Chihayafuru – 22

Chihaya has a Class A match against Yumi Yamamoto, who was the Queen before Wakamiya Shinobu. She is a cold, calculating, persistent and stubborn player, but early in the match, she falls behind to Chihaya’s energy and confidence. The tables are turned when her coach Kitano opens a window to let fresh air in the stifling room, and she starts vehemently contesting close cards, throwing Chihaya out of whack and making her uncomfortable every chance she gets, and finally beating her. Chihaya is too shocked to even thank Yumi.

So this Yumi…pardon our French, but…oh my God, what a fucking bitch! At times we wanted to slap her in her extremely plain face. Who does she think she is, treating sweet little Chihaya like that and being a loud nuisance? Oh yeah, she’s the former Queen, and not someone to be trifled with, even – nay – especially if she appears weak or it seems like she’s given up. Her internal dialogue is extremely bitter and condescending. Chihaya is prettier, younger, and faster than she is, as was Shinobu, the girl who beat her just one year after she won the crown, something Yumi’d been working for for a decade. So she has every right to be bitter, and we daresay a right to beat Chihaya and face Shinobu in a rematch. After all, her beef with the new Queen is older than Chihaya’s. Get in line, little girl.

Also, as annoying and bitchy as Yumi was, she didn’t exactly win. Chihaya lost this match. She lost big time, by letting her opponent gain the upper hand, by letting passion take over, and by spending too much time obsessing over her opponent’s behavior and not enough time closing out the damn match. Chihaya also lost by conceding contested cards to Yumi. She was probably surprised and caught off guard, as this part of the game is still new to the still-green-when-you-think-about-it Chihaya. As far as we’re concerned, if the card is in your hand, it’s yours, period. End of story. Yumi disagrees? Tough. Yumi’s contesting would have fallen on deaf ears, were it me. But it totally worked on the kind, respectful, an easily-frazzled Chihaya…which is why before the match began, we predicted Yumi would win.


Rating: 4