It’s All About the Queen

The last time I wrote about Chihayafuru, it had a slight confrontation with some people who really, really didn’t like Chihayafuru. Well I’m just going to put it out there that those who do not enjoy Chihayafuru are probably better off not reading this post because after fourteen episodes, I still love it.

Besides, if you’re not a fan, have stuck it out for fourteen episodes, and read reviews and random posts about Chihayafuru… then I think you just need to admit that you really love it. It’s okay. You’re in good company.

When Chihaya’s school Karuta team made it to the competitions only to quickly lose, I wondered – like many others – how it would continue, whether another school term would be covered or rushed through, and how that might all possibly be done well in what seemed like a relatively short period of time. Maybe part of if was a lack of understanding of Karuta and the structure of the tournament. Maybe part of it was not paying close enough attention to the minor details like the references made indicating the upcoming “individual matches”. Or maybe I’m just slow. Whatever it was, I didn’t fully realize the show was moving in on the individual matches until Sudo showed up to scold Chihaya for fainting out on her team. (And can I just say now that Sudo is one of the best characters! I think I might even start favouring him over Taichi and Arata.) And now, after Episode Fourteen, I realize this is what the show has always been about: Chihaya’s personal journey to becoming Queen.

Chihaya’s teammates were important in her training, just like how Arata was important in introducing Chihaya to Karuta, but the very essence of the show is Chihaya’s love and relationship with Karuta. Everyone else is a side character.

It was the same with the Queen. I knew she was the Queen last episode when she and Chihaya passed each other at the shrine, but I didn’t think Chihaya would play her so quickly! I thought the latter half of the episode would showcase Chihaya playing other opponents, making her way up the ranks of Class A players until finally meeting the Queen. I thought maybe we’d see one of Taichi or Kanade’s matches; maybe even a victory for Nishida. But no, the creators had a different plan – a much more intense and exciting plan. It was so fascinating to watch Chihaya play hard while trying to stay composed; the show reminds you of how difficult it can be to concentrate while sorting through the many different things racing through your mind. And just when I thought that maybe the next episode would be focusing on how Chihaya recovers from losing to the Queen, she comes back Chihaya-style!

The pacing of the show is fabulous max from episode to episode. Last week we focused on Arata’s comeback into the series mixed in with some tender moments with Chihaya. But this week, the show shifts all its weight back to the purpose of the show; it was all about Chihaya. Episode Fourteen ended with renewed hope that Chihaya could still win. She still has a chance! And it looks like Chihaya won’t go down without a fight either.

2 Responses to “It’s All About the Queen”

  1. 1 Gooney
    11 January 2012 at 10:26 pm

    It’s bizarre just how many people hate the series, it’s fantastically produced and hasn’t done anything particularly bad so far. But people argue very passionately for and against it, I don’t get why some people are so disappointed, it’s a faithful adaptation of the manga and it’s not like the show ever promised (during the weeks before it first aired) to be anything other than what it currently is: an incredibly solid shoujo series

  2. 2 Roxzaney
    19 January 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Such a good anime~ d-(^0^)-b I LOVE Chihayafuru!

    ***SPOILERS*** (Wasn’t sure if I had to do this)

    I thought that Tachi would at least win his match if it followed a typical ‘tournament anime’ storyline, but I’m actually so glad that he lost. Still, Go Taichi Go!

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