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Note

Please check Karuta Glossary before you read this article.
Not every detail of match are written in Chihayafuru anime and manga. This article contains speculations.

Legend
Reciter's Phonation
Unique
Syllable
Opponent's
Territory
Taken
Card
Unique
Syllable
Player's
Territory
Unique
Syllable

National Highschool Karuta Championship Tokyo Regionals

Chihaya Ayase (Mizusawa H.S.) VS. Sano (Tomihara West H.S.)

- Chihaya's Come-From-Behind Victory -

Chihaya vs seno setup
6. Nani-shi owaba....
Ka
ku
U
ka
Fu Na
tsu
U
ra
Hi
to
wa
A
shi
A
ma
tsu
Hi
sa
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

Chihaya took a deep breath and overviewed the field. Put simply, this was worst situation.

  • Her formations was symmetric, but she should have biased to right area as a right-handed player.
  • Two remaining cards of opponent were "Easy to Defend" Two Syllable Cards.
  • Two "Easily Mistaken" Three Syllable Cards were in own side. They might be troublesome for a speed-dependent player like her.
  • "Easy to Attack" One Syllable Card (Fu) was exposed at defenseless upper left position. She should have send it beforehand, or protect at lower right area where is easily defensible for a right-hander.
  • Two set of Like Cards, A- and Hi-, were left in her side. Splitting Like Cards to both sides is the basic of offensive-style players, and she forgot even the basics of her own style. What was worse, the Hisa and Hitowa cards are in Cross Hand position. (The condition of Cross Hand is: all Like Cards are in same side and no other "dead" Like Cards exists.) A Cross Hand position in own side is a critical weakpoint for offensive-style players.
  • The Like Cards of Uka and Ura were split, but the diagonal line of upper-right to lower-left was not good. When a right-handed player like Chihaya is aiming at upper-right and the oppoent is also a right-hander, she can't turn back on the diagonal line before the opponent's take if reciter reads lower-left card. In other words, if reciter had read Ura before Uka, Chihaya would have lost at the moment.

Now, let's see how she turned the tide.


Chihaya vs seno hear reciter

Lestening reciter's breath.

Chiyaha vs seno ka

Ka...

5. Kaku-todani....
Ka
ku
U
ka
Fu Na
tsu
U
ra
Hi
to
wa
A
shi
A
ma
tsu
Hi
sa
Ki mi
ga ta
me o
Chihaya vs sano ku

ku...

Put simply, the difference between offensive-style and defensive-style are; the former moves their hand to opposing side first while the latter moves to own side first. As an offensive-style player, Chihaya decided to aim at opponent's best area, lower right, to pile pressure on opponent to turn the tide. Luckily, reciter's next card assisted her. The Kaku card became one of
Chihaya vs sano to

to...dani!

Chihaya vs sano shock

What happened?!

the fastest and best take in whole episodes of Chihayafuru thanks to that.

It is known that skilled karuta players are contoling their hand's speed. If they move too fast, they risk fault. If too slow, they risk opponent's take. The perfect speed and timing which synchronize reciter's rhythm... do you believe such thing is possible within the hand action of around 0.2 seconds? Actually, they do this, and Chihaya did it too.

The moment the reciter open the mouth, Chihaya had already started rushing her hand to Kaku. Her hand flew over Kaku's edge as the Ka- sound was phonated, and the moment the Unique Syllable was decided with following -ku sound, she landed the hand on the card, making this take the fastest and most precise timing possible that shocked even audiences including Sudo and Hiro.

The opposing Sano couldn't move a bit. Imagine how she was horrified when she heard Chihaya's YOSSHAA! (Yes!) shout. It was not a coinsidence.


Chihaya sent Hisa card to split Hi- Like Cards. {C}
Chihaya vs sano uka

Switch to the right!

4. Uka-rikeru....

Hi
sa

U
ka
Na
tsu
U
ra
Hi
to
wa
A
shi
A
ma
tsu
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

The next card was Uka. Chihaya was aiming upper left again, but quickly turned her hand to right as she heard reciter's U- sound. As written above, Sano would have turned the tide again if the next card was Ura. Even for Chihaya, it might be impossible to move upper-left -> upper-right -> lower-left quickly enough.


