Chihayafuru – 13

The day of the national karuta tournament arrives, but the conditions prove too much for Chihaya, who cannot focus and faints in the middle of the first match. Meanwhile, as Arata makes his way to the match, he rememices about the past, including his grandfather’s stroke and subsequent dementia. He is able to meet briefly with Chihaya until she goes to the hospital. When she wakes up, Taichi has present from him that assures her he’ll play her in a match next time.

This was another excellent episode, but it didn’t feel like the end; perhaps there’s more episodes in store? If so, that’s news to us, but we certainly wouldn’t begrudge a continuation. While the regional matches were comprehensively covered, the nationals end about as soon as they begin for poor Chihaya, who has to forfeit for, shall we say, unspecified illness, exacerbated by the crush of people, the heat, and of course, all the pressure on her elegant shoulders.

Chihaya is one to punish herself for letting people down, but when she awakens in hospital, her teammates aren’t down at all; Desktomu even won his first two games, and everyone is in high spirits, eager to play more. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Arata’s part in this episode. His scenes with his deteriorating grandfather are very moving. You know he’s moved too when a karuta official tells him he plays like his grandfather. His teachings live on in Arata; wasting them wouldn’t be cool.

Rating: 4