March Comes In Like a Lion is an anime that surpasses even the most nuanced of modern media. Its welllauded by fans and critics alike and many of the reviews on this site and others speak meaningfully to the reasons why. However I feel that while these reviews do an outstanding job of touching on the core elements of why this anime is mustwatch they do not fully capture my understanding of why this show is so essentially perfect. I respect the acute style and touching language of these core reviews but for the sake of what Im writing today I want to divert a little bit into my experience with the show and offer perhaps another explanation for why this show breaks ground in ways that no other anime does and why it forms an essential bridge between multiple genres. This will probably be a very long review so Ill just get my recommendation out of the way first this is the first and likely only show that I will be giving a perfect 100/100 score to. Anything less would be misrepresentative of how masterful this piece of work really is. Please watch this show I recommend it for your own sake. First of all we need to deconstruct what actually makes up a piece of media. 3Gatsu no Lion is an anime. A show that is made distinctive by its Japanese style of animation. While Anime comes in many art styles and forms it is at its most basic a way of transcribing art onto a screen that is then consumed by the onlookers. This art is combined with voice acting music subtitles perhaps into a single show that we then take in. But an anime is more than a show. It brings the viewers into the equation. When watching 3Gatsu or any other anime or any piece of media for that matter you the viewer live in an odd state of liminality. You are very much in your own existence after all its not like youve left the planet and most likely not undergoing an outofbody experience. However you are pulled into a world that is in many cases very different than ours. Some shows are set in fantastical worlds so very fundamentally different from our own that it takes little effort to realize the lines that separate the two. Surely an anime about incredible super powers such that we do not observe in our earths reality can be incredibly interesting and such shows form many of the genres most famous works. Acclaimed titles such as Bleach Pokemon and Fullmetal Alchemist come immediately to mind. Certainly there are elements of those worlds that are very similar to our own and the viewers minds make instant connection between the type of world that they themselves inhabit and the one on the other side of the screen. But there are also fundamental differences. As much as we may like to believe it Pokemon dont exist in our reality and the same could be said for the myriad other shows in this list. But heres the major first point I want to introduce about 3Gatsu. It is a show that somehow manages to be so incredibly heartwrenchingly realistic that sometimes it is difficult to separate our own world from the universe it masterfully spins. Perhaps this is just a feature of living in the sliceoflife genre that the show occupies according to Anilist at least but so much of this show is just simply believable. I find myself identifying a bit at least with the struggles and triumphs of characters in other less realistic shows. But in so many cases my relationship with those characters is only tangential. They possess powers or responsibilities to others to the wellbeing of their very world in some cases that I myself simply do not possess in real life. I may identify with their struggles and desires to succeed but in general their position in life does not mirror mine. And theres nothing wrong with that If you feel that you identify with an anime character for even the simplest of reasons that is a valid response. Personally however I feel like the ultimate unrealisticness of other Anime worlds caused me to lose sight of how much different their worlds were from my own. I really love shows that paint a world different enough from mine to trap me up inside of it but that being said it makes it harder for me personally to identify with the characters in many other aspects. 3Gatsu for me at least is fundamentally different. I dont want to jump into character specifics just yet but its completely irrefutable in my mind that the characters all possess an inherent realism that I just havent been able to find matched in any other show. Their daily lives their occupations and interests their fears and doubts somehow all seem so tantalizingly human. And this isnt to say that characters in fantastical anime dont show some human qualities but never have I found something that so closely matches what I see to be my surrounding reality. The world moreover is built to align with this truth. I love Rei Kiriyama because he is a realistic person with his own realistic struggles and outlook on life. Again I fear Ill get too much into specifics too early but in what other shows does a persons basic thoughts and behavior towards relationships align with my own? I cant think of any. Before really jumping in I need to lay some additional groundwork regarding this shows fundamentals. Most of the time I look at several categories when reviewing Anime. Roughly I classify these into the art the music the plot and the characters. Ill leave the latter two for the latter