Chihayafuru 6 ~ my love is fundamentally different from yours
November 11, 2011
Episode 6 of Chihayafuru introduces a new character who brings a completely different perspective on Karuta. Oh, yeah, and girls in kimonos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!