‘March comes in like a lion’ Season 1 Vol 2 – Review

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In March Comes In Like A Lion, 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 Lion Vol 2 – Review

Volume 2 continues season 1 with episode 12 through 22 of the series. Rei struggles with his losses and finding a place for himself in life. Living alone also has contributed to his continuing depression and lack of enthusiasm for anything. What few friends he has have attempted to knock him out of his funk but have not had much luck. Rei tries to continue doing school but finds himself short on days and seeking help from a teacher who is desperate for him not to repeat his first year.

Akari’s and her sisters have become surrogate family for Rei. Lets face it, Rei’s family relationships are messed up to say the least. His relationship with his step sister most of all. She is a cunning and manipulative person who can roll Rei around in her fingers. However, as Rei begins to gain some measure of self confidence he begins to push back on her. She isn’t sure how to respond to that.

After mis-judging another player, Rei finds himself drowning from defeat. He never paid much attention to this man before. However, it turn out he is much better than he lets on. Kai Shimada does a study group for young Shogi players and Rei’s rival and friend Nikaidō attends this class. It was Nikaidō, who encouraged Shimada not to go lightly on Rei during the tournament in order to shake Rei out of his head space.

It takes awhile but Rei eventually asks Shimada to join his club. Turns out Shimada also asks him at the same time. It was a rare moment to see Rei almost smile. The show has a rather unique way of visually displaying Rei’s head space to us. From his depression and lack of color in the world, to his inability to make friends. Rei spent so much time with those older than him, he is rather awkward in social situations with people his own age. The club ends up proving to be very therapeutic for Rei as he learns to express himself more.

Rei ends up accompanying Shimada to the national tournament events. There, he learns just how intimidating rank A players are. He even manages to see an out for Shimada who was cornered in his final match. The other professionals wrote him off but when the reining champ also pointed out that unseen final move, the same one Rei saw, it shocked them. Tōji Sōya and Rei are similar in a lot of ways.

Season 1 ends on a higher note for Rei who was hitting rock bottom after several losses. However, after shadowing Mr. Shimada for a bit and learning from him, he finds a new place he belongs. He has also found some friends who think like he does. The real question becomes when Rei will look to Soya as his rival and challenge him. Season 2 has already begun airing, it is time to catch up.

Overall I would give March Comes In Like A Lion a B+. Learning about Shogi is interesting and fun. The way the show handles Rei’s headspace, and how he handles depression is its strongest area. When the series tries to be funny it sometimes lands with a dull thud on the ground. The step-sister story just doesn’t make a lot of sense anymore in the story.

You can pickup a copy of the blu-ray release of Vol 2 at RightStufAnime.com. The release comes with a productions note booklet for season 1 as well.

Robert Prentice