part of this review and look at the first two now. I do need to emphasize right from this beginning however that all four of these categories are masterfully tied together and mesh into a single coherent story in a way that I really havent seen replicated in other shows. The art and music build a visual and audible world that draws you in by their realism and really help to better drive the plot and characterize the players. Each of the four elements tie into each other whereas on other shows I might say this show had a great soundtrack but I really couldnt identify the characters or others this show had amazing art but I thought the plot had some holes in 3Gatsu each of the four elements parallel and complement each other and this is a rarity that itself surpasses so many other works. Why not first take a look at the art one of my favorite aspect of any good piece of animation. And right from the beginning I assure you. It. Is. Stunning. 3Gatsu uniquely steps around the technique that so many studios embrace heavy use of either light or shadow that blows up the entire Anime into something thats hard not to classify as either dark or light. And again its not necessarily a bad thing to create an anime thats entirely light or entirely dark. As a matter of fact something like darkness can help to evoke gritty undertones suggest deviousness or mystique or be worked subvertly to cover over the truth. Or perhaps it can be used in an ironic sense insofar as the dark is itself a source of light that the protagonist has to embrace in order to drive the plot forward. Some great animes are those I would classify as primarily dark. Or the heavy use of light to show clarity or purity to draw characters in contrast or brightness can also be an incredibly effective technique. But where 3Gatsu really begins to stand out in the art department is the way that it intermingles light and dark frequently in ways that arent obvious at the first glance. So how does a show that is inherently about Shogi Japanese Chess use light and shadows to effectively drive its plot? Well the answer comes in the form of incredible artistic metaphor that begins in the very first episode and continues throughout both of two seasons. We constantly see characters especially the main protagonist Rei but also others surrounded in a battle that is neither explicitly dark or explicitly light. The art at risk of using a clich to describe it comes in shades of grey that truly drive the metaphor. Rei lies on his futon with the grey filtering through his mind. And the grey shows us that nothing not even the things he thought to be most constant can be relied upon. Grey is a difficult concept to grasp and perhaps even harder to visualize but 3Gatsu does it brilliantly. His position as a student and professional his relationship with his family both nuclear and adopted are all shades of grey. Rei like you or I can be tempted to classify everything into one of two categories. Light or Dark. Good or Bad. Pure or Spoiled. But the artistic allegory explicitly in the art itself and also in the language used to describe it shows us that nothing is that simple. And its this fear the fear of the uncertainty that lies in the inbetween space that comes out so brilliantly in this show. We get scenes into Reis head that show many of his internal thoughts thoughts that almost draw you into the screen into the characters own confusion and bumpy mental state. Other reviewers have described this better than I and because this isnt a review that tries to hide major elements Ill come out and say that the art excellently describes the psychological turmoil that exists in the mind of one who is pulled constantly between light and darkness into a sea of grey. This show is certainly a slice of life but it doesnt fall into a slice of life trope where so many things are easily described as good or evil. Rei along with every other character in this show lives somewhere in the space in between. Within the shades of grey. And the art oh the art makes sure you know that right from the beginning. I wish I could use the term beautiful to describe it and in some cases I will. Because not all of 3Gatsu no Lion is just shades of grey. Some parts are gorgeously illustrated with color and contrast and hue and saturation that either make you want to laugh with joy or cry like a small child. I believe some parts of where this comes out most obviously in the show is in the Kawamoto house where Rei goes to visit his close friends. So many scenes in that house emphasize the color and contrast of the three sisters and even grandfather himself to Rei. His own color the hue of his coat and the shine on his glasses come to adopt this contrast and shine. Color pervades the show where the grey does not and the contrast between the grey and the color drives so many plot points and character development moments forward. We see the color of Nikaidos cheeks glow redder as he pushes into his rival and the subtle gold in Souyas eyes as he considers his next move. Color is used intentionally with thought and care to describe the meaning behind each scene each line and each exchange. Its difficult to describe and something I will say can only be best experienced. But before I get too deep into color itself lets slow down a bit and talk about the art in general. So many shows have outstanding