Chihayafuru – 13: Back to Arata

I know, the Gods are most unforgiving when heretics like you offer your prayers to false gods...

Well a New Year and Chihayafuru is back, and so is Arata. While I am disappointed that Chihaya self-destructed during the team portion of the tournament, I can’t really blame her. I don’t think for a minute that the likely reigning Queen got to her when going up the steps. In fact it had little to do with people unless you count the Empress being a heretic. You see they simply prayed at the wrong temple to false gods. Had they converted to Jodo Shinsu Buddhism their faith would have given the power over their enemies who oppose the will of heaven, instead Chihaya gets crushed by the weight of Taichi’s sins. Such is life for a non-believer when you listen to an old bag who is a glory chasing hag. If nothing else plenty of Fukui-ben.

As expected as a team they did not get far although they did not get bounced in the first round when Taichi struggled to get Chihaya off the field. While I am sure every Taichi apologist out there is in agreement that Chihaya is fat, I hope they apply Taichi’s habits and start calling all women who aren’t skeletor, fat. I would totally pay to see the beat down such an ingrate would get. Still it is not that Chihaya is fat, it’s that Taichi is weaksauce and as in much of his life can barely carry his own weight let alone carry Chihaya, so much for the dashing “athletic” Taichi, so much for Taichi putting Chihaya on his back and carrying her to the promise land. Yet this is all the more humorous because Chihaya could and DID carry Kana-chan a great distance to her bedroom. I am saddened by this pointless emphasis on beauty and desirable weight. Were Taichi a real man he would never have allowed himself to be so out of shape as to struggle to help a woman to the door, but in end he blames Chihaya for his inability to carry her. Chihaya is fine the way she is I would personally shoot Empress in the face given the chance. How dare she insist that Chihaya is only pretty when she doesn’t talk and just sits there like a piece of furniture?

At any rate Taichi went where he belonged, off screen. Not only does Sudo return to be Chihaya’s arch rival and claim a more important rank in Chihaya’s heart and mind, we get the whole deal on what lead to Arata quitting karuta. I just want to say everyone who got on Arata’s case kicking cards boy do you all look petty and moronic. As if being a rich boy running around half-heartedly doing things and coasting on talent was such HARD TIME. Then again being there family is an outmoded concept and living selfishly is the way to go in modern era… So in the end Arata had it harder than Taichi, while Taichi was gallivanting around with Miss Girlfriend, Arata had to watch his Grandpa die a slow and painful death. It was a most cruel fate that Grandpa first got paralyzed and then senile to the point he could no longer consistently identify objects, feed himself, or recognize his family.

Arata was always the poorer of the three and not only did his family remain poor their finances declined even further as Arata no longer could travel by car. The medical bills must have been crushing, and the slow mental decline of Grandpa must have been devastating. Arata basically had no social life because he was his Grandpa’s aid, so much for the Taichi idolator propaganda where Arata simply went into a hole and cried.  Arata knew he was getting left behind, and he did make an effort to keep in touch but in the end reality and death took over and Arata fell behind. Still Arata being a smart kid did not waste his screen time crying “woe is me.” Instead Arata took the mantle that he was born to have and he decided that he would carry on his Grandfather’s karuta style. Arata went further by giving Chihaya a get well gift and promised to face her in the singles match just like Chihaya had dreamed for all these years. All in all Arata was efficient in using his screen time. Sadly that girl who passed Chihaya by at the temple to the False Gods of the Empress will have other ideas. I have this funny feeling that this dark haired bishoujo is the reigning Queen and will take note of Chihaya, who had bested Sudo of Hokuo.

I really like how Nishida pried Retro-kun’s state secrets book away from Taichi and was the one making all the big decisions, and the biggest surprise yet is that Desk-kun finally realized that he wasn’t going to be a master in this life or the next and took on the status of role player. Bravo Desk-kun you finally found your niche and realized that if Zeus wanted you to be a champion he would have miracle it to you by now.  Still a step in right direction and a much better use of screen time than Taichi wasting his with “Chihaya is fat” comment. I am glad Sudo is coming back, and while I understand how Sudo is mad about Chihaya not playing, she’s not there yet and I am sure that after this Chihaya will have Michael Jordan-esque Flu game. Nevertheless a bad sign for Taichi in the Chihaya sweepstakes for unlike Taichi and Arata, Sudo is unafraid to be direct and he does play at Chihaya’s level.

Looking forward to the singles matches, I expect Nishida to put up a good showing and Taichi to not last long, while Chihaya runs into the Queen. Should be interesting to see who this Queen really is, and how Arata is going to make his presence felt.

