Chihayafuru 3 – 24 (Fin) – Gathering the Wind

Goddammit! This is a dark fucking period!—Dewey Cox

In the wake of Taichi’s sudden departure, the Mizusawa Karuta Club is still able to recruit four new members—two girls including one who is Class A, and two boys—and rather than quit like everyone expected, Sumire takes the lead on showing the newbies the ropes.

She has to, because Chihaya is too out of it. The cards “turn black” for her as well. Fukasaku advises that she “learn something”—anything—because karuta and the hundred poets can’t be all that holds her together.

As Mizusawa’s club loses its founding members, Arata remains determined to start one at Fujioka East. For that, he needs at least two new members, so he goes class to class in his black yukata, starting with the first-years and working his way up.

When he tells Yuu how he saw her as part of his team when they were caring for his grandpa before he passed, she decides to volunteer to join if he’s a member short—but he gains one more than he needs.

Wanting them to see one of the best at what they’re setting out to do, Arata arranges practice matches at the prestigious Fujisaki High, but Sakurazawa is the one to break to him the news that as he’s starting a new club, Chihaya and Taichi have quit theirs. He’s so shocked he can’t focus properly, but he’s still the only one on his team to come away with wins.

More importantly, he learns a lot about how a karuta team must be run and who must run it. It’s rare that a great karuta player is also a great leader. Fujisaki’s best player is Rion, but Hyuuga (“Cheers”) is better at rallying the team. Mizusawa’s leader was Taichi while its best player was Chihaya. Seeing them create a team inspired him to do the same. But he just can’t fathom what happened to cause both of them to quit.

However, he knows instinctively that as a member of their triangle it’s his turn to try to cheer them up, as they once did. So as his team is heading home, he takes a selfie of them bathed in the light of the setting sun. He assures Chihaya that Taichi “will be back”, and that the two of them have to get stronger to prepare for his return.

I don’t share Arata’s optimism, as Chihaya’s response to Taichi’s confession seemed like the final nail in the dual coffins of friendship and karuta. This season ends with us not even 100% sure Chihaya definitely quit, we only hear it second hand, while Arata has no idea what happened between Chihaya and Taichi. That’s a lot of balls in the air for a fourth season. Hopefully it won’t take six years to come!

Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

One thought on “Chihayafuru 3 – 24 (Fin) – Gathering the Wind”

  1. So, remember how I said the anime had been a nearly panel-for-shot adaptation? Well, they just skipped half of 139, half of 140, and all of 141. These chapters were probably skipped to moderate the tone of the finale and to keep the plot from focusing too much on the new club members.

    What’s funny is that manga fans have been guessing for a year as to where this season would end. Suggestions included Taichi’s confession, a skipped scene, and Taichi meeting Suo. Nobody even so much as considered it would end with Arata starting his club, myself included.

    But it makes complete sense. The season started with Taichi and Chihaya practicing at Fujisaki and ended with Arata doing the same. It’s a great way to bookend the season.

    As for a fourth season, Suetsugu’s celebratory drawing for the finale came with her again hoping for a continuation:

    I do worry that fickle fans will struggle with the material of the fourth season, particularly at the start. It’s all worth it in the end, of course. As someone who likes to be challenged by a narrative, I’m all in for it. Those skipped chapters I mentioned would comprise a roller-coaster of a premier.

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