With Chihaya out of it and Taichi victorious and now class A, I thought maybe Chihayafuru 24 would let up a little. Heh.
It might not have had the emotional weight as the matches starring our team, but the Arata/Shinobou match is as intense as any match they’ve shown in either season. We get to it fairly late, after finishing up the Chihaya/Taichi scene they left us with last week, and a nod to the two remaining team members. Arata has a lead but it’s not insurmountable. We watch as he stretches it a little, only to have Shinobou roar (or swoosh) back. Two of the cards are so extraordinary that we get several instant replays of them both. The first demonstrates Arata’s blinding speed, there’s even a blowback that rustles Shinobou’s hair, and the card nearly pierces Chihaya’s forehead (good stop, Taichi!). The second shows off Shinobou’s remarkable accuracy, where she picks off the one card out of four that Arata clobbers a millisecond later, causing cards to fly in two directions.
Everyone watching knows this match is something special. We get the usual commentary from several people, and they’re mostly full of awe. Naturally, we also visit Shinobou’s calculating head. Oddly, we don’t visit Arata’s. Everyone is watching from outside him, and it gives him an aura of invincibility, especially when he smiles, unconcerned. The closest we get to what he’s thinking is when an old coach muses about his past. And when it’s over, he remains exactly the same, even diagnosing Shinobou as having a fever. True or false, it gives her an excuse that she will never accept but makes us shiver. She was playing SICK? Meanwhile, Chihaya watched with her mouth open the entire time. A couple of times I thought her narrow focus on the match might disrupt it. And I’m wondering whether Chihaya can really play at that level. We’ll have to wait for another season to find out, alas.
Toaru Kagaru no Railgun 11 is a double-treat for fans of the franchise, assuming we haven’t read the books.
We could easily guess what happened during the bouts with ITEM but we didn’t know the details. It was a little pocket of events where we could only watch and wonder if she was going to win or lose, get hurt, get out unscathed … We just didn’t know. But this week we start off with something so familiar that we’ve already watched it: the famous vending machine scene. I watched the Index version again last night and tried to find differences, but apart from some body language I couldn’t find any, only that it’s being told from Misaka’s point of view now (though some people who haven’t seen Index might be bewildered by Touma’s reactions, not knowing that in-between Railgun 1 and 2 he lost his memories and has no idea who Misaka is anymore). Most entertaining of all is Kuroko. She originally comes off as mockingly polite, not the reaction we’d expect from her. Now we get to see her what she’s actually thinking, ridiculous as it is, trying not to piss off Misaka but getting a good look at this “ape” who might be her boyfriend. Good stuff.
Anyway, the sister who intrudes on the vending machine scene shows up, Misaka drags her away, out of that happy moment in both series and back to the depressing plot. The experiment goes on, Misaka is at a loss what to do. And I frankly don’t remember what she does, apart from deciding to commit suicide by going after Accelerator, but that comes somewhat later, so we’re back in that pocket of plot uncertainty now. We do get Touma’s meeting of another sister (happily omitting how he told her and Misaka apart), so that side of plot will keep moving forward. But in the meantime, what’s Misaka going to do?