Chihayafuru 5 ~ it isn’t fun to be with someone you love
November 3, 2011
Another powerful episode of my favorite anime of the season. This one deals head on with Arata’s disappearance from the Karuta world. It also demonstrates just how one-sided Taichi’s feelings for Chihaya are. Instead of a Karuta game, episode 5 shows Karuta cards being treated disrespectfully.
Poor Taichi. There seems to be a special place set aside for him in the friend-zone. Taichi tells Chihaya that “it isn’t fun to be with someone you love”. He then tells her that he has fun with his girlfriend. Hey, Chihaya, put 2 + 2 together, will ya? No she doesn’t. She thinks he is just bragging.
Chihaya and Taichi travel to Fukui to find out why Arata said he gave up on Karuta. Taichi keeps trying to turn it into a date. He’s moved by the sight of Mount Fuji from the train window, and the cherry blossoms still on the branch. He even struggles to take Chihaya’s hand, but Chihaya is there because she misses Arata. She isn’t even aware of Taichi’s emotional state.
When this show started, we saw the lead character, Chihaya, trying to found a Karuta club. We had a flashback that explained why it was so important to her. Now, five episodes in, she is still struggling to get even a second member, and her hope to be reunited with her friend is dashed. There have been some reviews claiming this episode was just too emotional, but I don’t think so. Honestly, everything was on the line; Chihaya’s struggle to form a Karuta club is bound up with her wish to be re-united with her friends, and also to have a sense of self-worth. Now that dream seems to be slipping away.
This scene resonated with two other scenes. First, the hand holding is a sign of closeness that is in direct contrast to Taichi’s failure to hold Chihaya’s hand. Second, the notion of a Karuta god comes up again in Chihaya’s letter to Arata, as she tells him that she thinks of him as the Karuta god, a notion that is deeply humiliating to Arata, since he feels guilt for not being there when his grandfather had his fatal heart-attack.
Although Taichi wasn’t able to communicate his feelings to Chihaya, he learned why she is so hell-bent on creating the Karuta club, and agrees to help her. So as the episode ends, she finally has a second member for her club. But wait!
This girl seems to be in the archery club, which is pretty cool. Is the Karuta club finally getting off the ground? It sure looks that way, which is very promising for future episodes of Chihayafuru.