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Taichi Mashima

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Taichi Mashima
TaichiMashima
Name Taichi Mashima
Kanji 真島 太一
Rōmaji Mashima Taichi
Characteristics
Gender Male
Age 16
Birthday April 2
Hair Color Light Brown
Eye Color Hazel
Height 172 cm (5'7.7")
Blood Type A
Personal Status
Relative(s) Reiko Mashima (Mother)
Unnamed Father
Rika Mashima (Sister)
Karuta
Level Class A
Group Mizusawa High School Karuta Club
Shiranami Karuta Society
First Appearance
Manga Debut Chapter 1
Anime Debut Episode 1
Portrayal
Japanese Voice Mamoru Miyano
Ayahi Takagaki (young)
Image Gallery

Taichi Mashima (真島太一 Mashima Taichi) is an all-around student, as he is gifted in both studies and sports. He is one of Chihaya's childhood friends. His mother is very strict with him, telling him he should stick to activities he can win at. He is part of the Shiranami Karuta Society and is the president of the Mizusawa Karuta Club.

Appearance

Taichi's appearance

Taichi's appearance

Taichi has messy light brown hair and hazel eyes. He wears his school uniform which consists of a simple white button up shirt, a plaid tie, a brown jacket with the school crest, a black belt, grey dress pants and brown school shoes. When Taichi was younger, his hair was shorter and neater. He is considered handsome. He is also popular with girls.

Personality

Taichi is smart, hard-working and athletic. During his younger years, he was cocky at times but he can also be a bit of a coward. His mother has only allowed him to enter in competitions that he can win at. If he loses, he will be scolded by his mother, but despite this fact he is easy-going and fairly modest.

However, Taichi is somewhat easily disheartened: he considers giving up karuta early on in the series after becoming convinced that he could spend his entire life on the game without ever becoming better than Arata. His confidence builds, however, with his continued participation in the world of karuta, and it is shown that it is his own perception of his skill in karuta that is holding him back.

Taichi's maturity and loyalty are valuable assets to his friends, and he is adept - after a few initial stumbles - at saying to his teammates exactly what they need to hear in moments of stress. He is the "voice of reason" in whatever group he is in, and a wise and kind leader who is not averse to doling out some tough love (particularly with respect to Chihaya).

His memory is also remarkable: he can recite the Hyakunin Isshu without visual aid, and randomise verses without doubling up.

Relationships

Chihaya Ayase

Taichi has feelings for Chihaya, telling himself he is in love with her. They started a karuta club together.

In the past, it was shown that Taichi had feelings for Chihaya during grade school by often teasing her and getting jealous whenever she was with Arata.

Arata Wataya

Taichi and Arata were childhood friends. At first, he didn't like Arata because he memorized the poems in his first try, also he challenged Arata again in a karuta competion and took his glasses to stop him from winning against him. But Chihaya took Arata's place and defeated Taichi. After he admitted that he took his glasses, they went to look for Chihaya. Soon after he began getting interested in karuta and his dream was to become a meijin. They also teamed up with Chihaya in another karuta competition, but lost. Since Arata was sick, he lent his hat to him.

Reiko Mashima

Reiko Mashima is Taichi's mom. Ever since elementary school, she has been very strict and stern, telling Taichi "you can only join competitions you'll win". Currently, Mrs. Mashima is against Taichi playing karuta, saying it's a waste of time and effort. If Taichi does not stay the top student, she will prohibit him from playing karuta.

Girlfriend

Taichi had a girlfriend in the beginning of the series, but her name is not known. She called him 'Ta-kun'. Yet, he has feelings for Chihaya despite this relationship. He breaks up with her later, over the phone, in a short, dry exchange. He told Chihaya in episode 1 that he was only dating her because she liked him.

Rieko Oe

Taichi met Rieko at a match where the Oe Traditional Clothing Shop was providing the Mizusawa team with hakamas. She seems to think that Taichi is 'very cute' and always rushes around him to fix his hakama.

History

Taichi used to go to the same grade school as Chihaya and was the smartest in their class. He used to tease Chihaya which led her to attack him. They were good friends, but when Arata arrived, he was embarrassed that he wasn't the only one to memorize the 100 poems. He tried to get Chihaya's attention and threatened to not be her friend anymore. Also because of this, everyone ignored her the next day for associating with him.

