March comes in like a lion – Episode 25

March finally pulled itself together this week, offering an episode that was strong in both comedy (!!!) and drama. The difficult path up out of depression was nicely illustrated through the contrasting halves of this episode, where Rei’s lighthearted shenanigans with the other shogi club members were brought to a shuddering halt by his memories of childhood bullying. Between that and seeing the sisters again, this episode seemed determined to remind me of all the things this show is actually good at. It was a very welcome reminder!

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

“June”

Kumakura, the losing challenger, has arrived at their shogi hall

I appreciate the comedy bit being partitioned into this pre-credits sequence. I’ll likely never be a huge fan of this show’s comedy, but this sequence focused on the absurd size of Kumakura’s shoes has a nice conceit, and also nicely reflects the distance these characters feel from the masters

Having Nikaidou announce the mechanics of this Newcomer’s Tournament while eating is a smart choice. It adds a bit of comedy to this exposition, and it feels in-character for Nikaidou himself to grimly announce all this stuff both of them know while they’re eating. A smart way to hide exposition

Rei is visibly in better shape than last season. He can banter, he can enjoy himself

Nikaidou actually pinpoints his perspective perfectly. In spite of his apparent lack of social graces, Nikaidou is actually very attuned to the feelings of others

And we’re getting a much more expressive Rei now, who can feel sneaky and gets embarrassed and all sorts of other feelings

These seniors being both grumpy and dazzled by Rei’s cuteness are great

“You don’t have to worry, Kiriyama. This was always a den of demons.” Moving towards embracing the part of himself that raged after winning back in the first season, saying “if you want to complain, practice more!”

Back to the sisters. This episode is more successfully funny than most

Momo seriously considering what plops in the water is great

Hina’s troubled. Some lovely night backgrounds here

Gorgeous shot of her thinking in the bath

Even Rei’s pre-match thoughts seem healthier now

“Ladybug Bush”

Seeing a bush he remembers from elementary school triggers a painful flashback

Memories of being bullied at school

He always attempted to help around the house, but that only distanced him from his adopted family

“Could you quit trying to be so obvious about scoring points? She’s our mom”

It seems like Hina’s also being bullied at school. A link between the two of them

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