Chihayafuru – 11: Down Goes Sudo, Down Goes SUDO!

The small one is playing PSP so you know he's in for a letdown.

It’s down to this Mizusawa vs. Hokuo, Chihaya vs. Sudo. Arata checks his e-mail. Two incidents of incidental contact, but only one was the result of magnetism and neither involved Taichi. Pork-bun finally gets off the couch to barrel roll through the competition and bringing tears to PSP-kun. Sudo was in front of Chihaya but all she had on her mind was Arata.

It was high time that Arata started getting more screen time and damn bloody time he started keeping up with his e-mail at work. It is just a testament to his poverty that Arata is taking the Kurt Warner path to glory and working at a bookstore for low pay, much like how Warner was bagging groceries before he got to be an NFL Quarterback. It is most unfortunate that Arata has no reliable internet access, but he is also a guy whose family is still using a rotary phone. Unlike those Taichi apologists who consider poverty to be a crime against humanity, I am not going to kill Arata for not being able to afford things we take for granted. What I am going to kill him for is not utilizing his work terminal during breaks. He’s earned that much at least and unlike his manager he’s trying get some work done instead of browsing lewd magazines for the better part of the workday. Still at least now he can keep up with Chihaya and stop using Taichi as a messenger. I am glad though that there will be a reunion and I cannot wait to see how Pork-bun and Taichi react to Arata’s return. I expect Pork-bun to issue a challenge and for Taichi to bitch and moan about this and that and everything in between when Arata gets Chihaya’s undivided attention.

It was sad to see Hokuo go down because this is all happening too fast and feels more than a little rushed since there wasn’t that much of a grind. Still all the credit in the world to Chihaya and Pork-bun for winning their matches, in Pork-bun’s case for finally getting off the couch to stick it to PSP-kun and for Chihaya putting the team on her back and carrying them to the promise land. Taichi did alright beating out an average and over confident foe in Retro-kun, but he’s got role player written all over him. Taichi can win against the middling players but he’s got no chance against the Aces and his fatal weakness is that he lacks speed and while he can memorize better it takes way too long for him to compile data and strike. For Taichi speed is where he will get killed day in and day out, it’s a correctable problem but there is no way he will be able to win against the top talent in the country when they got to the Nationals.

Hokuo was doomed the minute they started looking ahead to the Nationals before taking care of their business in the regionals. Basic coaching dictates that you play the game in front of you and not the next one down the line. Hokuo put the cart before the horse and got burned for it once they started disrespecting the competition and blew an early lead and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Retro-kun started playing the karuta equivalent of hero-ball (for those of you non-sports people, playing selfishly), PSP-kun started talking trash and gave Pork-bun a damn good reason to shut him up, and finally Sudo who realized way too late that Chihaya was in his class. It was a common enough mistake on Hokuo’s part a young team that went to great heights only to rest on their laurels and fail to get out of the first round. I hope Chihaya avoids that fate since I smell that defeat at the Nationals is a distinct possibility since we might finally meet the reigning Queen. Certainly it would seem silly for Chihaya to just blitz through with the roster she’s leading considering the level of the competition is going to only get higher. Taichi will find himself over matched, Kana-chan and Desk-kun will likely get crushed, and Pork-bun and Chihaya will face largely equal competition.

Speaking of disappointment I had a good laugh when Desk-kun had the nerve to bitch about the result of one play and tried to weasel his way out with hither to unknown “pinky rule.” It is poor sportsmanship to not only complain but even more so to rail against the ruling after it was delivered. Just all round pathetic and Desk-kun deserved to lose, and I am glad he got blown out by 16 cards making that play completely pointless and made him look all the more foolish. I can see that even after that outburst last week Desk-kun will forever be the anchor and will continually get embarrass against the competition. At this point Taichi should just break out the pom poms and start doing splits, a coach is way more than just a cheerleader. A coach, hell even a team captain, should be able to lead the team but also make every one under him and around him better. A coach should be the one coming up with line ups and be able to form a strategy. Instead Taichi wasn’t really paying attention to anything but himself.

It was great of him to admit that he fucked up last time when he put unnecessary pressure on Chihaya, but sad that he can do little more than be a cheerleader. At least Pork-bun can be the one to come up with the game plan, and Chihaya can catch on to what other teams are doing well and implement it. Say what you will about Taichi, but as a sports fan to me he is no coach even if his ignorant fans would crown him as such. Taichi might be able to cheer on Kana-chan and Desk-kun but only Chihaya made the effort to make the better and pushed them passed what they thought were their limits. I expect Taichi to not only get crushed at the nationals he’s going to look lost when the top teams start rolling. Maybe Arata will bail him out, maybe not since Arata probably won’t be able to do more than give advice. Given the history I doubt Taichi can take his lumps and be receptive to Arata’s advice. For his sake he better hope his mother doesn’t show up and start making a scene when her son gets exposed by the Aces of the opposing teams. If she does somehow show up I will have a good laugh if Taichi just takes it and his mom makes an ass of herself when the Regional Champions of Japan demonstrate how they are so much more talented than her son.

