March comes in like a lion – Episode 20

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”