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Friday, January 27, 2012

Chihayafuru Manga Synopsis: Vol. 7.6 (Chapter 41)

Chapter 41

Cut scene:  Chihaya sitting with her mouth open, astonished at the card layout

Caption:  Dueling with Yamamoto Yumi, former Queen of karuta.

Apparently, on Yamamoto's side, there are 5 single syllable cards, 7 three syllable cards, and the remaining are all two syllable cards.

Is this just inviting me to attack (her side)?

My luck is really good! Chihaya thinks as Yamamoto places the "chihayafuru" card down at the left end, in an easy position for Chihaya to reach for it.

Chihaya pauses to think of a telecast she watched of when Yamamoto-san won the title of Queen.  She was in her last year of college.  When the interviewer asked how she felt, all Yamamoto-san could say among her tears was, "Kitano-sensei..." as she wiped her tears with the back of her hand.  Chihaya had been watching with Harada-sensei and the others at the Shiranami Society, at which point Harada had both hers and Hiroshi-kun's heads in a lock, saying, "Kitano is one annoying bastard, but he is his disciples' number 1 fan!  (TN: the translation says 曲範, which means music fan? I'm not sure how to translate that...)  Everyone!  When you become Meijin or Queen, don't forget to sing my praises!"

Those tears when she was saying her mentor's name...  Chihaya notices that those same calloused hands that were shown on TV are the same hands in front of her now--a product of habitually placing her knuckles against the tatami mat year after year.  Someone who kept trying harder and harder until finally, she realized her dream.  She recalls Harada-sensei telling her that Yamamoto was a formidable opponent.

"But, I think you are ready to tell yourself, 'Go for it!'" he said.

Even if my opponent was the former Queen, we must both, still go through this competition!

Desktomu-kun wonders who Chihaya's opponent is, and Kana responds that she's seen her at their karuta society before, but she's never seen her play.  Taichi asks Meat-bun for his opinion, but Nishida is crouched on the floor counting...ants?  (Apparently he is still recovering from his match with Sudo, where he lost by 20 cards...)  He's petrified because the skill level of the A ranks far exceeds his own and so he lost all confidence.  When Taichi asks him again, who Yumi Yamamoto is, Nishida is shocked to hear that Chihaya is playing her.  Taichi is shocked by his reaction.  Nishida says her karuta playing, one could say, is tenaciously strong, like a tightly wrapped coil. But, suffice to say, ever since she's donned the Queen's title, she's been overly cautious.

"But the real Yumi is--"  Nishida is interrupted by his mentor.  He is forbidden from sharing any of their society's secrets with non-members and orders Nishida, Kana and Tsutomu to go cheer for Yumi and that they're going to watch her reclaim the title of Queen.

Cut scene:  Wakamiya residence

Shinobu is busy scribbling away on stamped envelopes.  Apparently she is entering a Snow Snow contest where you send in xx amount of proofs of purchase in order to claim Snow Snow special commemorative memorabilia (TN: a purse and something else I can't make out b/c the scan is fuzzy)

The phone rings.

"Wakamiya residence," she answers.  "...Hello?  Hello?"
"How are you?" asks the voice on the other side.
CLICK.  She hangs up on the caller.  The phone rings again.
She picks up, demanding, "What do you want, Suoh-san?  My ice cream is melting."
"What a coincidence, I'm eating taiyaki right now."
"If you're eating taiyaki right now, then I must be in your way.  Even though it's a pity since you just called, but we'll chat again another time," she says in a scripted tone.
"Don't say that," says Suoh.  "Because today is the day of the Eastern and Western Conferences.  So I was just wondering what you were doing, Shinobu."
"I just told you!  I'm at home eating ice cream!"
"I went to check out the Eastern Conference," says Suoh.
"What a cold response!  Everyone is giving it their all just so they can compete with us."
"All the more reason why (I think) you're boring."
"If I don't see that kind of determination, I won't get worked up for my match.  Aren't you the same?"
No response....
"...My qualifications are still shallow.  At the last Queen's competitive match I was fortuitous, I barely picked up a victory."
"There you go again!  Your first match was a major win." (TN: can't read the rest of what he says here b/c the scan is crappy.)

After a pause, he adds, "I...want to duel with you."
"Well then that's easy, just enter the (Takamatsu) Society Cup Championship held the day after the Meijin competition. If you enter, so will I."
"No, I don't wanna duel karuta for two straight days!  Besides, before I even face you I don't know how many duels I have to complete!  I don't wanna!"
Shinobu hangs up on him and walks away pissed.

I want to duel with you...

Shinobu walks out of the house to deliver her post.  Upon meeting the post box, she prays fervently to win her prize.  A kid and her mother pass by and the kid says out loud, "Mom, the post box isn't a shrine."  Her mom tells her to hush.

I want to duel with you...

She pictures a young... <GASP> Arata in her mind??  (TN:  Wha--? When did they ever meet??)

Cut scene:  Back at the Western Conference

Shinobu Wakamiya definitely...hasn't thought of me since.... thinks Yumi.

Caption: In her (Shinobu's) arsenal she had such a inhuman strength about her. When the noon hour came it became really hot,  and they had to find an opportunity to air out the room so the competitors wouldn't pass out.  (But even in that condition) That fifteen year old kid made it impossible for me to defend my own karuta cards.