art but what makes art outstanding? Is it exquisite detail? Is it welldrawn characters? Is it unique and attractive design? I would say that the quality of particular art is hard to describe and really varies depending on the show itself. In 3Gatsus case I wont pretend to say that the art is excessively detailed or inherently fluid or incredibly structured. It is however a perfect description of the concepts that the show covers. And what do I mean by concepts? I mean the themes and the plot the characters and the movements. Lets use an example of Rei and his friend/rival Nikaidou. Reis design is upright focused contemplative. His black hair eyeglasses jacket and pants combine into a character design that reminds me of myself at a certain stage in life. Always nursing a thought in his mind to the point at which the rest of the world occasionally almost fades away. Nikaidou on the other hand is round brash explicit. His changing wardrobe from proper suit to more casual wear perfectly fits his outright and determined personality. He like Rei is focused and dedicated but the sheer determination of his character is made so obvious in his rounder figure and intense face. Rei is the more subtle Nikaidou is the explicit. And its here where we start from the art thats given to us from the first time we see each character. However its in the way that the changing art influences this character development that I feel sets 3Gatsu apart. Because Rei like Nikaidou is not a two dimensional character stereotyped only by his glasses and subdued expression. At critical moments we see his brash and demanding side shine through which for someone who regretfully makes the mistake of judging too much on character design is incredibly surprising and cuts deep. Nikaidou too might be outright and loud but he is also quiet and contemplative thoughtful just like his closest friend and deepest rival. The character design is a perfect description of the characters they portray its as simple or complex as that. Some may criticize the art as being too simple too formulaic but to them I would argue that it has the incredible quality of portraying a certain view of someone that becomes increasingly challenged at different key points in the story. Absolutely nobody in this show is generic or no more than a passing sidecharacter. One final point I want to make on the art itself while other studios seem to suffer sometimes from inconsistency 3Gatsu remains incredibly consistent throughout both seasons. Frequently Ive noticed that significant scenes in other shows such as a critical fight scene will be drawn with much more detail more interesting angles and overall significantly more effort than lessimportant supporting scenes. And I want to emphasize that theres nothing at all wrong with this. This simply shows that studios should and do put their resources into the places that matter to the show. But 3Gatsu is incredibly consistent outstanding in the deep and complex allegorical scenes within Reis mind outstanding in the mundane walk through down outstanding in the intense Shogi showdowns. Never before have I seen a show where a character looks so much alike when they are supposed to look alike and so different when they mean to look different. The arts incredible consistency really drives through the subtle believability and realisticness of this show in my own mind. So Ive talked the art quite a bit and Ill definitely return to it once we talk about themes and plots and characters. Ill shift gears how to perhaps my favorite part of any anime the music. I want to divert for a moment here to discuss just how significant I feel that a shows music and soundtrack is to me in general. I feel that an excellent opening song draws you into the show makes you want to connect with the characters and makes you excited to see what the next happening is. It recalls to your mind the closing scene of the last episode and pushes you to what is next. Its the thing that will play over in your head once you turn off your TV for the night and its the thing youll blast in your car when driving down the road. Excellent anime openings can be iconic A Cruel Angels Thesis from Neon Genesis Evangelion comes to mind immediately. That song is iconic because of its unique style and the incredible influential show that it represents. You hear the opening line and instantly think of NGE. Other shows even without iconic openings openings that subtly draw you into what youre watching. Maybe half the building wont sing along if you blast it but at least theyll be able to appreciate wonderful composition. The opening of 3Gatsu no Lion or openings I should say as theres a couple across two seasons are nothing sort of outstanding. I wont claim that theyre worthy of infamy or meme status but that isnt the point of any of them. The openings are wellcomposed. Answer Goodbye Bystander Flag wo Tatero and Haru ga Kite Bokura are simply nice pieces of music. They are catchy but not repetitive easy to get stuck in your head but not annoying. Answer in particular is an excellent introduction to the show as a whole at a point where viewers are less familiar with Rei and the rest of the surrounding cast. Its visuals I promise I wont talk much more about art perfectly fit the subtle nuance of the show. The following two OPs are a little deeper a little more