After much preparation, it is time for the regional team high school tournament to start. As a team, Misuzawa high school wins all their games easily, due to Chihaya completely destroying every single player in the tournament. The first year newbies also get to play, and both Honona and Tsukuba learn a bit more about their strengths and weaknesses in this first tournament. After two solid victories, Misuzawa slowly advances to the finals. Meanwhile, the current Queen hears of Arata’s comeback into the karuta world, something which definitely doesn’t leave her unaffected.
Man, and here I was wondering where the newbies would go when the high school tournament came around.
Komatsu had a wonderful idea to exchange himself and Kana in order to give the newbies some experience. It makes sense that for him it’d be something really important, since he also learned tons from going to the high school tournament. As expected, the change probably didn’t do much for their victory, but it is obvious that it helped the first years gain confidence and motivation to play karuta. It was awesome to see Honona finally force herself to try and get cards and to improve, instead of wondering how she looked in front of Taichi. It seems like Tsukuba also had a bit of a slap in the face, finally realizing that his strength in second verse karuta is now a huge weakness.
We didn’t know much about Tsukuba yet, and having his personality clearly shown to us in this episode clearly confirmed how freaking weird this guy is. He definitely added many comical scenes to the episode, and I was happy to see that he had three mini-Tsukubas following him around and being as weird as him. I’m looking forward to see more of him;he’s just too hilarious.
Meanwhile, our returning second years have definitely improved. To see Konatsu lose by only two cards against a B class, as well as to see Chihaya destroy every single player she went up against was really interesting. In this episode, Chihaya reminded me a lot of the Queen, when she kept having perfect scores in the individual tournament. It gave me that same feeling, and makes me realize just how much Chihaya has improved in a year.
Finally, it seems like the Queen has become Chihaya’s rival in more than just karuta. So she also knows Arata from childhood? Why am I under the impression that her love for karuta is also related to this encounter? When you think about it, it can’t be too surprising since Arata really showed the passion of the game when he played as a kid, however I never expected that this would come out of it. It just reminds me how awesome he could have been if he hadn’t stopped playing karuta for a long time… It also gets my hopes up for a love rivalry showdown later when the Queen and Chihaya fight against each other.