Chihayafuru – 19: Kana-chan wins, MARU!

Nobody but Retro-kun cares about a Taichi game... you are the Jacksonville Jaguars of karuta, it's always garbage time when you play.

Hana is, or rather was, on a Roman Holiday and hooking up with Audery Hepburn this week so it falls upon me to be a lone sniper and make my shots force Desk-kun and Taichi into making dumb moves. To be sure I had nothing to do with the most glorious routing of either, both decided to get cute and do unconventional things to steal victory. Unlike most sports fiction though getting cute with gimmicks availed them little and did nothing to make up for their sloppy playing. Desk-kun got cocky with is Moneyball method and was so distracted that he made enough mistakes for Kana-chan to make the big plays to shut him down. Kana-chan for her part played a great game, the first step in winning a game is to not beat yourself and make the other player beat you. Give them nothing and take from them everything as they would IN SPARTA. Thus did Kana-chan emerge victorious and Desk-kun was left broken and defeated on the tatami, I only wished Kana-chan had adopted Madoka’s MARU move to rub it in, kiss Chihaya, and dance all the way to the Oe Bus in such a manner that Michael Jordan himself would want to ask her to tone it down a bit.

Chihaya had it right when she said that Desk-kun wasn’t simply down by two cards, and true to form Desk-kun tried forcing plays that weren’t there and started committing more mistakes. Mistakes are like cancer, it is infectious and fatal unless drastic measures are taken. In the end Desk-kun tried to get cute and started smacking his whole pile around, he was pretty much gambling at that point because he was one dead card away from losing. Moreover the sheer amount of desperation that it showed allowed Kana-chan to understand that the game was her’s and all she had to do was be patient and wait for it. She didn’t go away from what gave her the lead and she rode it out and defeated Desk-kun handily.

On the other front Nishida followed the old adage that defense wins championships and Taichi also gambled and lost. Taichi was running the numbers he tired himself out over dead cards and eventually was too slow to get the win. Thus while celebrating the unconventional is often beaten to death in the sports genre as a means to win quickly, here it was gloriously quashed and both dudes who got cute lost. Gimmicks are gimmicks for a reason and while it may seem like a bold move throwing caution to the wind in this case it just accelerated defeat. Leave it to Taichi though to bitch about Nishida getting lucky, but it was good of him to apologize. Still it just goes to show how much LOSE Taichi still has left in the tank and his Class B status is going to stick despite all the attempts to screw his team and get ahead. Taichi is lucky that Nishida was not showing off his championship gold and rubbing it in for that “lucky” comment. Had Taichi insisted upon “luck” being why he sucks then he would have no hope of ever getting better. This time three club members advanced and he wasn’t one of them and if Taichi is not careful then Kana-chan might join him in Class B if not leapfrog him to Class A. Desk-kun was lucky that he was #2 on the promotion list though he can never claim that he was the best player that day. It makes sense though that they promote more Class Ds, it will likely change with Class C advancement though.

Nishida however doesn’t get off to a great Class A era as he professes his gratitude to Taichi for being his punching bag and the Craig Ehlo to his Michael Jordan during what I dub “the Block.” Maybe this will herald Nishida’s arrival into a storied Class A career, or maybe it will cause Taichi to go through a drought and ensure that his Class A debut will be some years away. Sadly while that was not the worst of it, Nishida bitching about the way Chihaya treated him and how Taichi was the only person to call him by Nishida, it was all BS. When Chihaya was nice it was weird and I guess Kana-chan is now invisible, some guys just do nothing but complain and it seems that Nishida might well be one of them. Considering how much he was winning the Kana-chan sweepstakes I guess he’s rather scuttle that ship and got for NishidaxTaichi, which is fine, though certainly Taichi is inferior to Kana-chan by a factor of 10.

Hopefully next week we will finally see Arata play again now that he knows he has one year to overawe Chihaya with his karuta. I just hope that Arata has made up for lost time and is a legitimate threat to become Mejin, if not then at the very least he has to be able to give Shinobu fits and play to the last card against her. Kana-chan advancing should be a good thing as now she can give Chihaya a better challenge when they play.

Desk-kun was dead and Chihaya knew it...

Red Right 88 indeed...

Everybody Loves Kana-chan.

That is the lesson that Chihaya is learning and Shinobu has already mastered.

I see Kana-chan is already dreaming of Shinobu...


You both share a favorite card...IT'S DESTINY.


I bet that smokey fog was from a musket volley that scythed down Desk-kun...

