Kana uses Chihaya and Taichi’s good looks to attract new members for the club, and it works out; twenty underclassmen submit applications to join. Among them is Hanano Sumire, who was dumped on the first day of school and wants to get closer to Taichi. The first meeting overwhelms the newbies, and afterwards the five original members voice their priorities moving forward: Chihaya wants Taichi to reach Class A, and volunteers to teach the newbies while everyone else prepares for the upcoming tournaments.
This new Chihayafuru sequel picks right up where the last episode left off, with the club in need of more members to avoid being evicted from their ideal digs. However, this “crisis” is almost immediately dealt with, as they get a huge number of new members. The downside is, many joined just to interact with the eye candy, and the more they hear about the game, the less motivated to stick with it they get. The challenge for the club, now that they’ve met their member quota, is to successfully train the committed newbies and filter out the riffraff. Not only that, they have to prepare for important team and individual tournaments coming up in just two months.
With so much on their list, it’s not surprising that the original five all have different goals, while the ever upbeat and ambitious Chihaya wants to accomplish everything. But hold on, this premiere also introduces a new character in the slightly above average-looking Sumire, who aims to win Taichi’s heart even though he’s already reserved it for Chihaya. We like the addition. She’s a very forthright, strong, practical, image-obsessed girl who’s always looking for the upper hand…and she wants Taichi. If there was one disappointing aspect of the first series, it was the lack of romantic progress of any kind, on any front. Here’s hoping Sumire is the catalyst for some development in that area.
Rating: 8 (Great)