Poor Chihaya, her class trip to Kyoto has been effectively spoiled. I wonder if someone is going to be able to snap her out of this sulking-mood, because it would suck not just for her, but her friend she had wanted to go along with in the first place too. And what about her dream of sharing her class trip to her future students? Come on Chihahya! Snap out of it!!! Do you really want to go on to say, “Let me tell you how I don’t remember anything about my class trip because I was too busy moping about my best friend going to the Qualifiers without me.”?!?!?!
While our dear heroine sulks in Kyoto, the spotlight shifts to the Western and Eastern Qualifiers. In the West, a surprise visit from both Master Suo and Queen Shinobu. Turns out he the only reason he really came to watch was because his favourite reader Kyoko is participating. But while he was there, he also decided to drop the bomb that this will be his final time he will be competing to keep his Master’s title, after this, he will retire. The reception to the news was rather mixed, with the the announcement of his upcoming retirement was music to the organizer’s ears, but his bold claim and confidence that he will win once more came across as cocky to many of the competitors vying for the Master’s title.
Yet regardless of the news of Suo’s impending retirement, a lot of people just want to see him be knocked off his high-horse. As it stands right now, many consider Arata to be the best candidate for dethroning Suo. But a lot of that has to do with the fact they see a lot of his grandfather in him, and frankly, it makes me a bit sad. We have been seeing them do this for a while, of how they constantly compare him and his grandfather, or that they have a lot of hopes in him because he was his pupil. It gives me the sense that Arata is being overshadowed by his Grandfather’s prestigious Master’s history.
But curiously, while Suo also recognizes Arata’s ability to become Master someday, he also commented how Arata is boring, and watching him doesn’t play excite him. At first it ticked me off because that was super rude, but it also got me thinking that maybe Arata may in fact be playing too much like his grandfather. It’s hard to say really, since we haven’t actually seen his grandfather compete, but considering how so many comment how alike they are, perhaps this could be interpreted as Arata has yet to forge his own unique play-style. I don’t think Arata will think too much about it at this moment since he needs to be focused, but maybe after the tournament we might see him reflect on what Suo’s comments. (Also poor guy, he isn’t feeling so good due to the food he ate that morning!)
Speaking of reflecting, Arata was so adorable when he spotted Taichi’s name on the qualifiers list. Actually, I found it absolutely hilarious how everyone (Chihaya, Dr. Harada, and Arata) all immediately jumped to the conclusion that Taichi suddenly wants to earn the Master title, but the truth is, Taichi is simply doing it for himself. The Master’s title just happens to be at the end of the tunnel he is traveling through as he tries to become more brave and break away from that shell of cowardice that haunts him. I think it is safe to say, regardless of the outcome of these qualifiers, Taichi will emerge as someone who has grown to be more determined about pursuing what he wants.
Also can we take a moment to APPRECIATE the friendship formed between Taichi and Retro? For the long time, the two of them were stuck in Class-B together so it was so heartwarming to see Taichi give Retro some words of encouragement to keep fighting on. However while it briefly warmed my heart, it ended up shattering when Retro revealed to us that he thinks he isn’t a good enough player to make it to Class-A. It is so sad to see him lose his confidence like this, so I hope he will be able to overcome this slump because I hope he will be able to make it to Class-A someday. YOU CAN DO IT RETRO!!!! DON’T GIVE UP!!!!!
On the other-hand, Sumire seriously gave me a scare when she saw an opportunity to exploit the situation that Taichi’s mother caught him redhanded. It is absolutely awful how her first thought was to exploit the situation by trying to win Taichi’s mother in her favor. It irritated me that she even considered sabotaging Taichi like that, and thankfully she didn’t, but had she done so, it not only would have I been unable to forgive her character for her selfishness, but she would have also ended up shooting herself in the foot because that would only tick Taichi off. So thank goodness, she realized the right thing to do was to make sure his mother couldn’t interfere with the match. Better yet Taichi had ended up witnessed her doing that, which not only enabled her to earned points of recognition from Taichi, but also contributed to giving him a morale boost that energized him for the future matches.
Lastly, I am so worried about Dr. Harada! I fear this might be his last chance to pursue the Master’s title. He looked as though he was on the verge of passing out, and I am mostly afraid for the conditions of his knees as we have seen him wear a brace and even go as far as bringing a cushion to make it more bearable. His peers talk behind his back how he is still competing when he is 57 years old, but goodness, it really isn’t anyone’s business about his age. Besides, I consider Dr. Harada as a golden example of someone having the will-power to pursuing their dreams, because it takes a lot of determination to keep at it after God know show many years of failure! I’m rooting for you Dr. Harada!!!!