TN: So I read ahead to volume 12 and I'm glad Arata returns. but Arata is more of an airhead than I thought... ::sigh::
I'm weirded out by Shinobu a little bit. But other than that I think the Mizusawa team is totally awesome. The main storyline continues and it's pretty exciting. The competitions are really challenging to translate because of their complexity in terminology and names, but it's very exciting!
Here I translated Chapter 60 too, just to keep the flow of the match going. If I didn't have to wake up early tomorrow for work, I'd translate the finale in Chapter 61 too. :*(
Opening scene: we just left off where Chihaya had taken the next card at the first syllable (even though it wasn't necessarily a single syllable card)
Even before Sudo is done reciting the verse, and even before anyone else moves, Chihaya is already claiming the card and placing it by her side.
There should be more syllables read for the "hitomowoshi" card. Similarly the "hisakatano" card shouldn't be taken just after hearing the "hi" syllable--
Was it because she had already been eying that card so she had prepared earlier to make the first move?
But it can't just be that....
It seems like even the syllable "hi" hadn't even been read, and she already reached out to take the card--
Amakasu notices the look in Chihaya's eyes and it's almost awe inspiring. But he slaps his cheeks to snap himself out of it.
That's impossible! No one can do that sort of thing! That was just a chance guess that won't happen again, insists Amakusa.
While he is thinking this, Sudo is worried for him. Collect your concentration, Amakasu. That's not just wildly taking a card by chance. Ayase Chihaya, she.... Sudo recalls how he lost to her in the regional championship when he was still captain of the team. The card Amakasu just lost was the same card that cost Sudo and Hokuo the regional championship title.
...can hear it.
She can "hear" it!
I don't know how it is in the way I read it that she can make that distinction, but the "hi" syllable in "hisa" and "hito" are definitely different sounding.
I want to know...just what exactly is it that you hear?
I want to know!
Sudo then comes to a sudden realization. It's not something my voice has "communicated" to you...but it's something you've mastered!
Again, she takes the next card at the first syllable. As Harada watches, he too comes to a silent realization that it isn't just a fluke.
She's done it again.... thinks Amakusa. Clearly, "takinotone" hadn't even been read yet, but as soon as she heard "ta" she reached out and took the card.
There are certainly other players whose actions and reactions are much faster...but, she and they seem to be different-- Suddenly the image of Suoh comes to mind. He sees Chihaya exactly like Suoh Meijin.
Harada at this point is brimming with pride. He remembers telling her not to try to be faster than the Queen. It's already been 9 months since then. Even though the path was very difficult, but Chihaya...has improved!
In the first half of the match, you were taking the cards as straight and directly as you could. Then you bore the risk and more significantly took a card from your opponent with infinite speed.
I see that you want to add to your arsenal.
Meanwhile, Chihaya is still in a trance-like state. She recalls Suoh Mejin's words.
"To me, there are 28 single syllable cards."
Followed by the words Tsutomu told her after the Meijin match. "Ayase, you also have 20 single syllable cards!"
Ah, it's not a problem!
It's something she's been aware of since she was in 6th grade. The indistinguishable characteristic, even before the sound of the word is formed... I can "hear" it!
I am the same! Chihaya's face hardens with determination. Amakusa is a bit taken aback. She's clearly affecting him as his next move results in a penalty for him.
Ah! Damn! So dumb! to make a mistake at this kind of tournament. So uncool!
Amakusa, Sudo thinks. Open your mouth and say something. Don't let your opponent have the advantage of gathering their spirit! Regardless of whether it's to say, "Your hand has crossed the border boundary" or "Your nose hair is sticking out" just say anything! Open your mouth!
But...this is only if I wasn't the karuta reader...that I'd have no way of understanding this sentiment. I don't want to hinder you guys...
Such focused spirit!
Chihaya is able to take the next card as well, making it three in a row. Now, they are evenly matched at 5 cards each.
My 5 card lead has vanished in one breath, thinks Amakasu.
