In reviewing the previous episode, Crusader and Hana mentioned that the mysterious dark-haired girl Chihaya ran into at the shrine was potentially the Queen. I could be alone in hoping that miss mysterious would not be the Queen, but it seems my hope was mere vanity as Shinobu Wakamiya made her presence known among the crowds.
However, I feel the need to question this turn of events because I simply find it shallow writing. Where is the struggle, through blood and tears, and the advancement through a mountainous hierarchy to which Chihaya must climb? There isn’t a sense of distance in her progression as a player. Instead, she is conveniently dropped into nationals for the first time to encounter The Queen. And that issue aside, the Queen isn’t a matured player, such as the previous Meijin, but a young genius. It feels over-simplified.
Take, for example, Saki‘s Teru Miyanaga, or Hikaru no Go‘s Akira. These characters provide inescapable shadows in which protagonists exist, but neither of them are the “best” in the grand scheme of the world. We only know they are extremely good and that an encounter with them means a difficult challenge for our protagonists. Chihayafuru, though I do enjoy it very much, leaves no elegance in the hierarchy of battle, something that began to shine in the previous tournament. Really, what was the motive for this writing? Do we need to see Chihaya become Queen, or Arata become Meijin? Some dreams are better left as an afterthought. And even if Chihaya fails to win against Wakamiya, a rematch for victory would feel quite unrefined and lacking a certain degree of depth. So curious.
Note: I am a bit upset over the writing decisions and hope it doesn’t affect my overall view of the series because I honestly like it.