Chihayafuru 6 ~ my love is fundamentally different from yours

November 11, 2011

Chihaya Ayase (right) is on the prowl, and she has her eye on Kanade Oe (left).

Episode 6 of Chihayafuru introduces a new character who brings a completely different perspective on Karuta. Oh, yeah, and girls in kimonos.

Taichi Mashima helps Chihaya set up the club room, but he isn't anxious to add more members.

Taichi follows through on his promise to help Chihaya set up the Karuta club, but, as Crusader, on THAT, put it,

Taichi just wanted to keep the club all to himself so that he could pretend to be dating Chihaya away from the eyes of Miss Girlfriend.

In fact, when a potential new club member appears, Taichi repeatedly urges Chihaya to forget her.

Our new character had joined the Archery club so she could wear hakama.

Kanade Oe decides to surreptitiously check out the Karuta club.

Karuta club as imagined by Kanade.

Kanade just wants to wear traditional clothing, but she is also a lover of classical poetry and history. Her imagined version of the Karuta club is far from accurate. For one thing, Chihaya is very much a tomboy, not a genteel lady. For another, competitive Karuta is a sport, not dabbling in poetry. Well, Kana-chan’s imagined version of Archery club seems to have been off as well, since she is looking for a change.

Kanade can try to escape, but Chihaya gets what Chihaya wants.

When Kanade finds out that the Karuta club doesn’t wear hakama, she decides to go back to archery. She does have a deeper interest in Karuta, however. Kanade has an intense interest in classical poetry, including the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, or 100 Poems by 100 Poets that provide the core of the Karuta game.

Kanade does some interesting things for the show. First she provides an opportunity for Chihaya to show leadership of the Karuta club. Chihaya is a natural leader, as we saw from the flashback episodes from grade school; she fearlessly steps up when she thinks what she is doing is right. Kanade also provides a fresh perspective on Karuta.

Kanade Oe. Her family runs a traditional clothing store.

A girl reading a book

Kanade also loves classical poetry, and brings a deep understanding of the meaning of the 100 poems.

Bringing in a new character often shakes up the character relations. We get to see the characters we knew from a different perspective. Here the Karuta we thought we knew is seen from a different perspective. Taichi realizes that Chihaya relies on her hearing and reaction time, but hasn’t mastered the skill of memorizing her opponents layout. The importance of memorization has already been seen, however, in Arata’s gameplay.

Kanade and Chihaya discuss poetry in front of a kimono.

Chihaya, impressed with Kanade's understanding of the 100 poems, begs for an impromptu lecture on the subject.

Chihaya is able to use what she learned from Kanade to deepen her relationship with the Karuta cards. This is beautifully represented to the viewer by showing the cards changing to show the meaning.

Chihaya thanks Kanade with a hug.

So not only did we see progress in the story of Chihaya setting up her Karuta club, but we also saw Chihaya getting stronger, and I think we also saw one more thing demonstrated here: to Chihaya, Karuta isn’t just a game, or even a life goal; it is tied up with her desire to be with friends. For Arata, as well, Karuta was tied up with his relationship with his grandfather, and he was extremely happy to play on a team with Chihaya and Taichi. As we are introduced to Kanade we see that she is very alone, even in her club; other girls talk about her spending time alone reading old books. Chihaya shows genuine interest in the 100 poems, and, perhaps for the first time, Kanade is able to share her love of classical poetry with another person.

Kanade agrees to join the Karuta club, but makes Chihaya model for her family's kimono catalogue.

Chihaya Ayase in a kimono. The results are pretty spectacular.

In addition to the photo shoot, Kanade gets Chihaya and Taichi to agree to clean up the club room and play tournaments in hakama. Everybody is happy!

9 Responses to “Chihayafuru 6 ~ my love is fundamentally different from yours”

  1. avvesione Says:

    I really like what Kana brought to this episode, providing a completely different perspective to karuta than what we’ve seen before. Her background and her interests are nothing like Chihaya, Taichi, and Wataya, so it’ll be interesting to see how she influences the cast and vice versa. She kinda rejuvenated the series for me and I’m excited to see what she does for the rest of the series now that she’s in the karuta club.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Yes, it was great to get a fresh perspective on Karuta. I’m glad Chihaya’s club is starting to come together, and looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

  2. Kyokai Says:

    The loli baa-san is a good addition to the cast. At least, we got to see Chihaya in traditional kimono and checkmark for another member added.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I’m really glad we got a very different character. I have loved all the episodes up to now, but they focused almost exclusively on the big three, who are all deeply described. The one thing Chihayafuru hasn’t done as yet is build out the breadth of the cast of characters.

  3. Hana Says:

    For another, competitive Karuta is a sport, not dabbling in poetry

    Indeed, Kana-chan might have a long way to go. However, she has clearly already got a good advantage in terms of her affinity with all of the 100 poems.

    to Chihaya, Karuta isn’t just a game, or even a life goal; it is tied up with her desire to be with friends.

    YES. All the card-capturing and playing dress-up aside, I love the way the friendship theme is being explored so far. Taichi is defo the jealous, spoilt and possessive type, but very human and at least he (however reluctantly) follows through on his promises re: setting up the club room. Btw, I also like the fact that he did get to hold Chihaya’s hand (when he prevented her from going after Kanade in the corridor), unlike in the previous epi. Not that I’m shipping anyone yet (I don’t think she needs to end up with anyone, really), but I though that was a bittersweet moment for him.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Bittersweet, and yet it shows how comfortable they are together. Honestly I think he was over-thinking things in the previous episode. Chihaya barely knows Kanade, but she grabbed her multiple times. I’m sure Chihaya wouldn’t be shocked at holding Taichi’s hand (although she might not pick up on the Romantic overtones).

  4. Mushyrulez Says:

    I especially liked how Chihaya learned not to memorize the cards from its letters, but from its meaning – that’s sure easier to memorize! Things like this make karuta more interesting than just a game about poetry.

    Y’know, playing karuta is a bit like anime blogging. Some blog anime because they truly love anime beyond anything and everyone else in the entire world. Most blog anime because they love anime, but also want to meet and be with others who also love anime.

    Then again, that’s true of any hobby! Which is why it’s called a hobby!

    P.S. That’s not why it’s called a hobby.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I thought the way they stressed that many people can share a hobby, but they have different reasons for being interested in it was a pretty good point. A lot of times these kinds of shows are reduced to a bunch of people fighting to be the best. There is a place for that, but there is also a place for loving the poetry, and so forth.

      There is no one reason to do something in this world, that is what makes it interesting. If the world was that simple freedom of choice would be meaningless.

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