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Old 2013-06-08, 17:42   Link #1261
karice67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akka View Post
I think the problem is that, because of drama rules, she's very often showing as struggling (and even losing) against every opponent.
If you don't actually concentrate on all particular details explaining the always-out-of-the-norm situation and only get the "average" feeling, she even feels like she doesn't progress at all (we see her struggling, then grapsing suddendly something which allows her to crush her adversary, then it feels like it's back square one the next match).
Let's look at the people she struggled against this season then: other than Shinobu, she's only ever lost by one or two cards (Megumu and Hokuo's Amakase - and she only struggled against the latter because she was trying to play like Shinobu instead of like herself). And both Megumu and Amakase are still in the A-level tournament. And Megumu was the Western representative for the Queen challenger the previous year...what does that say about Chihaya's level?

Rion is a special case, because she would have won against anyone else in that match - and possibly would have won had Chihaya not injured herself.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Akka View Post
In fact, I tend to feel the exact opposite : I usually find that Arata wins with a rather low count considering how supposedly strong he is, to the point that I tend to wonder if he's not deliberately going easy on people (that would be going completely against his character, though, so I don't really think it's the case).
Who has Arata been losing against though?

Takemura-san, who went on to become the Meijin challenger, beating Tsuboguchi.
Tsuboguchi, who was the Eastern representative in the Meijin challenger final.
Murao, until now, the strongest player in his own karuta society, and a previous Meijin qualifier.

Arata is pretty strong - but we haven't had any way really compare him with Chihaya and Taichi until now. It'll be interesting to see how far he gets against Shinobu, whom he is certain to play, probably in the final (for maximum dramatic effect).

He beat Nishida by 9 or 10 cards...and this is probably the best that Nishida played all season.

-----

One last thing from me this week: one theme of this season has been discussed several times previously - the importance of a team and how to play as one.

The other major theme I'm finding is an exploration of the different techniques and styles of playing karuta, and why different players might choose one over the other - which is usually related to their strengths.

e.g.
  • Chihaya has really good "kanji", basically, she has an ear for how the cards are read ('game sense' is a terrible translation for this term). Rion and Suou are the two she is most like. We also had Chihaya finding out that left-handed players cannot be played in the same way as right handed players.
  • Shinobu and Amakase also have pretty good ears for the game, but the reason they win is not just due to that. Shinobu's precision and 'strong link to the cards' also play an important part in her case.
  • Taichi focuses on memorization - which is what the quiz school focused on.
  • Kana-chan focuses on meaning, Tsutomu on analysis.
  • Nishida focuses on "yomi", basically, reading the flow of the game.
  • Then we have Arata, who doesn't have as good an ear as Chihaya or Shinobu. Instead, he's developed the cross-hand into a potent technique. I'd suspect that we'd find out more about why it works so well for him over the next few episodes.

And we are starting to see people take up a mixture of techniques - though not necessarily to greatest effect. (e.g. trying to copy Shinobu's style has not really paid off for Chihaya at this point - will she keep using it?). Like Harada-sensei implied last season, it's important to develop a repertoire of weapons. What other techniques or tricks might there be?

I understand why some people prefer drama leading to character development, but personally, I find this all pretty interesting, especially in conjunction with analysis about how it all fits within the game.
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Last edited by karice67; 2013-06-09 at 02:45.
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Old 2013-06-09, 00:44   Link #1262
Leo_Otaku
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I loved the parts with Shinobu, shedding some more light on her back story. Makes you love her even more! That part with the t-shirt was fantastic too. Can't wait to see the outcome of Taichi's match, I hope he wins
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Old 2013-06-09, 03:36   Link #1263
Yume Hanabi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akka View Post
I find these comments rather surprising, though, as it's Shinobu who's getting unrealistically one-sided matches.
In fact, I tend to feel the exact opposite : I usually find that Arata wins with a rather low count considering how supposedly strong he is, to the point that I tend to wonder if he's not deliberately going easy on people (that would be going completely against his character, though, so I don't really think it's the case).

After all, the game against Nishida was actually rather balanced (it was what, five cards differencial or so ?), and before he got back in shape, Arata actually lost rather often. When you think about it, Taichi is winning against a normally very evenly matched opponent, with a much bigger lead.

