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Old 2011-11-17, 09:44   Link #521
totoum
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I noticed there's now a chihaya animesuki banner.

The fanboy in me is extremely pleased with this developement.
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Old 2011-11-17, 10:05   Link #522
DXMichael
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Hmm, interesting flashbacks and opinions from Tsutomu Komano.

He feels that he needs to stay at his desk at all times to become number one and even see's himself as keeping the entire's classes average score up by himself. He also feels that giving out answers will get him the friends he wants, although he pretty much admits that he knows it wont which makes me feel sorrow for him since he knows their just using him for his great answers which abruptly enough they feel should be better even though he's the smartest out of the class.

In a way though, he feels sorrow for them. By saying "I'm willing to help out these fools" he's pretty much giving them pity because he knows they need him, and without him, they would be helpless whilst their grades drop below average. So, knowing that they need him made him feel happy, even if it was for the slightest moment.

Who knows, maybe he felt some sort of satisfaction knowing that his intelligence is being noticed and his answers are being used?
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Old 2011-11-17, 12:16   Link #523
hyperborealis
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Really good comments by everybody--I learned a lot reading what you all had to say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
We know that Taichi pretty much got dragged into taking Karuta seriously by Chihaya and Arata. But Tsutomu here is a stranger by any angle. Despite being factually wrong when he loudly assumed there were no professionals in Karuta, truthfully the question he asked, "What merit does Karuta have for me?", still stands in general. A person would not really pick up the game just for supposedly "improving" their memory.
Tsutomu's challenge to karuta is not just selfish: it evinces a particular modern point of view, which insists that everything should have a utilitarian and economic purpose. The odd questions he asks Chihaya--about professional karuta players, about how karuta will help his studies--collectively make sense if you realize he is rejecting karuta for having no relevance to a career or to his professional future.

Tsutomu voices a modern Japanese disdain for traditional culture. There's no money in it, it doesn't help you with your job--why bother? Desktomu is a certain kind of salaryman-in-the-making in high school.

I think Chihaya's reaction--while characteristic of her--makes a certain kind of sense: to this sort of utilitarian challenge, there is no bridge, no shared assumptions, which could relate Tsutomu to karuta. The only way to break the impasse is to do what she does: take him out of the class and put him into a karuta game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
The theme of this episode is self-actualization. What draws Tsutomu to the club this time is not the game itself, but the people who will challenge him to strive towards it. The heart which comes to drive both Tsutomu and Taichi, as self-aware "losers", in contrast to Chihaya and Arata, is desire rather than passion. If, through Karuta, Chihaya's story will be to discover herself, then Tsutomu and Taichi's story will be to be reborn in it.
You make many important related points in just a few sentences here--let me pick out a few things. One is the similarity you adduce between Tsutomu and Taichi. I think this is central--in fact, the episode hinges on this.

The conversation the two have after the match turns on precisely Taichi's recognition of himself in Tsutomu. When Taichi's victory prompts Tsutomu to despair, and then to yell at Taichi, "I can't play karuta! / I don't have the talent! / I'm not like you!," Taichi flashes back to his own confession that he could practice all his life and never hope to beat Arata. Just as Tsutomu is always number two to Taichi, so Taichi is always number two to Arata. Listening to Tsutomu, Taichi sees himself.

So the differences between Taichi and Tsutomu--Taichi's good looks versus Tsutomu's nebbishy appearance, Taichi's popularity versus Tsutomu's outsider status--are only apparent. At heart both are in the same place: caught up in a social hierarchy in which they are always second, and must always experience the psychic burden of inferiority.

Now, as you say, both Taichi and Tsutomu have as their goal self-actualization, the desire to be reborn, as it turns out, in karuta. Both Taichi and Tsutomu take a decisive step towards this goal in this episode. Taichi's victory over Chihaya allows him to realize his own deep reasons for wanting to play karuta, which he expresses to Tsutomu after flinging away the latter's desk: he finds a special pleasure in winning at a game where he has no special talent and where his victory is a measure of his own efforts to overcome his own limitations.

Taichi's self-understanding amounts to an ethos--that winning is important, but not for its own sake, but as a measure of the efforts that go into the victory. He makes this point when he tells Tsutomu that he would rather have "someone who puts in effort on the tatami" to a "karuta genius." What really counts is the "effort," the willingness to endure losing and being inferior in ability while still struggling to improve, and not inherited superiority and winning per se.

In expressing himself this way, Taichi finally "gets" karuta on its basic level. He is bound up in the game now not even for Chihaya's sake, but for his own. Karuta is now his own dream. It is so since he has assimilated this ethos into himself. And what is this ethos but a key aspect of traditional Japanese values? We see once more how karuta and traditional values intersect to construct a meaningful individual identity for the show's characters.

