[gallery columns="4" ids="10598,10604,10602,10599,10605,10603,10601,10600"]
There is just so much to love about Chihayafuru. Even in simpler and calmer episode like this one.
After the Tokyo finals, the karuta club take a break and we get a rare chance to spend the episode focused on other characters. Not the main cast, or in fact any of the usual minor characters, but rather the characters who are easy to forget about. People like Chihaya's parents.
Their involvement thus far in the series has been minimal to say the least. It was leaning towards the dramatic at times with the story involving her sister, though I must say I'm so glad it doesn't go there. No, this was an episode to celebrate her success with her mother. It may not be the biggest plot point in Chihayafuru, but it is common knowledge that Chihaya gets less attention from her parents. They may not appear all that often, but it's nice to see some sign of support from them - probably the only one we'll see this season.
After some heartfelt mother-daughter moments, it only makes sense to end on a high-spirited note. Just Chihayafuru chilling with some more daily routine/slice-of-life. Nothing here but good clean fun and Chihaya's obsession spilling over to everyday life. Nikuman did bring up an interesting point; who would do something like what the orchestra did for a mere karuta club? I guess the western equivalent is like having cheerleaders at a chess match. We even got an explanation as to the meaning of Chihayafuru! Not an overly complex one, but it was a nice bit of info to include in this episode. Nevertheless, it was yet more proof that Chihayafuru thrives in such moments and makes full use of them.
Then came the ending....oh boy. If you're a Taichi fan, my condolences. Me on the other hand, I'm all for Arata and the pain he manages to cause Taichi. Maybe because that was the situation we saw him in for the majority of the first season, but it just wouldn't be the same without it. Of course Taichi's role as the drama prone character makes it a little ridiculous, given the step back this could cause in his karuta playing.
Overall, a lovely breather episode. This upcoming arc shows a lot of promise from a sports point of view, leaving me excited - lonely sports fan here - about what we'll be getting.