Chihaya Furu Ep 06

This episode begins the solid development of the arc introduced at the closing of the previous episode. The last episode made it clear that Arata would be out of the game for a while and with Taichi's promise to help Chihaya start a high school Karuta club, the natural progression would be towards the recruitment of new members.

This is what Kaname thought the Karuta club was.
The first target is a freshman named Oe Kanada. Her parents own a traditional clothing store and she is smitten by Japanese history and classical literature. She wants to join a club that would allow her to wear hakama and kimono. Currently, she is  in the archery club, which I am assuming is the only one that trains in hakama, and she dislikes doing ungraceful tasks like running in such romantic traditional clothing. As she wanders the halls after being reprimanded by the archery club staff, she fatefully comes across the Karuta club recruitment poster with a female cartoon donning an elaborate hakama for a mascot. Her curiosity is piqued.

This is what the Karuta club ended up being.
What she finds scares her. Awe and fright seem to be the typical reaction to Chihaya's passion. Unfortunately for Kaname, Chihaya sees her as she's trying to leave and pursues her. The rest of the episode is spent watching Chihaya trying to convince Kaname to join the Karuta club.

This is how Chihaya feels when she chases Kaname.
What I like about Kaname is that she is not interested in competitive Karuta but is well versed in the poems because of her love for classical literature. A few episodes ago, when were were still immersed in the middle school arc, Chihaya's teacher Harada-sensei had told her to become friends with all the cards the way she was friends with the Chihayafuru card. In essence, Kaname is already very good friends with all the poems. She knows them and understands the meaning  of each. Initially, Kaname puts up a lot of resistance to joining because she likes Karuta recreationally as opposed to competitively. Also, because the Karuta club members do not wear traditional clothing, she has little inclination to join.

This is blatant audience tampering fanservice.
The importance of Kaname to Chihaya's growth becomes evident when she explains an alternate interpretation of the Chihayafuru poem. To Kaname, Chihayafuru is a poem about the deep, secretive love between the poet and his lover. Connecting historic significance to the meaning of the cards shows Chihaya that there are many ways to enjoy Karuta outside of competition, and this furthers her love for competitive Karuta. She has begun to recognize cards by their meaning and this helps her react faster, improving her game.

This is Kaname's first order of business.
I like the imperial respect that Kaname's presence reinstates to the club's practices. Kaname is a quiet, small girl but she is resolute in her principles. I look forward to seeing how she contributes to the series. Having seen more than just the main characters, I like the fact that Chihaya Furu's characters have largely drama free pasts. Aside from the love triangle, the characters are clean albeit slightly stereotypical. I have not lost my hope that this series will not be corroded by the typical shojo drama that has tarnished many good beginnings such as this.