Rei Kiriyama is a seventeen year old professional shogi player. Among the youngest in history to go pro, he has many expectations for the future, yet his recent separation from his foster family has left him conflicted and his career has stagnated. However, after meeting a family of three sisters, color slowly returns to his life.
March Comes In Like A Loin follows the life of a young professional Shogi player and his journey through life and its challenges. Admittedly at first the series seemed kinda off. Rei Kiriyama didn’t speak much at the start and it was clear his backstory was rather depressing. Rem now lives by himself in June Town, where his career has all but fallen flat. It wasn’t until after an older player left him outside a bar and he was found by Akari that things began to change.
If you have read any of my reviews in the past, sports anime are a new genre for me. They are not the type of anime I normally would watch. However, lately I am finding the stories, which tend to be more than the sport itself, to be deep and entertaining. March Comes In Like A Loin covers Shogi, though to be honest the majority of the first 12 episodes cover little about the sport. It isn’t until the last few episodes that you learn a lot about how its played. Shogi is an offshoot of traditional chess.
The more interesting side of this series is the coming of age portion centered around Rei Kiriyama. His back story is a bit of a trope: Parents passed away, aunt doesn’t want to raise him, etc. However, the unique twist of how Shogi played into it was fun. His fathers rival raised Rei with his own 2 kids. Of course that didn’t go well when Rei ended up being the prodigy their father always wanted. The analogy of the cuckoo bird was shown several times.
Still when we finally get to see Rei lose his temper, it was the most satisfying thing to watch. Watching the story of a boy who thought he was all alone, without anyone to care about him, was heartbreaking at times. There are times that you want to cry with him. There are many times I think personally I could relate to his feelings, even now, in my life. It was also uplifting to see how those around him tried their best to cheer him up and support him.
The animation style for the series is a little distracting for me. However, the writing and the soundtrack make up for it. The english voice cast was new to me but I found their voices seem to fit fairly nicely with the characters. I have not watched the subbed version yet but I will to compare. Season 2 is airing as we speak. Volume 2 of season 1 is set for blu-ray release in April. We give this series a solid B+.
You can pickup your copy of March Comes In Like A Loin Vol 1 at RightStuf today. You can stream the subbed versions of season 1 and season 2 over at Crunchyroll.
Extras & Bonus Features
The first volume of March Comes In Like A Loin comes in a nice chipboard box. The artwork on the box is illustrated by Nobuhiro Sugiyama (Character Design). You also receive a deluxe booklet that includes End Card Illustrations. And for the younger kids watching, the Moving Meow Shogi special is included as an extra.