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Old 2013-01-17, 17:36   Link #201
Spectacular_Insanity
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
This is really thoughtful and perceptive. Each of the secondary characters seems to have particular functions tied to their character traits: Tsutomu, to bring in the statistics, as befits his studious side; Kana, to bring in the meaning of the poetry, or to insist on proper etiquette, as befits her traditionalist side; and Nishida, to bring in the tatami-rat perspective of karuta as a sport, as befits his life-long background in competitive karuta. So Sumire would have a function too, one tied to her character, and since her character is, as you say, to be outspoken, then her role could follow just as you describe. Given her obsession with romance, she would definitely be in a position to bring up things about Taichi and Chihaya Taichi keeps to himself and Chihaya never thinks about. We've already seen her do that in this episode, where she prompted Taichi to explain his philosophy of dating.

I really liked your point about how the club has reached an equilibrium that has stopped the members from growing--this is exactly what Chihaya is obsessing over in the episode, when she worries that everyone "cares about different things." As in the first season, where the five club members had to learn to come together as a team, the episode is setting up divisions that will have to be overcome for the team to go forward to the next level of karuta achievement. Sumire might be, as you suggest, the necessary catalyst to bring the team forward. Really really nice point.

One of the things that happened in the first season is that all of the characters were drawn into the club and into the world of karuta. In so doing, to some degree they left the ordinary prosaic world behind. Of course, this is the world of the anime viewer and manga reader--so I wonder if one of Sumire's functions might not be to bring back into the rarefied world of karuta the point of view of the modern, ordinary person who knows little about, and cares little about, the game.

But you make a good point--how far and how long can Sumire remain an outsider? The tendency of the show is to draw everyone into karuta, into the love of karuta, and I agree with you that she also will be assimilated But she will likely always be an outsider to the Taichi and Chihaya relationship, even while she gets drawn into the karuta world, so I think she can still retain the function you have in mind even as she becomes more invested in the game.
Well.... that basically just analyzed the entire show WAY deeper than I had ever planned on thinking about it.

But if all that is the case I must further give props to the original author of the show for having excellent character development. They need something to shake stuff up so they can then come back together as an even stronger team.

Don't worry, Sumire will soon be assimilated. And she'll be all over Taichi and Chihaya and we'll all get some good laughs when Taichi and Chihaya get flustered over their WUB. Poor Taichi won't be able to hide his feelings from Chihaya forever!

(P.S. Yes, I do like Taichi better than Arata. I still haven't forgiven Arata for being such a massive dick to Chihaya way back in Season 1. What kind of jerk makes a nice girl like Chihaya cry? I don't consider the following bike-ride scene to be at all an apology.)

But what do I know? I'm just here to ogle Chihaya in her traditional kimonos.
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Old 2013-01-17, 17:46   Link #202
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by Spectacular_Insanity View Post
Don't worry, Sumire will soon be assimilated. And she'll be all over Taichi and Chihaya and we'll all get some good laughs when Taichi and Chihaya get flustered over their WUB. Poor Taichi won't be able to hide his feelings from Chihaya forever!
I'm pretty sure he can. She's just that oblivious.
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Old 2013-01-17, 17:54   Link #203
Arya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Of course, there is the question whether Sumire ever will get started, given that her motive in joining the club is front-and-center Taichi. We have had the same arguments about Taichi, since his motives in starting and participating in the club have centered around Chihaya. Ultimately, I don't think the difference matters. To dedicate yourself to a sport, or to a beloved, at least as Taichi does--these require the same sort of attention, patience, and work, so that we can recognize that Taichi is well started too, even if his ultimate goals are not karuta. So I don't think there is a paradox for Taichi that you speak of: it is the seeking, not the achieving, that finally matters, and seeking in love is just as substantial as in seeking excellence in karuta--at least in the cultivation of character and fundamental Japanese values, which is really what I think Suetsugu finally cares about. Actually becoming Meijin, or going out with Chihaya, or going out with Taichi (in Sumire's case), is just icing.
I totally agree with you here about how unimportant someone's motives are for joining the club, like even the personal goals. Everyone somehow got a chance to start over/change and what really matters is how they will use this chance. And that's what the show is about as you have so well described. And at the same time is where I slip a bit away, trying to mix it with the romance part of the show. Because even if I get your analogy between love and excellence as something entrenched with the japanese culture, still it doesn't fit well with my personal view about love. I mean, even if I find Taichi dedication to his beloved extremely romantic despite the outcome, I can't avoid to think that if the outcome wouldn't be favorable all his dedication would be pointless. Like gazing at the rains. That's because I give to love and karuta two different roles. In short, I think that Taichi sooner or later should be able to step over his devotion for Chiahaya, that doesn't mean to stop loving her, simply that his actions could be driven by himself alone and not by himself AND his devotion. But at the same time I would not.

