The emotional lens of Episode 31 of 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion) focuses on Rei and his newfound realization that there are more valuable paths than monetary help if he wants to help those he cares about. Through the last fight for the title of the Newcomer King, Rei matures in a profound way that will probably change the way he views life and the people whom he calls friends and family.
Japanese Title: (王国① / 王国②)
Chapter 62 – Kingdom (Part 1)
The first of this two-part episode started building the ground for what was going to take place during the second. Hina is going on a school trip, determined to face her bullying classmates than running away. Like Rei, she believes in confronting her fears, even if her stomachache shows that the fear is probably a bit too strong to successfully handle. Rei, on the other hand, has to play a final match against an opponent who used his opponent’s weakness to win the match. Since that opponent was Rei’s best friend, Nikaidou, Rei feels the fire of justice slowly building inside of him. In one of my favorite scenes of this cour, the music stops during the match and the only thing we hear is the shogi tiles. This was not just another shogi match for Rei. His purpose was not victory. He wanted to defeat his opponent. He was angry and his anger made him play aggressively and carelessly.
Chapter 63 – Kingdom (Part 2)
The second part of Kingdom found Rei under the light of epiphany, shone by the things he has learned so far from his friends and especially from his friend and rival for life, Nikaidou. It was his determination and his words that acted like a Zen bell and brought Rei back to reality, that made him cling to reason. Nikaidou’s past advice came just in time to make Rei abandon his anger and return to a state of focus. There was only one to win this, and Rei had taken the wrong path. As we saw in the previous episodes, Rei finally realized that sometimes we just have to do our own thing and let the people we love do their own. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be there for them. It just means that our actions may not have the power to change things. Rei’s desire to take revenge for Nikaidou would have resulted in a loss. Just being true to himself and to his friends led Rei to victory.
A victory that concluded in the sweetest way possible. After finding some Shimada cure-all-stomachache medicine, he goes to Kyoto to find Hina who is on her school trip. At first, he tries to find her in a busy marketplace where the school was supposed to spend their free hours. Yet, Hina was not there. Drawing from first-hand experience and from what he knows about Hina, he finds her in that one place where lonely people go when they feel like they don’t belong anywhere: their safe place. Hina’s safe place was always the river bank and Rei knew that. He did because he cared and because he paid attention. As he stressed out more than once, Rei worries about Hina. If only for that wide-eyed surprise face Hina made when she saw Rei, it was all worth it.
I don’t know if I can really point out any highlights in this episode. Its flow left no time for individual scenes to shine and if I have to pick something, it must be the scene of the finals where the sound gave way to the clicking of the shogi pieces. It was a memorable and emotionally strong scene that climaxed the moment Nikaidou’s friendship over the course of the series came rushing to Rei’s rescue.
Themes & Trivia
Katsudon: If you have seen Yuri on Ice, then you’ll remember the famous katsudon dish Yuri loves. Let me borrow the description from our Anime Recipe, which also explains why Akari prepared one just before the final match:
Katsudon is a dish with tonkatsu (pork cutlet), onions, and eggs on top of rice. Tonkatsu is a port cutlet that is covered in breadcrumbs and then fried. The ‘katsu’ in katsudon comes from tonkatsu and the don is from ‘donburi’, which means bowl in Japanese. Katsudon is eaten at home, of course, but you can also eat at diners, udon restaurants, and even at fast food restaurants. It’s definitely a kind of comfort food for Japanese people. It is very filling, so it is a common lunch-time dish for men who work very hard.
Katsudon is also popular as a good luck food. The ‘katsu’ in katsudon is a homophone for the Japanese word ‘to win’ (勝つ katsu) so it is often eaten for good luck before sports games, exams, or negotiations. However, katsu is very high in calories, so Yuri is banned from eating it until he becomes a champion.
Click here for our katsudon recipe.
You can also read our guide that tells you where to find katsudon in Japan, and our otaku quest to eat the official Yuri on Ice katsudon in Karatsu City.
Osaka: Since our offices are located in Osaka, I couldn’t but mention our latest article covering a very otaku place in our city. Take a stroll with us down Osaka’s otaku street, where you can find anything from anime stores to places offering hugs and cuddles.
Kyoto: I guess this is the travel edition of Themes & Trivia. If you want to learn all about the otaku side of the former Japanese capital, follow a local anime fan, Ayumi, as she takes us around the ancient city of Kyoto.
I have to admit that I was a bit worried that Rei might not win the tournament. As soon as I saw the cameras facing him, I knew that he had made good on his promise to Hina and to Nikaidou, the two people he values the most in the world. This was a satisfying conclusion to the Newcomer Tournament and I have to wonder what the next arc is going to be. I am not reading the manga so I am totally in the dark here. Maybe it’s time to see a proper conclusion to Hina’s bullying story as well.
Love Is in the Air
I mean, this is definitely romance material, isn’t it? I am willing to bet on this, but since I am usually wrong, don’t make me bet too much. Yet, I think Rei and Hina would make a very cute couple. I don’t usually use that word because I’m not even part of the whole anime mating culture, but I’m ‘shipping’ them.
Did you like Episode 31 of 3-gatsu no Lion? Let us know in the comments (you can find them on top of this article) 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/