Damn it! Why did it turn out to be this kind of exhausting competition? Amakasu throws a frustrated look in Hiro's direction. I blame Hiroshi who acted on his own accord....
But Hiroshi also hasn't won yet?
"Pit the strong against the strong, and the weak against the weak. If we don't compete like that then what's the meaning of that victory?" Hiro had said before the match. Amakasu recalls what he said to him in anger.
Captain Sudo is no longer around. In Hokuo's team, I'm the top player. I didn't care that other clubs told me I could never be their strongest player (he's too short)... But every player within those clubs...at the end of the summer, chose me to be their leader.
Sudo then reads the 5 syllable "yononakayo" card and Amakasu is able to take it.
After guarding the "yononakawa" card, Chihaya then reached into the enemy's border.... notes Harada-sensei. (TN: meaning she was one step behind. Luck of the draw that he had the card, I guess.)
But, she still couldn't get to it, thinks Tsuboguchi.
It doesn't matter how small my body is, my guarding hand will never lose to a girl! (TN: A little sexist, are we, little Amakusa? Didn't you lose to Shinobu by a miserable 25 cards?)
Even if it's by a small margin...even if it's only by a single card. At the very last I will use Hokuo's (style) karuta to realize victory!
His teacher is sympathizing with him. Amakusa...Amakusa has shored up his strength. Even though I wanted him to relax a little earlier.... But the others still haven't obtained their victories yet?
At that time, Desktomu is thinking, I know that everyone beside me is giving it their all...and I know that my opponent in front of me is starting to be alarmed.
Why? Why can't I pull ahead any further? his opponent is thinking. Tsutomu is supposed to be a very weak player! Last year he lost to me by 15 cards.... I have to end this quickly!
Does he think my defeat last year would affect me? Because he thought so little of me, all of his "attack" cards are placed together in his lower right quadrant, thinks Tsutomu.
"Chi--" reads Sudo. All of the remaining Mizusawa players move together.
"--haya--" All of them reach the card at the same time.
"--furu Kamiyo mo kikazu Tatsuta-gawa--"
The audience, the teachers, and Hokuo's players are all stunned with mouths agape.
THEY TOOK IT...ALL FOUR OF THEM TOOK THE CARD!
Tsutomu's opponent challenges his take because he was still guarding that card, but Desktomu explains that he reached the card first, palm up, and slipped his hand underneath his opponent's.
A left handed block... was attacked with a right handed entry.... This guy already strategized it from the beginning? his opponent thinks incredulously.
Certainly, you've been studying karuta longer... thinks Tsutomu of his opponent. But ever since I lost to you by 15 cards last year, within this year I've practiced karuta to the point where I'm certain the one who feels happiest is me!
It's definitely... me!!
This is amazing, thinks Meat bun-kun watching his team play. Everyone's battles are so intense. I've never seen it before. There's a possibility that everyone's match will end in "sudden death."
Just as Meat bun realizes this, all of the Hokuo players also realize it.
Damn! Damn! DAMN!! thinks Meat bun frantically. He tries to will his team mates to realize this too.
If you guys don't realize it soon, all of you will lose!
The way the cards are positioned, each player has the two same cards but in different positions. Each side has an even chance of taking the correct card. However, if the players don't realize it, they may end up giving up the wrong card to the opponent. Taichi and Tsutomu are the first to notice.
Just as the next card is taken by Taichi, Tsutomu, Oe, and Amkasu, each match now becomes a game of "sudden death."
Hokuo's players strategically place the card they have remaining in a staggered fashion. Whether it is the "akino" or the "asabo" card, at least 2 of them will win (making it 3 victories to win the trophy).
At this point, Meat bun is waving his arms wildly at Chihaya to make her notice what her teammates have done with their cards. Unfortunately, she is clueless...and positions the card to her opponent's advantage. (O_o) Meat bun then looks like he's about to fall over.
We're at a disadvantage!
Hokuo's formation...is complete.