I'm conflicted about this one. I immensely enjoyed the first season. But this second one...leaves me a lot less enthusiastic. It's still above average, don't get me worng, but in my opinion it's simply not as good as the first season. Even though I have only read glowing reviews about this, so I know many people don't agree.
I like and commend the production values, colours, character designs, backgrounds, music, voice actors...it's all extremely good. I find that the characters are very well portrayed and I fully share in the philosophy of life behind this anime. I like the realistic take on life, the way it shows how people are not only just good or bad but sometimes both, how you struggle to grow up, how bad things happen but how you can find motivation and strength to go on. How you can find some beauty in life - and hope - if you look hard enough. I liked how Rei's match with Souya didn't have the end you'd expect and neither did Shimada's one with old man Yanagihara. I liked how Rei is grown up and learnt to trust other people, enjoy companionship and sincerely yearn to help others. The characters are this anime's main strength. You cannot not admire Hinata's bravery, and same could be said for Nikaidou and Souya and Shimada.
What I didn't like is that it's really not about Rei anymore. Hina gets a lot of screen time and not only in the arc dedicated to her. There's a couple of episodes dedicated to Nikaidou and a couple to Shimada. Rei is often a side-character, trying his best to help others. The match between Rei and Souya is for me one of the highlights of this season, and Souya's character - as well as his interaction with Rei - is portrayed, once again, masterfully.
To me this season feels like a series of cameos of different characters, but with a plot that isn't heading in any clear direction once that we've been shown how Rei has overcome his issues from the previous season. I already know that lovers of slice-of-life will object to what I've just said. I guess what makes me unhappy lies in the comparison with the first season, where there most definetely was a plot that got me hooked, as well as the excellent characters and art. That's what's lacking, in my opinion, in this second season.
The second season of “March Comes in Like a Lion” still seems insufficient if you just leave a sentence or rating. I think this show doesn’t deserve a 9 rating in MyAnimeList or even 10. It’s deserved more than any show. A representation of how life runs in such a spinning wheel. There are so many problems that arise from the outside and from the inside. However, the tragedy shows thousands or even infinity of beauty in this show. While the first season is more visual poetic and portraying slow-burning of Rei Kiriyama’s feelings, the second season more to delightful interaction between characters with realistic yet soft mood tone.
The show is like magnolia, filled with so many things, many melancholic feelings, depressing, powerful, yet raw emotion about humans. The second season centered on Rei Kiriyama after fighting depression now gets what he really deserved. He no longer tried to hide or sink in the deepest seafloor. However, he tried to open himself to the people he loved and whom he met. This time, he was the one who tried to reach out to the hands who had fallen in the sea. He saved many people’s lives unconsciously but the real problem came. The real world is now trying to block him but there are many more besides that.
“March Comes in Like a Lion” centers on the Shogi game which is still focused on Rei trying to rise to a higher rank. But, the main story of this season focuses more on Kawamoto sisters especially Hinata. Hinata must face horror and terror of a bully in her class. It brings this kind of serious theme seriously, attracts you faster than in the first season. While the first season focuses more on in-depth character development with slow-burning pace, the second season is so fast. The show tackled this issue in a different way but with more honest and raw feeling. Most shows sometimes discuss bully as its subtext but the impression is much more a side plot. Not too serious and doesn’t leave an impression. Unlike this show, it left you impactfully with this issue.
Not really such complex when we talk about bullying but this is a serious issue when talking about reality. The show represents the antagonist’s though in a deep way, not only focusing on Hinata’s point of view. Megumi Takagi is the bully but we can hear her the reason why she did it. Both Hinata and Megumi display their amazing yet powerful visual characterization. There is a reason behind the bully. Relationships with her parents who seem to continue to pressure themselves. Clearly, she suffers from the mentality and a bad point of view about life. It gives us a reason, although it is also wrong, we can still hear why escapism and outlet is the main key.
In this case, it’s very clear we are more easily sympathetic to Hinata. She is like a fragile queen, you want to hug her but you are afraid she will break because of her fragility. Hinata is also the helping hand of Rei who also has the same experience with Hinata. However, Hinata stood up against it rather than covering her mouth, ears, and eyes. For this reason, Rei helped her as much as possible from behind, trying to inspire her, and pulling her from the deepest depressed ocean. It creates a close and bond to the first season. There is something jarring but they still feel happy when I see them both helping and need each other. However, Rei was her hero here and the fragile queen deserved it.
Another thing with this show, besides Hinata as well, is Akari. In the first season, Akari is a hero to Rei who always helps him. Like a person who found a cat who was hungry on the ground and took him home. But, we don’t know how that smile can make it up in first place and become an ensconce for Hinata. In some way, we are also easy to sympathize with her besides she is the shoulder of all his younger siblings. But, still not enough to recover Hinata’s depression. It makes her not just a character but her emotion and feeling, why she doesn’t just become a likable character. We feel her emotion in herself and again, Rei is also trying to pull her from the downturn.