And then Desk-kun watched Kana-chan celebrate her victory with a Maru and kiss Chihaya. Sadly they edited it out because it was deemed "unsportsmanlike" (i.e. code for yuri).

Defense wins championships.

Because Kana-chan's game was more important and better.

Better to be lucky and win than to be smarter and lose. SO EAT CROW LOSER!

It's because you SUCK. That "S" makes a big difference.

Dude are you crying?

That's your best? That's not even Arata on his worst day...

So Nishida wanted to know how his ass tastes...

You suck. I know it, Nishida knows it, and you know it...

So you allow Chihaya to mock you? In America we call this cowardice...

So does Kana-chan but I see Nishad wants to jump onto the TaichixNishida ship and scuttle NishidaxKana-chan. Okay then, I can't stop him from being stupid...

Don't get too excited Taichi you weren't one of them...

Kana-chan has indeed learned much.


Kana-chan pushed it to the limit, passed the point of no return...

You go girl, no mistakes just MARU!

See what happens when you shut up and just look cute Taichi? Too bad she hugged you as a fellow loser...and reveled in the fact that she was better than you.

If Kana-chan beats Taichi to Class would would be MARU!

Oh so now it's weird...fuck it just be an asshole to these scrubs Chihaya, they are mere sacks of potatoes.

You weren't using your indoor voice, and this is Chihaya of superior hearing fame...she knows all your secrets too.

Alright Arata is striking first...remember, strike first, strike hard, and strike to win. I can't wait to see him play again.

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  1. Dein
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Seeing Arata play will be really good, but on the other hand, getting an episode or two less focues on karuta and more on some personal relationships wouldn’t be the worst thing either. As much as I miss Arata and his game, it would just be good to see the characters interact and develop some more in a real life situation of some sort which is not karuta.

    • Crusader
      Posted February 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      I am not sure if they can go outside of karuta given how central it is to Chihaya though I guess Taichi can crawl back home to cry. It’s not as if Nishida and Desk-kun are going to ask Kana-chan out, so I am not sure if there are other ways to create a sense of progression. This is hardly a slice of life show, though it would be great if Arata had more screen time given his general absence even if his shadow has haunted Taichi.

  2. James
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Poor Taichi, he lost because his card wasn’t read first. :(

    • Bob from Accounting
      Posted February 19, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      You picked the wrong blog to point that out on, matey. *Hides in bunker and waits for the destruction to commence*

      • Crusader
        Posted February 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Your sir are a sadistic bastard.

    • Crusader
      Posted February 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Blaming things on luck is the cry of losers who put themselves in such a position where luck becomes the only factor in a loss. For a real competitor luck hardly factors in at all and Taichi’s game is so lackluster that he didn’t take advantage of how he and Nishida were old foes. Even Desk-kun was able to pick apart Kana-chan’s habits and Kana-chan was able to make Desk-kun pay for his mistakes while making none. Clearly as a competitor if Taichi is blaming luck then he has no business playing. After all if this luck fallacy is what he clings to then by all means he should quit because if God wanted him to win God would have miracled his ass by now.

      More games are lost than won in any sport any athlete can tell you that, it wasn’t as if Taichi was rolling dice, if dice are not involved luck has little to do with it.

      • James
        Posted February 20, 2012 at 4:46 am | Permalink

        Of course it comes down to skills but what you’re blatantly ignoring is that skill couldn’t determine the winner think about it: if Nishida was better than Taichi then there would not have been a “luck of the draw” scenario and vice versa meaning that Taichi and Nishida are equally skilled. In Karuta if two players are equally skilled than the winner of the match has to be decided by “luck of the draw”, whoever card gets read first wins which sounds like a game of chance because skill cannot determine who’s card gets read first no matter how much you want to deny this.

        Also Taichi doesn’t blame luck, his monologue confirms this. ;p

        • ectholion
          Posted February 20, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

          dude Taichi could end world hunger, find a cure for cancer, solve the energy crisis, as well as the fix the economic decline and crusader would still have nothing good to say about him. To crusader Taichi will always be the Miami Heat.

          • Bob from Accounting
            Posted February 20, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

            I’m with ectholin here. Who wants Crusader to start being fair, anyway? There are other bloggers giving a much more balanced persepctive. We read Crusader’s posts because he is a noble master of the art of RAEG (also, yuri).