I am really proud of Pork-bun for not only realizing how he was mailing it in and admitting that he was a quitter, but he did something about it. I like to see a reaction to an epiphany and Pork-bun took it to the house when PSP-kun started talking trash. Pork-bun was resting on his laurels but when he got punched in the mouth and mocked he got angry and won. The barrel roll was a bit much but it showed that he wanted to win more than PSP-kun and Pork-bun came from behind and won with class. This is in stark contrast to Taichi who three years ago got punched in the mouth and responded by cheating; Pork-bun ripped out PSP-kun’s heart and told his ass that Nishida Yusei was the winner and that Noe rejected PSP-kun’s FAKE TEARS. This is true character building and improvement, it is not enough to realize you fucked up you have to pick yourself up and correct it. Chihaya did well against Sudo, and hopefully she won’t let mind games get in her way. Sudo was by far her craftiest competition as he tried to psyche out Chihaya and was able to stall and keep her off balance for most of the game. It was a close one but in the end Sudo slipped up when he played prevent defense and Chihaya made him pay for it.

I really hope that we see Hokuo at a later point I want to see a heated rivalry because steel does sharpen steal and a true rival would really help Chihaya improve her game in a way Taichi never will. I just wonder how Arata is going to play a bigger role, so far his shadow has haunted Pork-bun (who seems to be on his way to recovery) and Taichi (who is really going now where fast). Chihaya still has her mind on Arata and while Sudo wasn’t the object of her affections, it certainly started giving Chihaya dreams of playing Arata and having incidental contact with him. I really look forward to seeing more of Arata even if his shadow and mere mention was inciting misery in Taichi.

Hana’s thoughts: on frenemies

This was a great episode! Not only did we see the Scooby Gang win their final matches in the regional stage of the tourney that they began last week, but we also got to meet some old Karuta-loving, er, friends, and a cute cat, and… finally… ARATA! Unfortunately, like the kitty, Arata’s appearances were rather brief. However, aside from the fact that real a life, real time Arata was finally in this episode, I like the fact that his absence was sort-of explained via his apparently perennial poverty and internetlessness. The brevity of Arata-screentime makes us even more eager to witness the progress of Chihaya and co. in the next round of the tourney, not least of all to see this through Arata’s eyes, assuming that he’ll go to watch and support them having received Chihaya’s latest messages. And speaking of reappearances from old friends, Retro-kun, Sudo-senpai, PSP-tard and co. were thoroughly entertaining to watch, not least of all Sudo’s sadistically suave attempts to frazzle our lovely heroine. Clearly, it takes more than tall, silver-haired bishies to get under Chihaya’s skin for long. Either way, whether or not there are any Chihaya x Sudo shippers among you now, it was easy for all of us to enjoy the tension provided by these old friends, now her rivals for the Karuta Crown. In contrast, Taichi continues to grow more interesting for different reasons, and I enjoyed seeing yet another side to his leader-mode. While not as flamboyant as Chihaya’s speed and super-hearing, Taichi’s memorization skills are nonetheless impressive and it was satisfying seeing him dig deep and focus on drawing on his own strengths to win his match. And win they all did! And a lovely group photo at the end to show for it, to draw things together and to bring Arata back into the story. If he chooses to be ‘brought’. I also loved his head-tilt while viewing the snap-shot that Chihaya sent to him, symbolising the further and greater ‘effort’ he’ll have to make in order to re-enter her life in a more active way than he’s done so far…

I see at least some one was paying attention after that near loss.

Yeah this way Taichi can be safe and sound in the middle where he won't be in any danger.

Exactly that's how it should be done, so much for Coach Taichi, more like Cheerleader Taichi.

Kana-chan is ready to support her lady.

Need to work on that pre-game chant...


Damn... it took him this long to realize it.

Dude Really?

Putting the cart before the horse... bad feeling have I.

This is when you realize this man needs to rein in his players.

Don't worry, it's not a basketball match.


Old foes, and I do mean OLD.


I see Arata is taking the Kurt Warner path to success.

You're one to talk, fat body...

Look at it this way at least you have a new reason to join the 21st Century.

The opposing team is here to win...

You really can tell which who has the greatest desire win...