I'm out of time. There's lots more I'd like to say as usual. I think it would be straightforward to connect the ethos Taichi enunciates to Dawnstorm's analysis of karuta as a site for social integration. The contrast between the beautiful people in the club and the troglodytes is a little disturbing, and needs some explanation. Taichi's analysis of Chihaya's skills shows that karuta can be decomposed into an aggregate of different abilities (reaction, hearing, memory, concentration, self-confidence, etc), so that in fact everyone plays karuta differently, individually. This was another episode about karuta--specifically, the role of memory in karuta: not only to remember the cards' positions, but also what cards have come off the boards and the contingent decision trees. And this was another episode about how supporting characters will advance Chihaya's capabilities: presumably Taichi will fill the role of coach for Chihaya, to bring his insights into her strengths and weaknesses to her so that she can focus her efforts where she needs to improve. And perhaps also by instructing her in how best to combat her opponents. As Dawnstorm points out, in the end her victory will be theirs, in fact impossible without their contributions.

Last edited by hyperborealis; 2011-11-20 at 00:03.
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Old 2011-11-17, 13:06   Link #524
Kazu-kun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
As Dawnstorm points out, in the end her victory will be theirs
It goes both ways really. Remember we're talking team matches here, so in order to win, 3 out of 5 members of the team need to win their respective matches for the team to advance.

Let's not kid ourselves to think that every character is just here to ad to Chihaya's strength. In fact the other way around will probably be even more relevant to Chihaya's growth as a character: as a team, she will have to learn to see everyone's victory as equally necessary to win; her victory alone will mean little to nothing, which is a new experience for her.
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Old 2011-11-17, 23:00   Link #525
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Originally Posted by Kakkou View Post
This show is really pleasant to watch. The preparations for Arata's inevitable return to karuta is going on well and the side characters being introduced have their individual charms. It was nice that Taichi got serious for once and managed to beat Chihaya. Wonder what kind of person they'll be getting as their fifth member? Hopefully someone Chihaya doesn't have to forcefully drag to the club this time.
About the fifth member, you are either gonna be surprised or not surprised.

Still can't believe Taichi pulls the same trick again, although his vision is as disabled as his oppoent's vision this time. He has more positive attitude this time. He has new motivation now. He unintentionally inspire the new recruit.
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Old 2011-11-18, 16:28   Link #526
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Not my fave ep, since I didn't get much from potato boy (Tsutomu). But this is by far the best ep for Taichi so far. Once I find myself inside his head, I can forget about how he treated the disappeared girlfriend. And blind karuta is amazing.
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Old 2011-11-19, 10:41   Link #527
hyperborealis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
There are two basic cultural values that have to be integrated for Japenese society to work: At face value, competition (i.e. dividing society into winners and losers) is at odds with the deap-seated need for harmony (i.e. the fear of embarrassment; the need to belong). [...] So, in the end, how do you balance the need to compete (ingrained in public student rankings, for example) with the need to belong? One false step, and people start talking about you rather than with you. What to do? Strive for mediocrity? [...] So karuta, as a game, is basically a "site" where you can practise to reconcile winning with society building... [...] You reconcile competition with belonging, by placing yourself into a context of greater competition upwards in complexity, so even losing you gain a benefit from a "friend" winning.
Excellent stuff. I learned a lot from this.

What is the basis for "the need to compete" that is at odds with "the need to belong?" I don't think competition is simply a structural or a psychological given.

I suppose the answer would have to do with the base inequities of life. People intrinsically are not the same but different, and those differences matter, since they play a key role in determining a person's access to various goods. So, in karuta, Chihaya has the advantage of her preternatural hearing and reaction times; and Taichi has the advantage of his remarkable memory and analytical abilities. Arata may have similar intrinsic capabilities, but his advantage is of birth: he is born into a karuta family, has had an exceptional mentor, and has played karuta all his life until recently.

A lot of Taichi's reflections center upon this essentially unfair distribution of abilities. The episode is all about how he works out a resolution to this issue.

The way in which Taichi was able to win by changing the rules of the game depressed me. He effectively deconstructed karuta, made it clear that winning was primarily a function of the relation between the particular rules of the game and the competitors' particular skills. (Nice catch to GundamZZ, by the way, for noting the similarity between taking Arata's glasses and turning the cards over).

But I suppose you can say, paradoxically, for that very reason winning doesn't matter. The only place where everyone is equal is in effort, in the struggle to improve oneself. That is where Taichi ends up, when he tells Tsutomu that he prefers someone who puts in effort to a karuta genius.