          • Crusader
            Posted February 20, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

            Like that is fucking happen a fucking fictional character is going to do all that for real world. Shit he does that in the series and he’ll turn it into Gundam 00 S2 just garbage. This series isn’t about him and it shouldn’t besides Taichi would quit after the first experiment, the first hurdle. You want him to Jesus Yamato and you want me to speak kindly of him? Come on man… let’s not cripple this series with a loser harem animu male that is going to scream NISHIDA!!!!!!!! who knows as much about solving problems as he does about fucking.

          • James
            Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:05 am | Permalink

            To be fair Crusader was slow with this week’s Blog post so I kind of need more Crusader RAGE on Taichi rants for my Crusaders anti-Taichi fix ;D

          • Crusader
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

            Sorry for getting a job and trying to fill in for two bloggers on vacation… But hey they are back so what is the occasional delay?

          • ectholion
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

            “Shit he does that in the series and he’ll turn it into Gundam 00 S2 just garbage” …. oh the bad memories… I at the time i thought their was no way Sunrise could make a gundam series worse then seed Destiny… I was wrong… soo wrong… and now i dont want or expect you to speak kindly of him tis my point, there is no sense in arguing Taichi good points or deeds with you, for you hate him. Notice my comparison of him to your most hated team the Heat?? Though maybe i should have referenced him to Lebron instead…

        • Crusader
          Posted February 20, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Fundamentally at the end Nishida made the right choice by going defensive when there were plenty of dead cards left while Taichi got cute and went for it every time the caller spoke. This was less about luck than Taichi getting winded from his own dumb stratergy. So what if he finally realized it at the end words are like water once spoken they can never be taken back. That Taichi even blamed luck shows how much of a loser mentality he has and how he still lacks the confidence to put it all on himself. Resigning yourself to fate is essentially asking God to hand you everything you get in life, it’s lazy and pathetic.

          Luck of the draw? Maybe that’s like 20% of it, who discerns the poem first and gets to the card first is the other 80%, that Taichi was too slow was his own damn fault. He wasted his efforts on dead cards, and you mean to tell me that his lack of speed had nothing to do with him eating shit instead of tasting victory? Come on man… you have got to be able to take the card no matter who’s side it’s on, this situation is common and if Taichi chokes like he did this time every time he better get used to be Class B for being a bitch.

          • James
            Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:04 am | Permalink

            Rotflol, it says enough that four characters are saying “you’re not supposed to attack in luck of the draw situation”, Taichi attacks was an attempt to remove the luck factor which was ultimately futile not because he was too slow but simply because it’s impossible (the distance the attacker has to cross to touch the opponents card is what? 10 times compared to that of the defensive players?) And while it’s true taking you’re opponents cards is a tactic in karuta there are other factors involved then just speed such as recognizing the card being read before your opponent (Chihaya is particularly good at this) and finding the card before your opponent, neither of these apply in luck of the draw (because there are only two cards involved, well one really Nishida ignored Taichi’s card)
            Taichi tactic was at least attempting to determine the winner by skill (even though it was futile), Nishida’s tactic was relying on luck (hoping his card was read first) considering that you’re praising Nishida for using a good tactic (a tactic that relies on luck which has little to do with skill) and hating on Taichi for his “blaming on luck” (even though he doesn’t blame it on luck) I find this rather odd… shouldn’t you be hating on Nishida for relying on luck to win his final card?

            P.S. nobody here wants Taichi or any other character to be Jesus Yamato, super Mary Sues are boring.

          • Crusader
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            That’s not how I see it since by that reasoning it is all luck of the draw regardless of the number of cards in play. At the start there were 8 possible cards that could have been read giving a slim 12.5% chance that Nishida’s card would have been read it never got to being a toss up it was never 50/50 as there were still dead cards to be read. If anything Taichi was banking in being lucky and throwing conventional wisdom out the window by going for it when the chance of getting Nishida’s card read peaked at 20%. Taichi gambled and lost even with those odds the way Taichi played it he put himself at a disadvantage.

          • fundefined
            Posted February 22, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

            Talk about missing the point. James is entirely right. Nishida was playing the lottery by “playing defense” and only waiting for his card. Taichi was trying to gain even the slightest edge by attacking Nishida’s card. If Taichi’s card is called, he can still reach it first since it’s closer. Even if there was only 1% of Taichi getting Nishida’s card, Taichi still has a better chance of winning since Nishida isn’t even trying to go the the offensive. You should watch the episode again because you clearly have no clue what you are talking about.

