March comes in like a lion – Episode 29

After several weeks focused on Hina’s unique and often emotionally crushing conflicts, March returned to a more standard mode this week, balancing the Kawamoto drama with a renewed focus on Rei’s shogi fortunes. This season’s aesthetic strengths remained as clear as ever though, making this a fine episode on all counts. I’m not sure if it’s because I forgot how good this show was or because this season has legitimately improved on the first, but I just keep being impressed by how consistently strong these episodes are. March is good stuff.

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

More very interesting visual effects. I like them once again employing color draining from Hina as a reflection of her emotions, and there are some great alternate style shots throughout, like this almost cut-paper image of Nikaidou

Hina and Rei speak like equals and close friends now

Rei has reached the point that his teacher articulated in the first season. He was told “unless you let yourself rely on others, they’ll never come to rely on you.” And now Akari is actually willing to rely on him

Same with Nikaidou. His “you’ll be fine” actually has weight

It’s a pretty big shift for him to have arrived at the point where he’s the one taking care of others

Rei is frustrated by his own inability to help more

Again, this is his first real motivation to succeed – winning money for their sake

“I want to be needed”

“Hachiya”

The focus on natural sounds and his footsteps emphasize his new weight of responsibility. “If something happens, I’ll be counting on you” echoes in his head. People depend on him now

“For the first time, I feel desire for something”

Subaru Hachiya is his opponent. They emphasize his disruptive nature through more strong sound design

“The Irritated Prince of the East.” Tongue clicking, fidgeting, messing with his fan

More strong sound design – no music through their match, but you can continuously hear the folding fan, disrupting the peace

These quick cuts to his clicking tongue are pretty strong

All these sighs, too. This is something anyone who’s played a competitive sit-down game like this will eventually experience – someone whose whole demeanor seems to exhibit frustration and disappointment with everything you do

Even slight screen shakes for when he slams down a new piece

Rei keeps getting more and more annoyed by his behavior

“I bet he thinks the world revolves around him.” Right after becoming a “selfless” person himself, he’s thrust into this opponent

I like that they humanize this opponent through his straightforwardness. He’s not trying to be annoying – he just has a bunch of nervous tics, is a naturally irritable person, and would prefer if everyone played a lot faster

And he even slams the door when he leaves

“You should live like you’re easier to understand”

And now they accuse Rei of being like Hachiya, and thinking the world revolves around him

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