Clearly, the show was centered on Kawamoto sisters. Even Momo is a glitter of gold you don’t want to see her upset too. The show is like a roller coaster of emotion. Sometimes, you get this serious issue but sometimes, you get this comedy and the slice of life kind of show with too many sweets. This season also, for the first time, shows the dynamic between Rei Kiriyama and Souya Touji. Seeing the first time meeting face to face while talking through Shogi is just amazing.
They both show a breathtaking visual without words but the dynamic between them is one that makes it even more interesting. We also see how Souya’s gray life has a reason behind it. People always call him a monster but we don’t know what is in his head. But, he is just a lonely king not because he wants to be alone but the world makes him have to be. We see this from Rei’s point of view of why he rarely talks and why he is difficult to listen around him.
There is an amazing side moment as well between Shimada and Yanagihara. Their Shogi match is spectacular in terms of visual imagery. But, there is more than the game. What I love about them is what’s behind them and their determination of both characters. Especially Yanagihara, a Shogi player who still survives in his class. It gives you an example of how life continues to spin and spin whether there are many people who disappear or we who disappear. So does Shimada, show them both of his weight in Shogi. Their match isn’t just a chess game but it’s about sacrifice. It put stakes to their life, don’t know who we deserve rooting here. But, one of them will surely lose yet we don’t know who.
There are some characters that aren’t too discussed, including the relationship of Gotou, Kyouko, and Rei actually. At a glance, we only see a little but sympathize with Gotou for the first time. Almost all of the characters in this show have their own emotions and problems, making us empathetic with everything from one point of view to another. Nikaidou, including, became a benchmark for Rei’s action in fighting kind of problems within him. This season also tells more about Nikaidou’s backstory, what his illness really is, and why he really loves Shogi. Both Rei and Nikaidou have something in common, such as Shogi as a dedication to their lives. The difference is, it shows them in a unique way from the relationship between the two of them.
As the show end, we see Rei from another perspective narrated to the person he loves the most. It concludes what drives Rei actually and what makes him a kind person. After that, for some reason, there is a strong connection between the audience and Rei Kiriyama including the characters in this show. His journey faces all kinds of relatability, complexity, psychology, pressure, illness, emotion, and fragility. Finally, one question from each of our minds arises. Would be there a third season?
Shaft is one of my favorite studios. They explore its storytelling in a unique way whether it’s comedy anime, romance, or whatever it is. “March Comes in Like a Lion” has a poetic reflection in this real life. But, the show shows it in a powerful way, especially the reflection of these characters. It has gorgeous backgrounds with so many styles and in some scenes, there are no dialogues and words. Just a silent image as the feeling of these characters. The show is also supported by the melancholic soundtrack. Sometimes depressing, sometimes happy, and sometimes silence. It brings you so many things in yourself whether you’re crying, laughing, angry or happy. The acting is over-the-top as the first season. Because of this composition, the visual works very well to the story.
“March Comes in Like a Lion” is a study of human emotion including depression but the second season mostly discusses it in raw, it has an impact on you too. This show is about emotion, helping each other and reaching out to each other. Not only solve the problem alone, but you must also have ensconced when you want to solve the problem. It’s one of the best shows in terms of escapism, so raw, so emotional. Every episode and arc makes you cry, happy, but also angry. In some way, this show deserves more attention than the first season.
I have to say that season was much better than the first season. I really loved to story. Everything blends up so well, you get to know more about the characters especially Hina and Souya. You also get to see new sides of Kiriyama, and how he is developing.
The story is surprisingly intresting. So many stuff happens, and they are all well made.
I was excited to watch this season because I kind of liked the first one and it may end up being one of my top ten anime. I started watching bits and pieces of this one and boy, was I disappointed. I watched up to episode 5 and then kind of just wanted to give up, especially after hearing about how dramatic this season gets. Okay, here comes my problems with this season.
They shifted the focus of Rei's point of view to Hina's. A lot of the season starts focusing on Hina and her reactions to the conflicts she encounters rather than Rei's. She encounters bullying during her third year of middle school and being the sweetheart she is, protects a girl named Chiho from it, who is like an acquaintance to her. But then the bullies start bullying her. Between her classmates bullying her and her friend moving away, Hina becomes depressed and solemn. This was inconsistent to the cheerful, easy-going, bubbly girl she was in the first season. It's like the writer ran out of ideas and started to make Hina's character similar to Rei's. She starts crying excessively, she has no friends, she is going through the trauma of bullying which is what Rei's character has been through. In episode 4, she cries even during moments that weren't even requiring that sort of drama such as the ladybug scene.
They changed the tone of the Kawamoto family. In the 1st season, the Kawamoto family was supposed to represent the light-hearted, comedic part of the series and contrast with the dark, gloomy moments of Rei. Now it seems like the Kawamoto family has become more melodramatic and dark like that of Rei's. I haven't seen enough to know if Rei's life starts becoming more comedic and light-hearted, what I do know is that he is recovering from his depression.
The bullying was really hard and sad to watch and I just wanted everything to be okay for Hina. I was wondering why nobody decided to home-school her or take her out of school, that may not fix the pain she felt after seeing Chiho off but it could fix the whole situation and the arc wouldn't have gone on as long as it did.