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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
I think Suetsugu is certainly aware of social class divisions--she has Nishida remark on that when he is amazed by Taichi's family's wealth, or when he disses Taichi as a rich boy for using family money to fly to a karuta tournament. But as you suggest, she turns to karuta as a kind of corrective or an alternative to class privilege. So Taichi's efforts in excelling in karuta are a rebellion against his family, an effort to succeed on his own initiative, and an attempt to become a part of a community where he can leave class issues behind. So you can easily understand Taichi to represent Suetsugu's critical perspective on class issues.

Sorry, but I've run out of time for now. If you like, we can pick this up later. Thanks for the illuminating feedback.
I caught here and there the remarks you are pointing out, but I didn't give them much importance (my fault here probably), because I never thought that Taichi condition has ever gone overboard. The time he went to that Karuta tournament I was sure he would have offered to pay it for Chihaya, instead IIRC, he didn't ask her. I mean, he never abused of his situation. On the matter I have a different view of what Guardian Enzo reported about him being the villain. But I need to elaborate it a bit, because as always your posts gave me a lot to think about and it's really engaging.
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Old 2013-01-18, 06:37   Link #204
Quadratic
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
It'd have been bait and switch if Taichi and Chihaya were actors hired to represent the club. They're not, and they're just as beautiful from up close than from the stage. (Though yeah, what kind of people they'd attract was predictable.)
Ok, I probably shouldn't have added the "and switch".
But, they downplayed the competitive aspect, as per Kanade's advice, which is why they were all surprised when Chihaya gave a game demonstration (they didn't do the demo on stage, hakama respresenting something graceful).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
He at least didn't say it to their faces. And in the context of the club's short term goals, he was right.

(...cut the rest for space..)
Fair enough. I will concede Sumire as the bad mob leader, but I personally haven't put her on 'bitch' status (yet?). She would have to do some seriously underhanded tactics earn that status from me.

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Sumire failed at both. Rather spectacularly. And the others followed her rather enthusiastically on point 2.
Despite my above concession, I don't agree they failed your 2nd point ("at least feign interest in Karuta"). They were still in the class reading the poems (despite the wisecrack comment at Chihaya).

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
To her, love is a conquest. It's about using her "slightly better than average looks", and the rest of wiles, to get a trophy boyfriend. So, yes, I have some trouble calling that "looking for love" with a straight face.
We love everything cute.
We love how cute we are.
We search for someone who loves how cute we are.

You can disagree with her idea of love (eg. it's shallow), but that's your opinion on what love is meant to be.
I scoff at the idea that appearances doesn't play a part in "love", considering the 3 major characters.

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
She doesn't know his feelings. But she pretty much knows the rest of him.
She really doesn't.
He is (was?) capable of underhanded tactics. "Taichi might be selfish, but he's not mean" (Taichi stealing Arata's glasses)
He's (still) a coward.
These are the two major flaws he hides from her.
She has no idea of the inner struggles he faces.
Arata probably knows more about Taichi.

