In the end, did it really matter who was going to win this match? 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion), in its final two-chapter conclusion to Yanagihara’s story, made it clear that while we all are individuals with individual problems and individual lives, we are also part of something greater than ourselves, a weave of promises, wishes, troubles, and essentially, part of a larger group that shares those ‘burdens.’
Japanese Title: 焼野が原③ / 焼野が原④
Chapter 81 – Burnt Field Part 3
Two more parts was all that Yanagihara’s story needed to conclude its two-episode run. The previous episode had already set up the stage. The match is underway and each of the two participants is fighting for his own reasons and motives. As much, however, I would have liked for Shimada to be the center of attention, he has already taken his place in the spotlight. It was Yanagihara’s turn now, and his unorthodox attack on his left board flank was dramatic enough to justify the metaphor of the burning man. The weight of the sashes, left behind by his friends who abandoned shogi, felt heavier and Yanagihara seemed both overwhelmed and determined.
Chapter 82 – Burnt Field Part 4
In the end, however, the match ended in the way I thought it would. This was Yanagihara’s story and the title of ‘Eternal Keishin’ had to be conquered. And in the end, I found myself cheering for the old guy. Those sashes are a terrible burden to have and I can only imagine how people like him really feel. There are some things that can keep a man alive for as long as it is necessary. No joint pains or extreme fatigue can keep him from his target, and that is admirable.
Thoughts: What always struck me as odd in anime, series, and movies, is that most of the times characters find themselves in thought, the world around them seems to freeze in time, just to give them the necessary space to unfold their inner self without sacrificing the action. Yet, in 3-gatsu no Lion, thoughts are part of time. They flow at the same time and Yanagihara’s remark that he shouldn’t get lost in thought in such an important match reinforces the fact that all thoughts in the series are ‘live’ and not detached from the things that are happening around the characters.
City Lights: The anime has always taken great advantage of pillow shots, but I’m convinced that in 3-gatsu no Lion, these shots serve more than just providing the necessary space we need from action. They are a side commentary. In this case, it was a reminder that life goes on and people are living each moment, whether or not they are aware that an amazing shogi match is taking place at the same moment.
Group Photo: Shogi is all about the community. I nearly felt a tear falling when I saw the group photo.
Themes & Trivia
Zelkova: This was the first time I’ve heard of the zelkova trees. It is a genus of six species of deciduous trees in the elm family and vary in size. We find them from shrubs to trees up to 35 meters.
How many times do I have to praise this show? To be honest, and judging from the numbers, this is probably NOT what the majority of anime viewers want to see. Yet, in the endless parade of fan-servicy action adventures, it is nice to have titles like these. Anime can use the variety and it is stories like Rei’s that prove how much the industry needs storytellers like Umino.
Back to Rei
I hope that the next episode brings the spotlight back to Rei, and hopefully the Kawamoto sisters. If not the sisters, then I want to see more about his relationship with his best friend, Nikaidou. These two are just the most charming princes of shogi.
Did you like Episode 40 of 3-gatsu no Lion? Don’t forget to check the rest of our Winter 2018 reviews here on MANGA.TOKYO.
TV Anime 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in like a Lion)