          • Crusader
            Posted February 22, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            Hold on there skip when Taichi was going all offense for Nishida’s card there was a 75% chance a dead card would be called and only a 12.5% chance Nishida’s card would be called. Tell me again how this is all down to luck when Taichi is trying to force a play with only a 12.5% chance of that card being called and an 82.5% chance of failure should he beat Nishida?

            Nishida was only blocking Taichi was going to go for it no matter what the odds never got to 50%, it only got to 20% at best, so this was hardly luck. Taichi gambled do you think that players better than him never figured this out? Do you seriously think that by going for a play that was only 12.5% makes Taichi a genius? Las Vegas has made a killing off suckers like Taichi just because there is a chance doesn’t mean you always go for it, the house always wins.

            I might have no clue according to you but you stink at math. Leave your shounen logic at the door they will not apply here. The pretty boy will lose. Guess what skip Taichi gets bounced in episode 20 losing once might be luck losing habitually means there is something wrong with Taichi.

            That better players than Taichi have made that same play against better foes, Chihaya vs. Sudo, leaves Taichi with few excuses. Funny how math is ignored when heaping excuses for Taichi, no one wants to give Nishida credit for recognizing that defense was the way to go and GUTS wasn’t going to do it 82.5% of the time.

          • Dalian
            Posted February 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

            Taichi wasn’t trying to get Nishida’s card. He was trying to make Nishida fault by taking the card when a dead card is read. Taichi knew he couldn’t have gotten the card. Tired himself out? I LOLed

          • Crusader
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

            So now the translation I got was off, then numbers start lying, and now you want to tell me that Taichi was simply trying to get Nishida to fault? All Nishida had to do was block and to expect Nishida to beat himself makes Taichi an even bigger dumbass. I have heard so many lame excuses for that cute shit he pulled and NOT one of you has come up with the truth. Taichi is cursed no fucking way he loses three tournaments in a row due to luck because by y’alls logic Taichi doesn’t suck. At least hold a conference to get the lame excuses consistent like your hero Taichi who consistently fails to advance.

          • fundefined
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            This is very simple problem. Taichi is guaranteed his card, that’s 50%. He has a low percentage chance of taking Porky’s card but still not a bad chance because Nishida doesn’t know if all the “a” cards are read yet so he can’t take it on the first syllable or risk faulting as well. Attacking on dead cards doesn’t count against Taichi because Nishida can fault as well. My point is that Taichi’s winning percentage is at least 50% due to Nishida’s passive play. Yes there is a 12.5% of Nishida’s card being read but there’s also a 12.5% chance of Taichi’s card. Dead cards are inconsequential as long as Taichi doesn’t fault. It seems your hate for Taichi clouds your judgment.
            Additionally, you are entirely ignoring 3 things.

            1.You assume that Porky’s card had to be read. Taichi’s card could have been read and he’d be almost guaranteed to win it due to the special nature the 1 card vs. 1 card. It’s single syllable and right next to him. 1 card for each player, it’s 50% baseline.

            2. This is very important, Offense and Defense are not mutual exclusive in karuta. You can attack and defend at the same time. Taichi would have still gotten his card if it was read because Porky wasn’t even trying to go the the offensive. So any percent chance that he could take Porky’s card means he has the better odds of winning since he’d still win his card.

            3. The reason why Taichi can keep attacking is because he knows all the cards that could be read while Porky didn’t. Porky didn’t know whether there if his card was a “single syllable card” yet, while Taichi knew every single card that was left so the chance of him faulting was slim to none. If it is a dead card, he’ll just swipe at air and no harm is done.

            You bring up Chihaya/Sudo match. Sudo still had 2 card on the field so while Chihaya only had 1, whereas Taichi/Porky is 1 card each. Your 12.5% doesn’t assume the fact that Taichi’s card could have been read. What than? Porky would have no shot at it because he’s only focused on defense.

          • Crusader
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

            How can Nishida fault if he’s playing defensively, you think too highly of yourself if you assume the cute and unconventional is going to work for a Class B player when no one else saw any wisdom in it. Taichi is risking faults because he went for it at every play the probability that Nishida is decidedly lower than Taichi. You ignore that Taichi was focused on attacking whenever the caller so much as breathed, so if Taichi is reaching forward before he can hear the first syllable what then? Does forward progress simply stop and Taichi makes a reverse in less time than Nishida who simply has to move forward? I fail to see the Laws of Physics bending over for Taichi, the economy of motion would be with Nishida.