Shinobu is the one
But Shinobu is the Queen, while Arata is still just a regular player (one who stopped playing for a few months, too!). Besides, we don't hear about Shinobu as much as we hear about Arata (plus by having Chihaya learn her style this season she doesn't look so out of reach anymore). Chihaya and Taichi (and Nishida) keep talking about him like he's the god of karuta, when he loses it happens off-screen, and each time we see him play it looks more impressive than the last time. I mean, even with the match against Nishida, we saw Nishida get a winning streak for a bit but he was eventually crushed easily while Arata displayed new impossible skills. Of course it's probably the point of the narrative to make him look so perfect to lead up to his eventual match against Chihaya, but it's becoming jarring over time. I'd like to see him as a karuta player, not a karuta god. Which is why I'm looking forward to his match against Shinobu, because whatever the result, it won't be easy for either of them.
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Old 2013-06-09, 12:06   Link #1264
hyperborealis
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Great discussion. Just randomly, since everyone is saying interesting things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanon View Post
Don't worry, I get what you mean. I just don't think Shinobu was fighting seriously until the moment Chihaya took her favorite card from her. She wasn't going easy on her but she didn't exactly overexert herself either. She probably underestimated her because of her injury (she even offered to play with her right hand...). When she realized Chihaya could still put up a fight, she decided to go all out. Chihaya couldn't manage to take a single card from her afterward, not even when defending even though she apparently got better at it. This to me indicates she's still not quite on the Queen's level yet. She's getting close, but "close" is not enough at the top level.
I'd argue paradoxically that the match was much closer than the final result (Chihaya losing by 23 cards) indicates. Note the lead-in to Chihaya taking the Shinoburedo card. She just misses taking #33, and tells herself "I'm losing by a hair." Being just a hair behind someone like the Queen is enough to account for the huge disparity in the score, while still allowing Chihaya to be very very nearly at Shinobu's level. And when Chihaya does take off the final bandage, which figures as that hair's difference which is keeping her from matching Shinobu, Chihaya is able to take Shinobu's favorite card from Shinobu's own back row. That is amazing. Afterwards, Chihaya visibly winces in pain, so we know her play from here on out is circumscribed by her injury. As you say, after this she won't take another card. But for that moment, where she's not feeling the pain and not wearing the bandage, Chihaya is at or even above Shinobu's level.

Another hint that Chihaya is rattling Shinobu (though Shinobu doesn't show this otherwise): up until Chihaya takes her first card, Shinobu is doing her precision thing, making single cards fly like gunshots. After Chihaya takes her first card, Shinobu starts scattering muliple cards. She's still winning, but not as cleanly.

So I don't think Shinobu was ever holding back against Chihaya. Chihaya didn't think she was anyway--that's why she thanked her afterwards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Shinobu's skill is almost 100% natural talent. She trained by herself, she got experience by herself, she plays the way she wants to play.

Arata's skill is cultivated. It is the way it is because his grandfather made it that way.
This is an important point. Although we do learn in this episode that Shinobu's isolation is also cultivated, the result of her coach's decision. He has some justice for doing so--chibi Shinobu was holding back against her friend--we know that since as soon as she stops playing Satoko she starts acing much older and more experienced players. But Shinobu does not seem to have the special relationship that Arata has with his ojii-san, or that Chihaya and Taichi have with Harada-sensei.

Shinobu is the epitome of individualist karuta, as opposed to Arata, who manifests vertical relationships of tradition and family, and to Chihaya and Taichi, who manifest the horizaontal relationships of teams and friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaat View Post
Aww screw this I'll let hyperborealis do the explaining.
Anytime

So let's do up the title poem. It's #57, the famous tanka by Murasaki Shikibu, here in the University of Virginia online translation:

Meeting on the path:
But I cannot clearly know
If it was he,
Because the midnight moon
In a cloud had disappeared.

The Crunchyroll translation, "Long Last We Meet," is clearly a reference to the main event of the episode, the meeting after a year's interval between Chihaya and Shinobu on the tatami.

The title card also comes up in the match. It is the next to the last card that Shinobu takes, the one that prompts her initially to her beautiful recollection of her childhood friend. The poem fits as another sign that Chihaya is for Shinobu the friend she had lost from her childhood.

