TN: Well, I had some spare time last night and this morning...So I thought I'd just finish vol. 8 first :-D
Broadcast: "Challenger Yamamoto attacked and took 3 cards consecutively to open the 2nd Queen's match...leading us to believe that she had taken control of the direction of the game.... But, the Queen responded in kind with her speed, thus taking 6 cards consecutively in return. Blocking Yamamoto's attack, in one breath the Queen has changed the pace of the game!" (TN: the translation repeats the phrase "6段" in this arc to describe both Yumi and Keiichi, suggesting that there are distinctions of status within the A ranks. A 'level 6' player may be a high rank, I'm not certain. The word 段 means "segment" as well, so it could be referring to the number of matches, though I doubt it since this is only their 5th match overall together, and 2nd match of this tournament.)
As Taichi, Chihaya and the others are watching the Queen take cards from Yumi not even the camera is able to pick up her exact movements.
"How incredibly sharp!" remarks Taichi.
"It's like watching her unsheathe a sword!" comments Meat bun.
"It's not like that!" insists Chihaya. "It's not that horrific."
She doesn't have that kind of attitude as if she's drawing out a sword.
Chihaya recalls the words Harada-sensei once told her when he first handed her a set of karuta cards. "Consider it as though you have one-hundred really good friends. Please get along well with them!" Chihaya starts to tear up.
Why is she crying?! thinks Desktomu.
Why is she crying?! thinks Meat bun. Taichi watches silently as Chihaya watches the match in silence.
I want to practice...
I can't sit...
I can't stand...
I want to practice right now!
I should just go with her, thinks Taichi to himself, thinking he would accompany her if she wanted to leave. That's not right. He remembers her words to him at the last competition.
"Next year, everyone in the A rank will be your enemy! Taichi, you have to go watch!"
The next card is read but Yumi takes it instead.
Broadcast: "I really thought the Queen had taken that last one as well, but it seems like she missed it entirely! Could it be that she became overconfident at the turn of events and so overcompensated with speed?"
When the telecast replays that last move in slow motion, it appears a card flying out of nowhere apparently struck Shinobu in the back, making her lose her concentration. It appears the card came from the other side of the room, where the Meijin competition is occurring at the same time.
So, the card first struck her, causing Shinobu's movements to become discordant, but that would mean...the person who sent the card flying has speed even greater than hers!! Can there really be such a person--?? (TN: meaning, if both games are being held at the same time, the Meijin took that card in his game before Shinobu did in hers)
Shinobu is incredibly annoyed, but takes a deep breath and returns her attention to her own game.
It's coming (back)! My dispersed concentration! thinks Shinobu. She stares at her opponent. Behind her, the Meijin has an even more ominous look on his face.
You're a hindrance! (TN: it's hard to decipher by the panels b/c the pictures themselves are a bit confusing, but I think Shinobu and Suoh are both thinking "礙事" which literally means, "hinder thing." So, you can interpret that as saying something more rude, like "Troublesome thing. Get out of my way.")
Caption: The strongest momentum attack!
Broadcast: "And so, it's over! It's over! Wakamiya Shinobu keeps her consecutive title of karuta Queen!"
The 20+ Midorikita karuta group cheering squad goes into despair, as does Meat bun.
Broadcast: "The second match resulted in a loss by 13 cards. Only 16 years old, and her attack is just that overwhelming. Only time will tell how much stronger she will evolve---"
Cut scene: Yumi in the preparation room
There were even 20+ group members from Tokyo who came here to cheer me on...Even though they knew the chances of winning were slim, they still believed in victory-- (they even had strategy meetings)
But all they had to do was open their eyes to see the vast disparity! Yumi thinks angrily. She's too fast, there's no way to even debate that! (TN: I could have told you that...wait, I did!)
No matter how I try to change my situation...! Yumi breaks down and cries into her hands. But then she stops and opens the sliding door to the adjacent hall. Her mentor and the 20+ cheering squad were all listening at the door, apparently checking on her to see if she was OK.
Yumi bows in front of Kitano and says, "I would like to come here again...I hope you will continue to guide me." (TN: masochist...?)
Cut scene: Shinobu's victory circle
Shinobu is smiling happily as the cameras take her picture. When the broadcasters praise her tactics, she plays humble and says, "What attack strength? I still have so far to go." When they ask how it was to play the former Queen as a challenger twice now, and Shinobu reveals she had no recollection of ever playing Yumi in the first place.