I don't think in this episode yet we have a sublimation of individual aspiration into team success. I'm sure your analysis on this point is correct, but the emphasis so far has been on individuals. Rather, I think karuta-as-culture amounts to a displacement of a competition for real goods onto social goods, economic and sexual competition displaced onto a competition for social status. Social goods proliferate--witness the number of clubs, classes, and cliques that populate the anime--and allow everyone a chance for gaining status, even such outsiders as Kana and Tsutomu.

I like your concept of Japanese society as expanding circles. I'll have to think more about it. The narrative fits: a circle, starting with Chihaya taking in Arata, then Taichi, and now Kana and Tsutomu, whoever is next, and all of us, by the side...
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Old 2011-11-20, 22:10   Link #528
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Komano.....seriously, sad life man....at least he's smart enough to take the key offered him in the end...
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Old 2011-11-21, 02:36   Link #529
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
A lot of Taichi's reflections center upon this essentially unfair distribution of abilities. The episode is all about how he works out a resolution to this issue.

The way in which Taichi was able to win by changing the rules of the game depressed me. He effectively deconstructed karuta, made it clear that winning was primarily a function of the relation between the particular rules of the game and the competitors' particular skills. (Nice catch to GundamZZ, by the way, for noting the similarity between taking Arata's glasses and turning the cards over).
Add luck and effort, and you're pretty much there.

Quote:
But I suppose you can say, paradoxically, for that very reason winning doesn't matter. The only place where everyone is equal is in effort, in the struggle to improve oneself. That is where Taichi ends up, when he tells Tsutomu that he prefers someone who puts in effort to a karuta genius.
That's very well put. It's what I sense with the whole "ganbatte" theme that runs through all anime.

"Winning doesn't matter" is a bit of an overstatement, though. I think that winning - group related rather than individual related - is sort of the measure of your effort paying off. The rule-changing episode, because of that, didn't depress me at all. All you need to remember is that life, unlike a game, doesn't have a fixed set of rules. Circumstances change and today's underdogs might be tomorrow's top dogs. Applied to the show:

Taichi was wondering whether he's any good for Chihaya as a training partner. But with changing the rules, Taichi can now help her with her weakpoint. The flipside is that he realises that he has strong points, too, and while Chihaya will probably always have the upper hand in normal karuta, and Taichi will always have the upper hand in flipped karuta, they can play each other to improve and thus improve team competitiveness.

Quote:
I don't think in this episode yet we have a sublimation of individual aspiration into team success. I'm sure your analysis on this point is correct, but the emphasis so far has been on individuals. Rather, I think karuta-as-culture amounts to a displacement of a competition for real goods onto social goods, economic and sexual competition displaced onto a competition for social status. Social goods proliferate--witness the number of clubs, classes, and cliques that populate the anime--and allow everyone a chance for gaining status, even such outsiders as Kana and Tsutomu.
Well, I'm not sure myself where this show is going. The show is only short-term predictable to me; I can usually see what will happen before it happens, but not very far ahead. The "team success" notion isn't something I extract from the show, as such. It's something I extract from certain aspects I keep seeing in anime (and other Japanese source material, but currently mostly anime), e.g. the public posting of test results, and the significance of class avarages. It's not a blue-print of the show; it's one measuring tool among many. One way to think about the show.

I agree that so far its about individuals. But there's selective attention going on. Everyone of the whisperers is an individual. Taichi's girlfriend, too. Arata's neighbour. The girl in episode one who asked Chihaya to join the track team (in order to cheer her up because nobody came to join the karuta club). This is exactly why I'm not yet sure where this is going.

Track team girl is conventional. She's not going to ever feature as an individual with aspirations. Instead she personifies the kind side of conventionality, highlights Chihaya's obliviousness to social convention - a weakness. But will the show use this as a weakness Chihaya has to work on, or as a weakness we have to put up with for the sake of group cohesion?

Neither am I sure what the relevant "teams" will be. The karuta club is obvious. Family, class, school - these hover in the background. Chihaya-Taichi-Arata is there. The town karuta-club. Hana's parents' kimono shop. And so on.

So, yes, I agree, so far we have individuals finding their place in their respective groups, their status. But that status in tied up with that group, and if that group falls apart...? This was highly topical with Chihaya-Taichi-Arata, wasn't it? Now we're establishing the club, so the building up of new-group internal statuses is important. But the upkeep of the club is going to take effort, just as the upkeep of Chihaya-Taichi-Arata takes effort. There's a potential conflict in the wings: maybe the plot will force a choice (and maybe there will be an "inclusive" solution, within a higher grouping framework?)

