What They Say:
After qualifying for the national tournament, the Mizusawa karuta members attempt to bolster their weaknesses. Chihaya and Taichi practice with the Shiranami Society while Porky, Desktomu-kun and Kana-chan practice with the Suihoku Karuta Society. Chihaya is overwhelmed by the pressure of the national tournament, but then she receives support from an unexpected source.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the win in the regionals and now on to the nationals, it’s definitely an exciting time for the fledgling team that has done wonderfully on their first outing. It may be something where they excelled too quickly and too notably, but with someone like Chihaya leading the team who has excelled on her own all these years, she seems to have a natural knack for finding exactly what she needs to bolster the team. There’s a lot to support her in this, especially with Taichi being the right temperament to handle being in charge of things and working the team in a realistic way, but it’s Chihaya’s instincts that have got them the chance that they took and the time spent bonding with each of them. The rise to the nationals is fast, but it’s not out of the realm of the possible in sports and competitions in general and especially for someone like Chihaya.
After so many episodes focusing on the team building and the game itself in the regionals, things do feel a little off after all is said and done and the drama of the karuta match itself is over with. Chihaya’s time at home has her excited about the match and their prospects, but her sisters appearance on a quiz show manages to outshine her in the family setting, not that she’s terribly upset about it. At school, things aren’t all that different though they’re feeling good, but some are riding their coattails and taking credit, such as their club advisor who says just how much better the club is doing now that she’s taken over compared to this time last year. There are some small changes, but it’s unfortunate that most things seem to be mildly dismissive at best when it comes to how the club has done even though the members are all very, very excited about what happened.
The mixture of home and school life and the challenges therein are pretty welcome here overall, since it’s not a case of smooth sailing or just being abused terribly from there on out. Chihaya gets to learn a little bit more about the love from her family as well as working hard at their training in order to prepare for the nationals. She even gets a bit of time with Taichi about things, though her mind still goes more towards Arata when it comes to wondering what to do when it comes to getting to the nationals and affording it all. Seeing them go through their training with renewed purpose and enthusiasm is a lot of fun as well as it’s pretty upbeat, but it’s layered with some of the minor knocks and prods that they’ve gotten since returning from the regionals with the trophy. The world didn’t change for the better for them, but there are changes.
With the big moments of the first half of the season now done and over with, Chihayafuru settles into the quieter moments with some really, really strong bits when it comes to the club advisor that you really don’t expect. The return back to school, brief as it is overall, showcase some welcome changes and growth in not only the students but also the faculty. And it’s played against the small changes that come from the family side of events as well. There’s a lot of good character ground covered here that deals with the success of the group and how it stands with them and the way their lives are changing, both in general and as a group. There’s a lot to love with this show in general, but one of the best telling moments is an episode like this that deals with the epilogue to a significant win. The more this show airs, the more it becomes one of my absolute favorite shows of the season.
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.