Episode 28 of 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion) keeps giving us one heart-wrenching episode after the other. If you are still wondering why this series is one of the best things to happen to anime storytelling in recent seasons, then you need to go back at the beginning and binge-watch the shit out of Rei’s story. In its core, this show is about the two most precious things in the world: love and kindness.
Japanese Title: 小さな世界 / 手紙
After the heaviness of the previous episode, it was nice to see a few relaxed scenes of cherries, Momo, and the cute couple that Rei and Hina can definitely become play some shogi. The episode doesn’t let us of the hook for long, since we are quickly reminded that the focus of this storyline is ‘emotional pain’ and not ‘carefree shogi playing.’ Hina is confused and angry. The situation at her school somehow implies that there is a kind of invisible ranking that certain ‘cool’ kids impose to the rest. Somehow these ‘cool’ kids decide who else is ‘cool’ and who is not. They decide who is able to laugh and stand out and be with those who make sure to take all the decisions that will either keep one sane or in the bully bullseye. What happens to Hina at school is a daily mixture of abuse and bullying. This is no easy task, trying to make sense of what is happening while still being considerate of other’s feelings. She needs friends and she finds those friends in Rei and the sweet Takahashi who has first-hand experience of Chiho’s kindness. Rei and Takahashi provide Hina with a shoulder on which she can lean. They also provide her with the necessary space she needs to explore her own feelings, even if these feelings are dark. She is bitter, sarcastic, and angry. She wants revenge, even if there is nothing to gain from it but personal satisfaction. As Hina feels frustration when she thinks that it’s not possible for people to be so cruel because we are all human beings, we are reminded that Hina herself is a human being and what she feels is understandable.
In the end, Hina is strong enough not to act on her feelings in a way that could shame her or make her feel bad about herself. Instead, she finds the courage to let the teacher, the same teacher that was too much of a coward to see what was happening to Chiho, to see how her classmates are treating her.
Cats: If only they had the chance to fully explore their thoughts, the little feline duo could have been the most on-the-spot commentators of the show. Like stoic philosophers, their comments are almost always accurate.
Themes & Trivia
Handicap: Just like a difficulty setting, board games with pawns like chess and shogi have their own handicap modes to help weaker players and to allow stronger players to train harder. The handicap usually involves the stronger player start with fewer pawns. Of course, the level of handicap Rei took was kind of ridiculous. It’s like a chess player playing only with the king and queen.
Hina is the undoubted protagonist of this new cour of 3-gatsu no Lion. She is the focus of the new storyline’s theme, bullying, as much as Shimada-sensei was the focus of the last part of the previous cour. Through its unique visual imagery and strong descriptive writing, the show is almost scarily accurate on how school bullying works and how people turn their eyes away in fear of getting involved. Hina, and subsequently the Kawamoto family, are in the spotlight. I wonder if Akari will also have the chance to shine in this cour. I am also glad that we got to see Takahashi in action. Hina really needs all the allies she can get.
I Don’t Regret Anything at All
I wonder if we’ll have any kind of closure to Hina’s story. The show has already explored that bullying doesn’t have a panacea, but I am honestly curious to see how this particular one is going to resolve. For all its faith in humanity, the show even has the cats ponder on how some people are just bad.
Did you like Episode 28 of 3-gatsu no Lion? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to check the rest of our weekly anime reviews for Fall 2017.
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/