We finally got a full expose on Rei’s childhood this week, which was about as horrifying and suffocating as imaginable. March’s execution is still a mixed bag, beyond stuff like its uneven animation – the show just doesn’t feel confident enough to discard the parts of either its source material or SHAFT quirks that don’t work in this format/narrative. It’s still a show I’m very much enjoying, but it’s frustratingly short of the show it could be.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!
The episode opens with the tightest focus – first blackness with the sound of the stove being lit, then the stove itself, then their eyes. Our focused is immediately tightened
Extreme close focus still. Close shots of the board and surroundings, we even hear the flame
This is often the way you remember childhood memories – individual moments and sensations, clear but divided
“Shogi wasn’t my favorite, but it was precious time that I could spend with my father. So I did my best”
Young Rei could only relate to adults, this man in particular
Sequences like the eldest sister asking Rei for help feel intrusively over-directed. There’s no emotional advantage to the quick cuts here
This sequence of Momo walking with Rei is great. You can see her personality so much in her motion
The dog part, eh
I love this gentle moment at home. The sunset colors are gorgeous, lots of intimate shots
Rei is reminded of the death of… his sister?
Ugh, these comedy digressions just keep getting more annoying. Like “a sign pointing at characters and defining them as big liars” is very obviously something that does not translate to anime
We finally directly see the death of his family, both parents and little sister
He agrees to be taken in by lying and saying he likes shogi
I really like this transition outside, using the sound of the wind to evoke the cold
Kyouko and Ayumu, his adopted siblings
“Father was strict with Kyouko. I think he was harsher on her because of her strength”
Really overdoing the slow head tilts with her
Competing through shogi for their father’s attention
Ayumu gives up, Kyouko gets furious
Learning about the cuckoo, who forces other birds to raise its young
So he decides he has to leave their home as soon as possible
Treasuring his father’s sweater