            Taichi wasn’t playing defense, you are a fool to believe that the best defense is a good offense, such simple platitudes do no hold true all of the time. Moreover men are worse at multi-tasking than women, so unless Taichi just got a new source of estrogen he better be realize that if he tries for both neither will be at their strongest. Taichi started attacking well before it was wise to do so, as much as this game is about speed it is also about patience. By attacking Nishida he’s going for a 12.5% play regardless if his card has a 12.5% chance of being read he’s not going for it and since speed is not his thing why would you think he could if he has already started his forward progress? Taichi went risky big play and in the end lost his reckless strategy contributed to his down fall, once Nishida realized that Taichi was going for it no matter what was being ready he knew he could wait. Unless Taichi is also a mind reader too he has no idea what Nishida knows. Even if you add Taichi’s card there was a 75% chance that a dead card would have been read, hardly 50% in this dimension.

            12.5% is what Taichi was going for assuming everything he did was perfect and that Nishida was a non-factor. 19% is roughly what would be possible assuming that Taichi could recover to get to his own card before Nishida. Fundamentally though a low percentage play that did not work in the end. In the end Nishida was always in a better position to take either card because Taichi was always going to be out of position to take the one on his side compared to Nishida who not only had a better defensive position but since Taichi was always attacking he would have to swipe air and then recover to his own side to get his card.

            Fundamentally 50% is the best Taichi could have hoped for assuming both players are equal, but those dead cards skewed the odds making the waiting game more important. Taichi chose to ignore the waiting game and go for it on every call with the full confidence that he would not fault and in the end he lost. If you want to call it luck so be it believe what you want. If people thought like you then they would simply settle every sports game with a coin toss instead of bothering to play the game.

            As for Taichi not faulting, if you believe that he’s that perfect then that is on you. I don’t believe that any human being is perfect and when you go for risky play Murphy’s Law will come more into play.

          • fundefined
            Posted February 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            “the best defense is a good offense, such simple platitudes do no hold true all of the time. ”

            And “defense wins championships” isn’t even more simple and stupid? Look you are theorycrafting the hell out of this match with subjective determinations of the episode. I’m merely repeating the information that is blatantly obvious in the episode. It’s 50/50 and Taichi’s strategy gave him a better chance of winning. That is functionally the author telling you what is going on. If you wish to disregard the author’s intent in the episode due to your hatred of Taichi, go ahead. Just know the story doesn’t support your claims.

          • Crusader
            Posted February 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            Well last I checked Defense does win Championships at least in the NFL but you wouldn’t happen to know if there ever was a team that played shit defense and took home the title would you?

            Since you have a better grasp of the whole thing if Taichi improved his chances why did he lose, and why does he keep losing? If Taichi is so clever why hasn’t he out witted at least one person to grab a title despite his numerous attempts? If it was such a brilliant idea why was he the only one in the room to think so despite the presence of Class A players? Why is it that you suppose Nishida will not alter his methods as the situation changes? It is what is, all I know in my infinite ignorance is that Taichi can’t win it, since you have line to author why is this so? If the strategy didn’t work and Taichi’s execution was acceptable why did he still fail? How is it that failure can be called the mark of brilliance?

  3. paj
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I love your posts here. And I an anxiously awaiting to your thoughts about episode 20. I can’t seem to understand the metaphor of Arata being water and that she needs to drink it all in. What does she mean. I am sorry this is like the only place where I can ask before some bias Taichifans gives me an evil look. My own interpretation doesn’t satisfy my. But I really thought that the poem that Chihaya mentions about Murasaki and Genji was off. So if possible can you kinda through in your two cents on this?

    What did Chihaya realize? And what does that mean in terms of her drinking it all in? And does poem really strike you as childhood friends; when we all know the story of Genji and Murasaki already? Does it compare? Sorry i really just want to clarify my own thoughts and figure you’ll be able to give a more concrete speculation than me since I am totally off.

    Waiting for your summaries as always.

    • Crusader
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Hana has something special to say about the water, as for the Genji connection there is more to that and ill news for Taichi.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Alas, not that interesting. However, I’ll be interested to see what you think of the idea of the water as representing Chihaya’s (re-)engulfment of admiration for Arata and passion for competitive Karuta, and also having a dousing and awakening effect, as well as symbolising some other things too…

  4. Dalian
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    I miss Hana!!!

    • Crusader
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      Too bad she liked Rome more clearly you have done nothing to get noticed.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Aw, that’s sweet (thank you).

      And ignore Crusader. I usually do.

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