emotional. We know who the characters are and we hear their interests struggles and thoughts as the episodes draw to their beginnings. The last OP is almost nostalgic reminding us of the end of the show and the resolution of its many plot points and character developments. The OPs are excellent introductions to each episode and really help to set the stage for what viewers are going to watch and plus theyre simple excellent pieces of work on their own. The endings moreover are equally wellbuilt and executed. Fighter Orion Kafune and I Am Standing make up the four EDs across the two seasons. Like the OPs they remind us of the characters growing permanence in our minds and bring to recollection the events that develop each character as the shows progress. In particular the final ED I Am Standing provides both in its title but also in its sheer emotion the status that we are left with after all the tribulations we pass through: standing and prepared to fight another day. Listening to the endings drew me back through the episode that I just watched through the laughter and the pain that I experience along with Rei and his friends. Again I wont call the EDs infamous but they are simply incredible pieces of music so perfectly poised around a beautiful anime. And the visuals like the OPs are topnotch. I also need to give a nod to the OST of the anime as a whole. An animes soundtrack although perhaps less of an obvious place to go than the openings and endings in my mind has a considerable influence on the feel and progression of the show as a whole. A good OST moves at the right moments. It is subtle when the visuals need subtlety it comes in at a force when the moment is right. And Sangatsus OST is absolutely incredible just because how much it does without you noticing. Again Ill use an example. The soundtrack starts quiet unassuming even almost muted sometimes as Rei walks into the Shogi Hall and greets his opponent. We hear the glug of the water as his considers his next move. But it rises quietly slowly as he considers the game within the confines of his mind. The importance of his next move and the way that we and he feel together will drive the very moment rises with the sound. And sometimes it comes crashing down in a single jump and the click of a piece of the board. But sometimes it whimpers away flushed back into the simplicity of what he and his opponent are doing. Again its beautiful its meaningful it drives the story and the plot forward. The OST is excellent. Okay Now that weve discussed the art and the music lets move onto the plot. I will try to be as spoilerfree as possible talking in broad terms about the characters and what they go through. I will first take a good look at what the show is yes its a show about Shogi Japanese chess a board game. Now some of you reading may think that this sounds like a boring premise for an anime. Just how interesting can a show about professional boardgameplaying really be? But I assure you the plot of this Anime far exceeds what it may appear at first glance. The plot of the show is one about loss growth connection heartache and search for familial love. Rei is a lonesome character as S1 starts and seems to be endlessly caught in his own mind and professional studies. But heres the key point the plot of this show is NOT about how Rei by force of sheer will trains tirelessly to defeat every opponent before him to become the national champion and create his own meaning to his life. No. Sure that would make a good story and perhaps some unique and epic fight scenes but I really dont think I would like it as well as the plot that 3Gatsu actually follows. No the plot of this show is about hos a single man a child really finds reconciliation with his past and the need for others in his life. Its within this plot trite as it may sound that I find this show so very interesting. Personally my state in life as an introverted person who finds comfort in hobbies and personal time matches Reis. I may not have undergone the same traumatic background as what we are tragically exposed to even within the first few episodes but I deeply resonate with his focus in life to set aside everything for a single goal. And maybe the way you resonate with the protagonist is different from mine. Maybe you resonate with Reis challenge to find a place he finds home. Maybe you resonate with his uncertainty with how to make friends or grow relationships with the ones he has. Or maybe you resonate with his clouded upbringing and the sensation that what youve worked for is perhaps a misguided product of external influence. But the plot and Reis journey through his life just so deeply resonates with me and I feel like many of us. You certainly have a lot of Rei in you I know I do and thats what makes this plot so attractive to me. But ultimately its how Reis struggles are me that makes the plot inherently interesting. 