Chihaya passes all her exams, so she’s allowed to compete in the Eastern qualifiers, her next step on the road to a rematch with Shinobu and a shot at her crown. Her first opponent is a child prodigy named Ririka, who initially surprises her with her speed and excellent hearing. She sees some of herself in Ririka, but at the end of the day, she combines timing with speed to put her away and move to the next round. Taichi challenges Arata to win the West, because he aims to win the East and play him.
Chihaya wants that damn crown, and she’s doing everything she can to get good enough to take a shot at it. She studied enough so her academics wouldn’t get in the way. She took away her speed and started learning more about timing, accuracy, and situational awareness to complement her natural sense for the game. She shouldn’t rely solely on speed, but that doesn’t mean she should never use it. This week it was crucial to overwhelm lil’ Ririka. When Chihaya finally has her speed limiter released, it’s an awesome thing to behold, complete with a nice metal accompaniment.
We kinda knew Chihaya wasn’t going to end up shaving her head this week, but nor was this an easy victory. It has certainly been fun watching Chihaya’s game progress. Ultimately the goal is for all three friends to end up at the top, but while Chihaya can become Queen without having to defeat a good friend, among Arata and Taichi there can only be one master. We kinda doubt Taichi would ever be able to beat Arata, but if he can memorize all the cards verbatim, heck, anything’s possible!
Bossun has started watching old video tapes he found in his mother Akane’s closet of her life when she was a young woman, along with her friend Haru and a guy named Ryousuke who looks just like him. His mother takes the tapes away, but the day before his birthday, he finds albums with pictures of the same trio, except none of Akane alone with Ryousuke. Confronting his mother, she tells him Haru was his biological mother, and both she and Kyousuke were killed in separate accidents, Haru when Akane was driving her to the hospital while she was in labor with Bossun.
Let’s get a couple things out of the way. First of all, in this Sket Dance world, there are way too many people doing 50 mph in narrow alleys with no regard for life. Secondly, if Bossun’s mother really wanted to keep the secret of Bossun’s parentage secret, she would have at least kept the videos and albums under lock and key, if not destroyed them. She certainly wouldn’t have left them sitting around waiting to be found. Kids go through their parents things, that’s a fact of life. Finally, the emotional power of the last moments of the episode were somewhat diminished by the same ol’ horrible ending sequence. This episode did away with a cold open; it could have had a unique, more appropriate ending too All that aside, this was more Serious Sket Dance, and the above hiccups couldn’t derail and otherwise excellent dramatic episode.
It was Bossun’s turn to have his past filled out, and we have to wonder if he wasn’t better not knowing the truth. Obviously the truth must always out, but what a frikkin’ truth – his mother isn’t his mother, and his real parents were both killed?! That’s just ridiculously depressing. Still, there’s one thing Bossun’s mother didn’t lie about – she did end up raising him and later Rumi as a single mother. He can be mad at her for keeping thetruth from him so long, but he shouldn’t be anything but greatful for her raising him as if he were her own, which he now is anyway. He’s not suddenly ‘alone’ just because he now has this information.
Car Cameos: Lots of Toyotas: a Vista/Camry Prominent almost brazenly murders Kyousuke and a little kid, and a Land Cruiser, Crown, Starlet, and Celsior are at the scene of the accident. There’s also a Nissan Cube and Fuga in an establishing shot. All the cars save the Windom and Starlet are later generations that didn’t exist in 1994, when the flashback takes place.