The national tournament finally starts. However, a new enemy approaches, as Chihaya runs into a strange girl at a temple before the tournament. In the first round at the tournament, Taichi is able to raise everyone’s morale as usual, but Chihaya seems to be overwhelmed by the pressure of the event. Meanwhile, Arata is trying to get to Omi Jingu to watch the match, and we start to see his memories of his grandfather.
We see that the original stroke caused partial paralysis, which later became early stage dementia, causing Arata’s grandfather to forget about karuta. But one day, when Arata is forced to skip a tournament to watch over his grandfather, his grandfather suddenly tells him to go to the tournament.
Back in the present, Arata arrives to see Chihaya collapse. Taichi calls her match forfeit and leaves her in Arata’s care. Chihaya is taken to the hospital, but Arata stays behind. An old friend recognizes Arata and tells him that his karuta is just like his grandfather’s. When Chihaya wakes up, she finds out that everyone else made it to the playoffs before losing. She also finds out that Arata has decided to play karuta.
So Arata’s story ended up being basically a copy of Hikaru with the whole Sai thing and quitting Go. I guess it was what I expected to happen. I wonder if Arata’s message meant that he’s going to be participating in the individual tournament or if he can’t sign up. Kind of anti-climactic for the team tournament to end the way it did, but I suppose the individuals are going to be the focus (kind of opposite of Saki). Still plenty of episodes to go. So far, it’s been pretty interesting.