When you strike the Queen you better strike to kill and unfortunately for Chihaya I do not think that she will beat the Queen on her first attempt. That is of course unless the anime staff decides to cheapen it by having Chihaya blow through opponents. I’d rather that not happen as then it would hold the promise of another season and at least something to keep the last 10 episodes from being a total bore with Chihaya just knocking down every one who crosses her path. That being said I am glad that old foes do return and that Chihaya is growing as a player and taking pages out of other player’s books.
Sudo makes a return and did a splendid job of keeping Chihaya company. I Like Sudo he’s Class A player that has the hyper competitiveness that Chihaya really could use and I was delighted that he wanted to crush the Queen so badly. I like rivalries and hopefully Sudo will be there to give Chihaya a good match here and there. I guess Arata wasn’t allowed to compete due to missing the signing deadline but maybe next tournament. I would really like to see Shinobu take on Arata, now that would be a match. Shinobu is fast and is the quintessential silent assassin who has ice water in her veins and is hard to throw off for long. Chihaya got two ina row but now that Shinobu has found a foe that is going to hang in there, playtime is over.
Fundamentally Shinobu and Chihaya are the same player as speed makes up such a big part of each of their games. Chihaya increases her speed as she is able to anticipate the poem that is going to be read while Shinobu is faster and strikes with lethal precision. Shinobu also has the edge in that she has Arata’s work ethic and competitiveness. Personality wise they are more similar than different, both seem to have similar weaknesses for quirky characters and dorky t-shirts. Both also possess good grace but a dreadful lack of refinement. Still I think Shinobu is simply on a different level than Chihaya right now unless this show wants to be a complete farce of a sports anime.
I hope they develop Shinobu more so that the rivalry between her and Chihaya will be less one sided. It would be a shame if Shinobu is just painted as some evil villain because even the belligerent Sudo was capable of acts of kindness. They still got 10 episodes to work with and I hope to see the origins of Sudo vs. Shinobu since Sudo seems to take it so personally. As rivals go I was over awed that Shinbu’s skill set and lethality as a silent assassin. If nothing else I expect Chihaya to take her lumps and realize Shinobu’s game is the kind she wants to achieve. Chihaya has good offense but maybe defense wins championships and that part of her game does need to improve along with developing that killer instinct. While it was nice of Chihaya to give up on a card you can’t do that in a competition especially when you are down double digits. Shinbu was lights out and watching her pick her opponents apart was like shock and awe dominant with pin point precision.
Also good of Nishida to realize his feelings for Kana-chan I hope he acts decisively and with determination for love favors the bold not the timid or the whiny. I am sure Nishida will make Class A fairly soon as he is pumped up to be number one in Class B. I just hope that he feels the same when he makes Class A. After all if PSP-kun can make Class A then so can Nishida. Taichi better pray and Tebow that the Rule of Symmetry will be enforced as Shinobu and Arata are similar in in personality as well as hair color and eyes that one can get lost in. Moreover both seem to be on an island by themselves and both seem to be on a different plane than their competition, either way, Chihaya has finally met another player that can blow her out in a loss.
Hana’s thoughts: on the silent, but violent
Wow, that was some episode. So, we finally meet the ‘The Queen’, Wakamiya Shinobu, and she is just as impressive as we were promised. From character design, to T-shirt design, confidence, speed, and even that randomly cutesy/ blushing face (“‘Daddy Bear’?!”) while looking like an otherwise total badass, this girl is remarkable. The blue fire and snowy sparkles were also a nice touch. Clearly, the phrases ‘Ice Queen’ and ‘Blue Oni’ come to mind, which contrast nicely with Chihaya’s fiery passion and red-ish character design (and ‘Red Oni’, if you will). Ever since that shoulder brush at the beginning of last week’s episode, it seemed fated that these two would soon meet, so it was satisfying in terms of both plot development and watching their match-drama unfold. I particularly liked the use of camera angles and colours during the match and, while I would have been satisfied with seeing Chihaya lose to someone as good as Shinobu, it was also nice to see Chihaya have at least the chance of a come-back, as we see at the episode’s end. I’m guessing, though, that Chihaya will probably still lose, but she certainly (or rather, eventually, after getting over the shock of that ‘Silent Karuta’) gives it her all. Either way, I’m sure we were all thinking, ‘YEEEAH! GO, CHIHAYA!!’ when she started to win some of her cards, and it was quite a cathartic moment after seeing her so helpless. Finally, great use of the shouta Arata flashback where she wins her ‘first card’, the same card as the current one in her hand. And speaking of Arata, in short, can’t wait to (hopefully) see him in action on the tatami in next week’s episode.