This guy isn't like the other guys... This guy... is an ACE.

Sudo will not go down easy...

Yeah you bet it's OH SHI- Time.

Oh shit look out Taichi, you can't give Chihaya this feeling but Sudo can...

Chihaya could do a lot worse than Sudo...

I call it DESTINY.

Dude save the trash talk for when you win game otherwise you might look stupid...

Rules lawyer-ing? Really that is just sad, you want a fucking pinky ring too?

DO A BARREL ROLL! Press R or Z twice.

Chihaya has only begun to fight...

Wasn't a good loss but, learn from it Kana-chan.

After all that bitching you lost by 16? PATHETIC.

Glad you can admit your inferiority to Pork-bun...keep thinking that way and you never will.

That's funny coming from the guy with no backbone. Still you can be a role-player Taichi, just never a champion. You are the Luke Walton of the team.

Do not underestimate the power of Chihaya and her Arata or suffer Tomihara's fate you will...

Considering who his teacher was Sudo did pretty damn well for himself.

Victory never tasted so sweet...

Pork-bun really shut him up.

Time to put Hokuo on you back and win it if you can...

Just you and Chihaya pal...

Still waters run deep...

Whew that was close, still I hope to see you again Sudo. Chihaya needs a worthy adversary.

I suppose a Gatorade bath would have outraged Kana-chan, so group hug.

It's addicting but at least we get Arata back.

You know you can rotate the picture...

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  1. notintheface11
    Posted December 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Crusader, at this point your merciless determination to bash characters you’ve decided not to like isn’t really funny anymore. It’s just kind of annoying. We get that you don’t like Taichi or Tsukue-kun. Just loosen up a little bit, bro. The creators were obviously trying to show that desk kun had gone from defeatism to determination by arguing about the pinky rule. Instead you choose to call him out for bad sportsmanship on what was probably the most endearing moment involving him yet in the show.

    • Crusader
      Posted December 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      So crying to the judge about a play is fair? Tell me do you cry to your mommy when you lose? That is not determination and it availed him little in a 16 card blow out. Who is this we you speak of? You may tolerate and endorse weakness but I don’t have to. determination would have equated to accepting the ruling on the field and fighting through the rest. Quite how arguing the call equates to determination these days is odd considering it accomplished nothing and proved only that Desk-kun lacked the grace to play by the rules.

      • Bob from Accounting
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 4:46 am | Permalink

        Yeah, while I agree that if you don’t want to read a page of rage against fictional characters then you’re reading the wrong anime posts, even I’m already sick of Desktomu-kun and his eternal bitching. And I’m one of the ‘Taichi apologists’ who has been accused of hating the poor or whatever it is this week. Actually, that little bit of choice accusation puts in mind of the ‘good old days’ of the Bleach shipping wars where the Rukia supporters were accusing Orihime supporters of ‘setting back feminism 50 years’ or whatever.

        • Crusader
          Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Fundamentally this is what it is all about Taichi shippers are all mad that I am telling them the hard truth that their golden boy is an under achieving spoiled brat who is well on his way to the friend zone because he can’t fully embrace Chihaya’s passion because he is too scared of Arata and can’t love karuta nearly as much and thus will never top Arata, Chihaya, or Nishida. You Taichi shippers think you guys are so damn slick accusing me of being harsh when all you guys see is his money and want Chihaya to behave like some gold digger like Kobe’s soon to be ex-wife.

          This is nothing new at least during the good old days during Macross Frontier Ranka shippers would post long comments that sounded like sagas of olde about how moe will win. I was told that I was wrong and being “harsh” and “hateful”guess what Ranka lost and Sheryl won. Look to Hana if you want to see that TaichixChihaya ship sail pray fervently to your false gods too if you must but at this rate Taichi’s headed for the friend zone because he still is living in Arata’s shadow and Taichi shippers hate how this is the case and are in denial. Cry your FAKE TEARS every time Chihaya gets swept away by an Arata text message, St. Noe will not save such cruel and petty tears for one so unworthy as Taichi. You guys don’t want what’s best for Chihaya you guys just want to see the brooding bishie to win because that’s that’s who you would like to be. You guys are trying to set Feminism back 50 years if you think making Chihaya Taichi’s trophy bride under that useless bitch that is Taichi’s mother is a GREAT IDEA, then you are not only foolish but cruel and I look forward to seeing you all crushed in the Hands of a most Righteous and Almighty Zeus.

          I am here to support what is best for Chihaya, not sympathize with inferior beings such as Desk-kun and Taichi who have the means to succeed but lack the will and guts to be all they can be. I celebrated Pork-bun’s coming out party and yet I am still “hating” because I didn’t crown Taichi as a karuta master and Desk-kun as a winner. If you want to crown them then CROWN them, but they are who they are and you are letting them off the hook.