A very beautiful, very moving episode. The image of the maple leaf falling on the water near the close brought tears to my eyes. So we're reminded of "Tatsuta River in scarlet / and the water flowing under it," the Chihayaburu poem.
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Old 2013-06-09, 13:55   Link #1265
Akka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
Let's look at the people she struggled against this season then
Something tells me you missed the entire point of my post :
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akka View Post
I think the problem is that, because of drama rules, she's very often showing as struggling (and even losing) against every opponent.
If you don't actually concentrate on all particular details explaining the always-out-of-the-norm situation and only get the "average" feeling
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Old 2013-06-09, 15:38   Link #1266
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo_Otaku View Post
That part with the t-shirt was fantastic too.
Chihaya doesn't usually seem like someone with a strategic sense, but I wondered if she wore that shirt knowing she might be playing Shinobu. It did give Chihaya a brief psychological edge at the outset when Shinobu felt jealous. Of course, the more likely reason is just that Chihaya likes cutesy things like the Mommy Bear tanktop.
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Old 2013-06-09, 15:55   Link #1267
Anh_Minh
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It's not like Shinobu doesn't have her own store of rare stuff. Like her Snowmaru purse. They're kindred spirits, that way.
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Old 2013-06-09, 18:29   Link #1268
karice67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akka View Post
Something tells me you missed the entire point of my post :
I didn't - I just don't understand why people would watch the show without considering the context.

If you don't look at the matches in context, then of course you'd think Chihaya's pretty weak, because they only show the matches where she struggles and thus improves. I mean, wouldn't it be boring to watch the entire match when she completely dominates?
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Last edited by karice67; 2013-06-09 at 18:39.
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Old 2013-06-09, 22:21   Link #1269
GundamZZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
I didn't - I just don't understand why people would watch the show without considering the context.

If you don't look at the matches in context, then of course you'd think Chihaya's pretty weak, because they only show the matches where she struggles and thus improves. I mean, wouldn't it be boring to watch the entire match when she completely dominates?
Chihaya is not weak. She's at the national tournament.
Seeing number 5 defeating number 6 doesn't mean the viewer can defeat number 6.

Rion is an unstable player currently, even Shinbou thinks Rion has chance to beat her. She's very strong with multi-syllabus cards. So, she focuses on the multi-syllabus card. She can comprehend the different tone, but she doesn't have the advantage.

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Last edited by GundamZZ; 2013-06-11 at 23:21.
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Old 2013-06-10, 05:27   Link #1270
Gohan78
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Chihaya doesn't usually seem like someone with a strategic sense, but I wondered if she wore that shirt knowing she might be playing Shinobu. It did give Chihaya a brief psychological edge at the outset when Shinobu felt jealous. Of course, the more likely reason is just that Chihaya likes cutesy things like the Mommy Bear tanktop.
Nah. If Shinobu hadn't made that comment on the "lame T-shirt", Chihaya wouldn't have showed her tanktop to the Queen.
BTW I loved the smug face Chihaya made in that moment.
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Old 2013-06-10, 07:55   Link #1271
hyperborealis
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Chihaya and Shinobu carry on the conversation from their first match, where she congratulated Shinobu on her Snowmaru tshirt.

This time there was never a moment Shinobu thought Chihaya might break; to the contrary, Shinobu felt Chihaya's competitive intensity the whole time, and is thrown off by it, doesn't understand where it is coming from. And afterwards, Chihaya is not in tears, not at a loss for how she can match Shinobu. Psychologically, at least, Chihaya is much stronger than the year before.

Probably she discounts the loss due to her injury. And perhaps to the fact she was able to take a multi-syllable card from the Queen, which was her chief limitation from the year before.

I'm impressed how tightly Suetsugu relates the matches in strictly technical karuta terms.
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Last edited by hyperborealis; 2013-06-10 at 14:09.
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Old 2013-06-14, 15:20   Link #1272
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Spoiler for Yay!:
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Old 2013-06-14, 15:29   Link #1273
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We got exactly the semifinals I wanted: Shinobu vs Megumu and Arata vs Eromu. Sadly, we didn't get to see much of each match, but we got to know the final results and this gives us a good indication of where Chihaya and Taichi stands compared to Shinobu and Arata. They must still improve.

Chihaya watched the class B final, so that puts an end to this debate. Taichi's reaction when he saw her in the audience was hilarious. She stayed true to her words: what she cared about the most was Taichi making class A. And he finally did!! Although Rion was handicapped a bit because of the failreader and her low stamina, it was still no small feat to defeat an opponent her, and Taichi managed to accomplish this. He has more than earned his place in class A. I'm so happy for him. He deserved it.

