Advice to young girls not so interested in Karuta – don’t ask Harada-sensei “What’s so fun about Karuta?”
Harada-sensei. That this meeting should occur as she was stalking Taichi on his visit to the Shiranami Society is ironic, but irrelevant in practical terms – it doesn’t change the fact that Harada-sensei’s answer (“I’ve been playing for 45 years, and I still don’t know”) to that question of hers planted a seed of curiosity in her mind, one that’s already starting to bear fruit. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Harada-sensei was hugely important in fostering a love of the game in Taichi and especially Chihaya, so perhaps he can fill that role for Sumire as well. Sumire also seems to have a certain connection with Kanade-chan – she certainly recognizes the nature of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu faster than anyone else in the club did besides Kanade did – and while her outward focus seems to be very shallow, it does seem that there’s a romantic’s soul inside her that resonates with the ideas contained in the Ogura.
she blurts out her feelings for Taichi in front of the other club members, much to her chagrin. While her pursuit of Taichi seems utterly hopeless, it might force him to be more open about his own feelings for Chihaya – not to the point where we see a definitive result, of course, but enough to take the relationship out of the holding pattern in which it currently resides.
Tsukuba Akihiro (Irino Miyu) and he’s an odd one. His eyes only open when he sticks out his tongue (or perhaps it’s the reverse), and he brings with him from Hokkaido the game of “Second-Verse Karuta”. It becomes clear right away that this is a very different sort of game, and not just because only the second verses of the Hundred Poets are read – Tsukuba-kun uses both hands, beats the floor to intimidate his opponent and generally turns Karuta into a bit of a barroom brawl. He’s also seemingly quite intent on becoming a star at this new style of Karuta, and appears to have the chops to back it up. We don’t get a lot of development about who he is as a person, but given that he’s being played by probably the best male seiyuu under 40, it seems there’s a good chance his character will have a real arc eventually. We can certainly hope so.
spatial awareness) but in terms of her selflessness. Chihaya was extremely inwardly-focused most of the time in S1 when it came to Karuta, to the point where her behavior towards her teammates could be somewhat thoughtless. She’s clearly become a more self-aware person, and in the process a less self-absorbed one – she sees the importance of her role as the best player in the group, and her responsibility as the one who dragged each and every other club member into the club in the first place.
most memorable line of the episode – “I believe crying in the embarrassment is the sign of a beautiful soul” – she persuades the younger girl to return and face her shame head-on. I’m not sure I agree with Kana on that, but I think saying it to someone else who’s just cried in embarrassment is certainly the sign of the beautiful soul inside Kanade. It was the sort of moment that made the first season such an emotionally powerful experience, and I expect many more of them over the next six months.