Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
3-gatsu no Lion wasted no time in confirming its second season. With two very successful back-to-back cours, Episode 22 was a nice in-between story that will fit nicely with the continuation of Rei’s shogi adventures in Fall 2017.
Japanese Title: 新学期 / ファイター
Chapter 45 – New School Term
It’s easier to do something than to worry about it
Rei has the same introverted problems that most of those who keep themselves to themselves experience, especially if they are still in school. Having the right words or the right attitude to approach someone might feel impossible. Seeking the friendship of others might also seem like an outrageous task. How can you reach to someone when you can’t even think of the right way to approach them? How can you be part of a group of people with the same interests when you feel like a loser with no skills and courage? How can you stop having lunch by yourself in some secluded staircase that is far from where the rest of the students live and laugh and maintain their impossible-to-grasp- relationships? You probably need a loving and caring teacher like Hayashida-sensei. You need someone to share with you a point a view that you might have not even considered. A shogi club! What an amazing idea. Joining the science club with the creation of the new shogi club to combine members and keep the first from disbanding and the second from never existing. Genius! Our favorite teacher as the adviser. Sign me in! In the end, the joy of having people around you who are interesting, have great mustaches, and make you smile is an irreplaceable feeling.
The epilogue built on that sense of fulfillment that we experienced with the creation of the shogi club. There was no number and no chapter. Just a title. A title that may refer to the amazing opening song of the first cour, but is also relevant to our protagonist. Rei is a fighter. A boy who suffered from the indirect bullying that comes with the not-being-cool-enough aura. Rei was an ever-curious child that found joy in nature and exploration. The scene with the ants made that pretty clear. But he was also a child that needed to cling to something that could give him purpose. This series is a testament to a boy that took the wrong path on his quest to find purpose.
There was no one here from the start. Will the seat next to me be empty for the rest of my life?
His depression was a direct result of his faulty focus. Instead of noticing the rest of the passengers in the train he decided to board, he only paid attention to the ticket that kept him alive. 3-gatsu no lion was Rei’s journey in changing that focus. Shogi was his lifeboat: as long as he had shogi, the seat across him would always be full.
As long as I have this ticket, I belong somewhere.
Fast forward to today and we have a completely different Rei compared to that child we saw in the beginning of the chapter. The train he boarded when he devoted his life to shogi was full of other passengers. People who are on the same path as he is. Nakama and opponents, but all passengers on the same train. A best friend is there with him, Nikaidou. A mentor, Shimada-san. An arch-nemesis, Goudo. A father, Kouda. And then there are the sideline heroes like the Kawamoto sisters and Hayashida-sensei.
The story of life never ends. ^^
Fighter: Great decision to end the series with a numberless chapter that had the same title as the first opening theme. I was so happy when I heard that the titular song from Bump of Chicken, one of my favorite themes from last season was used for the closing scenes. A wonderful song for a wonderful series.
Leiji Matsumoto and Flying Trains: When you think of flying trains in anime, the first name that comes to mind is that of famous creator Leiji Matsumoto. Galaxy Express 999 and its tie-in, The Galaxy Railways, are based on the idea of a steam train running through the stars. Matsumoto was inspired by a similar theme found in the novel Night on the Galactic Railroad by Kenji Miyazawa.
Chica Umino is a master of deciphering life and bringing it onto the page. Every single one of her characters could have been someone from our own reality. A friend, a lover, an opponent, a classmate: everything from their dialogues to their subtle movements reeks of authenticity. Shogi could have been chess or football or the science club. It could have been a department store or an office. The theme could have been anything and the characters could have been transcribed to fit the theme because the themes were not constrained by shogi. The themes of depression, companionship, helplessness, and kindness are universal. 3-gatsu no Lion is universal. I can’t wait for the next season.
Episode 22 may be the last episode of the second cour of 3-gatsu no Lion but it’s not the last of the series. Like the last scene implied, the train is taking our heroes to a new story that it has been confirmed to start in Fall 2017! Until then, we will have to do with the 2-part live-action movie adaptation and the manga.
Don’t forget to check our reviews for all the final episodes of our Winter 2017 episodic anime reviews, and expect the series reviews to be posted in the following weeks. You can also see our list for Spring 2017:
Broadcasting from October 8 at 23:00 via NHK General TV