March Comes in like a Lion

Alt title: 3-gatsu no Lion

TV (22 eps)
2016 - 2017
Fall 2016
4.346 out of 5 from 8,037 votes
Rank #392

Rei Kiriyama is a 17-year-old professional shogi player who suffers from anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Unwanted by his relatives after he loses his family in an accident, and resented by his adopted family's children, Rei moves into his own apartment in Tokyo to avoid inconveniencing others. He uses his talent at shogi to earn a living, but doesn't take care of himself, and is reluctant to ask others for help. Soon after his arrival, the boy meets the Kawamoto family: a trio of sisters and their grandfather who run a traditional Japanese pastry shop. They too have dealt with pain and loss, but their warmth and loving-kindness are balm for Rei's anguished spirit.

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Reviews

ClubFoot
10

The first thing when I saw “March Comes in Like a Lion” is a game anime about Shogi. But, it’s not really about the Japanese chess game. Instead, this anime is like a poetic. It describes the emotions of the main character and the perspective of other characters. The main protagonist, Rei Kiriyama, is a very complex character. On the way he is trying to get past various obstacles, this anime changed the slice of life genre into a unique story. Unlike such a genre in general, this show represented how dilemma mixes with feelings, experiences, and suffering. The same is true in the first minute of the first episode. This anime doesn’t require its narrative between characters but Rei’s content head describes every feeling of all characters. Rei Kiriyama is not the MC from a game or video game genre in general where they were always portrayed strong without any complexity mixed up. Rei is a young man and a Shogi talent professional besides having a successful life from the outside, it’s not really the case. He has to deal with all kinds of depression, deep internal problems, and many personal issues. We see his life and how he looks at others from his perspective. Using his glasses, he invited us to explore a variety of obstacles from his relationships, past, people he meets, his job, and people who influence himself. Discussing Rei Kiriyama itself is one of the main keys to why this anime could be very interesting. Sinking into the deepest sea, trying to swim but the deeper he sank, the darker and emptier the sea was. Rei feels isolated both in society, his family and friends. Not that he doesn’t have anyone but he has people who help him when he drowns. After the death of his family in an accident, Rei has nothing but to accept an offer whether he likes Shogi or not. He accepts it so he has a new family thanks to his adoptive father. However, he still drowned and felt that he was an outsider. Somehow, he finally chose to live alone so that there were no more people who felt hurt because of him. His meeting with Akari, Momo, and Hina has changed his life. He feels warmed differently when he always sank into his apartment where he lived. These three sisters caring for poor Rei with all their heart and even taking an abandoned cat have described how kind they were. Every time Rei feels empty, he has a place to hang so that his heart is filled again. Unfortunately, his expectations suddenly become unexpected after meeting with Kyouko Kouda, his adopted sister. She is like a queen regardless she is beautiful but every time she shows herself, Rei suddenly becomes silent. Even so, Kyouko is a complex character as well after what happens when they are still with their father.For Rei, he felt that he was always dependent on someone. Every time he felt alone, for some reason there would be someone who pulled him again. Fill his empty heart so that he doesn’t feel alone again. I like and hate Rei’s character at the same time. I like and sympathize with him because there are so many things he must go through at his young age. But I hated him because he never always took steps for himself. Often, he always thinks about the outcomes so he doesn’t repeat his mistakes again. Like a bird who stabbed his father. After stabbed him, he looked for a place to depend again. Therefore, Shogi is a dedication and reflection of his life. If there is no Shogi, Rei is nothing. He certainly had no purpose in his life other than continuing to move forward. “March Comes in Like a Lion” deals with someone’s solitude and depression. I really like this anime from the first episode and continue to like it to the end. The pace is different from the slice of life anime I’ve watched because this is a very, very different anime. It’s not really about Shogi, apart from you are non-Japanese viewers, you will be confused. There is also a cute cartoon segment explains the basic rules of the game. But, I didn’t really see this as a Shogi anime but instead, it really focused on its narrative and storyline of the main character. Shogi is just a reflection of Rei’s life because being a professional player is the only thing he has. In addition to having to be able to go forward along the dark road, he finally realized there was still light in his straight path. The most influential characters are the Kawamoto sisters. It was they who made Rei grow even more so that they would go forward. To continue to support what Rei really wanted to find. They not only exist as colorful cast or even sub-plots but they are there so that Rei can go and move forward. Because of them, Rei can trust all of his friends, the people he met at Shogi, and not for his ego anymore. He even saw Kyoko as broken glass but still stood firm. But what’s most important about his life is how much he influences others and what the true meaning of his influence was. And one important thing that teaches Rei the true meaning is Harunobu Nikadou. Nikadou shows as comic relief at first glance besides he always recognizes Rei as his best friend and archrival. However, he has things what Rei doesn’t have so they influence each other where Rei doesn’t realize it. At the hot sun besides fighting his disease, it turns out there are still people who care about Rei and one of the biggest influences when talking about Shogi. There is Kai Shimada as the most influential person later on. Masamune Goto as his adoptive father and other supporting characters who have their own narration for Rei himself too. While the plot doesn’t focus much on Shogi itself, it doesn’t try to focus more on such a game itself than the plot. So, you don’t need to worry about watching this. You don’t have to learn Shogi first. Shogi is a part of this game mind like chess where there are strategies and formations on it. The show is so sticking with it and doesn’t really focus on tropes about “from zero to hero”. Because it’s not about Rei who must be the top Shogi player. Shaft studio really did well in this show making “March Comes in Like a Lion” has its own unique style. In contrast to the Shaft direction in general, which is not infrequently there was also a head tilt, the art is well-drawn and so amazing spectacular. It’s like a superior animation while trying to be audiovisual with a realist narrative. There are so many metaphors when it comes to it and that’s being said, the character designs are also unique. The soundtrack is just really well-composed. It’s so melancholic and very suitable in describing the dilemma and feelings of the main and other characters. The opening theme songs really bought its visual into a poetic that illustrates the whole feeling of the character. This is not a comedy show but the show really sticks with it. The author and other staff didn’t forget to pay attention to the smallest details including the cats. Kengo Kawanishi as Rei Kiriyama is just powerful and amazing voice actor. Not all voice actors are able to express all kinds of feelings through their characters, but Kengo Kawanishi is one of them. Kana Hanazawa, Ai Kayano, and Misaki Kuno are also very cute in carrying their characters. One of them is Misaki Kuno as Momo. “March Comes in Like a Lion” speaking through its narrative, through its feeling, deals with psychology, so that it becomes a unique slice of life show. I love everything about this anime regardless of the pacing was a bit slow and dull in some segments. The relationship between characters is well-development, realism, and the Shogi scene is really interesting to follow. It’s not really a slice of life show even for the manga readers or anime watchers, you would find it hard. There are many complexities of each character. However, it’s a show that presents it with such a breathtaking direction.