3Gatsu does not take the road of simply resolving plot points. Unlike other pieces of media which may simplistically finish up a point of character development and never return to it Sangatsu really builds off of previous story points. One example of this is Reis relationship with Shimada. Sure Shimada may always remain an experienced player Reis coach encouragement but his plot doesnt end with Rei becoming his student. Instead we are shown into Shimadas own personal life. The choices that led him to his position. The struggles and triumphs that lie beneath his exterior. I talked about character design earlier and what I like to call Shimadas Arc in the plot is such a touching and insightful look into a character that I feel would go unnoticed and forgotten in lesser shows. Shimada is not degraded into a onedimensional guru who has overcome past struggles and now passes them onto Rei because hes the main character. Instead Shimadas Arc shows his own background nuance and ongoing build of his relationship with the world and his sport. It reminds us that even what we may think to be lesser characters all have a story to tell. And it makes Reis story which still remains the major flow of the plot so much more meaningful. But I dont want to get too detailed into the characters just yet. Lets talk a bit more about how the plot gathers together so many elements that we simply dont see in other anime. Without getting into spoilers I can say with confidence that this show grapples with many realistic and meaningful topics. Lets start with the most prevalent Reis status in life. Rei is an introspective character. A simplistic surfacelevel view of him may suggest that he just likes to think a lot about his game and the only quality of his character development is becoming a better Shogi player. The truth could not be further away. Hidden to so many outsiders is an internal turmoil that possesses his very mind. 3Gatsu shows us so much into Reis head and causes us to regard his key thoughts that drive him to study and play the game. Why is he doing this? Is it because he loves Shogi? Is it to pay his rent? Or is it some other reason perhaps something that isnt obvious? Yes one of Reis key plot points is the idea of motivation and what drives you. Some may view Reis plot as simply that of a determined man and while he surely is a determined man his motivation and purpose in life are much more nuanced questions that the plot struggles with viscerally. At first we think we have an answer which morphs and evolves as S1 passes and S2 comes through. Suddenly playing for the sake of the game superficially doesnt seem so compelling. What keeps Rei linked to Shogi in the way that any one of us might be linked to our studies our jobs our livelihoods? Its a mundane topic one of motivation but its so incredibly human. And Reis process of discovery parallels so many of our own as we seek for meaning in what we do and pursue. Lets take a look at another plot point interactions between others. Gotou has a fascinating arc though I would say that his arc pervades the entire story in a way that cannot be tied to only a few episodes. He is a positively frightening character in some ways. Large and intimidating physical and dangerous. A simplistic anime would write his plot off as a simple clash between large and scary and small and innocent but 3Gatsu eschews this. No Gotous plot is one of loss and heartbreak. Its one of misguided attention towards something vapid or thats at least what we might think at first. But is his strange relationship with Kyouko just a vapid sidenote or does it deeply influence the way that Rei views both his adoptive sister and one of his enemies on the other side of the Shogi board? Surely there couldnt be anything more to this intimidating and sinister character than what meets the eye but there certainly is. Rei is caught in a trap a lie a tightrope between a storm and a wall. Its such an interesting plot point and something that I wish we saw in more Anime. And why not look at a third key piece of the plot my favorite for sure and one that shows up in force in season 2 what happens when the cruelty of others make live almost impossible to live? Hinas friend bullied relentlessly by people with no good explanation for her actions is a tragic but instinctive link to some people that we may know in our real lives or perhaps even ourselves. This plot arc and its eventual resolution does not sugar coat the realities of human cruelty. It doesnt wipe out the bullies and leave the victims without any scars. Because the marks of this cruelty run deep much deeper than they appear on the surface and the hopelessness we feel at being able to stop such cruelty is so innately human. I absolutely have never witnessed such a meaningful topic discussed in such a realistic way in an anime. Reis exposure to it and the way it influences those he cares about drive home key developments in a way that you wont necessarily see in other shows. This arc alone is enough to give the show top marks and I cant recommend it enough. But lets take a step back. Ive only mentioned a few and hinted at a few other subplots in this show and I will tell you there are many of them. The subpieces come together and split apart into a train of progression thats hard to describe. It may seem that such a train would be incredibly hard to track but 3Gatsus plot isnt difficult to follow. I think its because of how human so much of it is that we as viewers already have the skills to understand it just from our daily lives. I know entering a multifaceted anime with many different characters and plot points may seem intimidating but I encourage you to do it. Because the resulting effect and what Id classify as the major plot of the show is perhaps the most significant plot of them all. March