Chihaya Furu Ep 04

They're fighting for Arata's attention! ><; When will they fight for Taichi's?
Ah, they stopped my heart with the first minute of this episode. I was torn between whether they were staying in the middle school timeline because they were going to follow Chihaya's initial growth step by step or because Arata had decided to stay by securing some kind of enslaved residence at the home of a distant uncle. The former option would have made me sad, probably, unless some very interesting characters were introduced at the Karuta school. The latter would have made me so excited because of my shameless love for these kids.
The time traveller's aide
Fortunately (or unfortunately so) a Sakura petal carries us into the now. This episode has two focuses: one develops the heroine and the other sets the stage for the first major arc of the story. The writers took the relationship between Chihaya and Taichi and made it less emo than the very first episode did and I appreciated this direction. From what I understand, this episode continues exactly where the first episode cuts to the middle school timeline. Chihaya and Taich are riding the train to meet Taichi's girlfriend. (Why is Chihaya going along? I think this is unnecessary and weird. But then, Chihaya's character is strange enough that such actions do not contradict her personality just to stir the drama pot.) The girlfriend calls Taichi "Ta-kun" which gets Chihaya very excited and she wants to share this news with someone, specifically, Arata. It seems neither Chihaya nor Taichi has kept in touch with Arata. I wonder why? Chihaya at the very least seems like the types to make random calls and chat on and on for hours while Arata listened patiently. It is not difficult to believe that Taichi and Arata never kept in touch.
And I'm flirty. Look at the sparkles! Clearly there is a lesson for all girls to be learnt here.
Obviously, seeing Chihaya with Taichi makes his girlfriend jealous. I think, this was the only reason to send Chihaya all the way to the random train station that Taichi was going to. She adamantly insists that if she gets into the A Class of the Karuta school, that Taichi should help her form a Karuta club at their high school. Of course, Taichi refuses with equal vigour and then puts on a toque and sneaks into the Karuta club to watch her play.
The next line it "I bet they're still not as bushy as your eyebrows!" XD Sensei, da~isuki.
The sensei is as eccentric as ever. I really wish I had a teacher like him growing up. I think I can equate him to my current workplace mentor. He spews a lot of balderdash, but he is a good, sound teacher with a lot of wisdom to share and support to offer. Through his narration of Chihaya's gameplay and personality, we learn that she hasn't matured much in the year's she's spent under his care. Chihaya has grown leaps and bounds as a Karuta player but has not taken too many steps forward in terms of personal growth. I have a feeling so far she's been unknowingly riding on the coattails of her talent; but from now we should see her personal growth make her a better Karuta player.
The animation was all over the place in this episode, but scenes like this were still pretty.
The one thing this episode solidifies is Chihaya's need to move on from that moment in her past in which she's frozen. She still lives believing that Arata, Taichi and she are bound by Karuta and she needs to break free from this naive thinking to truly harness her capability in this game. After the tournament, which Chihaya wins, if not dominates, she calls Arata to fill him in on the news. It's difficult to tell how long it's been since the last time they spoke, but Arata is quiet and hunched over. I predicted correctly.
Called it. Well, part one. We'll eventually find out why.
Chihaya tells him everything she wants to tell him: She's in A Class, Taichi is in her high school, Taichi's girlfriend calls him Ta-kun, oh by the way how strong are you Arata? Chihaya is so cute and excited, and this enhances Arata's frigidity when he tells her he's out of the game. To turn the knife in your back, they flash all the cutest imagery of Arata from the previous episodes. Chihaya is shocked, truly, truly shocked. And then she realizes how her life has been frozen in time for so long.
Losing three kg by playing non-active sports seems to be the theme of the Autumn line-up. I swear Phi Brain Ep 02 has a similar screen shot.
I wonder where Chihaya will spring to from here.