Chihayafuru – 135

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Even glaciers move, though too slowly to be discerned by the human eye…

It’s taken us 135 chapters, but it appears that Suetsugu-sensei may finally be taking the tiniest steps forward in putting Taichi out of his misery advancing the relationship between Chihaya and Taichi.  She’s faked me out before so I’m making zero assumptions, but this is one of the more direct allusions to progress we’ve seen thus far.  And how ironic that the impetus should mostly come not from Kana, who’s been the tireless agent for change, but from Sumire of all people.

The pretext for all this is Valentine’s Day, that much-utilized catalyst in romance manga since time immemorial.  All the girls are worried about Taichi’s generally gloomy demeanor since his solo jaunt and loss to Arata, even – almost unbelievably – Chihaya, who shows signs of actually noticing that Taichi exists.  She even muses on how kind and hard-working he is before breaking into tears about his current state (such a tease, Suetsugu-san).  Kana suggests everyone get together and make homemade chocolate for the boys in the band, to help cheer Taichi up (among other reasons, but that’s the one she admits to openly).

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Let me be clear that I would consider flat-out rejection and utter defeat progress on the Chihaya-Taichi front – I’m not asking for miracles.  I’ve long since given up on the possibility that Suetsugu is going to allow Taichi a moment of genuine happiness, so my hope is that his cross of purgatory and hell will come to and end – he’ll get his feelings out in the open, have them stomped on, and start the process of trying to move on (presumably by trying to become the Meijin).

There’s a pretty good feint that the chapter is going to be mostly comic in nature, as Chihaya and Kana prove utterly hapless at making chocolate before Sumire walks in on their misadventures and assumes command.  On the subject of homemade chocolate she’s an expert, and she devises a menu that includes an array of delicacies like chocolate waffles (all of which are destined to be sniped by Chihaya’s Dad – jeebus, when was the last time we saw him?).  But when Chihaya notes that Taichi has been inundated with Valentine’s chocolate since they were kids and would actually prefer salted fish, she makes a stealth visit to a high-end gourmet shop to take advantage…

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I’ve never been a huge fan of Sumire as a character, but this was probably her finest hour.  She seems to have accepted that she has no chance with Taichi, even if she’s been unable to turn off her own feelings, and there’s a certain pathos in that.  And when she finally gives Taichi his Valentine’s fish – by tossing them to him out the window after waiting fruitlessly for a moment when he wasn’t surrounded by adoring girls – she does two things.  First, she confesses – though that’s old news at this point.  But the kicker is that she follows that up by urging Taichi to do the same – to make his feelings known to the person he loves.  Good on ya, Sumire-chan.

Will this be enough to shame Taichi into finally doing what he should have done a year ago or more, and be upfront with Chihaya about his feelings?  This is Chihayafuru – I’ll believe it when I see it, and even then I’ll be suspecting it’s a dream or fantasy sequence.  But I certainly think that’s what should happen, and while I hold little optimism for a positive result from Taichi’s perspective, the key here is that even what seems not to be a positive would be a positive.  It would be movement, it would be some sense of closure.  But I’m convinced Taichi is even going to be allowed that kind of Pyrrhic victory – this is Chihayafuru after all…

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  1. K

    Sumire might not be my favorite character but she has really grown on me. I admit I didn't like her when she is first introduced but I have come to love her just as much as everyone else and hope she finds happiness. And although Taichi/Sumire would not be my first choice, I wouldn't be completely against it either.

    Obviously Sumire knows if Taichi confesses to Chihaya she has less chance with him but that just shows she puts his happiness above her own happiness with him and isn't that what love is about. I think that shows that Sumire has grown from the girl who first become interested in Taichi because of appearances.

    I really liked this chapter a lot although the ending might have been the greatest twist ever lol.

    Anyways I am spoiled for the next two chapters (mainly because I can't stay away from the Chihayafuru tumblr tag) and I will say the next couple chapters are really really really good. Look forward to them.

  2. r

    What a thing it is to be caught up with an ongoing manga. I thought that waiting a week for a new episode of a show was hard? HA! That's nothing compared to waiting almost a month for a new chapter of Chihayafuru and then have it be this short.

    I'm glad people are looking out for Taichi, and I'm hoping we get to find out what happened (if anything) between him and Suou on the plane soon.

    I think it's pretty certain that whenever Taichi confesses to Chihaya, he'll get shot down at first. But the evidence piles up, slowly—and I think they will be together in the end. Hope. If they're not…

  3. c

    Enzo i really hope you keep reviewing Chihayafuru! I'm still hoping for a third season and it looks like soon there will be enough material to make a good one!!

    For all the slow, snail like development that has been going on, things are suddenly speeding up and getting very very interesting!!

  4. I may bitch about it, but I doubt I would ever really drop it. Not many series can make me feel as deeply as this one.

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