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
I would. He's not crazy, he's not violent, and he's not direct. Haru's all impulses and very little thought about consequences. While Taichi does have impulses, every instance of his acting on them (good or bad) is considered noteworthy.
He pushed Arata down twice. Once as a child, and the other when Chihaya and Taichi met Arata in his hometown (Arata kinda deserved that, though). He is capable of being violent.
Anyway, I wasn't relating Taichi to Haru on a competely 1-1 situation.
If Taichi was in such a situation, he would be thinking about his temptation to take a shortcut and remove his obstacle, which aligns very well with his mindset. Whether he goes through with the action or not, is not relevant, but the temptation is very a Taichi-like situation.
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Old 2013-01-18, 12:50   Link #205
hyperborealis
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Originally Posted by Spectacular_Insanity View Post
I must further give props to the original author of the show for having excellent character development.
This, a thousand times. And not just for character development. Suetsugu Yuki has written a marvelous work of literature, one that connects modern manga back to the traditional forms of Japanese literature and visual arts. Chihayafuru is exceptionally dense, packed with literary allusion and cultural references and indeed everything under the rising sun. We are very fortunate to have this work, not to mention the terrific conversation it has engendered on this forum. As Sakura-chan says, "Lucky!"

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Originally Posted by Quadratic View Post
We love everything cute.
We love how cute we are.
We search for someone who loves how cute we are.

You can disagree with her idea of love (eg. it's shallow), but that's your opinion on what love is meant to be.
I scoff at the idea that appearances doesn't play a part in "love", considering the 3 major characters.
Thanks for picking up on Sumire's curious train of thought here. I think a lot of the criticism directed at Sumire is really about the qualities of cuteness and personal appearance, and their perceived shallowness. Sumire herself is much more complex that these qualities themselves: she thinks about them reflectively, if not critically, and with a certain logical rigor, as the words you quote illustrate. Unlike Chihaya, say, she does not simply gush over cuteness, or simply respond to it without thinking.

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Originally Posted by Quadratic View Post
She [Chihaya] has no idea of the inner struggles he faces.
Arata probably knows more about Taichi.
Yes! The truth is Taichi has a much more profound relationship, in the actual meaning of the word, with Arata that he does with Chihaya. The most significant points of character development for Taichi connect back to his early conversations with Arata about cowardice: Taichi's remarkable statement about wanting to become someone who doesn't run away ties directly back to Arata. They understand each other.

On the other hand, it's an open question whether Taichi really gets Chihaya, or relates to her in the way that she thinks in her own mind. Take this episode for example. Sometimes he seems to: he assents when she expresses her hope in the club room that they will find new members who will love karuta. But when Chihaya tells the school assembly she hopes to make a hundred friends to go with the hundred cards, he flicks her forehead with his finger, to admonish her for being silly. Or, after Chihaya outlines her goals for the year, he takes her words as a directive to focus on his own game and to hurry off to the Shiranami society. That's a fair response, but he is not apparently aware of her inner concerns about how the club is divided, and is not acting to help her with these. This is not a good moment at all for the case that Taichi is always supporting Chihaya.

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Originally Posted by Arya View Post
[E]ven if I find Taichi dedication to his beloved extremely romantic despite the outcome, I can't avoid to think that if the outcome wouldn't be favorable all his dedication would be pointless. Like gazing at the rains. That's because I give to love and karuta two different roles. In short, I think that Taichi sooner or later should be able to step over his devotion for Chiahaya, that doesn't mean to stop loving her, simply that his actions could be driven by himself alone and not by himself AND his devotion.
It would be a keen disappointment. Would it then have been better not to have pursued Chihaya at all? This is really what we have been talking about in relation to Sumire. She has decided to pursue Taichi even knowing that he will never choose her. Is her decision pointless? I think the episode is making the very point that it is not. Sumire may never get what she wants, may always live within disappointment, but it will not be the much worse disappointment about herself for not trying. She achieves precisely what you wish for Taichi, that her actions are driven by herself alone.

