Welcome to the Winter 2018 season and the second cour of the second season of 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion). That does sound a bit complicated, doesn’t it? After all, the episodes just keep on the numbers and there is not a real division between the seasons and the cours. So, welcome to Episode 34 of the shogi anime, in which, for the first time I think, the protagonist is nowhere to be seen.
Japanese Title: 黒い霧 / 光
Chapter 68 – Black Mist
The title of the chapter refers to the black shadow of depression and anxiety that seems to be engulfing Hina’s homeroom teacher. Emotions are always acted upon, directly or indirectly, and the constant bullying, year after year, has taken its toll on the poor teacher. Of course, in contrast to the new homeroom teacher, you might be quick to dismiss her as weak, but we have to remember that each of us is different in how well we can handle stress and pressure in our lives. Hina realizes that adults can be bullied too and that they can be as weak as children and teenagers. Her upbringing enables her to find and use a strength she always had but refused to acknowledge: she is not responsible for other people’s behavior but she is for how she chooses to react, and Hina, empowered by life itself, refuses to shut her mouth. If you have never stood up for yourself, you might miss the point of her rushing to her own rescue. Or if you have been bullied before, you might have dreamed of such a moment many times.
Chapter 69 – Light
Chapter 69 leaves Hina and instead focuses on her sister, Akari. After being called to school by the new AWESOME homeroom teacher (is he the one in Rei’s club? I don’t remember) we once again become witness of her own struggle of anxiety. One that is fueled by a promise to a sick mother and a devotion to two sisters that feel like daughters. The struggle of thinking all the things she could have answered to Takagi’s mother without being able to say a word. The 180-turn when instead of saving her sister, Akari witnesses Hina saving herself and standing for what seems to be the centerpiece of the story, and one that was expressed by the homeroom teacher in his backlash against Takagi’s mother nonsense: You don’t need to have proof to realize the truth in front of you. You just need logic to deduct the truth and empathy to feel it.
I don’t have a single reason to waste my life on people like that.
Food Comfort: We all have our favorite guilty pleasures when it comes to food, don’t we? For me, it’s probably ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream in all the flavors you can imagine, from plain chocolate to colorful bubblegum. I still haven’t encountered an ice-cream flavor I didn’t like and I don’t think I ever will. What’s your food vice?
OP/ED: New cour means new songs. For Winter 2018, Unison Square Garden open the anime with their song ‘Haru ga Kite Bokura’ and Ruann accompanies the excellent ending animation with ‘I am standing’. Both are similar to the musical vibes of their predecessors: a happy upbeat opening song (that still sounds very basic compared to the excellent ‘Fighter’) and a mellow ballad for the black-and-white ED sequence.
Themes & Trivia
Anxiety: Depression and anxiety usually go hand-by-hand in online articles and mental health info leaflets. While 3-gatsu no Lion has extensively discussed themes of depression, anxiety was less frequently addressed. I think Shimada’s stomach problems are the closest we have seen so far. Most of the people I know, myself included, suffer from mild anxiety, a byproduct of our lightning-fast times. Yet, the homeroom teacher’s behavior was a case of severe anxiety. An inability to cope with daily problems that require a strength of character and a willingness to go beyond our self and recognize that our mind is our greatest enemy. The only thing that can live in the past and the future is our thoughts, and then they get the best of us, we are constantly anxious of all the things that can go wrong, of all the words we should or shouldn’t say, of all the situations that can harm us both physically and psychologically. Anxiety, like depression, is a real mental illness, and in severe cases, it can be as debilitating as in the example we saw in this episode.
The episode was so gripping that I missed how it focused only on Hina. Rei was nowhere to be seen and that was alright. After 34 episodes, the series proved that its deep characterization goes beyond main characters. Hina is as much important as Rei and Akari’s struggle is as important as Nikaidou’s. This is a human drama that focuses on a group of people. And that’s beautiful.
All You Need
All you need is someone to be there when you need him the most. All you need is family (blood-related or not) to care about you as much as you care about them. All you need is a sense of belonging. How many times have we discussed the same theme in these reviews? Not enough.
Did you like Episode 34 of 3-gatsu no Lion? Don’t forget to check the rest of our Winter 2018 reviews and our First Impressions preview article! Have an incredible new season!
TV Anime 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion)
Fall 2017 – Winter 2018| Anime Info Page
TV anime official website: http://3lion-anime.com/
NHK program website: http://www.nhk.or.jp/anime/3lion/