Chihayafuru – 169

I really don’t care what happens in the Class A final between Arata and Shinobu.  Does that make me a bad person?  Fact is, I’m forced to consider putting my coverage of Chihayafuru on hold – or at least making it selective based on content – because I’m running out of things to say about it.  It just feels like one tournament blending into another, and the results are more predictable than ever.

If indeed something interesting is going on in the other classes – like Tsutomu and Hiro going at it (who would I root for, I wonder?) for the Class B title – Suetsugu-sensei didn’t show it to us here. Indeed, the most interesting thing I saw from her was the end card for Arslan Senki.  The way she portrayed Nishida this week felt, honestly, like a writer who had in mind to try and do something interesting and gave up halfway.  There was a bit of song and dance about poor Nishida breaking up his usual losing routine against Arata, then two panels later the match was over (and so was the Queen’s).

I can make no promises about the future, but if something worth writing about happens, I’ll blog it.  But for the moment, Chihayafuru is the first-ever manga that’s been on the bubble.



  1. Yeah, it’s hard to really care about Arata and Shinobu’s match as… haven’t we seen that already before? Hopefully there will be some surprises (or other avenues are explored, at least) ahead, and I think the final page indicates that. Otherwise… yeah, I am just kind of reading this so I can get some progress (or closure – is that too much to ask?) on the well-established character arcs.

  2. I

    But hey! Class B will have 2 winners from 2 different blocks, so let’s just hope they will not be in the same blocks and win, 2 of them!

  3. That would be a major cop-out.

  4. I

    True.. But I do not wish to see Retro to be the pig for slaughter forever (he’ll probably disappear too after this), and I want Tsutomu to have his moment for once, so I’ll just hope Suetsugu will take it easy and “screw this let’s make you both win” (nah, unlikely)

    Hope we’ll end this stagnation as soon as possible (it’s 1.5 year++ in just nationals arc), and you’ll find your enthusiasm back in this series!

  5. e

    Oh Enzo *pat pat* .
    – A glimpse of Taichi if only in Chi’s memories! I’ll take it XD.
    – Other than that I think the chapter managed to show a step forward for Chihaya in feeling more human – heavens know she really needs development – even if Nishida had to be the sacrificial piglet for her empathy achievement. Baby steps along the way to Mount Fuji. What station were we supposed to be past btw, can anyone remember? I think we are supposed to be about 2/3 of the way to completion but my memory could be tricking me.

  6. Has Suetsugu announced a specific number of chapters?

    That whole thing with Nishida and Chihaya felt rote to me – like Suetsugu had an idea she wanted to do something meaningful and cut herself off at the knees and said screw it.

  7. e

    @Enzo: not to my knowledge. But there was a passage somewhere – by Suetsugu herself or by her editor – with the Mount Fuji path stations/stops analogy and they mentioned the story had reached station *insert name/number here* so you could roughly infer how far along (or not) the story is supposed to be.

    That part didn’t feel rote to me – it was the high point of the chapter after the Taichi tease for me actually :p – but hey if part of your reaction stems from frustration and Taichi withdrawal I feel ya. I’ve stated before I’d rather have Kanade and her own approach to karuta take center stage if a ton of karuta matches and little to no Taichi is what we are going to get. Her angle about the meaning and artistry of the poems is the only ‘sport’ one I can really get into . But alas that’s not going to happen.

    I am still mildly curious about the Shinobu-Arata match to see if we are getting some of Arata’s inner thoughts. Suetsugu should let us spend some time inside his head (at last!) for a chance to care more about him… also because from where I stand the next chapter(s) might really start to feel like a chore otherwise.

  8. I don’t think Taichi has anything to do with it. Stagnation is the issue – plot stagnation, character stagnation. Again, it felt to me as if she was planning to do something with Nishida and then, boom! Two panels later, that’s over and done with. That scene between he and Chihaya at the end (all two panels of it) fell totally flat for me – there was no buildup and no payoff.

  9. Z

    Can’t help but think that you’ve lost interest in the story and it’s not the story’s fault. Your analysis these past few chapters have shown that. I don’t see how this tournament is blending with the other tournaments or whatsoever when:

    1) Taichi isn’t there
    2) Shinobu’s playing with a new resolve
    3) Chihaya has become more matured and definitely stronger
    4) Arata doesn’t seem as calm as he usually is as a player – which I think perfectly sets up the rematch with Shinobu

    So yeah, I feel that this tournament has been rather different from the other arcs (in fact I feel that each of the tournaments have been unique in their own) but these are just my two cents. I hope I don’t sound defensive. Hopefully, your interest in the narrative reignites again and hope to hear from you again soon.

  10. It all comes down to opinions, really. If you like these developments that’s great. I just feel like there’s been a drift pretty much since the end of the Harada-Suou match, with a few sparks of light intermixed. I’m fatigued with where the story is now – it feels like we’re in that hamster-on-a-wheel mode.

  11. E

    I totally feel you! I think this is what Hikaru no go would be like if the junior high team battle was 3 times as long, we’re not even at the insei pro exams in Hikaru no go terms there just isn’t enough forward momentum in the current series be it with karuta or the relationships there’s just a lot of lateral movement.

    Give me back my Taichi ship Suetsugu you meanie!

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