So I don't think Taichi's love will be pointless, even if he does not succeed in his pursuit of Chihaya. The moment of irrevocable failure would be the moment he finally accepts losing and ceases to be a coward, becomes the person he wants to be, and knows he should be. He would become an extraordinary tragic hero. No doubt he would not be satisfied, nor would his fans, but I think on the deepest level you are talking about he would reach his personal fulfillment.
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Last edited by hyperborealis; 2013-01-18 at 14:39.
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Old 2013-01-18, 16:32   Link #206
kitten320
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I think episode 2 was even better than 1 and looks like Sumire is already getting some development.

Her and Kana could make really good friends.

So the new guys has brothers... I wonder if our famous sadist is somehow connected to him.
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Old 2013-01-18, 16:55   Link #207
Blaat
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Waiting a long week for a new episode only for the episode to be over in an instant is plain brutal.
As for the episode, I thought it was rushed and the animation took a huge dive. I'm also disappointed that for the second year running the new guy gets shafted in terms of development during the introduction while the new girl gets a lot. Besides that it was great to watch as always, there were surprisingly lots of comedic moments although most unintentional comedic moment (stalking Sumire) made me laugh the most
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Old 2013-01-18, 17:58   Link #208
Kanon
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This time, it was Kanade who stole the episode. I was reminded why she is my favorite character. She is so lovely, considerate, thoughtful and romantic. Her interactions with Sumire were wonderful, I believe it made the both of them grow in the end. Kana realized that just like Sumire, she put too much emphasis on appearances, and that sometimes, it isn't such a bad thing. They just need to find the right balance.

Sumire's development is progressing well. Her priority is still love, but she is starting to learn to enjoy Karuta. Cutting her nails was a huge step forward for her. I have a better opinion of her now that it has been made clear that she is serious about Taichi. This isn't only a matter of shallow pride anymore, she is genuinely interested in him, and love in general. I appreciate the different viewpoint she brings to the show.

The other newcomer, Tsukuba, is underdeveloped compared to Sumire, but what little screentime he had was enough to tell he has potential. He is a very ambitious person, which is exactly what the club needs at the moment. He'll become a decent player in no time.

The reason Chihaya wanted the new members to become strong players so badly was revealed. She still felt guilty for dropping out of the tournament last year, she wants to make sure they have extra players so that it won't happen again. I had no idea she was still dwelling on that... it wasn't her fault and nobody is blaming her. I understand where she is coming from though. I hate feeling like I've let others down.

So now, the club is complete. The other girls sure quit fast. That Sumire was the only one who stuck around tells a lot about her.
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Old 2013-01-18, 19:16   Link #209
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I really doubt that it is whole development Tsukube will get...

Unlike Sumire they guy is already interested in karuto so obviously she would get more attention even in real world if your goal is to keep the members.

Now that Sumire has settled for most part I'm sure he will get his time to shine too.
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Old 2013-01-18, 19:45   Link #210
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in regards to makeup, what are 'panda eyes?'

The new guy is kind of creepy. Wonder how many more 'training' episodes till we get to another tournament arc.
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Old 2013-01-18, 20:07   Link #211
Arya
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^^I suppose she was talking about the bags under the eyes. For that reason she had to put the makeup.

Uff, I marathoned S1 so now it's really hard to watch just 20 minutes, they fly in an instant. As Blaat said, it's brutal
And Kanade is so cute!

