And so Shimada’s battle comes to an end. This episode wasn’t necessarily a full highlight, but the opening dream sequence was one of my favorite things the show’s pulled off yet, and there were plenty of other little highlights scattered throughout. I’m going to miss this focus on Shimada, but March doesn’t seem like a show that’d let a good character go to waste, so I’m sure we’ll see him again. You fought hard, Shimada. Now get some goddamn sleep.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!
Opens with Rei marching through a flurry of snow, that evocative image from the OP
Oh no, it’s Shimada!
This pensive country guitar
Man, this dream. The colors are wonderful, and the concept is just as strong. Shimada imagining the life that could have been if he’d actually failed in shogi – marrying his old girlfriend, moving back home to the country, being happy with a child
“Even if you couldn’t become a pro, happiness is something you can find wherever you are”
Better to have his hobby remain a hobby, and enjoy life
And then the morning comes
He realizes that even in the dream, he still wanted to be a professional. There was no certainty there
Other players gossipping about four straight losses
Rei didn’t tell Nikaido about Shimada’s condition because Shimada rightly assumed Nikaido would make a huge fuss about everything
The comedy feels out of place. This whole mess about Smith taking over the observer role has no dramatic place here, no narrative purpose
Smith makes the sealed move
And Rei gets roped into doing commentary
More silly comedy that’s stretched out too far – this dragon rant should have been clipped
Souya is represented as the blizzard itself
Rei defending Shimada on the commentary stage
Rei doesn’t want to see Souya as unstoppable, either
Another great use of music, with this light piano melody and heavy percussion matching Rei’s roiling feelings
Shimada’s faith in Souya’s dominance prevents him from seeing an escape route that Rei actually notices
“At the end of this storm is just another, more furious storm”