the level that he is at with regards to Karuta, and he the verdict is that he is beneath Chihaya’s level. (Talk about a blow to the ego =P)
Although the romance in this show hasn’t developed past simple puppy love, I am happy with taking the romantic aspect as it comes since the series is probably not going to play out the romance department too heavily until after the story settles in. Judging from the statement of the Karuta Club requiring 5 people to become an official club, I don’t see the story moving past the plot development stages until after they get their 5 members with or without Arata returning to join the gang. I do hope that Arata returns and stirs things up, but I am happy to let Taichi have his precious time with Chihaya for now.
All of us saw this coming…
What I have come to realise about the series is that the show is very simple and direct in it’s approach. We are probably never going to be taken unexpected by a situation since everything that has happened in the past 6 episodes has had a buffer of sorts before the actual event occurs. The show leaves enough hints to allow us to see things coming a mile away.
I know I had said that I didn’t expect the whole ‘history behind Karuta’ to come into play in this episode, but it is really nothing really unexpected or out of left field since it seems like a relative normal thing anyway.
Some people might find the lack of complexity in the show to mean that the show is plain and boring, but it really isn’t. I think that the show has been giving off a constant relaxing and entertaining atmosphere backed by an interesting storyline thus far and I would definitely be watching more of the series.
As horrible as this sounds, the way he is kneeling with his arms infront of him kinda makes him look like a toad. =P
Episode Rating: 7.5/10
Overall, I had started off not liking Kanade’s character but I guess it sorta grew on me ever since she filled the “motherly character” role in the club. At the very least, this episode introduces a new structure to the show that may change things and make them either better or worse. The way I see it, it seems like the series would only get more interesting as the club grows and new aspects of Karuta comes to light. Also, the last scene with Arata seems to be hinting at the fact that the next episode would place a focus on Arata’s re-entry into the Karuta scene. My only question is if he would end up back in Tokyo with the gang in their club or remain separated for now.
Chihayafuru Question of the Week:
This is a seal.
It has an oddly cute look to it doesn’t it? Just thought that you guys might like the random picture. =P
What do you think of the introduction of new characters? Also, did you love the story-telling style scenes in the episode?
Like I had said, I felt that those story telling moments really gave the show added sentimental value. And since it is a Shoujo/Josei series, sentimental is always good. =)