"Ah! That chick doesn't even remember playing Yumi last year!" cries out Meat bun.
"It was a real eye-opener," Shinobu responds to the questions. "It has helped me understand how immature I still am."
Not yet...thinks Chihaya as she watches sullenly. Not yet... I'm still not like Shinobu...or like Kana-chan...to have developed that kind of connection to the cards.
"Taichi? Do you have karuta cards?" she asks immediately. Taichi chooses to ignore her. He hears her, but there is something more important he must attend to. Meat bun throws a pillow at her and tells her not to be such a thoughtless idiot.
"Don't think just because the Queen's match is over that the broadcast is over as well! You've got to be kidding!" cries Meat bun. "For us guys, what comes next is the main event!"
"This is the only time of the year any of us can watch the Meijin Suoh Hisashi play!" insists Meat bun. In fact, everyone who wants to topple him is glued to their screens.
Inset art: A formidable foe
Cut scene: the Meijin duel
Suoh-san is annoyed that the NHK only started broadcasting his match with the remaining time from the Queen's tournament.
Broadcast: "The Meijin lost by 5 cards in the first match. But in the second match he dominated with a difference of 15 cards. That's curious. The result of his matches reflect the Queen's matches exactly."
He's so lax, thinks Shinobu. (TN: the translation indicates she thinks, 差劲的兴趣, which means "poor interest." This suggests that Suoh lost on purpose to make it interesting or, he's just really that careless and he's barely taking his opponent seriously.)
Broadcast: "Well then, let's introduce the players for the Meijin match. The challenger is the High German Court College's karuta group member, Keiichi Takesaku-san, level 6. On the one hand, he is a government employee, working for the chiropractic ministry, and on the other hand, he hones his karuta skills in his college karuta group. This year, he finally made it to this seat, his desire bringing him to the Meijin competition."
(TN: This part was hard. The translation says 西国老家担任府骨师, which means "seifu" or government "home parliament chiropractor" -- what does that mean?? Either he is learning to be a chiropractor for the government, or he works for the chiropractor's union/ministry in the government? Lol, whatever. Something to do with chiropractors and government)
I've had enough, the challenger Keiichi-san thinks. I just want to go home and get a massage.
Broadcast: "Hopefully he will be able to counter-attack in this third match."
Wishful thinking after wishful thinking... after doing my best...but I might actually...
I might actually hate karuta now.
Broadcast: "And receiving the challenger is the Meijin for the 3rd consecutive year, Suoh Hisashi-san. According to the pre-game introduction, we know he is sure to stay yet another year in University. Oh, that is really too bad."
Held back a year?? thinks Chihaya
Ah-- thinks Meat bun in shock.
"It must be because he's handsome that people can put the disgrace aside and feel sorry for him," comments Kana-chan. Those watching in Arata's karuta club are wondering if that's something that should be broadcast and if he's in his 6th or 7th year now. Taichi thinks back when he first met Suoh, and the Meijin offered him a pastry snack.
Are you in the A rank?
Then, none for you.
"Ayase!" says Meat bun. "The Meijin is certainly someone of note for the rest of us (guys), but it's important that you should take note of him too.
"You might be thinking you need to learn Shinobu Wakamiya's technique in order to beat her, but it might be faster for you to learn Suoh's technique." Chihaya looks at him in wonder. Desktomu get's an epiphany and pulls out a pen and pad and starts taking notes.
Cut scene: back at the match
Suoh notices who will be the one to read during the 3rd match. He exudes loving thoughts towards the older woman, 山場今日子 (Yamshiro? Kyoko-san)
I love you!! he thinks, blushing.
She picks up on it, and it gives her the chills... -_-; She reads the opening poem, and everyone watching the broadcast tenses.
But even before she is done reading the first syllable of the first card, Suoh's hand has already claimed it effortlessly. Everyone watching, and especially Keiichi his opponent, are wide-eyed in shock.
Broadcast: "Did everyone see that?! For the 2 syllable card, "kaku," the Meijin's hand already reached out at the first syllable. The one syllable cards have "mu," "su," "me," "fu," "sa," "ho," and "se," these 7 in total. But during the introduction interview, the Meijin responded that according to him, there are 28."
(TN: meaning, there are 28 cards that Suoh can distinguish as if distinguishing a single syllable card, the easiest cards to take. Therefore his ability makes taking these particular cards like second nature to him.)