Surrounded by fantastical stories, we tend to forget that we are living in a world of real people with real problems. 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion) is a story about real people with real problems, and Hina’s struggles with bullying and doing the right thing can be echoed to situations so many of us are experiencing every day.
Japanese Title: てんとう虫の木② / てんとう虫の木③ / 想い
Chapter 52: Ladybug Bush Part 2
Part 2 of Hina’s story started with a recap of the events from the previous episode, but from Hina’s point of view. The change signaled the shift in the narrative. Hina and her story are the center of this chapter and it’s her side that we need to focus on. This is about how she dealt with injustice and about her own views on what’s fair and what people who encounter unfairness should do. And such a personal story needs an external narrator, Rei.
Chiho’s story is more common than you think. Many school children suffer isolation and unjustified incrimination from their classmates. Chiho and Hina keep their colors as the people who either bully or do nothing to support those being bullied remain in grey, in a clear attempt to bold the distinction between those who choose to react and those who retreat to their safe spots in fear of actually contributing to a positive change. Chiho, constantly abused and marginalized, has no other ally but Hina, and her support is mostly emotional.
Chiho’s parents decide to enroll her in a different school, but that change means nothing to Chiho. She loses her only friend and the fear of being bullied still lingers in her heart. What if the next school brings more of the same? Hina, who unwillingly put forward her own marginalization by supporting the bullied, took the place of the victim and became the next target of the bullies. Those who abuse other people are not doing so in hate for the person they torment. The will always need a victim, an outlet for their frustrated emotions, a person to pour onto all their hate about their lives and the world they live in.
Back in the house, Hina does not want to burden her family with her own problems and runs into the night. Rei rushed behind her, in one of the most beautiful scenes of the show so far. Hina realizes that the world is much more than fun and play. It can also be cruel and unforgiving. Doing the right thing and standing up for what is just is not easy. Hina will pay for her bravery with an early maturity she never asked but was thrust upon her.
Hina is afraid. She knows that she will probably face loneliness and bulling herself. Yet, she was brought up well, and her family has instilled in her values that are hard to shaken. Both her words to Rei and her grandfather’s encouraging monologue justified her actions. She was right to defend her friend. She was right to stand up for her. She was DAMN RIGHT TO HIT THAT BITCH.
The chapter ended with Rei confronting his own past and making a vow that he will be there for Hina and for the Kawamoto family. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. It’s inevitable. It is encouraging that there are people out there like Hina and Rei who are willing to take part of the blow and help us see the bright side of life.
Chapter 53: Ladybug Bush Part 3
Part 3 was half the conclusion of this story. Rei takes Hina to the library in order to confront his own bullying trauma. They research ladybugs and sweets and search inside their own feelings and fear. Rei, having risen up from his depressions, is in a state where he can now help others.
Chapter 54: Feelings
This was a fitting conclusion for one of the most heartfelt moments of the show. Food and love are the most powerful remedy of all and the Kawamoto family has both of them in abundance.
Running into the night: What an incredible scene and what fluid animation. One of the best scenes in the anime so far. Have you noticed that the city was portrayed in a greyscale palette?
3-gatsu no Lion brought us another visually stunning episode. The narrative, stories that are as real as anything we encounter in our everyday lives, was coupled with the trademark surreal imagery that doesn’t subtract from the realism the show wants to portray. This is real human drama and the show is an expert on delivering the feels. We are all interconnected. Our stories are humanity’s stories and our problems can be found in countless people around the world. Yet, we don’t have to look that far. The people around us have the same problems that characters in our favorite stories do, and like Rei, we can use these examples to come into terms with our own scars.
Family and Friends
Difficult to distinguish between family and friends when the first act like they are your best pal and the second are more family than the people with whom you share the same blood. There is a peculiar kind of warmth that can be found in that place you hopefully belong to. Like that warmth Rei found in his shogi masterclass and the Kawamoto household.
Did you like Episode 26 of March Comes in like a Lion? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to check the rest of our Fall 2017 reviews here on MANGA.TOKYO!
TV Anime 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion)
Fall 2017 | Anime Info Page
TV anime official website: http://3lion-anime.com/
NHK program website: http://www.nhk.or.jp/anime/3lion/