Scene: At the end of the first round, Chihaya victorious. The peanut gallery is chatting away.
Tachikawa Ririka lost?
Ayase Chihaya? Who is she?
I heard she's from the Shiranami Society, Harada-sensei's new weapon. From the beginning of the year, I heard she's been making great progress.
Her speed was quite alarming during the latter portion of the game!
I heard during the high school championships she even been Hokuo Academy's Sudo.
What? She's a bishoujo? Her face is really small...
Could she be this year's dark horse?
In the background: Sudo is pissed about that part where they heard she beat him....
As she leaves the room, Ririka catches her shirt. "Chihaya nee-san, please wait." She asks for Chihaya's hand and draws the outline of a four leaf clover in Chihaya's palm.
"This is Lilia's good luck charm....Good...good luck!" she stammers before she heads out. On their way out of the competition room they hear the peanut gallery speaking ill of Ririka.
So this year Ririka couldn't do it?
Even though she is supposed to be (Wakamiya Shinobu's) successor, her talent hasn't really reached that far.
The words are clearly making Ririka feel bad, but the crowd doesn't notice she's right behind them. This pisses Chihaya off and she takes a deep breath and calls out, "CHOCOLATE!" to make their presence known. Even Ririka is taken aback. The peanut gallery is bit ashamed for talking about someone behind their back like that, especially since the little girl was right there, and Chihaya's crew comes rushing to her with precious chocolate.
Ririka gives her a grateful look before going back to her mom. She traces a four-leaf clover into her own hand and clenches her fist to give herself courage. Chihaya smiles and knows that Ririka will be fine.
While stuffing her face with chocolate her thoughts turn back to young Arata, when they first played karuta together.
"I think Ayase-san has a natural talent for playing karuta." She recalls how his words made her feel.
Ririka must have been the same...from the very beginning, she must have had someone say something similar to her....
"You have talent."
Those words must have been supporting her all this time... Chihaya looks down at the palm of her hand. Good luck charm.... She clenches her fist.
Don't move me so easily.... (TN: Chihaya's words "碰觸" can mean "touch" or to "move" someone on an emotional level, not just physically)
Taichi watches Chihaya and excuses himself to go to the bathroom. In reality, he's texting on his phone.
Text: Chihaya made it through the first round of the tournament.
While texting, he overhears Sudo talking with his mentor (Morita?), who apparently lost in the first round. The victor was saying how close the duel was, and how he only has 10 minutes to recover until the next round. Sudo rudely asks if his mentor is simply glorifying his retreat, but his mentor tells him it's not true. It is rare to have so many A rank players gather, so obviously, he had the Mejin in his sights.
Text: Chihaya made it through the first round of the tournament. Do your best, Arata.
But I don't want you to do your best... I really don't want you to do your best!
"You are... an A rank?" asks the man in sunglasses who was outside eating Taiyaki. Taichi stares at him as he offers him a Japanese snack.
Apparently, the guy speaks really softly so Taichi leans over to understand him. "What? Can I help you with something?"
"Are you participating in the competition?" the man asks quietly.
"Ah, no, I'm just here to cheer people on," Taichi responds. The guy in sunglasses takes the snack back.
"Then, none for you," he says quizzically. He eyes the participants behind Taichi, beyond the double doors. Then he gets this really odd expression on his face... and proceeds to pass out snacks to every A rank player he comes in contact with, saying odd things like, "Oh, you lost? Better luck next year," or "Are you an A rank player?" and "Here's some good luck for you." He hands one to Harada-sensei who turns him down.
"To eat something like that while competing will make me sleepy, and that would be bad, Suoh-kun."
Taichi and the other players freeze in their tracks at the sound of his name.
Taichi recalls a broadcast of the last Meijin competition where the interviewer was congratulating the winner, but also asked him to speak into the microphone because they could barely hear him. His name, was Suoh.
The current Meijin!!
Suoh offers him something to drink instead, which Harada-san takes. He comments that all Hisashi has to do is change his appearance a little and no one notices him. Besides, he doesn't ever participate in the lower competitions, even though there are tons of people who want a piece of him. (TN: to duel him). In the background, Chihaya is looking for Harada-sensei.
