The Master’s and Queen’s Match has begun, and oof, the tension was real, especially during the last ten minutes of it. I found it especially nerve-wracking. There is a lot of drama being stirred up under the surface of this event, starting with Suo’s nasty strategy of intending to drag the match out to five matches, and Shinobu’s heartbreak. And in the middle of all that, we have Arata being the wholesome boy he is of explaining how everything works on NicoNico! It was the cutest thing to see everyone thanking him despite the long comment! He is doing his part for the karuta community!
This week shined the light on Shinobu’s loneliness and why she keeps to herself, and it was brutal to watch. Just when she is excitedly looking forward to next match against Haruka because of how much fun she had, and valueing her grandmother’s gift, Shinobu’s mother spoils the mood when she off-handily goes on how her grandmother didn’t buy the fancy kimono to show her support, but rather was using her as pawn in her political game.
FFFFFF—- I cannot stand Shinobu’s mother! SERIOUSLY! Her lack of tact towards her daughter and her disinterest in the game is so disrespectful, it infuriates me. Does she have to trample on her daughter’s feelings? Regardless whether it’s true or not, SHE DIDN’T HAVE TO SAY IT! GOD! You can pin-point the moment Shinobu’s heart split in two because up until that moment, she genuinely cherished the kimono her grandmother had given her. Like seriously, cut her some slack!
But that wasn’t the end of it, because things got ugly real fast when Chihaya explains why she couldn’t make it to the Eastern Qualifiers, because Shinobu snapped. What Chihaya doesn’t realize is that in Shinobu’s mind, she broke the promise to play again together at the Queen’s match. It would have been one thing if she had been sick, it’s another when she chooses to go on the school trip with her friends— something Shinobu can’t fathom putting above karuta, especially when there’s so much at stake for her. As she said last week, without the Queen’s title, she has nothing. Chihaya broke her trust and she’s going to have a hard time earning it back.
Talk about bad timing.
And Chihaya didn’t escape this episode unscathed either. Suo’s words continues to haunt her to the point it crossed her mine that she was glad that Suo is (supposedly) retiring after this (we’ll have to wait and see if that really gets carried out).
Speaking of the devil, both Taichi, Sudo and Arata seem to be the only ones who have a proper read on Suo. The first was that he has no motivation, and the second, he intends to drag it out to all five games— which is cruel and especially harmful to Dr. Harada’s knee. But on the flip-side of things, (as jarring as it is) we also saw the endearing side of him who is patiently taking time out of his memorization period to help his parents access the computer and watch the broadcast on NicoNico over the phone. Poor guy, it’s never easy to explain how to do these things over the line!
In the end, both the Queen’s and Master’s Match was a tight one, and ended with the luck of the draw. Shinobu and Dr. Harada were the two to emerge victorious in the first round, but it will be interesting to see how things unfold during the second round since Shinobu is not in her right mind anymore, and Dr. Harada is already over-exerting himself by playing aggressively. We can only hope that high performance memory foam cushion his wife bought for him will pay off in the long run.