Chihayafuru 2 Episode 2

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Recap: The new freshman are still giving problems to the team. Sumire’s infatuation is curbing her attention, and the unknown male from last episode Tsukuba has a bit of an attitude problem. Will Sumire be able to see why Taichi and the gang love karuta the way they do?

Another character building episode this week. As a result, not much really happened of note to talk about. Once again our primary focus is on Sumire. Coming out of the gate as an unlikable fashion diva, she once again starts this episode sounding selfish and haughty. Still, every once in a while she’ll show some signs of getting infected by the Karuta bug. It was funny seeing her hanging out with her newfound friends, only to have them not even looking at each other so much as talking. Realizing only further boredom would come from hanging out there instead of in a club, she goes back with her ulterior motives in clear tow.

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At the same time, things are looking pretty bad for Chihaya. While last episode she was full of her usual spirit, the quickly dwindling member count only proves the vapid interest the girls had in joining the club. In the end, the only guy left is our anomalous dude, Tsukuba. I said last episode that he was a little harder to judge than most characters on this show. Still, while I didn’t want to think negative my first reaction was he’d be a bit of a sneak too. Turns out I was right, in a way at least, as he reveals himself to be a champion in an offshoot of Karuta dealing with the second verse instead of the first. While a cocky and competitive personality might be a problem in some team sports, I actually think this will make him a good addition to the team. His spirit and dexterity is definitely good enough to keep up with the main cast. The main problem I can see is, if he ever comes around to learning all of the poems, there will be some major drama as to who gets benched because of his superior skills.

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Back to Sumire, and she’s fighting with Kana once again. I really have to hand it to someone as trained in the art of tradition as Kana that she doesn’t explode on Sumire. Even after she decides to come back she continues to disrespect not just her but the game itself. I’m still finding it hard to sympathize with this “love must be above all” thing Sumire keeps going on about considering the age of these kids, but I suppose it is in the nature of teenagers to be impulsive. After spilling everything in front of Taichi, Sumire thinks she’s finished, but Kana comes in again to save the day, having a cute heart to heart that brings her back. With the new team assembled, I’m hoping we’ll get  into the High School Tournament by at least the next episode or two, as I’m raring to see more action to show how much these five have grown in their year together.

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