Hana’s thoughts: On falling

I missed Chihaya and co. during the break last week more than I thought I would. Though, not as much as I missed Arata. Finally, we get details surrounding his grandfather’s demise and Arata’s withdrawal. Finally, and heartbreakingly. Firstly, let’s focus on Chihaya and the Scoobies. Let’s face it, for a club that hasn’t been around long, they’ve had a pretty smooth ride. Thus, the arrival at Omi Jingu, Chihaya’s prayers to do well, and her brush with the possible reigning ‘Queen’, all pointed towards another eventful, but plucky group victory… Perhaps, it might’ve been more interesting if Chihaya had simply ‘choked’, momentarily crushed by the pressure, which would have shown us a different side to her as a Karuta player. (Un)fortunately, she has the pretty air-tight excuse of being genuinely ill. Secondly, as if that wasn’t frustrating enough, we are torn away from Chihaya at her most vulnerable… to see Arata at his. Yep, it was as satisfying as it was gut-wrenching. Satisfying that we finally see the details behind Arata’s grandfather’s passing and Arata’s behaviour surrounding his final tourney, and of course gut-wrenching in the realistic, unsentimental way that his grandpa’s decline and behaviour was portrayed. The terrible irony of the former Master succumbing to a physically and mentally degenerative illness was hard to watch, but sensitively portrayed, I thought. However, at least Arata (though perhaps, predictably, given the genre) can now be seen as blameless in his part in what he thought was the neglect of his grandfather; we now know that he was practically ordered to attend the tourney and wouldn’t have gone otherwise. Unsurprising, but what was inspired, was the way the two stories (Chihaya’s meltdown and Arata’s back-story) were interspersed to convey some much needed exposition and to continue to hike up the tension. Almost as if Chihaya’s powerful, childlike sobbing also symbolised the tears that Arata was unable to pour out. A dramatic, but cathartic and moving episode.

Which is to face Arata at Omi.

I think we have finally met the Queen.

Fate will only march with one of you...

I have to hand it to Kana-chan's mom on a glorious job.

The Empress is getting jealous and setting women back 200 years... SHAMEFUL DISPLAY!

Taichi might get all the credit, but Nishida is the one who brings victory.

Seems that Chihaya is already achieved a legendary feat.

Desk-kun decided to know his role and take one for the team. He will never be Michael Jordan but he can be a Luke Walton and earn a championship by warming the bench.

First came the stroke... which left him paralyzed on his right.

He's broke but he's not dead.

Now comes the dementia.

So while Taichi goofed around with Miss Girlfriend, Arata had to witness his Grandfather die a slow inexorable death.

What a boastful fool this Shoji is...he could have asked to become a disciple of the Wataya Way.

Now that is a low blow Shoji...

Taichi better watch out for Arata not only grew taller he learned throw punches. I hope Shoji got a concussion.

Remeber this Chihaya, even if Arata is not talking your ear off like Taichi he will always be listening, unlike Taichi.

It was Hajime Wataya's last hurrah, as he goaded Arata into carrying on his legacy. Such was his manliness that for a few hours more he banished his dementia.

Such was Zeus' ire over the Empress' insolence he struck Chihaya down...

But was merciful enough to grant Chihaya alone time with Arata.

May that never change despite the corrupting influence of that old bag and Taichi.

Thus did those who upheld the old ways implore that Arata return to bring back the Wataya Way.

Sudo heard about what happened...

 

Sudo is not happy with the lack of Chihaya pulling off the equivalent of Jordan's Flu Game.

Sudo will not tolerate excuses, and neither should you Chihaya.

Taichi might never hold you accountable, but where Taichi fails Sudo will not, and by Zeus you will never forget this shameful display.

Taichi is wrong for it is not that Chihaya is fat, but that Taichi has no strength and bleeds weaksauce. BIG DIFFERENCE

Taichi really regretted not being able to read...

For you see Arata's box is going to get more love than Taichi ever will.

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9 Comments

  1. hipster
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Heheh… the Queen looks like a female version of Arata… ^__^

    • Crusader
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Same eye and hair color, but whether or not they are at the same talent level remains to be seen.

      • hipster
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink

        oh… i think she’s plenty cute after having watched ep 14 … faster than Arata, i reckon… she’d look good together with Chihaya … though i think i’m going to ship Chihaya x Sudo after ep 14′s shenanigans.

  2. Julian
    Posted January 8, 2012 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    I really don’t get the heresy talk, though admittedly I don’t know much about how religion in Japan operates. Omi Jingu is a Shinto shrine isn’t it, so why would a typical Shinto generalized prayer to the gods of the place be considered offensive? Why would they need to be Buddhists? My intent isn’t to argue the point, only to ask for a more in-depth explanation of this issue so as to relieve my ignorance regarding it.

    • Crusader
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      It’s a joke, all you need to know is that the first paragraph was partly ripped from the Ikko Ikki opening in Shogun 2.

  3. Dalian
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    What do you have against Taichi?! You’re so biased with him! Taichi really doesn’t mean that Chihaya is fat. It’s a joke to lighten the mood since they’re close friends. You know, it’s called teasing. Oh and Taichi’s oh so sorry to not have an ill grandfather. Doesn’t he still have to go on with his life? What was he suppose to do? And it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t care much for his “girlfriend” and just didn’t want to reject her. :/

    • Crusader
      Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Are you familiar with the term shipping war? If not you might want to look it up ace.

      As for teasing why don’t you call women you know fat and see how they react? I am sure they will take it as teasing regardless of the situation.

      As for not rejecting and not breaking up with his “girlfriend” I call it cowardice. But hey believe what you want pal, moral standards may have sunk to new lows these days but I am old fashioned I uphold honesty and frown upon rich people problems.

      Also, you do know that Hana has been carrying the Taichi banner since episode 1.

  4. Zorapup
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Glad you folks are blogging this show. This has turned out to be an unexpectedly addicting series.

    Looking forward to seeing more! :D

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I do look forward to it every week, always good to see such a strong addition to the shoujo genre. Glad you’re enjoying it!

One Trackback

  • By Chihayafuru: Decisions – aloe, dream on January 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    [...] reviewing the previous episode, Crusader and Hana mentioned that the mysterious dark-haired girl Chihaya ran into at the shrine was potentially the Queen. I [...]

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