Chihayafuru’s second episode assures us of what we’ve assumed from our initial encounter with episode one – the series is an unmatched artwork of animation ranging in beauty from sights to story.
Previously in the first episode, a phenomenal tale of touching originality was delivered as Chihaya came to befriend the transfer student – even at the expense of likewise ridicule. As this second affair into her life continues, it is a flashback of the following day after she experienced his sole greatest skill, karuta.
Arriving inside the classroom, Chihaya still a child amongst children, she greets her peers – only to be ignored as Taichi threatened. Chihaya however refuses to reject Wataya and merely follow their footsteps in insolence. Taichi says assuredly yet illogically that Wataya lacks any sort of ability – little did he expect to be incorrect. Chihaya asserts Wataya is an expert at Karuta – and somewhat surprisingly, after overcoming a moment’s hesitation, Wataya follows up on the situation and confidently makes it clear he wouldn’t let anyone take a single card if challenged in karuta.
As expected of any big talk, it becomes a competitive match – the egotistic Taichi, versus the more humble and determined Wataya in a game of karuta. They both enter a school sponsored tournament – each reaching the final round in an attempt to defeat the other, with Wataya hoping for not even a card to be taken by his opposition. Before this ultimate match commences however – Wataya’s sabotaged by a dastardly trick by Taichi. Having distracted Wataya with a petty trap, he decides on the spot to further steal his megane.
One would think this would render Wataya unable to play, yet Wataya wavers not a bit. The game begins and Wataya masterfully scores card after card in an almost effortless fashion – having actually somehow memorized the placement of all the cards earlier. Yet more obstacles arise, Taichi takes note and elevates his cheating to another level – leaving Wataya totally incapable of putting up a fight in this far from fair game.
Chihaya arrives to the rescue however, literally pushing Wataya out of the way – and taking his place, resuming the game under his name. And with a serious effort and motivation, she against all odds of preparation, ends as victor for the bout. Chihaya, who had seldom played Karuta, and entered this game mid-way with no prior practice, prevailed specifically for her friend.
Now what route of the many available along a road of vast possibility will the series decide to take is anyone’s guess. Amends are made afterward with Wataya and Taichi, glasses are returned to their original owners, and Chihaya is the enthusiastic and friendly entity to thank for it all. Her kind attitude spread within her sphere of influence, causing a distance to close between her classmates, or rather, friends. She doesn’t even realize it, yet she is responsible for heavily influencing how Wataya views himself, as well as how Taichi regards others.
The third showing of Chihayafuru could very well continue along in this expert-level implementation of a flashback, or it could take us along for Chihaya’s current modern day life. Only a meager two episodes in and the presentation already strikes as spectacular, the method in which the series started, and continued along – offering a general concern for the main character, Chihaya, then recollecting an actually relevant event of the past which serves as a foundation for coming episodes.
It’s a progressive allowance of all which matters to the plot – development made bit by bit in excellent organization, resulting in a watch well beyond exceptional – and certainly doing well in inciting a karuta craze amongst adoring fans (such as ourselves).