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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
[...] It would be a keen disappointment. Would it then have been better not to have pursued Chihaya at all? This is really what we have been talking about in relation to Sumire. She has decided to pursue Taichi even knowing that he will never choose her. Is her decision pointless? I think the episode is making the very point that it is not. Sumire may never get what she wants, may always live within disappointment, but it will not be the much worse disappointment about herself for not trying. She achieves precisely what you wish for Taichi, that her actions are driven by herself alone.
I still can't compare their paths. Because if Sumire had decided to not pursue Taichi that wouldn't be such a big deal, would it? Basically she just met Taichi. She aimed him and got dumped. I see her decision more rational than everything else. Instead, I think that Taichi never had the chance to choose. He hasn't ever been dumped. What Sumire realized in ten minutes Taichi had to realize through his own life. That's the difference, so even if I see the analogy I can't put them at the same level. I can't see the poetry, the same tragic traits, as you perfectly addressed it. (And that's not because I don't like her, because I like her, even if in this episode she has been already half assimilated ).


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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
So I don't think Taichi's love will be pointless, even if he does not succeed in his pursuit of Chihaya. The moment of irrevocable failure would be the moment he finally accepts losing and ceases to be a coward, becomes the person he wants to be, and knows he should be. He would become an extraordinary tragic hero. No doubt he would not be satisfied, nor would his fans, but I think on the deepest level you are talking about he would reach his personal fulfillment.
Having said that, I get what are you saying and in relation to Taichi and I agree. Well honestly you got me perfectly and more, that's my true issue, the awareness that his true final fulfillment will be reached through that failure. Irrevocable and inevitable. I just have to accept it yet
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Old 2013-01-18, 20:09   Link #212
sikvod00
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Maybe 'panda eyes' refers to the dark circles around the eyes caused by poorly applied makeup, similar to the way pandas look?

The new guys' personality is ambitious and interesting. I just think he needs to stop licking his lips.
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Old 2013-01-18, 20:31   Link #213
Grifis
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Wow, all the fanboys are really in love with Taichi. I think they need to turn this into a BL story (like Taichi x some boy in the club or something) so the boys can love it even more. I was going to watch this but it seems my poor boy Arata's screen time is reduced to non-existent. Even the OP suggests that Arata is no more. It's a damn shame. This @#$% writer deserves to be French fried.
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Old 2013-01-18, 21:54   Link #214
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This second episode further affirms my view of Sumire as a product of today's fast-paced consumerist culture, a culture that perceives things like beauty and love as a commodities and as a conveniences. She's a deliberate contrast to the traditional Japanese values that karuta itself represents. Watching that contrast being expressed so powerfully here is interesting on its own, but this had other things going for it.

Once again, I find myself drawn to Sumire's character. Her growth in these first two episodes has been rather impressive. What's worthy of note here is that she was already sufficiently immersed in the mindset needed to appreciate karuta and the hundred poems right from the start. Her only problem lay in letting go of a few old habits. In retrospect, the clash between her and Kana should have been expected due to their vastly differing notions of "beauty". All-in-all, I have nothing against her single-minded pursuit of Taichi, rather, I think it's refreshing. I just don't like how she has to be rude about it.

Now, my only wish is that the story gives the other guys, aside from Taichi, some much deserved love. Right now, all we have of Nikuman and Tsukue in this season are superficial at best.
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Old 2013-01-18, 22:58   Link #215
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I think Sumire is one of those girls that have low self-esteem and feels like she has to get a boyfriend in order to prove her self-worth. She talks about love a lot but what she wants has nothing to do with love, she just wants a boyfriend to show off and feel better about herself.
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Old 2013-01-19, 01:02   Link #216
Quadratic
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Originally Posted by Grifis View Post
Wow, all the fanboys are really in love with Taichi. I think they need to turn this into a BL story (like Taichi x some boy in the club or something) so the boys can love it even more. I was going to watch this but it seems my poor boy Arata's screen time is reduced to non-existent. Even the OP suggests that Arata is no more. It's a damn shame. This @#$% writer deserves to be French fried.
Um...Arata's OP scenes weren't that different from season 1's, so really, it only seems to suggest he'd only get the same amount of screen time as season 1.
Quite honestly, as much as I want more screen time for Arata, the lack of screen time only makes it that much better when he does show up.