          • Bob from Accounting
            Posted December 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            This is just a good argument for disliking Taichi and championing Arata. It doesn’t in any way change the fact that your accusation that Taichi supporters hate poor people is one of the most hilariously idiotic things I’ve seen since the days of the Bleach shipping wars. Which was my point.

          • Crusader
            Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            A bit of class warfare makes it more fun besides you do hate poor people since you demand Arata not work and waste leisure time he does not have you capitalist pig. The proletarian revolution will not be stopped by the likes of one false intelligentsia who lives off the toil of workers by virtue of outmoded feudalistic practices by a backward nation.

          • Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            Look to Hana if you want to see that TaichixChihaya ship sail… I am here to support what is best for Chihaya

            Who says the two are mutually exclusive? :P Taichi is heading in the right direction. Clearly, he’s not there yet, but at least he’s trying. Based on what we’ve seen of them, at least Taichi’s around; Arata needs to be more proactive, circumstances permitting. So, my inner fangirl wants Chihaya to find love, but not for the sake of it – in that case, I’d rather she end up with no one at all and be happy to be who she is and pursue her own goals.

          • Crusader
            Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            Do or do not there is no try.

            Those are mutually exclusive because clearly Chihaya’s standards, values, and practices are vastly superior to those of one Taichi whose only claim to fame is being born wealthy. They are incompatible, in such a parasitic relationship Taichi might improve or more likely corrupt Chihaya and make her into his mother.

            You have every right to marry for money comrade but I am certain that Chihaya is no gold digger and Taichi is merely in love with that which he cannot buy for he knows little if anything about her as has been demonstrated time and again. He underestimated her desires and her will and nearly gave Chihaya a loss with his terrible coaching.

            Arata improves Chihaya and genuinely understands her in a way Taichi never can. They get along famously while Taichi actively sought to destroy her club and hide Chihaya away from the world so that she might never be a Queen. Jealousy implies lust and desire not love do not forget this.

          • Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            Hmm, I think girls are more likely to turn into their own mothers, rather than someone else’s…

            You have every right to marry for money comrade but I am certain that Chihaya is no gold digger

            -You did NOT just say that to me. *angry face*

            And re: the mysterious Arata – two words, comrade: we’ll see.

          • Crusader
            Posted December 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            If we are going by assumptions then a more famous one is that guys marry women who are most like their mother. In this case Taichi must be mistaking Chihaya as some gold digging crone, that is a pretty face meant to sit at home and raise children he can be proud of. The only thing Chihaya had in common with his mum though is that neither is giving him the praise and adoration he craves.

            You are a teacher and while doubt you would marry for money clearly Arata’s poverty has made you biased. Otherwise why would you support some one as loathsome as Taichi? I understand money can never buy happiness and a lack of it buys misery by the ton. Fundamentally though Arata would make Chihaya a Queen while Taichi would lock her away from the world.

            What is this mystery you speak of we know who Arata there is no real mystery to him unless you are blind to his honesty, work ethic, and decency. Why is it that nice guys finish last and rich asshats like Taichi get crowned? It makes no sense but gives perfect sense to the degeneration of successive generations that despise accomplishment for hedonism.

            As a teacher I am saddened to see that you would have a bright young mind discarded in favor of some underachiever. No child left behind ought to be changed to no child allowed to excel.

          • Bob from Accounting
            Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:37 am | Permalink

            “since you demand Arata not work and waste leisure time he does not have”

            Wait, what? And to think you’ve accused me of twisting your words at times. When the hell did I ever say anything even remotely like that. And how dare you call me a capitalist pig? I’m Old Labour through and through! I’ve lived all my life in Bristol, for crying out loud! The children of my city practically believe that Conservatives eat their young at the full moon in the name of the dark god Thatcher! I just don’t feel the need to heavily apply my political beliefs to a bloody anime about bloody card games!

            I’m just not a fan of the over-idealised shoujo-style relationship. Yes, Taichi and Chihaya are far from being in the right place to start anything right now but their friendship with light (for now) sprinklings of sexual tension seems to me a healthier base for a relationship than Chihaya’s idolisation and boderline obsession regarding Arata. If she can get over that and start displaying some more mature and genuine feelings for him, then it’s possible I might be inclined to change my stance. But who knows?

          • Crusader
            Posted December 21, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

            Well you demanded more of Arata but that is logistically impossible, therefore in a way you were discriminating against his economic class by applying your flawed bourgeois logic to his situation. Your flawed Old Labour policies do not hide your bourgeois leanings, say what you will about Thatcher, but you and your ilk made her a Lord and maintain an outmoded dynasty.

