Looking back on 2014, part 4: what hurts the most…

Another year passes, and Chihayafuru makes it onto my list once again. Unlike in previous years, however, this time, it was for all the wrong reasons…

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“I’m sorry.”

** WARNING ** CHIHAYAFURU MANGA SPOILERS AHEAD **

Just like last year’s, this defining moment involves a confession: Taichi’s. But how different it was! Unlike Arata’s confession last year, I could clearly sense the manga building up to this moment, what with the preparations for Valentine’s Day, Sumire’s confession, and the expected ‘return presents’ on White Day. But whilst Taichi’s confession was pushed back just a bit further, the fantastic party that Chihaya threw for his birthday in early April only made the whole situation all the more painful for me when the moment finally came.

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“I’m in love with you, Chihaya.”
No way…that’s not true…it can’t be true…

As I have written in my reflections on the chapter and its aftermath, this outcome of ‘Chihaya rejecting Taichi without really thinking about what his feelings meant’ was precisely the outcome that I had expected and feared. Chihaya has long been far too absorbed in her own goals, and Taichi has never really been able to work out how to change that. However, whilst they both hold some responsibility for the disastrous fallout — namely, where neither of them is able to play karuta anymore — I maintain that Chihaya has the bigger issue to confront. And I dare say that that’s precisely what Suetsugu-sensei thinks as well.

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What about Arata? How does he feel about me?
No, Chihaya. This is NOT what should be on your mind at this very moment!! Why are you not thinking about the feelings of the boy in front of you, the boy who has just confessed to you?!

Please don’t get me wrong: I love Chihaya, I really do. She’s my favourite out of the main three, and that’s precisely why I’m so harsh on her. I want her to be able to achieve her dreams of spreading the love of karuta to ever more people. But in order for her to do that, there are certain flaws that she needs to identify and address, the biggest one of which is her relative inability to see anything that is not associated with her own wants and desires. Before I finish, I’d also like to highlight a comment that another mangaka made about one of his characters, though I’ll remove his name for the moment:

~~ is basically a very pure person who doesn’t think about whether what he does is good or bad. He just does what he wants to do, which causes trouble for others. He’s very self-centered, only concerned with himself. Some people might think what he’s doing is good, like avenging his parents or trying to realize his brother’s ideals. But he is troubling others in his pursuits, so that aspect is bad. So it’s hard to say with clarity, but it’s all about whether it’s right or wrong to be so self-centered with your goals. I’d say he’s not good or bad, he’s just pure.

If you can’t work out who the mangaka and character are from the latter’s actions, here’s my original post about it. Although Chihaya obviously isn’t as extreme as this character, I still think that ‘pure’ is a particularly apt way to describe her. And I agree with that mangaka’s sentiment – it’s all about whether it’s right or wrong to be so self-centered with your goals. Now…I get the feeling that quite a few Chihayafuru fans will be rather disgruntled with the association I’ve made between these two characters: I’m ok with that, but I’d certainly be interested in finding out what you all think about it. 🙂

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Will we ever see them like this again…?

In any case, since I’ve already written one too many posts on this topic, I shall leave this here. To be honest, even if Suetsugu-sensei hadn’t given us these developments this year, Chihayafuru would probably have made it only my list anyway, for reasons that I…don’t really want to talk about anymore. What’s important now is that I pick myself back up and actually get back to doing what I promised I would do: translating the missing chapters. 頑張るわ!

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

9 Responses to Looking back on 2014, part 4: what hurts the most…

  1. What a wonderful post again! I so agree what you say about Chihaya! She’s so engrossed in her own goals. But she had been progressing a bit, i thought. The party that she organized for Taichi was to truely cheer him up because he had been down for so long and at least she had caught on to that…………you made me all sad again with that last picture………..yeah, for now i don’t see how the rift between them can be closed but i suppose karuta will do it’s magic works…………maybe Arata? but for now i don’t think Arata can do anything for Taichi, maybe for Chihaya then……….

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    • karice says:

      Thank you ^^

      But she had been progressing a bit, i thought. The party that she organized for Taichi was to truely cheer him up because he had been down for so long and at least she had caught on to that……

      I thought she had been progressing too! But I think I’ve realised what her main issue was: because she was so focused on cheering Taichi up, that is, on treating the symptoms (him appearing depressed and lonely), she didn’t really sit down to think about what the causes of his problems could be. I’m not saying she did something inherently wrong – she did her best to bring some joy into Taichi’s life. It just backfired on her for a whole range of reasons, some of which are issues that she has to deal with, and some of which are issues that Taichi has to deal with.

      Having read the spoilers for chapter 140 myself, I really have no idea where this is heading. So I’ll probably wait for more clues from Suetsugu-sensei before I speculate any more than I already have ^^;

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  2. Oh please speculate a little Karice!! Wow aren’t those raws just depressing. Looks like Chihaya is miserable! When you hurt others, you hurt yourself aswell………….i guess……….i wonder if both Taichi and Chihaya won’t participate in the coming highschool tournament. That seems just unbelievable. Suetsugu san is pushing the drama pretty far (well ofcourse me too i’ll have to wait and see where this will go) I wanna speculate a little and think that Kana chan or Komano (who is in the same class as Taichi) will fill him out on what is happening to Chihaya…….at least i hope………..Arata doesn’t look like the appropriate person to get them going, maybe Chihaya but i think it would be way too painful for Taichi……………

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    • karice says:

      Oh, the first half of the chapter was WONDERFUL. Arata, in the flesh! And in a hakama!!

      And then Suetsugu-sensei brought us back to reality…(at least, that’s what it felt like). She’s right that people feel hurt when they realise how badly they’ve hurt someone – that is, if they accept that they have hurt someone. So I’m glad that Chihaya realises and accepts that she’s hurt Taichi. But it IS rather depressing so I’m avoiding a second read through until I’m ready to write my review of the chapter. And I’ll leave my speculation for then ^^;

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  3. eers says:

    haih, everytime i see a chihayafuru post i just get so depressed (regardless of content), i mean talk about a shitty place to release slowly. It’s like having severe depression and only given prozac like once a month

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    • karice says:

      Well…I’m not 100% certain, but going by one or two of her twitter comments, Suetsugu-sensei is finding it difficult to find the path forward herself… So even though it hurts, I’d much rather she take her time to develop what works for the story she wants to tell, for the end that she wants to get to. I find it a little scary to think that she might have written herself into a corner – other writers have certainly done that, to the extent that they ultimately couldn’t give their characters the ending they originally envisioned. I certainly hope that isn’t the case here!

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  4. Ah! so i was almost thinking the same thing as you!!! I have a feeling the narrative is getting pretty complicated and if she doesn’t want things to turn sour, she’ll truely have to take her time to work it out!!!!

    I really hope Suetsugu san will take her time to think how she is going to play this off without over dramatizing or making things super sappy!! let’s just all hope she didn’t get stuck, like you said!!! i’ll be looking out to your review of the chapter 🙂

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    • karice says:

      Well, I don’t know about it ‘turning sour’ if she doesn’t get it right, but I do think that this will turn out to have been the trickiest part to Chihayafuru. In terms of the narrative, I think that this has always been the key hurdle: what happens to the friendship between the three of them once the leanings of each of their hearts are known to the others. There are so many ways that this could turn out, and I think it may be the one thing that makes or breaks the manga, so agreed – I hope Suetsugu-sensei takes her time to work it out!

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  5. Pingback: For the record: かるたしょっさ | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

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