At the High School National Karuta Tournament, Mizusawa faces off against a group of wannabe foreigners who actually come from Chiba. At first really disturbed by their weird way of playing, in the end Chihaya and the others realize just how much they love karuta and respect their ways. In the end though, experience and skill makes them completely inferior to Mizusawa High, and they get owned.
Well, that was surprising. I never expected a bunch of wannabe foreigners to appear out of the blue.
At first I thought it a bit weird, but once again, this show managed to make something really awkward look really awesome. To see a team who loves karuta so much and to ignore the basics of competitive karuta brings us back to way back when Chihaya, Taichi and Arata started playing team karuta when they were kids. It was like discovering the fun of playing karuta all over again, without the competition that’s involved in it. I loved seeing the passion in the eyes of the ‘foreigners’, and it seems to me like they were having the time of their lives. Unfortunately for them, they were faced off against one of the strongest teams of the tournament, and got completely beaten to a pulp. I appreciate their efforts though, and hope to see them again.
Moving on, it seems like Tsukuba improved a lot more than I thought he did. He was already showing much more improvement than Honona, and his experience in second verse karuta gave him a great advance on other newbies. However, I never thought he would catch up to Komatsu so quickly that he’d be on even terms with him already. I’m quite happy to see that he was out playing, because I’m sure Komatsu will be extremely useful as an outside player who observes other teams. With him and Honona on the sidelines, their team has a great chance to move forward and get to the finals, in order to possibly even win them.
Finally, I love the fact that Arata came to visit early. It seems like Chihaya’s words of pity saying that 2 days would be a long time convinced him to get there a bit earlier in order to watch them play. I’m sure that Chihaya and Taichi will be pretty happy about this visit, especially Chihaya, and I’m half-expecting a bunch of romance episodes to come up soon enough. Or, at least, some kind of event that shows us that, you know, Arata isn’t just a character in the background whose only job is to fill up air time at the end of every episode. I’m also curious to know how the Queen will react to his visit. The way she looked at him this episode made me think that she was a serial killer who’d stab Arata in the back, but I’m assuming that won’t be the case. I want to know why she knows him and what she wants to do with him *stare*. She better not become Chihaya’s love rival, or I might just start hating on her…