Glasses returned

Taichi returning Arata's stolen glasses.

He later challenged Arata to the karuta competition they were having at their school. On the day of the competition, his mother was there holding a camera to film him during the match as she believed he would win as usual and tried to encourage him to win. Taichi won all his matches and made it to the final against Arata. In order to win, and not get scolded, he cheats by giving Arata a shaken soda to spray him, in order to make him wash his face and take of his glasses. He steals Arata's glasses while he is washing his face and Arata only catches his small figure. Chihaya and Arata start searching for them, but they don't find the glasses for Arata's match. During the match, Taichi is beating Arata as he switches the cards, but is then interrupted by Chihaya saying that she'll replace Arata in the match. He is eventually defeated by Chihaya and all three of them win an award. Even so, he still gets yelled by his mother and his mother tells him never to participate in a competition that he cannot win at.

After the competition, Chihaya is out looking for Arata's glasses. While she is away, he admits to Arata that he was the one that stole the glasses and hands them to Arata. They later go out to look and call out to Chihaya to tell her that they found them. Chihaya hears them on top of a tree and jumps down on top of them and laughs.

Since then, Taichi along with Chihaya and Arata become good friends and refer to each other in first name basis. They even began to join a Competitive Karuta Club with their teacher being Harada Sensei and participate in a group competition. The three of them then go their own ways in middle school with Taichi going to far away middle school that most students found difficult to be accepted into.

Synopsis

Karuta Style

Taichi's initial style of karuta is all brain, with little body. He makes great use of his mind in karuta matches, reasoning out probabilities and strategies completely in his head, and takes great pride in the fact that he makes few, if any, faults. He considers practicing his swing in front of others "embarrassing", which disadvantages him in the more physical aspect of karuta.
Hjk

Taichi practicing swinging

However, spurred on by his desire to compete on par with Arata and Chihaya, he vastly improves in the later part of the manga. He has been called a "monster" once he has self-confidence (by Sakurazawa-sensei, coach of Fujisaki High), and it has been noted bu Hyoro that Taichi becomes stronger when Chihaya is not around (Chapter 93).

Trivia

  • Taichi is good at all subjects.
  • When Taichi was 13, he was jealous of Arata because Chihaya was bonding with him.
  • Taichi made flash cards to help him memorize the 100 poems.
  • Taichi has recited the 100 poems in random order during a practice karuta match as the reader for it.
  • Rika once asked him if he was a narcissist.
  • Taichi somewhat dreams of becoming a doctor one day, but isn't sure yet.
  • Taichi is more focused to being someone who doesn't run away rather than being in class A.
  • Taichi once thought that karuta is scary while watching Chihaya play against the Yumi Yamamoto, an ex-queen.
  • Taichi put Arata in charge of taking care of Chihaya after she fainted in episode 13.
  • Harada calls him "eyelash" (まつげくん matsuge-kun) because of his long eyelashes, though the English subtitles always seem to mistake this for "eyebrow".
  • Many girls in the anime think Taichi is cute, even Kanade's mother.
  • Taichi's favourite poem from the Hyakkunin Isshu is: "Though we are parted, if on Mount Inaba's peak, I should hear the sound, of the pine trees growing there, I'll come back again to you"
  • In chapter 119, he lied about Chihaya being his girlfriend to Suou (the Meijin), but told the truth in chapter 122.

Quotes

  • (To Sumire)"It doesn't seem right to let a girl choose me. I would rather choose the girl I devote myself to."
  • (To himself) "If Arata were here... If Chihaya were to practice with Arata instead of me, would she become a better player?"
  • (To Tsutomu) "I don't have any talent for karuta either. It's tough, but I still play! I keep losing, but I still play! Because when I win, I feel happy!"
  • (To Tsutomu) "Instead of a karuta genius, I would rather have our new member be someone who puts in effort on the tatami."
  • (To Nishida) "Chihaya never gave up on karuta. Why don't you see for yourself how strong someone can be when they put in the effort? Or are you scared of losing?"
  • (To Chihaya) "As long as you have a smile on your face, karuta will always be fun. That's the truth, Captain!"

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