"Are you only going to play in the Meijin duel?" asks Harada. Suoh mumbles something that only Taichi, Chihaya and Harada-sensei are able to hear.
Sorry, but I only want to duel the strongest players.
As soon as the administrators catch wind of his presence, they immediately chase him down (to which Suoh high tails it outta there!) and asks him to join the national karuta society as a promotor or an official, saying that he's going to graduate (from college) soon anyway. They also say things like "Stop running! You're an adult! Act like one! Why did you grow stubble?" -_-;
Chihaya and Taichi are shocked to have met the current Meijin.
Harada sensei on the other hand crushes the cup that Suoh gave him.
"I'm pissed," he grumbles. "Just thinking about how everyone here is giving it their all so they can have a match with that guy..."
He crumples the cup into a ball. "Shinobu Wakamiya I can at least understand. Ever since she was little she's had the aspiration. But Suoh-kun only started playing karuta in college, and 3 years into it, he became the Meijin, claiming 3 consecutive titles in a row."
"Wouldn't this make anyone (who works hard at karuta) dissatisfied?"
Harada-sensei turns away. "This year, I'm definitely gonna be (his) challenger."
Chihaya and Taichi are surprised at his determination.
You need weapons....
In order to not let a genius defeat you....
"Sensei--" Chihaya says, a little moved. "That's not important. This is not the time to be talking about that! What should I do? Should I continue my strategy with speed?"
"It's 'not important'??" Harada demands, almost insulted.
"I'm going to duel next with Ms. (Yumi Yamamoto)!"
Taichi looks down at the phone in his hand and notices that his text still wasn't sent in all that hullabaloo. He types something else and sends it.
"Yumi Yamamoto-san? Really? Just go sit down!"
"It's really bad! Really bad!"
"Why are you so unlucky? I'm going to leave, then."
Our weapon is having Harada-sensei with us. He never orders us to participate, but he lets us participate...
Taichi sends the message.
Cut scene: back at Omijingu, the Western Conference...
"Murao-san lost?" asks Arata incredulously. His karuta group members explain that he lost to a (Nishinari) high school freshman, which is quite unbelievable since he is their group's strongest player. Two years ago, Murao-san challenged the Meijin. But recently, he hasn't even been practicing. During break, Arata goes out to see him. He is smoking a cigarette outside the center.
Murao congratulates Arata on his first round victory. "It's really good that you came back (to karuta)," says Murao. "Certainly, the Nagumo Society's membership is high, but among them, only a handful perhaps are capable of becoming Meijin. All of that expectation was placed upon my shoulders. But from here on, you can carry that torch, right?"
He extinguishes his cigarette butt. "But, so what if you become the champion challenger.... You're never going to beat Hisashi Suoh."
Arata looks at him steadily as Murao walks past him and recalls the younger Mr. Murao he used to look up to as a child.
"Mr. Murao! Mr. Murao! Duel with me! Duel with me! I've becoming stronger!"
"Arata, before you surpass me, I guess I'd better become Meijin."
He rests his forehead against the back of his hand. Then his phone rings. He receives Taichi's message.
Text: Chihaya made it through the first round. Becoming Eastern Conference champion is definitely now my goal. So, you have to become the Western Conference champion!
Announcer: "The second round is about to start. Please review your tournament entry cards to locate your next assignment and find your seating."
Arata closes his phone and heads off to compete.
Cut scene: Chihaya's next challenge.
Miss Chihaya Ayase...
"P-pleased, to m-meet you!!" Chihaya bows nervously.
It's just like people have said...she's a pretty girl.
Chihaya bows her head nervously while blushing.
Her name suits her face, unlike me.... (TN: Chihaya means "a thousand mornings" whereas Yumi means "charmingly beautiful")
How annoying! Why are her eyes so full of light? It's really hard to keep comparing the two of us....
Announcer: "Let us begin the 2nd match of the day. You have 15 minutes to place and study your cards. The game will begin at 11:17."
Oh, for goodness' sake, how annoying!...Why did I even enter this competition?
Caption: Yamamoto Yumi, 24. Former Queen of karuta.