Chihaya confirmed the tide had come. She sent "Easy to Attack" Fu- card for going on an offensive.
Chihaya vs sano hitowa

From upper left to lower left.

3. Hitowa....
Hi Fu
Na
tsu
U
ra
Hi
to
wa
A
shi
A
ma
tsu
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

The next was Hitowa. The reason why she had sent Hisa, not Hitowa, is this: Hisa is shorter than Hitowa, thus she can go back from Hisa to Hitowa at the moment she hears -to sound. She carefully took the Hitowa card. Note that the Hisa card was changed to One-Syllable Hi- Card by Unique-syllable Shift.

Now two "Easy to Defend" Two Syllable Cards were switched with "Easy to Attack" One Syllable Cards. As Taichi pointed in episode 6, Chihaya is an expert of One Syllable Cards. It was the completion of pursuit formation.

Chihaya vs sano fu

Losing One Syllable Card...

2. Fu-kukarani....
Hi Fu
Na
tsu
U
ra
A
shi
A
ma
tsu
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

Fu-kukarani... ONE SYLLABLE CARD! Of course Chihaya won the card.

Nishida and Taichi won their match with this card.


Chihaya sent Ashi- to split Like Cards.
Chihaya vs sano shino

Chagriiiinn...

2. Shino-buredo... (Dead Card)
Hi A
shi
Na
tsu
U
ra
A
ma
tsu
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

Shino-buredo.... A DEAD CARD! Chihaya's hand swung the air, but Kana-chan mistakingly touched some card. Losing a match by own fault... it must be the worst way of defeat. Look at her chagrined face!

(Tsutomu said "She's still down a card", but actually, it was still two cards down)

1. Ashi-bikino...
Hi A
shi
Na
tsu
U
ra
A
ma
tsu
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

The next was Ashi. Amatsu didn't promote to One Syllable Card because there were some A- Dead Cards. Sano could have catch this Ashi... but she might be overwhelmed by Chihaya's drive.

Chihaya sent Ura to concentrate on the right side for ease of offense. Sano changed the formation too, to concentrate her right side. In contradiction to Chihaya, this meant she gave up on offense.

1. Amatsu-kaze..
Hi Ura
Na
tsu
A
ma
tsu
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

SEIMU ! (a tie !)


{C}
Chihaya vs sano hi

She made up a six card deficit!

0. Hi-sakatano..
Hi Ura
Na
tsu
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

One Syllable Card again !


Chihaya sent easier Natsu Card.
Chihaya vs sano last
Chihaya vs sano backhand

Back Haaand ! Win!

Win. Kimigatameo..
Ura Na
tsu
Ki mi
ga ta
me o

POWERFUL BACK HAAAAAND! Sano had given up offence, so there was no way she could attack Chihaya's side. Mizusawa High School won the match ! Arigatou Gozaimashita !


Chihaya Ayase (Mizusawa H.S.) VS. Akito Sudo (Hokuō Academy)

Sudo's Super Moves

Cross Hand Back Hand Covering Hand
Sudo crosshand Sudo backhand Sudo coverhand
Swiping left and right. A quick Cross Hand is faster than human dynamic vision. Back Hand is the fastest move in Karuta game. A must-learn for offensive players. His big palm is suited to covering.

Chihaya's Super Moves

Thrust Fastest Touch
Chihaya thrust Chihaya zen-catch
A technique to aim at opposing inner side. Taking Chiha card between the moment of Chih- and -a sound. The timing was even faster than the Kaku of episode 10.

Sudo's Bad Moves

Defensive Back Hand Double Fault
Sudo defencivebackhand Sudo doublefault
A Back Hand from own right to opposing left is terribly slow for human muscle structure. Wrong touch = +1 card.
Send card = +1 card, -1 card for opponent
The double fault (or Dabu) loses three-card advance.

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