This is highly abstract so far - and maybe other frameworks will prove more useful? Well, there's another episode coming up soon.
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Old 2011-11-22, 14:22   Link #530
Haak
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Episode 8

Lol. Porky's screaming at the end was pretty damn funny. XD
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Old 2011-11-22, 15:22   Link #531
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Episode was fine, and the new addition to the club will definitely strengthen their game.
Ok, i like Chihaya, but with her childish and straightforward attitude, I can see people disliking her. I mean they are in secondary two and to call someone meatman/porky/fatty, that she doesn't really know that well, is kind of rude, borderline bullying. Nevertheless, I can see her childishness creating some unconformable and interesting moments in the future.
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Old 2011-11-22, 17:33   Link #532
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For starters, let me say I like the "meat" in Haganai better

Nishida is a good character (yet another one similar to Taichi in some way; in this case they both share(d) the feeling Arata is out of their league), and a solid addition to the club. Hell, he's pretty much a god send. He used to be ranked number #2 in Japan after all, and even he hasn't played in a while, he hasn't gotten too rusty. Chihaya's finally found a sparring-partner of her level.

Now that the set-up phase is complete, I'd like to see how things are going for Arata. It'd be a waste to have him only appear during the competitions. Oh, and I want to see Chihaya's sister too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sides View Post
Episode was fine, and the new addition to the club will definitely strengthen their game.
Ok, i like Chihaya, but with her childish and straightforward attitude, I can see people disliking her. I mean they are in secondary two and to call someone meatman/porky/fatty, that she doesn't really know that well, is kind of rude, borderline bullying. Nevertheless, I can see her childishness creating some unconformable and interesting moments in the future.
There's a context behind that nickname though. She isn't making fun of him because of his weight, she just remembers him as "that kid who wanted a meat bun" and refers to him as such. It's precisely because she doesn't know him well she calls him that. I'm sure that will change soon. At least I hope so.
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Old 2011-11-22, 17:56   Link #533
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Wow they scored big with getting Nishida to join. Since he used to be number 2 it'll be good practice for Chihaya. Interesting how he also thinks Arata is in a different league and could never have beaten him. Nice job by Chihaya to pull out a win. So now what do they do since they are an official club now?
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Old 2011-11-22, 18:56   Link #534
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Wow, a totally original anime episode. But why? What's the point of diverging entirely from the manga this way?

The worst is that they created an entire original episode just to make Nishida a total wuss. He never was this conflicted in the manga. This anime Nishida, who's afraid of Arata so much, is a totally different character than the real Nishida. How am I supposed to relate to him now, when he's so different.

In fact, anime Nishida is just a sort of Taichi clone. It seems the anime staff isn't very creative in the characterization department.

Anyway, I hope they'll go back to the manga next episode. IIRC It's time for Chihaya's birthday, and that's one of my favorite moments in the whole series. I'm really looking forward to see it animated.

On an aside note, at this pace they won't cover even 1/3 of the available material, and the manga is still running too.
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Old 2011-11-22, 19:09   Link #535
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Haven't seen the episode yet but perhaps they are changing stuff because they know they won't finish animating the manga and they want to lead to something that's open ended yet somewhat conclusive at the same time.

Although I hope the ratings/sales warrant another season eventually. Pretty Please!
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Old 2011-11-22, 19:14   Link #536
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Although I hope the ratings/sales warrant another season eventually. Pretty Please!
At this pace they'll need like 4 seasons to finish the story though....
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Old 2011-11-22, 19:33   Link #537
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
At this pace they'll need like 4 seasons to finish the story though....
Not sure that's really a concern for the producers,the anime is basicly there to try and boost up manga sales.So telling the complete story in anime form might not be a priority.
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Old 2011-11-22, 19:35   Link #538
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So telling the complete story in anime form might not be a priority.
I know. I was just replying to Kirarakim, since I suppose she'd like to see the whole thing animated.
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Old 2011-11-22, 20:02   Link #539
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I know. I was just replying to Kirarakim, since I suppose she'd like to see the whole thing animated.
Of course!

I mean I might follow the manga once the anime is done but I am not even sure if it will be translated. It would be great if it was licensed but this isn't the type of series that's a guarantee & fan translations are even slow for this series (although hopefully the anime will change that).


edit:
Finally watched episode 8, the ending of the episode and Nishida's decision made me tear up a little. I don't know why but Chihayafuru seems to do that to me a lot.

Not sure how this episode differed from the manga but I guess as they say "ignorance is bliss" because I really enjoyed it. I think Nishida will be a welcome addition to the story.
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Old 2011-11-22, 20:45   Link #540
Kazu-kun
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Not sure how this episode differed from the manga but I guess as they say "ignorance is bliss" because I really enjoyed it. I think Nishida will be a welcome addition to the story.
I'll put it in spoiler tags (even though it doesn't really count as spoiler) so you may remain ignorant about it if you want to.

Spoiler for manga Nishida:
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