Comes in Like a Lion is a show about how different peoples lives influence each other. That description may seem trite basic even. But its real its engaging its a metaphor and a reflection on human life as a whole. We are on a train together. You may sit next to someone you see for a few minutes and never again. You may enter at one stop and they depart at another. Or you may sit next to someone on the same train ride multiple days same starting point same destination until one day life and circumstance drive you apart. You may see a traveling companion every day until one day they fail to appear. Or you may only catch a glimpse of someone special out of the corner of your eye as you pay your fare and they disembark. But everyone on that train with you no matter how long theyre there or how close you sit influence your ride and your person in some way. What are those ways? How many other stories are within the other people who sit across the aisle or in the seat in front of you? But finally. Lets get to the point. Anilist tags this show as Coming of Age as 98. And this show is more than any Ive seen before one that perfectly describes coming of age. But its not a single moment where Rei defeats his rival that he comes of age. Its a journey and process as he grows in relationship with the people around him that Rei ceases to become a child and enters into adulthood. Its all of the subarcs and many more we discussed above. Its his relationship and mutual connection with those other people on the train that bring him into adulthood. Its raw hard to swallow and disgustingly beautiful all at the same time. Its hard to describe. Its only best experienced. All right I think that puts us in a good position for plot. Lets finally turn to the characters. I dont want to talk about every character here but lets at least touch on the mains for now with a nod to some of the supporters. Perhaps my favorite character is the supporting character Kai Shimada. Shimada who I discussed briefly earlier in the review is a guru an esteemed student of Shogi whose experience surpasses Rei. But Shimada is a threedimensional being and his relationship with Rei exposes this. Rei is intimidated by Shimada and is unable to see behind his thoughtful exterior and sheer experience. But Shimada opens himself up to Rei offering to essentially become his coach and it becomes Reis job to accept or deny. Turn down the offer and live life as your internal sensation? Or accept and look outward for support and grow to realize that even the gods you look up to arent quite what you first expected? This decision gives us a beautiful look into Shimadas own person his background and upbringing the choices that led him to his current place and where he sees himself in life. The studio puts so much into this character that I so grateful for such a complex story and meaningful impact on the protagonist that few supporting characters in other stories can truly offer. Maybe next we look at Nikaidou. At first glance a rich and brash boy intelligent but somewhat belligerent almost defiant in his face describing Rei as his rival and opponent that he must overcome. You kind of want to hate his guts and his smiling face but his character goes so much deeper. His relationship with Hanaoka. His position in the light of his upbringing. His own personal surprising issues that influence him in ways that wouldnt be at all obvious if you looked merely at his short stature and wide grin. Nikaidou is more than just Reis foil and while he surely is Reis foil hes so much more. Nikaidou is shown to be just as deeply integrated in the allegory as Rei is constantly diving into the unknown with all his might. Sure hes different than Rei as we discussed earlier but in this difference is beautiful potato nuance. Its so tempting to distill his character into a few words and stereotypes but 3Gatsu shows us so many other sides of him. Rei like us are left stunned with the similar but ohsodifferent ways that he handles the pressure of his occupation and frailty of his own being. Like Shimada we get an insight into his mind both from where he came from and where he is going next. What else can we say but what an incredible character with incredible depth of field? All right. Lets turn now to the mains. I hinted at this before with respect to the bullying arc but Hinata Kawamoto is an intensely interesting main character both in Season 1 but ever so much more so in Season 2. Hinata is someone who like Nikaidou we may be attempted to slap labels on and call it a day. She certainly seems cheery interested in her friends and her family business and Takahashi. And cant we leave it at that? No. Hina is like Rei and the rest a character of subtleties. Unlike Rei we may not get into her mind with the allegorical depth that we see in the main protagonist but instead we enter her mind by means of those around her. Hina perhaps more that anyone else in the show is a character so driven by the hopes and needs of those around her that almost everything else is pushed out of the scene. Ill return again to the bullying arc her utmost concern for her friend Chiho overcomes her to the point at which Reis struggles in the professional world become minor in comparison. But her care for others isnt a simplistic soft spot for her friends its a tireless desire for justice and writing