Through surreal imagery and carefully put references, Episode 30 of 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion) delivered one of the most tear-jerking episodes of this latest cour. I have wanted to learn more about Nikaidou for a very long time and this episode told a story of a not-so-normal-life of a not-so-normal kid who lives his own adventure. If only we all had the strength to live as strongly as he does.
Japanese Title: 真昼の月 / 冒険者たち
Chapter 60 – Midday Noon
Hayashida is the direct opposite of Hina’s teacher. Listening to her story, he wants to storm in her school and make a scene. He boils with anger and is ready to become another Kaizu in the fight for justice, but in the end, he ends up doing what he does best: put Kiriyama into the right path. After this talk with sensei, he understood that dropping cash on his new family won’t solve anything and it won’t necessarily make them happier. Sometimes, problems are so complicated that there is no easy solution, and what we can and should do is go on in our path and let the people you care about making their own choices. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be there for them or offer your opinion if asked, but just willing to solve a problem doesn’t mean that we have the power to solve it.
It was the end of this chapter, however, that was the focus of this episode. An end that paved the way for the second chapter.
Chapter 61 – Adventurers
Rei has a few people he really cares about. His sister (yes, he does), the Kawamoto sisters, and Nikaidou. These are the most important faces in his life and for whom he would do anything. Shimada, who has come to consider Rei as a son and Rei to consider him as a father and mentor, tells him of Nikaidou’s story and why he lost the semi-finals after he was so determined to meet Rei in the finals. Shimada doesn’t want to burden Rei with another problem (and Nikaidou asked him not to) but Rei is not the same person as he was in the first two cours. As we have said in the previous reviews, the tables have turned for Rei and not it’s his time to be there for the people he loves.
I loved Shimada’s story, more because I always wanted to learn more about Nikaidou. As a rich child, he could have had everything he ever wanted. Due to his chronic and incurable illness, however, what he really wanted was to find meaning in life, something to focus on. He could have given in and spend his days in luxury, but he didn’t. A fan of Jules Verne’s adventure novels, he knew that he was the captain of his own life and he would live it in a way that would make him proud of what he’d achieved. Since he couldn’t play with other children, he turned to shogi and found meaning on the wars fought on the 81 tiles of the shogi board.
Nikaidou, at this point, bed-ridden in the hospital, doesn’t want to be consoled. He never did, as that heartfelt scene with Shimada in his house demonstrated. Rei has to move forward. He has to act as if he is in a shonen friends-rivals’ relationship, the one that Nikaidou always wanted him and Rei to be in.
Nikaidou the captain: What a great scene. We all need to understand that we are the captains of our lives and that we can take control of that steering wheel whenever we decide. I just hope that Nikaidou’s captaincy is not over and that he will not lie ‘fallen cold and dead’ like the captain in Walt Whitman’s famous poem.
Themes & Trivia
Jules Verne: The two novels gifted to Nikaidou were written from one of the first science fiction writers, Jules Verne. He has sometimes been called the ‘Father of Science Fiction’, a title that has also been given to H. G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback. All three are pioneers of the genre so maybe they can share the title. He was trained to be a lawyer but his love for stories quickly won over the law. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages extraordinaires, a widely popular series of adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days. He was the perfect fit for a 3-gatsu no Lion chapter called adventurers since his adventure novels had a wide influence on avant-garde and surrealism, both movements that seem to have influenced the visual style of the anime as well.
Shogi and Video games: I have spent most of my childhood playing video games. I don’t consider that time wasted, but sometimes I wish that I had exchanged some of that time to actually do something that required focus and dedication. Years later, I realized that what I liked about video games was not the game itself but the separate constituents that appealed to my need for stories: the narrative, the visuals, the music. These three were more important than any gameplay element and I found myself drawn more to JRPGs and games with a heavy storyline than I did to sports and puzzle games. Platform games were my board games. Strategy games were my puzzle games. And D&D was my book time outside book time. Even though, I understand what Shimada meant when he ‘criticized’ video games as ‘more fun.’ Even if some of them require a certain level of concentration and skill, they are no match for games like chess and shogi. Of course, there is an ongoing debate about the skill level of e-sports.
Comments? I can’t make any comments. Not unless you bring me another box of tissues as I try to bring myself to the world of 3-gatsu no Lion to keep Nikaidou company as we both cheer Rei. YOU HAVE TO WIN, REI. YOU HAVE TO WIN FOR NIKAIDOU. FOR YOUR BEST FRIEND AND RIVAL.
Like an adventure novel…
Bare any story to its bare essentials, characters and emotions, and you probably will find a situation which we could have encountered in our world. After all, stories are the representation of our worldview. Is Nikaidou an adventurer? Of course, he is. Are we all adventurers? Certainly. We just need to find the strength to take that path we have always wanted to take, and stick with it.
Did you like Episode 30 of 3-gatsu no Lion? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check the rest of our weekly anime review 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/