This week’s episode shaped up to a be quite a bittersweet one. While the Master’s match left us with a cliffhanger of the luck of the draw, the battle for the Queen’s title has come to an end with Shinobu successfully protecting her title.
Even though I knew that Shinobu was fated to win, it still kind of sucked to see Haruka lose. I like her character, admire her passion for the game and her hungry resolve to reclaim the Queens’ title. But I am glad at least Shinobu has acknowledged her, warmly telling her that the cards like her, that’s why they let her take them. It was also quite heartwarming to see Shinobu win her match by the cross strike her grandmother had helped her with. It sucks she probably didn’t get to see her do it— well at the very least, there ought to be a highlight reel right? Maybe she will be able to see it through that once someone tells her it was streamed online!
As for the Masters’ side of things, we got to learn more about Suo’s past and how he got into karuta in the first place. It kind of surprised me how recent (counting back only a few years) he had started to playing the game. Unlike Dr. Harada, Chihaya and the rest, he only started playing it when he joined the club in university. As one probably expected, Suo joined the club because he had a crush a girl who was part of the club, not because he was particularly interested in the game.
However the after being diagnosed with a disease that can slowly lead to blindness, Suo started thinking about how he should live his life before he goes blind. He decides to try and make something of himself through competitive karuta. However once he started winning, the game quickly became boring for him. So he tried all sorts of things like trying to win by less and less cards, or deliberately make his opponents commit faults— and you can really see how his nasty-play style had come to be. But what’s really depressing about all of this, is that he feels he doesn’t like karuta. Instead, he has to feed off of people’s passion in order to keep going.
Dr. Harada however is smart enough not to get caught up in his pace, and that is something Suo isn’t used to. It is forcing him to focus on his own match, and to play hard. This is also the first time Suo has been pushed to four matches and played against an opponent like Dr. Harada. They have been neck-neck, and it has come down to the luck of the draw, and gosh I this is a nail-biter. Dr. Harada had sent “May the time spent” in preparation for this situation, but will things really go as planned? Late game is where Suo’s strength is at, which is why he was able to close the gap between them. What’s even more nerve-wracking is the fact the pain in his knee is really starting to take a toll on Dr. Harada. This is literally a do or die moment, because I don’t know if he would be able to play another round in the condition he is in! Had it not been for Akio to throw him his own cushion in attempt to help reduce the pain even a little bit, I’m not sure if Dr. Harada would have been able to maintain the same focus. At that moment, he needed someone to snap him out of that groggy state.
Meanwhile as all of this unfold, Arata decided he absolutely needed to be present for Dr. Harada’s match, and is currently trying to get over there as fast as he can. While he had brought his uncle’s tablet, he keeps on running into disconnection problems, poor guy.