Chihayafuru – 13 Review
Episode 13 – For You, I Head Out
I keep forgetting how much I love this series. Every week I would find myself anticipating a disappointment, but instead, I am filled with love for this show.
This was as good as any episode to mark a major turning point in this series. Arata is finally back in the game and everyone is all ramped up to fight for a win in the tournament. It seems like everything has reached the point that it needed to be, and the “tournament/sports” aspect of the show is starting to kick in.
This episode really had me sitting at the edge of my seat, and even now, I feel like I want to jump up and down simply to get the tension out of my body. I was about to scream when the show had decided to do a flashback, thus leaving us hanging in the air over Chihaya’s condition during the game.
So let me break down for you what I had liked about the episode.
Gotta love the character designs in this series.
The first major point in the episode was the appearance of a new character with black hair and a mole. Although we aren’t sure of her importance in this series just yet, I am sure we would be told about it soon enough. This new character emits an ominous glow with her hair and eyes having taken on a darker tone, one that is similar to Arata and I can’t wait to see how she fits into the grand scheme of things.
Prince Charming (times 2) to the rescue!
The episode then slowly manages to build the tension up through the use of “whispers” amongst the crowd and their expectation of the Tokyo team in this tournament. Naturally as well all know, Chihaya is easily affected by her surroundings, and this increase in tension had made pushed her lurking illness to the surface.
Usually, one would expect that nothing bad would happen since the team couldn’t possibly be eliminated so early on in the game. But the fact that bad things can happen is what I liked about the show. It doesn’t try to be unrealistic in it’s approach (think of series like Prince of Tennis) and as such, all those high tension moments are very effective due to the uncertainty one feels about the outcome of things. I think that being able to achieve such an effect in a genre such as this (tournament/sports) is pretty admirable.
It is at this point where the episode had decided to go into Arata’s history with his grandfather.
I had remembered mentioning a few episodes ago about how I had found Arata quitting Karuta was him merely blowing things out of proportions and acting up. However, this flashback had allowed me to understand the situation a little more clearer and I can see why he was so upset over his grandfather’s death and how that may have led to him quitting Karuta. The fact that he had abandoned his Grandfather to compete in the tournament make sense as to why he would have felt that Karuta had took his grandfather away from him. Then again, on the other hand, I still find it annoying that Arata is essentially trying to blame Karuta for his own decisions to leave. Instead, if he had really wanted to put the blame on something for the death of his grandfather, he should be blaming himself for his decision to leave his grandfather alone until his father came home. It would have been a lot more logical if he had turned into a recluse altogether and was partially suicidal. (I apologize for sounding so mean as I tend to get hung up on certain things. I don’t mean to come across as a cold-hearted b*tch.)
But back onto the flashback, I had really like how such a short montage had accomplished so much. Through that clip we are shown the love between Grandfather and Grandson, and the strong bond that exists between them. This development is crucial for the scene towards the end of the episode as it enables us to relate to Arata’s decision/conflict to return to the game.
Although most of the episode was venturing towards the “high-tension” side of things, the Chihaya signature light-comedy towards the end had really manage to lift the mood back to it’s usual optimistic self, similar to how Chihaya’s personality is like.
The reappearance of Sado had me anticipating a rematch between him and Chihaya, and of course, the fated match up between Arata and Chihaya. Perhaps it is weird for me to say this, but I really do like Sado’s character as he brings out a different side to her personality through invoking fear (in a creepy manner) within Chihaya. *ponders* Now if only Taichi would be able to get some form of affection out of Chihaya. Seeing the poor guy hand her over to Arata to care for was like watching a premonition happen before me.
This series just seems to be getting better and better with each passing week, yet somehow, I can’t get rid of this nagging feeling that the show is going to do something stupid and have me rolling my eyes at the situation. I hope that my fears are unfounded and the show will continue on strong through this new season.
Overall, it was a emotional episode with Chihaya and Arata going through a roller coaster of emotions as they come to understand themselves and what they truly want in life. It was like witnessing Arata’s regression/maturation back to when he had still held a strong passion for Karuta. The way in which he had hesitated behind the door whilst being tempted by merely the sound of hands slamming against the Tatami mats had proven that he definitely has passion for Karuta running through his veins despite his consistent efforts to rid himself of any attachment to the game. Hopefully we can see this new character growth reflected through his actions towards Chihaya in the near future as I am getting tired of this “hard to get” game that he has been playing with her unintentionally.
Episode Rating: 8/10