“Every poem read sends you back a thousand years. How many sports are capable of such a feat?”
real powerhouses of Class A (including Harada-sensei, in his mind). With both teams assured of a place in the Nationals there’s not as much pressure as there would have been and Amakasu seems content to build a strategy around Retro-kun’s predictions for the pairings, leading to an easy 3 wins over “Glasses Boy, Boobie Girl and Mashima”, but Retro’s pride and the arrival of his “secret weapon” seem to spark Amakasu’s competitive fires quite a bit.
his presence seems to put more pressure on Hokuo than on Mizusawa anyway. As for Tsukuba’s gambit (Nishida nabbed him in the act again) the most interesting offshoot was the reaction it inspired in Taichi – a rare moment of praise for his mother (and a rare moment of physical contact from Chihaya). Her “Men never say “but!”” advice is pretty revealing as a component of Taichi’s makeup, and why his struggle to – in his own words – “be someone who doesn’t run away” is so critical to him.
Nishida’s sister showing up as Retro’s girlfriend (I would have thought Amakasu was more her type), and though she wasn’t Retro’s secret weapon she seem to have had quite the impact on Nishida, who was also freaked out by his opponents hairpin. Retro and Taichi’s match seems likely to go down to the end (it always seems to), and we don’t see enough of Tsutomu’s match to gather any notion of just how it might be going. Kana-chan seems to be dominating her match, and Chihaya is several cards down to Amakasu – to whom she seems to be paying very little attention, her focus on correcting her mistakes in technique to get closer to the Queen. And all this is playing out to the backdrop not just of Sudou’s presence as reader, but the Mizusawa players using the tasuki that the Empress made for their kimono (a boon for well-endowed players like Kanade and Nishida) – further cementing the notion that she’s fully come around to being just as much a fan of the Mizusawa Karuta Club as millions of anime viewers and manga readers.
collective bow the team spontaneously gave her was certainly heartwarming, and perhaps reward enough).
adapting elements from both Shinobu and Suou’s playing styles. I like the fact that Amakasu is pissed off that Chihaya is disrespecting him (though like every other time she’s rude, it’s cluelessness rather than malice) by basically ignoring him during their match to focus on her own mistakes – it shows some real pride, and he’s a player with serious talent whose success has lagged behind it due to too little confidence and motivation, and anger can be a remedy for both. But it’s hard to imagine he can hold off Chihaya when she really gets serious, as she surely will now after Nishida’s big loss. My guess is that the match will likely come down to Taichi and Retro, and that would be fitting as I suspect they’re the two players in the battle who most desperately want to win their match.