March comes in like a lion – Episode 24

This episode of March comes in like a lion seemed in large part dedicated to humanizing Gotou, which was an inherently fraught and not terribly successful exercise. We didn’t really learn anything that substantively shifted our understanding of his character, and downplaying Kyouko’s depressed, dependent status through wacky visual comedy just felt like a terribly misguided call. Based on everything we know, Gotou is just a plain shitty dude, and this episode’s sympathetic framing made it just that bit harder to buy into the reality of its world.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode notes below.

Nikaidou has clawed his way up to C-1 to match Rei, but the two of them are on opposite ends of the C-1 bracket, and could only match in the finals

More dramatic zooms and palette shifts and whatnot for Nikaidou’s reactions

Some great images here, actually – it looks like they may have even roped in that Monogatari painted tapestry artist for a couple of these

Other people talk trash about Shimada, but before his students can defend him, Gotou actually steps up and rips into them

We also get Gotou and the club leader talking a bit

Discussing the mental ramifications of losing in a title match

Players who’ve lost there need to break themselves apart and reconstitute themselves from the pieces. It works well enough for Rei’s journey as well

I love how the club president has the perspective to call Gotou out on his juvenile bravado, something that would be impossible for Rei, who’d just see that as an imposing strength

Once again, we’re dealing with slight structural issues though – we’re basically getting the denouement of Shimada’s story as the first act of this season

Meanwhile, Rei’s stewing in memories of his sister

“People who can’t cherish their family are trash!”

Gotou’s a married man. His dalliance with Rei’s sister also reflects his immaturity, or his callousness

The black paint splashes defining this flashback are very nice and stark

Gotou is an immature and fundamentally unkind person. Unkind people often rationalize their actions through alternate philosophies of justice – Gotou’s is the simple “might makes right.” The same instinct that prompts him to disgust at people who haven’t fought in a title match shit-talking Shimada also prompts him to scoff at Rei for trying helplessly to defend his sister

And then he smiles as he gets into semantic arguments with Rei. “You’re the one who gets to decide what’s good and bad? Are you god?” Another beloved tactic of those who don’t want to reckon with the moral implications of their actions, and thus say everyone who’s judging them is in the wrong to judge at all

Rei says “to me, humans are the embodiment of chaos”

And Rei can’t reconcile the Gotou who abuses his sister with the Gotou who stood up for Shimada

The challenger Kumakura resigns on what appears to be an unsolved board. Him and the Meiji were thinking twelve steps ahead

He was checkmated at the 17th move

I really like this slow sequence of Rei and Nikaidou physically playing through the seventeen moves of the game. This is animation used well, the methodical movements of their hands building tension throughout

Souya essentially learned his opponent across their six previous matches

The girl who feels she’s worthless, turning to another neglectful father figure

Gotou’s wife is apparently in long-term hospital care, and appears to be in a coma. Gotou’s boyish pride means he can’t even go into the store to buy her facial cream and whatnot, so he has his mistress do it

Trying to frame this relationship as wacky and cute seems like a very odd choice

So much of the rest of this story takes place in a realistic world, so playing such an unhealthy relationship in a cutesy way feels very out of place

“Now I can’t get mad at you. Not after you show me this face.” A moment of vulnerability does not make up for everything else

Kumakura, the losing competitor, expressed his frustration in his own way – kicking the hell out of a wall

3 thoughts on “March comes in like a lion – Episode 24

  1. I’m current to Volume 12 of the manga (Volume 13 only came out a month ago), and the author must have felt similarly to you about following this relationship because she has pretty much abandoned these two characters ever since these two chapters. Neither Gotou nor Kyouko has been seen since.

  2. I think one thing to note is that Rei’s feelings about his sister’s relationship with Gotou is never going to be entirely realistic–regardless of how shitty Gotou is or how he definitely took advantage of a much younger woman and then tried to discard her, Kyouko has definitely sexually assaulted Gotou…and probably Rei, too.

    If Umino has left the two characters in this state, then I guess she’s decided they deserve each other!

    • If Umino has left the two characters in this state, then I guess she’s decided they deserve each other!

      I think the manga was being serialized biweekly at the time those two chapters were written, so perhaps Umino was either dissatisfied with how to continue their story or didn’t like where that relationship was headed or something because she makes a hard pivot into much different material starting next chapter, which is where I’d argue the real S2 begins.

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