Rei Kiriyama, 18 years old. Occupation: Professional shogi player. After losing his family at a young age, all Rei had growing up was a shogi board to cling to. The three sisters Akari, Hinata and Momo were the ones to gradually bring light back into his life. When Rei learns that Hinata has become the target of bullying at school, he desperately searches for ways to protect what is important to him.
March Comes In Like A Lion Volume 3 Covers episodes 22-33, and is the first half of season 2. Volume 3 comes off a high point for Rei who finds a new found energy for Shogi and to win. However, Rei still struggles with actually enjoying the game, his life or simply having fun. Season 2 starts with a heavy focus on character building. Unlike a lot of season 1 where Shogi was a huge part of the story, season is pivots slightly. Shogi is still important, as its a driving motivation and outlet for Rei. However, we spend the majority of these 10 episodes focused on the emotional state of Rei and those around him.
This show has always been about more than just Shogi. Depression, bullying, growing up and making friends are key points in the story. I find myself relating to Rei more and more as the series goes on. Rei’s depression isn’t gone but the writers decide to see how Rei would react to someone else getting bullied who is close to him. When Hinata defends a friend in school, the bullies turn on her. Rei struggles with how to help Hinata, like Hinata and her sisters helped him when he needed it most.
Teachers good and bad are shown giving us a reality check for kids in school and what they go through. Ultimately Rei finds a way to help her through these hard times, and in turn helps boost his confidence. In fact, he joined a club at school that for once in his life made him feel happy. This series reminds me a bit of Orange, which came out last year. It deals with very heavy subject matter, but is worth every minute of watch time. Rei learns that a childhood friend has been sick all his life, and he fought to point of collapse to make it to the top so he could square off against Rei in the finals. Rei finds himself more motivated than ever to make it to the top and be crowned King, for his friend.
March Comes In Like A Lion is a slow burn at times. It can also mess with your emotions a lot but ultimately its worth taking the time to enjoy the story and the growth in the characters.