Caption:  Pressed close...she's distanced herself, like her body's been shackled to one spot. (Chihaya observing Yumi)

It's so hot, Chihaya thinks.  Even the air I'm breathing is sweltering!  This part of the duel is like being raked across the coals! You were so right, sensei! (TN: there was no way she could get away with wearing a hakama)

Most people wouldn't be able to come here.  Everyone here is A rank.  They would notice even the slightest noise.  Everyone here understands the importance of being able to listen carefully.

Caption: The competition where the Meijin and Queen challengers are chosen...even the person reading the cards is a steady stream. (TN: I don't know what 趕一流的 means; I'm not familiar with that phrase. It literally means "catch one flowing of" and that means nothing to me, so I'm guessing it's a comment on the quality of the one reading the cards)

Another card is read.

It's come to the "Oyama" card!  And my competition is the former Queen!  I'm really satisfied!  I'm really having fun!

The onlookers think, Yamamoto is being overtaken...
Her challenger is the same girl who beat Lilia Tachikawa?
She's a real beauty!
Is she the same age as the current Queen?

The onlookers think that it would be interesting to watch if Chihaya continues to plow thorugh her opponents, one by one.  They also think that the former Queen is "past her prime" and her peak was actually back when she was still in college.

Her teacher thinks, The first half of the duel isn't important, idiot.  You have to win, Yumi!

Chihaya takes another and her teammates note it's been a few consecutive points for her.  It's even a 3 syllable card, Chihaya's weakest point.  Taichi notices that she hasn't made a single mistake and it's looking good for her.

Meat bun and his teacher look anxious.  You can still do it, Yumi, says her mentor.  Just start attacking relentlessly now!

Chihaya takes the next one and with every small victory, Yumi sinks deeper into despair.  Chihaya notices and takes the next card as well.  Meat bun feels sorry for Yumi, having lost 4 cards in a row now to her opponent.

Yumi gives a weak smile and Chihaya is reminded of a time when she was younger and ask some inexperienced friends to play karuta with her.  They were shocked at how karuta was actually played and they lost even though it was 3 against 1.  They gave her the same defeatist smiles.

"How annoying! It's impossible, Chihaya....We could never learn to play that...."

Why are you smiling like that? Chihaya wonders.  You who have callouses from the tatami?  Your waist is never off the ground, your hand is not reaching out straight...  The prior Queen?  Why are you like this?  You who once realized your dream....?

"Not yet!  Not yet!" says her mentor stubbornly. "She can still start now!  Now!"

TN: Yumi's past is characterized by the next three panels.  Her teacher seems really pushy and equivocal in his praises of her.  He's not satisfied with her performance in every panel! You can't really tell if winning is something she wants, or if she's been pushed to uphold the glory of her karuta society because her pushy teacher demands it of her....

Meat bun thinks that Yumi is losing to the pressure of battle, but the truth is, she's afraid of facing the queen again.  She  has been so demoralized and has no way of going back to being in a position where she can win against Shinobu.

Meanwhile, everyone in the competition room is dying from the heat.  

Even if I win, she'll be waiting for me in the end.  I can't win against her.

Chihaya wonders why there's such a cold aura around Yumi when it's so freakin' hot in there.  She recalls what Harada-sensei told her.

Chihaya, you've come to the point where you can just tell yourself, "GO!"

Chihaya gets fired up.  Harada sensei, I'm not letting someone who's already given up take a single card from me!

---End Chapter, End vol. 7---

TN:  Ok this was by far the lamest chapter to translate for many reasons.  The translation was fully difficult.  This story arc is lame, and slow.  The scenario and the situation are just so ridiculous.  

OK, first: Why the hell would you put people in an air tight (but not sound proof?) room with no circulation?  Are you trying to suffocate them??  Why not find better facilities to hold this competition?  Why not air out the room and turn on the A/C in the ten minutes to spare between sessions?  Why not build special (soundless) ventilation?  Japan, you are a technologically advanced country!!  Your toilets have sophisticated control panels!  I think you're capable of building silent air vents!  

Second of all, who let the grade schooler into the event?  Doesn't she have an age appropriate event to join?  Shouldn't there be an age limit to who can enter the competition?  What a waste of time that was...

Third, what the hell is wrong with Yumi?  Does she even have her own personality apart from what her sensei wants from her??  If she's already graduated college then why isn't she working and doing something useful with her life?  She should take pride in that she was Queen once and stop letting her sensei force her into chasing former glories.

Finally: Well, you know that it takes Chihaya 2 years (6 years from when she first met Arata in the 6th grade) to get to the Queen's competition where we first see her in Chapter 1, Volume 1, so.... since it's only the first year in High School, I don't have to tell you how this is going to end....  It's just so dissatisfying since she was doing so well!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the translation again!

    Technically, you can never build a completely silent ventilation system, since it will always run on electricity. Even natural ventilation like windows would be problematic because of the sound of air flowing itself.

    Personally, I think that excluding Ririka would have been ageist. After all, Shinobu was only 14 when she became Queen. It's okay as long as you're Class A, right?