Coming off the back of a fairly mellow premiere, this week’s episode was absolutely lit.There was so much going on, so much to be excited for, man this season’s opening also played a huge part of building up the hype! (And can we also take a moment to appreciate how GORGEOUS it was?! The ED theme too!) It was just that good! Gosh this season is going to be amazing!
There were a lot of reasons for all of us to be internally screaming this episode, starting off with Arata when he mustered up the courage to take ahold of an opportunity to announce he is looking for members to form a team for Karuta. We have to remember he is such a shy guy, and it was the cutest darn thing to see his peers supporting him to follow through with it. Unfortunately for him, it is going to be a bit of a challenge to find students who are interested in joining his team. So far it’s those who just want to learn how to play or play against him, or perhaps friend of friends or a relative. Nevertheless, he is up for the challenge since he really would like to someday play against Chihaya’s team, and do his part of helping keep the game alive. YOU CAN DO IT ARATA!!!!!
And just when we thought he couldn’t get any cuter, while they were at the Yoshino tournament, Chihaya had heard Arata say something and confronted him about it, forcing him to share that he thought she looked pretty in her new hakama. AHHHHH HE WAS SO FREAKING ADORABLE!!!!!! Chihaya’s reaction was just as sweet as well! I also absolutely loved that she didn’t let it get to her head, as she is determined to be focus and win every match in this tournament. (Though I must say, Chihaya’s new hakama is absolutely STUNNING! LOVE IT! I also think it’s actually a great idea for her to get used to playing in one as often as she can!)
As for Chihaya, it took two months, but her finger cast is finally off and she can play with her right hand again! Yusei has noticed she is a bit rusty due to having been unable to practice with it for so long, but I suspect it won’t be too long before she whips herself back into shape. She is all fired up, even more so with her newly ignited rivalry between her and Taichi. It hurts Chihaya’s pride to lose to him after having maintained her winning streak for so long, so she is determined to reassert her dominance of the game with the help of her trusty right hand again!
That being said, it is fair to say ever since the nationals, Taichi has evolved for the better. He is not only more precise and focused, but has continued to build up the confidence he had been lacking. He has really come a long way, so I am very proud of his development as a competitive player.
Better yet, Taichi isn’t the only one improving, most noticeably Yusei and Sumire both having been making great strides. Yusei isn’t letting disadvantages and losses get into his head like they used to. He has a new mentality of having recognized that a team match is an individual match, and vice versa by doing his part by wearing out his opponents. He did that today against Akito, who was irked by his resilience and ability to close his lead. I am also quite delighted to see him be kick it up a notch when it comes to his competitive spirit.
Sumire in particular has found her drive to become better through her love for Taichi. She feels that in order to get closer to him or at least appear on his radar, she needs to be focused on the same things as him, and that is to be serious about karuta. I do hope that one day she will be able to truly appreciate the game rather than using it as a stepping stone in pursuit of a relationship.
For most part, you could say it was a good week for many of the characters… that is until Chihaya, Taichi and Yusei get the news that the qualifiers for The Master and Queen qualifiers overlaps with their school trip to Kyoto. WHELP. This is particularly rough on Chihaya, as a luck hasn’t been on her side when it comes down to time of the opportunities (the first time due to falling ill, and the second time (this year) when she injured her hand). It’s disheartening because she had promised Shinobu she would play her again, all while her friend had also made special plans for the two of them while they are visiting Kyoto for the trip. Skipping out on the trip is a no-go, unless they could miraculously be given an exemption.
Tsutomu also had a bit of a rough one when he experienced his first match in Class-B. The drive to reach Class-A is a contagious one, and Tsutomu, having come so far is among some of the latest ones aiming to join Class-A with the others. It’s such a wonderful thing considering how far he has come, but it also makes me sad when he feels like the others didn’t really take him seriously when he declared his goals. Besides, he has worked hard to get to his point, he might as well give it a shot! SO EMBRACE IT TSUTOMU!!!!!! Gosh, he was slapping his face so much he was hurting himself! Thankfully Kanade swooped in to stop him as she had decided to watch his matches because she had faith in him that he would win! AHHHHHHHHHH THEY ARE SO PRECIOUS!!!!! I LOVE THESE TWO TOGETHER SO MUCH!
Speaking of Kanade, she had a really nice moment this week when she shared with Chihaya how she built up her good fortune by doing the little things, such as straightening the shoes. It was such an endearing and comforting thought, that it something I think many of us should keep in the back of our minds.
Overall it was such a fantastic and wholesome episode! A lot was covered and new things were introduced to us as we begin the next arc of the journey! It appears Chihaya has finally found an answer for her future plans questionnaire thanks to being inspired by her teacher. (Also “Learn the pain of creating something.” SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK! Anyone who creates stuff, be it writers, artists, musicians, innovators, etc… can definitely attest to this wisdom!) I think the last time she filled it out, she write in “Queen”, and this time, it appears she may have wrote in about perhaps becoming a teacher.
Oh and one more thing: I did want to make a little point about the character designs. I didn’t mentioned it last week because I wanted to see how this episode was going to turn out, but the designs are a bit different from the first two seasons. I have noticed some differences in the eyes’ details and the face shapes (some of them being a tad rounded than before). The slight change doesn’t really come as a surprise since it has been six years since the second season aired. Either way, while it is different it’s not bad so I am not particularly bothered by it!