Next week, the clash of the titans... this match will probably be a close one. Arata is not losing to Shinobu when it comes to speed, he might even be faster than her. That cross technique of his is always impressive to watch.
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Old 2013-06-14, 15:51   Link #1274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanon View Post
Next week, the clash of the titans... this match will probably be a close one. Arata is not losing to Shinobu when it comes to speed, he might even be faster than her. That cross technique of his is always impressive to watch.
Indeed =03. The impressive thing was how the Shinobu won the first 2 cards, yet Arata had a smug look on his face, like he was playing around(well, it was probably more that he was enjoying himself); then just decided that play time's over and started to pwn her. It's interesting she realizes that she can't beat Arata head on after he took a card. I wouldn't be surprised if Arata lost in the end, but I'd prefer Shinobu to lose, only so that her motivation for playing karuta can be restored(that little chat wit Chihaya last ep was a start =03). When you easily beat everyone at a game, it gets boring after a while.
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Old 2013-06-14, 15:56   Link #1275
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At times, I feel like I know Chihaya like a book. Then she does something like watch Taichi because he needs the support, and I realize that she's still simple, she just seems to have certain priorities.

The B-class final was somewhat anti-climatic in that Rion lost by a decent margin, despite the small amount of momentum she got from her game sense. With only 9 cards left on the field out of 50, I can't imagine that Taichi and Chihaya will have much left to watch of the Arata/Shinobu match, if at all. They'll probably show most of the match next episode anyways however.

I love how "Yama-chan" apparently became a contagious nickname amongst everyone.
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Old 2013-06-14, 16:03   Link #1276
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Man, somewhere Desktomu is getting crushed because no one came to support him. I like Tachi and all but damn I want to see Shinobu vs Arata.
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Old 2013-06-14, 16:28   Link #1277
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Man, somewhere Desktomu is getting crushed because no one came to support him. I like Tachi and all but damn I want to see Shinobu vs Arata.
Isn't Desktomu-kun in the same room? I understood that all classes except A were in the same one but maybe I'm wrong

I felt like crying at the end of episode with Chihaya and Taichi, he finally made it to A-Class after so much work. When Taichi started to get nervous and fail because he wanted to end soon for Chihaya and when they said that reader was in his final exam I nearly had an attack

I love how the staff has high hopes on Arata to replace the useless current Master Fortunately next week we'll have more focus on his match against Shinobu, teach her a lesson about friendship.
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Old 2013-06-14, 16:30   Link #1278
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Shinobu vs Arata is the more interesting match, but at least they threw Taichi a bone for once; he's been getting the short end of the stick, like, all season, made even worse by the inclusion of more Arata this season. I'd assume with Chihaya skipping the battle she's most intrigued in and Taichi winning into Class A by a large margin, he's used up all of his available luck .
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Old 2013-06-14, 17:27   Link #1279
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So Nishida was the one who abandoned Taichi not Chihaya.

And honestly I feel Chihaya had more of a reason to watch the A match since she is good friends with Arata. Though I do admire Chihaya that she knew how imprtant this match was to Taichi and let that win out on her decision.

I also find it funny that right to the end Taichi was thinking of getting Chihaya to the Arata/Shinobu match but only when he saw Chihaya crying in happiness for him could he celebrate his own victory. Truly a beautiful moment and maybe my favorite shared moment between the two of them.


Edit: I think Komano was playing in the same room as Taichi. I think only Class A was separate.
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Old 2013-06-14, 17:46   Link #1280
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
Edit: I think Komano was playing in the same room as Taichi. I think only Class A was separate.
He was. He's actually in a few frames.

I didn't spot Tsukuba, though, so maybe that guy's elsewhere.

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Originally Posted by frubam View Post
Shinobu vs Arata is the more interesting match, but at least they threw Taichi a bone for once; he's been getting the short end of the stick, like, all season, made even worse by the inclusion of more Arata this season. I'd assume with Chihaya skipping the battle she's most intrigued in and Taichi winning into Class A by a large margin, he's used up all of his available luck .
I don't know. I think the point of his development since the team final is that a lot of his bad luck was about his mentality. As long as he stops trying to look cool and being overly concerned with Chihaya, he'll have a lot more luck than before.
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