Chihayafuru – 07 Review
Episode 07 – But for Autumn’s Coming
aka, Autumn is the Season for Boys
=D That was a good episode of Chihaya.
This is probably one of the most intense and interesting one for me thus far. I loved how we have 2 simultaneous character development whilst at the same time the challenge of playing Karuta is pushed to a whole new level.
I am really enjoying the pacing and execution of this episode. We get to spend a lot of time in Taichi’s mind in this episode and as such, we are able to learn and feel his frustrations over consistently losing to Chihaya at Karuta, and also the frustration of never being able to reach Arata’s level.
All the up close and personal shots really do well in pulling the audience into the scene and thus allowing the characters to connect with the audience.
Taichi’s the Man
Taichi’s emotions had really come across clearly in this episode through all the internal monologues and through his confrontation with Tsutomu. I couldn’t help but sympathized with Taichi and his frustration of never being able to live up to Arata in his mind. One nice touch in this episode, was the “conditioning” Taichi had received from his mother about how one should not waste their time doing something they are not good at, and the struggle he faced through the episode due to that reason. (T^T) I honestly hope that this is going to be a series where the underdog would actually end up with the main character. Go Taichi x Chihaya!
It was really nice how his fears and frustrations were introduced and wrapped up in this episode without it being dragged across multiple episodes. Through the help of the new “training” method suggested by Tsutomu we had also managed to see Chihaya’s weakness in Karuta, and Taichi’s strengths as well. It was also really nice to be able to get a glimpse of the different ways the characters’ minds work whilst they played Karuta.
What I liked the most was how Taichi had managed to do the typical “overcoming one’s limits”, and instead of resigning to the fact that he will never be as good as Arata and sulk in the corner, he has realised that he could be useful and wants to do his best since no one likes to lose after all. It was definitely quite an inspiring moment without all the glamor of actually having state the fact out loud in a lame and obvious manner through the use of cheesy dialogue.
What is a stereotypical nerd character if they didn’t touch their spectacles? 😉
Even Nerds Just Want To Have Fun
Introducing the new team member Komano Tsutomu!
I had really liked the contrast between the typical “No.1 popular smart guy” against the stereotypical “bespectacled nerd” character who is socially awkward. The confrontation at the end of the episode had really brought both of the characters together and had showed us that no one is perfect – thus we shouldn’t be jealous. =P
Although this whole outcome was nothing special, the execution had turned what could have been a lame scene into a touching one. Instead of forcing his opinion onto Tsutomu, Taichi had walked away, in a non-dramatic manner, and had allowed Tsutomu to have his personal “enlightened” moment. =P Lol! I just knew the animators couldn’t help themselves from making everything all nice and happy at the end. 😄 The background music in that scene where Tsutomu had ran towards Taichi was pretty funny. I am surprise they had resisted the urge to bust out those flower stamps. 😄
Now with 4 people in the club, does it mean that the next episode would be covering the 5th member or would Arata be getting more screen time?
Laughter Beats Exhaustion
This episode had a nice balance of tension and comedy. Naturally, the comedy came whenever Chihaya is present.
I couldn’t help but laugh at how Chihaya had simply collapsed on the spot after playing the game. Lol! I had no clue why I hadn’t anticipated that early. And to top it off, she had simply rolled over, sat up, and stalked off like a zombie once she had remembered to poach the 4th club member.
Then we have her physically assaulting Tsutomu by dragging him to the club. Although I wasn’t laughing out loud, it was definitely funny to see what the characters are able to get away with in school. I mean, even Taichi had damaged school property by tossing the table in the air and letting it smash to the ground. =P
Why is it no surprise that the show had started off showing us some more violent ninja stars version of Karuta? =P I really think that the reason why Chihaya is constantly exhausted after playing Karuta is not because of how much brain power she is using while playing the game, but rather due to the amount of times she has to stand up and grab the card before sitting back down. =P That is quite an exercise if I might say so myself.
Thank god the rest of the episode had taken a break form the usual flying cards action and had instead focused on a more subdued and intense version of Karuta. I really love the intensity of this new twist in the “practice” version of the game. The whole testing the memory through turning the cards over was really interesting to watch and I was so absorbed in watching that scene play out. I couldn’t help but root for both Taichi and Chihaya. Perhaps this is the start of a new line of different ways of playing Karuta?
Perhaps the best part of the change in the game for me was the fact that it was such a simple change that had seemed like a natural progression, and it was nothing over the top. Simple and effective definitely suits this series more than any crazy shounen superpower-like game twist ever would.
Episode Rating: 8/10
Overall, I would say that this was a really good episode simply by how absorbed I was while watching the Karuta match. Similar to how last episode had covered the character development of the two girls in the club, this episode had covered the character development of the two boys. The difference is that we got to see a good Karuta match… Probably the best one of the series thus far despite it’s simplicity.
Ra’s Chihayafuru Weekly Corner
(I know, the name of this section is constantly changing. Just think of it as me getting creative. =P)
All this talk about flying cards and violent Karuta had got me curious as to how true to reality the show is in it’s portrayal of the game.
Surprisingly, cards do go flying quite a bit! I really have to eat my words about how the show exaggerates the card flying situation. Geez, what a violent game. =P (But at least the whole mystical aura thing is not yet a reality, so I can still stand by that part. heh)
Out of curiousity, how many of you had a typical socially awkward nerd like character in your class with the thick glasses and immersed in books characteristics?
I don’t actually remember my class having anyone like that. The closet person to that in my class would be my good friend but she is really anything but socially awkward. =/