Title: Chihayafuru Vol. 25
Author: Yuki Suetsugu
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Chihayafuru Vol. 25 brings the Master and Queen Match to a close. This karuta competition started on the previous volume, and it’s finally time to know who will have the title. Both challengers have shown impressive performances, so it’s possible to go either way.
On one side, we have Harada-sensei versus Hisashi Suou. Harada was the mentor at Chihaya’s elementary school and is now challenging a master who’s known as the strongest there ever was. Suou has defended his title for four consecutive matches now and had already announced this would be his last match before retirement.
The other match has Haruka Inokuma against Queen Shinobu Wakamiya. Inokuma’s managed to win a round, which is shocking since it’s the first loss Shinobu has faced as a queen. Nonetheless, the match is still on, making it possible for her to make a comeback.
Despite not focusing on any of the protagonists, Chihayafuru Vol. 25 is a tense battle of wits. The first chapter develops Suou’s backstory a little showing his deeply human, though flimsy motivations. He’s always been an exceptional learner for anything he tried, but he still wants to have some recognition to fill his void, empty self.
While watching the matches, Chihaya’s mind is going through a lot of things. Whenever we get to see her, she’s constantly feeling the tension, even when the volume doesn’t mention her thoughts. There’s even a moment when she feels sad about being a girl, which makes her unable to compete against the current Master herself.
She hasn’t had enough time to think about Arata’s proposal either. After the matches are over, Taichi also sneaks off again, putting her in a weird situation. She focuses on karuta, postponing all the important answers she must give about their relationships.
Now it’s time for the trio of protagonists to get ready for the next matches. With their hearts and minds a mess over everything going on, they will have to prepare themselves in one more year. In their last year of high school, it’s time to take every match seriously.
One important aspect to mention is how Yuki Suetsugu’s art is very soft. Thanks to her linework and composition style, every panel is filled with a lot of emotion. It helps emphasize the complex emotions of the characters.
During the matches, there’s also a sense of speed represented by dynamic lines. It even uses perspective to show the cards flying. Thanks to that, some scenes are impressive, such as the queen match’s last card.
Chihayafuru Vol. 25 shows the ending of the matches at the forefront of the story in the last few volumes. Despite that, it’s important to note that most of this is set up. The real meat of the story will see the upcoming growth of Chihaya, Arata, and Taichi after watching these matches.
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