haize78
8

March comes in like a lion is about 17 year old Rei Kiriyama who became a professional shogi player when he was still in middle school - one of only five kids who managed to accomplish such a feat. That's why among the recommendations and similar anime you will find Hikaru no go, because they're both anime about board games. As a matter of fact, the comparison to Hikaru no go isn't very appropriate because in San gatsu no lion the board game - shogi, in this case - isn't the main focus point. I'd say March comes in like a lion resembles much more Honey and Clover - it's the same mangaka, the two anime feel very much alike, they've got the same atmosphere, they share the way certain themes are presented and dealt with; but while Honey and clover is mainly a romance anime, with some really good character development, March comes in like a lion is more a coming of age story - with some really good character development. Rei is a boy who's been deeply hurt and goes on hurting. He tries his best to rely only on himself and support himself thanks to shogi - but he has his own feelings to deal with and a deep and relentless yearning to blend in, be accepted and establish bonds with other people, which conflicts with his terrible timidity and the inability to speak his mind or ask for help. He is basically unaware of his own worth, unhappy about himself and his life, without a place to belong. But all the while trying so hard to go on, day after day. He's a fragile character, he would have the right to be angry at life, but instead he always blames himself, extremely conscious of his own shortcomings. Rei starts changing when he meets three sisters who live in the neighbouring block and welcome him open-heartedly into their home. Their warmth is complemented by the kindness of Rei's homeroom teacher, who pushes him into opening up to some of his fellow shogi players - and so slowly Rei starts building ties to other people as well as confidence in himself and so overcoming the dark well of depression he had got himself into. The other characters are also well built and fleshed out, but not to the same extent as Rei. I think maybe a little too much time was devoted to Shimada-san, another shogi player who Rei first meets as a rival but then becomes his mentor. I acknowledge he is an important figure in Rei's development, but I would have preferred instead to see more of Kyouko, Rei's sister, and to understand better the relationship between the two. And of course you really can't have enough of the three sisters, Akari, Hinata and Momo. The story has a slow start so it takes at least 5 or 6 episodes before it draws you in, but after that it really doesn't let go.  Animation and sound are extremely well done. The art is stylish and beautiful to look at. Op and ed songs are all great (the ones I recognized were Bump of chicken and YUKI, who also sang the Op in Honey and clover), but I also appreciated the background music as well as the voice actors. I really think that March comes in like a lion doesn't have many flaws for what concerns the production values, with great care taken for even the finest details. In conclusion, this is a gentle and heart-warming tale I highly recommend. I hear a second season is in the making - which is good news, some things at the moment are left hanging, like Rei's relationship with his adoptive sister as I mentioned before, but also his rival at shogi, a mysterious guy called Souya. I look forward to watching the second season and I hope other anime viewers are willing to give this anime a chance, I'd say it's well worth it. I know this review doesn't really do this anime justice, but if after reading this you think you might like it then please do give it a go and remember to watch at least the first 5 episodes before deciding whether to drop it or watch it to the end. 

