Now this episode’s pacing is more favorable than the last one. Things get set up for the next cour, where there will be a couple of hype shogi matches to look forward to. Rei becomes the sole student member of his club, but he’s got big people preventing the club from being disbanded in the near future. Shimada is back from his cage of defeat, but not to the joy of some people.
Rei is called to the Shogi Hall by Yanagihara and Takanori (it never occurred to me that they looked so similar) to get informed that there will be a commemoration match arranged between him and Souya. This sends chills down Rei’s spine in the apt form of metaphoric imagery where inverted colored snow and rain fall on Rei. The vet shogi people go on to say that it’s going to be a bigger event than usual, because Rei is a prodigy and he may as well be called the future Meijin. Rei reacts expectedly reacts in an uncomfortable fashion, but what gets him is when they say that they are counting on him- sincerely.
Shimada is brought to the forefront in this episode by the vet shogi men, and not in a particularly encouraging way for the poor guy. They see Sakurai, Shimada’s opponent in the challenger deciding match, as a favorable challenger because he is more attractive and showy and hence more media friendly. Seriously though, Sakurai just looks like a blue-eyed bishie version of Rei- I am starting to notice some repeated character templates this episode, but oh well, I found just two pairs so far.
The shogi-science club throws a small party featuring a weird mix of food for Rei. Rei gets another pang of emotions when he realizes that he actually pulled off something amazing in his shogi career and people around him are acknowledging it so positively. He cries in the bathroom, with sunlight drenching the background with a heavenly aura. Rei thinks about how happiness is as sudden as misery, but comes to the conclusion that he should cherish it regardless. He buys a diary.
With a tasteful, contrasting transition from the warm aura of Rei’s emotions to the snowy alps- the show gives some insight into how Sakurai charms fellow shogi player to go soft on him through mountain therapy- all with innocent intentions. Truly scary… no seriously.
Anyway, Shimada and Sakurai face off in a tightly presented shogi match with solid contrasting play styles. Sakurai is a show off- very predictable- but I really liked how the sound design showed this by using a short synth which sounds like a BGM from a fighting game. This is juxtaposed with a flute BGM from a countryside iyashikei anime- when Shimada plays his turns. It is a really effective and comedic way of presenting that shogi match. The imagery during this scene is effective (as always) with Sakurai’s shonen-esque move introduction, followed by inverted black and white color scheme of the shogi board- which demonstrates Shimada’s analytical approach and foresight during his play. Shimada wins convincingly.
The shogi vets (I am running out of different ways to group them) reunite at the rooftop after they learn about Shimada’s solid hold on the match. Yanagihara reveals that he actually hoped Shimada would lose because, otherwise, his consecutive winning streak his on the line- he would feel actually challenged. The show makes it obvious that Yanagihara is actually happy that Shimada is back regardless.
Meanwhile, Rei realizes that his senpais won’t be around next year, so he will be alone in the club. Thanks to Hayashida and Noguchi taking reins of the situation, the club stays alive. Instead of getting new student members, the vice-principal and principal of the school join the club- for getting coached on shogi and getting prepared for their upcoming local tournaments. So the club becomes a true shogi club (without any student members).
These last couple of episodic reviews have been short. But I don’t mind that, I am trying to cut down the narrative padding and making my posts more concise. Besides, the last couple of episodes aren’t really ‘intense’ episodes demanding elaborate analytical stuff (not that it’s not possible).