Taichi Mashima...Most Loved yet Hated Male Lead

10 min read

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ravenanne's avatar
Whoah! After six months, I'm making a new journal entry! lol
Anyways, as you guys have noticed, I mostly post fan arts and even doujinshi of the underrated manga Chihayafuru... the anime season2 ended last month btw. And yes, for the first time, I became a true fan. A very obsessed fan of a manga especially with one of the three main leads... Taichi Mashima.

I was not so keen with the show at first, since I find a card game boring. But the story in season 1 is character driven so what can we expect... except to grow attached with them as the story unfolds...

I'm not too good with expressing my self in an essay form but I would like to share to you guys Tezaku's friend insights on the character I came to love, whom surprisingly have a lot of haters as well. Her friend was also recently hooked to this show so her thoughts below are all her own views and not in any way want to affect others view of the show.

Note, this was a discussion between them, so the flow is somehow similar to how one respond to a conversation. Tezaku chan btw is a Chiharata shipper but she likes Taichi nonetheless.

Thanks again Tezaku chan and your friend for sharing this with us. :iconloveloveplz:

"To say the truth, I thought Taichi was immature and too princely for my liking... I don't like princely characters hahaha. (though he's sort of tsundere and I like tsundere characters haha). However, his immaturity has grown on me. And it reminds me of how young adults are. His maturity is really realistic for his age group.

And like you said, he's realistic and human, which is probably why I like him. he's unlike all the characters in the story. Just like you said, he's a very conflicted character. But I see him growing and learning, slowly but surely. I support that.

Also, I wouldn't say he's a nice guy. I also wouldn't say he deserves her feelings. I don't really think he's a nice guy. But I feel like what Arata is to Chihaya, Chihaya is to Taichi. I think that he's envious of Arata, not only because Chihaya likes him but because he's good at something he really loves and is willing to put everything on the line for it. Taichi realizes that he's not able to do that and Arata knows this about Taichi too ("Youre a coward.")

Rather than saying Taichi wants to be good at karuta and loves karuta, he loves Chihaya and is influenced by her in every way.
If Chihaya were a guy, I think Taichi would've been envious of Chihaya too. But since she's a girl, a guy would naturally end up admiring the girl rather than feeling envious. I know that it's really lame when you see Taichi like that but at the same time, I think that's what naturally happens in the real world.

He grew on me because even though all the characters in the story are somewhat flawed (which is something I like about this series), Taichi is flawed AND lacks direction. Rather than disliking him, I end up feeling very attached to him.

The way he has to keep his grades up just so he could play karuta reminds me of myself when my mom nearly made me quit dance because I couldn't keep my grades up. I struggled really hard to be able to stay in dance class and i had to make a lot of compromise.

Trying to be best at everything and juggling everything is really hard and i think he's doing the best he can. (Chihaya doesn't do well in school and has no pressure put on her other than to achieve her dreams. Though I cry every time I see her parents finally notice her efforts in something she wants to do)

I find him the most realistic of all the characters...

Unlike me, however, I've given up on my passion for dance as I got older. I've chosen to see it as a hobby rather than a dream to chase, because it's not something I'm extremely good at and it's not something my parents support and it's not something that gives way to a steady career. I think normally, people would do what I do. But Taichi is still struggling between following his dreams and being realistic, so I chose to not judge him for not being as genuine towards karuta as many of the other characters. Just because he's not passionate about anything right now doesn't mean he's not a passionate person. But even if he has no passion at all in him, I'd still like him because he'd be a perfect example of what kind of a sad monster (Frankenstein? though Frankenstein was really passionate haha. I mean to say the way Frankenstein was shunned and misunderstood by his creator) our society can make out of people. It would also serve to show how it's hard to please everyone and in the end you end up broken. I don't mind if Taichi is a tragic character like that. I'd love him either way.

In terms of being self-conscious about his own abilities, I find that part about him quite annoying. However, that is also the part of him that made me grow to care a lot about him and his development in the story.

I think he doubts himself because he has such high expectations for himself. That's just the kind of person he is. Maybe it's like you said, that he's always been the jack of all trades. Or maybe he grew up in an environment where everyone expects him to be perfect, so it has become natural for him to expect perfection from himself. When he fails, he's told himself not to cry because he hasn't given his all. I think that in this way, he's not as hung up on his loss as you say. If he were truly hung up on his losses, he would quit by now. It's easier to give up for the kind of guy who excels at everything than the kind of guy who's only especially good at one thing. The fact that Taichi is the former kind of guy and still hasn't given up on karuta even though he's not good at it shows he has passion. Maybe it's not passion for karuta per se, but it's passion for something nonetheless. Whether that passion is misdirected or not, I don't think matters to me because I think teens make mistakes.

I myself make mistakes and don't feel qualified to judge him for his misdirected passions. I just hope he continues to learn and grow.
Regarding what you said about Taichi wanting to win to prove to himself that hard work pays off, I'd see it rather differently. I think Taichi is standing at the edge of the cliff right now. He's contemplating whether he should take the dive or walk away. If he jumps, he'd finally let his restraints go and let his passion for karuta explode. However, he needs a sign that it's okay for him to do so (aka winning, because that shows to him that he can be as good as the people who have passion for karuta if he had passion). I did notice, however, that he focuses a lot on something else: talent. I don't blame him for believing that talent has a lot to do with karuta. He's been brought up to think that talent is everything and if he has no talent for something, then he shouldn't do it. I think the very core that his upbringing has instilled within him always affects his karuta. In a way, seeing him play karuta is just like seeing his whole life flash before the audience's eyes. I love how much it resembles who he is. I love even more that he's still at least attempting to challenge these ideas. He just gets discouraged sometimes, that's all.

You maybe argue for the above thing a different way and say that Taichi is looking for self validation. I could see how that argument would totally work in his situation. However, I myself wouldn't look down on this sort of self-validation. Rather, I hope that he continues to change and continues to struggle until he reaches something monumental. I hope that if he ever reaches self-validation, he'd still have more room to grow.

I think if Chihaya saw him, and understood him, it would bring about a lot of changes within him. I don't ask that Chihaya return his feelings. I just wish that Chihaya would acknowledge that he's going through all of these things.....

I also think that it's amazing that despite all of these pressures, that could break a normal human being, having been put on him, he still subconsciously want to love someone and be loved. I think many people, under his circumstances, would withdraw from the world and not trust anyone or anything and be all bitter and stuff. maybe that's why Taichi looks to Chihaya the way he does? He hopes that Chihaya would pull him out of his predicament the way she pulled Arata out of his?

In seeing Chihaya being so focused on her goal and ignoring everything else, I find myself dissatisfied with her behavior and don't think she yet deserves anyone. In saying this, I'm not saying I dislike Chihaya. It's almost as if I see her as a friend I love but then I also see this friend's faults and dislike certain things about this friend. Although I see that she and Arata are so alike that they find it easy to understand each other and thus have racked up a lot of support from fans, I think that that would be a love that requires little work and just passion to make it flourish. I guess I'm not a supporter of that kind of love because I don't find it realistic. I mean, I'm sure that kind of love exists, and so I couldn't say that their love is unbelievable, but I just wish it were less like a fantasy."

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed it! :iconloveloveplz:

Till my next journal entry.... :iconsmilieplz:
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makes me cry, I love the complexity of Taichi's character, I hope he will be given justice in the future