Scene: Chihaya staring wide eyed at Harada Sensei
Don't aim to be faster than the Queen.
"What?...Harada-sensei..." Everyone else in the room is staring at them.
"What are you talking about, sensei? If I don't try to surpass her speed, I'm not ever going to be able to win, right?"
Harada-sensei asks her what playing against the Queen was like. Chihaya animately describes it as "super-fast, fast enough to give you a heart attack." She also describes it as "exact" because the Queen knew exactly where on the card she needed to touch when attacking. But above all, the speed was amazing.
Harada-sense says that it doesn't matter if she's faster than the Queen. Even if she is faster in taking some cards from her, if the Queen takes the remaining cards Chihaya still loses the karuta game.
"Give up trying to be faster."
He's serious... He's telling me that in order to become Queen, I've got to learn a different skill...
Cut scene: In homeroom, Chihaya, dazed, stares at a "future aspirations" form sitting on her desk blankly
Apparently, she is supposed to fill in her 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices for college/technical school. She absently writes "Queen" in her number one choice and as she passes by Chihaya's desk, Ms. Miyauchi smacks Chihaya over the head. Chihaya looks at her in shock but Ms. Miyauchi ignores her. She tells the class the forms are due back on Thursday. There are obviously a lot of choices in schools, so Ms. Miyauchi tells them to consider their choices carefully. Since it concerns their future paths, they should take it seriously.
Cut scene: Back in the Karuta Club meeting room
Kana tells them that her class also had to fill out those forms. She's already decided her major but cant decide what college she wants to go to. Desktomu-kun asks if she will be going somewhere she can major in classical literature. They look at Chihaya, who is sitting crumpled and listless on one side of the tatami mats, and wonder if she's depressed because she doesn't know what to put on the form.
Kana-chan then asks about the two gloomy guys sitting in the corner. Taiki and Meat bun-kun are sitting at a table, completely immersed in a dark, gloomy aura.
Meat bun keeps muttering "It wasn't easy at all!" Apparently, trying to become an A rank is not easy (they both lost). He demands a match with Chihaya to improved his skills. Taichi accuses him of being sneaky again but Meat bun-kun says he won't improve unless he plays high level players.
But while they play, Chihaya's heart isn't in it. She keeps mulling over what Harada-sensei told her. Meat bun-kun notices as he takes card after card from her. Finally, Chihaya slumps face down into the tatami. Meat bun-kun laments that he can't play like this. The others ask what's wrong and Chihaya tells them.They try to figure out the answer with her but she is noticeably bothered. Taichi notes that Chihaya is the type to have no patience for problem solving and she usually goes straight to the answer sheets after 10 seconds of trying to figure it out on her own... -_-;
In her own corner, Chihaya sulks that she has no idea what Harada-sensei meant. Desktomu-kun tells them to go into formation again and this time he plays Chihaya. The first card is "chiyahafuru" and Chihaya naturally takes the card from him. The others marvel at how quickly and smoothly, almost instinctually, she took the card.
In the end, Desktomu-kun lost and Chihaya haughtily remarks she isn't in such a slump that she'd lose to him. Desktomu-kun helps her out by showing her the data he collected while they were playing... O_O;
He draws the playing field into 4 quadrants and tells her there are certain cards she is almost certain to take, but those only amount to the B and C quadrant (the quadrants to her immediate left and the quadrant to her opponent's left). She scored 67% and 32% of the time in those quadrants. In her own right and her opponent's right quadrant she was barely able to take any cards. Chihaya surmises that if she increases her taking rate by 100% in both her strong quadrants, she should win. But Desktomu-kun tells her that if that's the case, even he is sure to score big in the A and D quadrants against her.
Desktomu-kun explains that her strength lies in the "single syllable" cards that her natural ability allows her to take. But getting into the "two syllable" and higher cards, she tends to make mistakes. If her opponent catches on, then all they have to do is start switching the harder cards into her stronger quadrants and then put Chihaya at a disadvantage in both ways (TN: I think that's what he said).