            You know for two friends, Taichi sure knows precious little if much of anything about Chihaya given the miss steps, the childhood bullying, his inability to you know draw her attention, his attempts to sabotage her karuta club. The list just goes on, you claim not to be a fan of idolized relationships and that’s fine you want something more lewd and Tachi being Taichi would likely give you that hell he’s just one sexual act away from being a Sadist given how he does physically strike Chihaya but hey different strokes for different folks. I scoff at your bourgeois cavalier attitude on sexual relations it’s not as if Taichi will ever suffer the worst of it when things go wrong but hey I have borne witness to the sad reality of single motherhood, while you probably haven’t given your insistence on sexual tension. At least Arata can connect at a higher level with Chihaya and they certainly seemed more like friends than Taichi. Call me old fashioned but I think that a relationship should be more than about intercourse.

          • Posted December 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

            clearly Arata’s poverty has made you biased. Otherwise why would you support some one as loathsome as Taichi… Why is it that nice guys finish last…

            So, not necessarily a gold-digger, but biased against poor people and bright young’uns, and partially responsible for perpetuating the myth that nice guys finish last. Er, thanks.

            Taichi is clearly not perfect, but is improving, whereas in the meantime Arata has done little except ignore/ fail to respond to her messages (I accept his lack of internet at home had something to do with this, but he did find time to respond to Taichi’s message re: Chiaya’s birthday). Until Arata does more to involve himself in Chihaya’s life in a positive way, I cannot wholeheartedly support Chihaya x Arata either. Yes, ‘either'; based on these last few episodes, I’m kinda rooting for Taichi, but, again, I don’t necessarily want her to end up with anyone (yet). Finally, for the record: Arata is clearly a sweetheart, but needs to battle his own demons first, then I’ll be happy to see if he’s the right one for Chihaya or not. (The ‘mysterious’ comment simply referred to the fact that he’s been M.I.A. in the last few episodes since they were kids, not a comment on his personality. Duh. :P )

  2. Dein
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    The episode was fun. I am kinda ticked off about the whole magical card bullcrap. I get that it’s supposed to be a silly gimmick to bring each character against their “rival”, but personally I would’ve found it more fun if the matchup was more random and we could see how opponents not “meant” for each other would perform. Meh.

    Good to see Arata on screen. Hopefully this means that from now on he’ll beabigger part of the story. I suppose its too late for him to be in the tournament, but maybe he can be sort of a coach to the team or something. Not only would that improve everyones game, but it would also traumatize Desk-kun thus giving the guys of the team a chance to start some kind of support group.

    Oh, and PSP-fag’s tears taste sweet. So, so sweet.

    • Crusader
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      I welcome the chance for Sudo to be a rival because Chihaya needs him more than she needs Desk-kun and Taichi. As for a support group Nishida seems to have moved on so Desk-kun and Taichi can have their support group in a smaller closet. Arata hopefully is here to stay for if his shadow and mere mention strikes fear in the black misshapen heart of Taichi I cannot wait for the heart failure that will occur when Taichi sees Chihaya and Arata getting along famously, and having incidental contact. I suspect that Taichi is going to try and prove something in a fit of stupidity and bravado only to be crushed.

      PSP-kun got what was coming and it is a shame that Nishida let him off easy.

      • Dein
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:41 am | Permalink

        I think Pork-bun managed to let the whole Arata thing go better than Taichi mainly because, unlike Taichi, he doesn’t have a personal interest in Chihaya. Regardless, should he see Arata in action once more, I’m certain that he will have to push past his odd fear and not drop everything oncemore to become a bowling champion or something. All the events so far suggest that he’ll be able to do so, but who knows. I admit, seeing people flinch when Arata is mentioned is a perk I don’t want to see gone just yet.

        • Crusader
          Posted December 21, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Pork-bun is light years ahead of Taichi on the Arata front, getting past PSP-kun makes him better set-up to face Arata if need be. If anything P{ork-bun would more readily take Arata on as a rival and not cower or make excuses for his inferiority.

    • Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I suppose its too late for [Arata] to be in the tournament, but maybe he can be sort of a coach to the team or something

      Well, it’s a two cour show, so who knows. As long as we get to see him in Karuta Boss mode at least once, then I guess that’ll be at least something..

      • Dein
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:44 am | Permalink

        I really hope it’ll be much more than that. He’s an interesting character, and I would love to see not only more of him, but also a little more of his own life and the things that happened after he left.

  3. snuberr
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Arata all the way! :P

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