delolmo
9.5

I loved this anime very much. Sangatsu no Lion exceeded my expectations in so many ways that it now a top favorite. Story I actually put off watching this anime because the summary of it did not caught my eye. Seeing how the rating was so good in this site I gave it a chance and I was amazingly surprised with what I saw. I would definitely state the story is quite original in some ways. While anime illustrating board games or sports is not uncommon, the added features such as the strong character of Rei and the good nature role of the three sisters make for a very good story. This anime is all about balance. Not only is the plot interesting and well executed but it also offers several other components to it. For example, the story is full of comedy, but it also shows some very emotional moments. Watching this anime I felt happiness, anger, sadness, hope, and compassion. If the story had been focused purely on shogi I think the result would not have been a good one. The strong and enigmatic character of Rei is what makes this story the more unique. His past is rather enticing and his resolve at present is inspirational. I loved the fact that the three sisters are a great buffer and support for him. As much as I enjoyed the execution of this story, I found myself a tad bored in some parts where the shogi matched dragged on (in my opinion). Towards the end I ended up skipping some of these parts as I found the overall story to be the best part of this anime. Animation I was blown away by the beautiful graphics of this anime. The amazing work of art came alive with the use of sharp colors, beautiful landscapes, and great camera angles full of symbolism. Kuddos to the mangaka because to me, the characters were well designed and were perceived as unique. The quality of the animation remained consistent from beginning to end. Sound I LOVED the soundtrack for this animation. Simply put: AMAZING! Characters Rei is the main character. Having had a traumatic past originated in the passing away of his family and the hardships that followed, his character is seen as unique in many ways and overall strong. He is rather quiet in nature and more than a bit awkward socially since he was bullied from a young age. What I liked most about him is the fact that he works hard, he is independent, and has a very insightful way of thinking when pondering about his past and present. I see a lot of growth as he starts to stand on his own in life and work towards a goal. Learning about his past kept me wanting to watch more as his story was very sad. His relationship with his “sister” is my favorite as she embodies the negative thoughts on him and reminds him of the dark past. The sisters on the other hand reflect on the future and happy memories. My favorite character was actually Kyouko, Rei’s “sister”. She is such a strong and stubborn child that reminded me so much of myself. The scene where she is put outside by her father as punishment for hitting Rei was so powerful to me… You could see the anger in her eyes and her proud stand. I think this character is deeply troubled so she comes across as evil. I would say she is more or less misunderstood and she plays a significant role in Rei’s life. I believe she loves Rei very much but since there is so much resentment, her pride will not allow her to show it. I love her strong character, straightforwardness and fierce personality. Nikaidou also caught my eye. He is the self-proclaimed best friend of Rei. I never came across a character like him that I fell in love with right off the bat. Who wouldn’t want a friend like him? I realize the three sisters have huge roles on this story but they have not made any lasting impressions on me other than their good nature. I honestly feel this story is full of great characters with a lot of depth. Overall I can see how from the first two or three episodes, people will either love this anime or hate it. In my opinion, this anime is best suited for more mature audiences that are patient with the plot development and enjoy character exploration. I personally think that the animation and sound were outstanding. Also, the characters have a lot to offer which makes it worthwhile to give this anime a chance. In short, I don’t think this anime is for everyone, but for those who can appreciate self-exploration and personal growth I think this is something worth watching.

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