Chihaya recalls what Harada-sensei said.
Even if you are speedily efficient in taking some of the cards, if your opponent is able to take every single card remaining from you, you will always lose....
Kana-chan notices that Chihaya makes a lot of mistakes as well. Because she's impatient, she will sometimes take a card, regardless of what number of syllables it is because she wants to be the first to take it. For example, the "naniwae" and the "naniwaga" cards. Chihaya interrupts and says there are many people who have trouble differentiating those cards. Kana-chan shoots her down and tells her one is poem number 19 and the other 88, if you consider them by age, they are 200 years apart. Everyone's jaws dropped as they are shocked that she knows this.
Kana reminds Chihaya about the "chihayafuru" card, and how that card was a bright red color to her now. The "naniwaga" card was written in the 10th century, and Kana describes it as a pale, winter color. The "naniwae" card was written in the 12th century, and she describes its essence as a spring green. It mentions the Nanba River region and at the time, it was known that many beautiful women lived there. So its color is a delicate green. (TN: I'm pretty sure that's what she said...)
Chihaya is speechless. Then she remarks that Kana must really love ancient poetry. Kana-chan smiles and says, karuta has a very deep significance for her.
Chihaya feels really pathetic. Up 'til now, she still just saw karuta as a fast sport.
Cut scene: After school, back at the halls in Mizusawa High
Ms. Miyauchi walks down the hall as other students bow in greeting. She passes the library and to her shock sees Chihaya there reading something intently. She calls out to tell her to go home. At first she thinks the library must be stocked with comics, but realizing that's impossible, she notices that Chihaya is reading a book about the Hyakunin Isshu (karuta poetry).
I need to take Desktomu-kun and Kana-chan's strengths...(and make them my own)
Cut scene: The team's next match in their first local karuta tournament of the season. Mrs. Oe is dressing the guys in their hakama.
She's especially enjoying dressing Taichi... -_-; Meat bun-kun asks if they must wear hakama every time they compete in a major tournament and Kana insists. Desktomu-kun comments that he might want to learn how to put on of these on himself, and Kana (and her mom) remark that their shop has guides and classes on how to care for and wear traditional clothing. (There's also brand new inventory apparently ideal for karuta playing....?)
Taichi revs them up with a team president speech, but Chihaya is barely listening. She's thinking how this tournament is full of A ranked people, and not all of them are high schoolers. Kana asks what's wrong, and Chihaya makes a baseball comparison, like she's a noob going into the major leagues. *i.e. these are professionals. Even the way the more experienced A ranked players carry themselves is different.
The A Ranked competition that I've yearned for....
Chiyaha hears someone commenting on how pretty her hakama is. Chihaya sees an older woman in a polka-dot dress with frills and bows . o_O She is Chihaya's first opponent Ms. (Kanai) Sakura. Ms. Kanai says that if she were younger, she would love to wear something like that (obsessed with age). Chihaya thinks her outfit is very cute, (TN: does this girl have any fashion sense??) to which Ms. Kanai says, "Of course."
Chihaya unwittingly underestimates Ms. Kanai. Even though Chihaya was able to take the first card swiftly, Ms. Kanai sees right through her. She comments, "it must be good to be SO young." Chihaya on the other hand, is trying to "untrain" herself and her urge to take first and check later. Speed, after all, isn't everything. Ms. Kanai knows she cannot keep up with Chihaya but it doesn't matter if she isn't as fast. Strategically, not only is Ms. Kanai familiar with all the more difficult cards, she notices that Chihaya has problems with them. With every card she takes, Ms. Kanai says "Lucky!" (TN: so much that I want to reach through the pages and slap her....)
Chihaya realizes it is very difficult to attack Ms. Kanai as her opponent has already strategically placed her cards to Chihaya's disadvantage. The entire playing field looks different and foreign to her now. Ms. Kanai says she is very lucky to have been pitted against such a "young person." (Read: naive idiot)
A-ranked players...really are...