wrongs. Hina might seem as sweet as the candies that her grandfather sells but in reality yells and fights for what she knows to be true. I mentioned before that this show centers around the major plot of being on journeys with others and I want to draw back to that plot point here. Reis struggles and Hinas struggles are not the same. They are different ages live in different families and ultimately share a vast disparity in style of life. But while Hina might be amazed by Reis shogi skills and care for him as an adopted brother Rei is absolutely swept along with Hinas ardent desire for justice. And the relationship here reaches a point where the concept of mutual support comes into the forefront. Is Rei powerless to help his friend? Is she powerless to help hers? Does Reis own life become better contextualized through the lens of how Hina approaches her struggles and the struggles of those she cares about? Yes yes and yes. Again I dont want to go into too much detail but the character development throughout Hina as a whole and the way it comes back to the character of her sisters Rei and others is nothing short of incredible. Its so human it hurts so much but it works so well. At risk of running just too far over Ill turn finally to the final main character Akari Kawamoto Hinas older sister and the defacto substitute mother for their nuclear family. Yes sister and surrogate to a role that someone so young shouldnt have to deal with. All the Kawamotos stories are one of acute loss but Akaris is perhaps the most potent. Like Hina she may first appear to be cheery and simple but thats an assumption that viewers of this anime wont fall into for long. Akari like Rei deals constantly with the reminders of adult responsibility after extreme loss. Rei supports himself in order to pay his bills Akari supports her entire family and others. But her character is easy to trivialize even knowing this fact because she seems at first filled with such grace and poise and she is at least in Reis mind. But its really in S2 that the story behind this comes acutely to light. Akari like Rei suffers from the same trauma that loss brings to Rei. A suspension of ones childhood in the face of the harsh realities of the world. She isnt just an older sister happy to provide for her family she is a woman with her own dreams and aspirations. What are those? And what does it mean to Rei a young man whom she brings into her own household Rei views Akaris adulthood as a model for his own comingofage and rightly so but this show beautifully reveals how an apparentlymature seeming character simply cannot be reduced to their outward appearance. Again I struggle to think of a show where such a nuanced but realistic topic is covered so deeply in its characters and its simply beautiful. So lets start drawing this to a close. 3Gatsu no Lion is a slice of life that is so much more than that threeword genre describes. Unlike many others it deeply and consistently grappes with what are honestly harsh topics about the realities of the world and the way that we interact with it. Rei is not just a simple anime protagonist looking to beat opponent after opponent in the search for stardom in his discipline. He is a nuanced and complex character who in my opinion closely parallels many of his own viewers. Supporting characters like Nikaidou and Shimada are also nuanced and multifaceted with their own stories that help to drive forward the major plots of the show and also the character development of its protagonist. Other main characters Hina and Akari are wonderfully deep players who harbor poignant meaning underneath their exteriors. So whats to be said about this show? It is a coming of age that deeply draws from his fantastic characterbase consistent and excellent artwork and outstanding soundtrack to weave a story that is simultaneously incredible and realistic and perhaps incredible due to its realism. Shogi might be the name of the game and certainly a lot of time is dedicated to it throughout the show but the real story lies in the way its characters learn from one another and grow as a result. This show certainly has a lot of episodes but it is amazingly wellreceived on Anilist and other reviewing sites and properly so. I think its reception really just reflects on the ability of the average viewer to realize the depth and significance of its characters and resonate with the excellent plot writing music and art. To conclude Ill come back to what I wrote at the beginning. Do I recommend this anime? Yes absolutely. Theres very little in my mind that would improve the characters or the plot and its fairly obvious to me that many of its viewers can find much of Rei and the surrounding characters in themselves and much of themselves in Rei. You and I like Rei Hina and Akari have embarked on this monumental train we call life. We may enter and exit on different stops stand or sit talk or lie quiet but we all influence each other in ways we do and dont understand. The simple truth of this reality drives our experience with a show that so meaningfully recognizes this truth and teases out its themes over the course of two wonderful seasons. I cant help but give this show a perfect 100/100. Please stop reading this review and go and watch both seasons. I think youll come to the same conclusions about it that I have. Thanks for reading.