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Originally Posted by Qilin View Post
This second episode further affirms my view of Sumire as a product of today's fast-paced consumerist culture, a culture that perceives things like beauty and love as a commodities and as a conveniences. She's a deliberate contrast to the traditional Japanese values that karuta itself represents. Watching that contrast being expressed so powerfully here is interesting on its own, but this had other things going for it.

Once again, I find myself drawn to Sumire's character. Her growth in these first two episodes has been rather impressive. What's worthy of note here is that she was already sufficiently immersed in the mindset needed to appreciate karuta and the hundred poems right from the start. Her only problem lay in letting go of a few old habits. In retrospect, the clash between her and Kana should have been expected due to their vastly differing notions of "beauty". All-in-all, I have nothing against her single-minded pursuit of Taichi, rather, I think it's refreshing. I just don't like how she has to be rude about it.

Now, my only wish is that the story gives the other guys, aside from Taichi, some much deserved love. Right now, all we have of Nikuman and Tsukue in this season are superficial at best.
I must be watching the wrong show, because Sumire's view on love and beauty is something deeply rooted in the 100 poems (note: I barely know anything about the poems, but vaguely know that's the probaly what the contents within the poems are about).
The fact that Sumire immediately understood the contents of poem compared to every other member (excluding Kanade?) is proof of that.
Competitive karuta (which they are playing) is a modern thing which is the contrast to the traditional value of beauty, grace and love that the poems expressed.
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Old 2013-01-19, 03:34   Link #217
Blaat
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Originally Posted by Grifis View Post
Wow, all the fanboys are really in love with Taichi. I think they need to turn this into a BL story (like Taichi x some boy in the club or something) so the boys can love it even more. I was going to watch this but it seems my poor boy Arata's screen time is reduced to non-existent. Even the OP suggests that Arata is no more. It's a damn shame. This @#$% writer deserves to be French fried.
How about Taichi x Arata that way you can have more Arata.
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Old 2013-01-19, 04:35   Link #218
Anh_Minh
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I expected Sumire's conversion to a sympathetic person to take longer, but eh, I'll take it.

I haven't really changed my opinion of her goals, but she's at least made her resolve and been straightforward about it. I can respect that.
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Old 2013-01-19, 11:25   Link #219
Qilin
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Originally Posted by Quadratic View Post
I must be watching the wrong show, because Sumire's view on love and beauty is something deeply rooted in the 100 poems (note: I barely know anything about the poems, but vaguely know that's the probaly what the contents within the poems are about). The fact that Sumire immediately understood the contents of poem compared to every other member (excluding Kanade?) is proof of that. Competitive karuta (which they are playing) is a modern thing which is the contrast to the traditional value of beauty, grace and love that the poems expressed.
That's what I said:

Quote:
What's worthy of note here is that she was already sufficiently immersed in the mindset needed to appreciate karuta and the hundred poems right from the start.
She already has all the basics in mind. She understands the philosophy and subtlety that gives meaning to the verses. However, what I was pointing out rather was the fast-paced, modern culture that gave rise to her initial character archetype than Sumire herself. If you look at the way her peers were, you'd get a good idea of what I'm poking at. I'm talking about the sort of people that see love as a convenience. They expect cheap and easy gratification without putting in any effort, so they make a habit of giving up upon encountering any obstacle.

On the other hand, while she is living up to the meaning and intent of the hundred poems, there are still clear traces of the culture that brought her up that end up clashing with the new lifestyle she's trying to adopt.
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Old 2013-01-19, 12:43   Link #220
Anh_Minh
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BTW, did anyone else think "you bastard!" when Taichi held Sumire's hand? I know he wasn't actually trying to manipulate her but was just genuinely happy on Chihaya's behalf, but still.

Last edited by Anh_Minh; 2013-01-19 at 14:42.
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