March comes in like a lion – Episode 38

March had its last pre-hiatus episode this week, and basically just gave us a check-in with a few of the show’s recently underserved characters. It was very nice to see the Kawamotos enjoying themselves again, and even better to see Nikaidou having finally (for now) recovered from his illness. I can’t say where this story might head next, given we’ve just wrapped up basically all current plot threads, but I do hope Nikaidou is somehow involved.

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

The incidental noise of the rain and our two protoganists’ feet splashing against concrete are basically all we hear. A sequence illustrated without words, perhaps replaying this same sequence from Souya’s perspective. Souya lives in a strange and lonely world

“It’s like a god is quietly following me”

“Thank you. I appreciate the help.” Souya actually speaks!

This feels like a return to the heavy environmental storytelling of Rei’s deep sickness and depression. Love how the storm completely dominates the tone here, as well as these evocative layouts and very minimalist color palettes used to bolster that effect

And then the slow disturbance of the phone ringing as the chairman calls

Ah, so Souya really can’t hear

For over ten years!

The cause is vague – doctors say stress, but it’s clearly got metaphorical implications

Apparently the chairman told him to hide it? Not exactly sure why

I like how the show paints this white aura around Souya, visually articulating both his weird godly aura and the buffer of white snow separating him from everyone else

It’s clear now that the “white snow” is Souya’s perception

The next day, the clear blue sky and chatter of class don’t feel quite real. He’s still in Souya’s world

For once, the episode’s mashed-together chapters actually feel satisfying. White snow was too damn heavy, nice to see the sisters now

The Kawamotos, right

This recipe segment is adorable as heck. I love Momo’s interjections

Rei’s headspace is still filled with the click of Souya’s tiles

Shimada sympathizes

Nikaidou is out of the hospital!

Hearing that finally pulls him out of his haze. Souya feels like the endpoint of one path for Rei, while his familial associates point to another path

The loneliness of utter, dedicated genius, where your only conversations are on the board

You play ten rank-deciding matches a year, and the top 2 of their 34-member C-1 class will get promoted

Ah, the use of this guitar melody insert song here is so good. Really emphasizes how Nikaidou’s smiling face is the endpoint of this long story

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