Harada-sensei ends up losing in the semi-finals, while Arata loses in the fourth round of the Western qualifier. While Hiroshi from the Shiranami Society loses his match for the rights to challenge the current Master, Yamamoto Yumi wins her match and will be challenging Wakamiya Shinobu for the Queen title once more. At a Christmas party, Chihaya gets to know some of her other classmates and works up the courage to call Arata for the first time.
Everything this episode seemed a little detached to me, as if they strung bits and pieces into one episode rather than having anything that flowed well. With Chihaya knocked out immediately after losing her match against Yumi, you’d expect things to be a bit disjointed, and you have to question where the show’s heading to for a finale. Unfortunately we’re still looking for the answer to that question, since the atmosphere here was more of an arc closure one compared to something that would build up to an exciting finale. With a timeskip being the worst possible thing they could do, what seems most logical at this point is a second season. While they could focus on the Master and Queen matches, the show has Chihaya as a protagonist – it would only make sense for things to focus on her.
Harada-sensei’s actually quite strong, since he was able to beat Sudo and might have advanced even more were he a bit younger and had better knees. No matter how disruptive his loud karuta might be, it’s still better than contesting and going after every card, which I saw Yumi do again a few times, both in the regionals then the challenger qualifier match. It’s just not…professional to whine about close calls. Chihaya just gives them away most of the time xD
I felt so sorry for Taichi (as I often do) for putting himself and his own feelings second again, as he always does, every single time. This time it was encouraging Chihaya to go out with this random dude that just confessed to him, so I was glad that he acted for once and blocked that guy’s number. Also, props to Kana-chan for figuring it out, then referencing a karuta poem xD It’s good that he has a bit of backbone – he might not act against Arata, but some random guy is just out of the question. Actually what everything looks like is that both Arata and Taichi aren’t going after Chihaya for the sake of the other person, while all along Chihaya’s oblivious to everyone around her and surprised when someone asks her out. Seriously? With those looks, and it’s your first confession?
The guys she scared off after showing them her karuta don’t count.
We’ve soldiered on for over 20 episodes now, please don’t fall at the last hurdle! If anything, that recap episode was a clear death flag of some sorts, since if plot was their main focus, there wouldn’t have been too much of a need to stick in recaps or “bridge” episodes.
I’ll wisely leave the Arata fangirling to the girls.