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« 3-gatsu no Lion – 21

3-gatsu no Lion – 22 (END)

「Chapter.45 新学期 / ファイター」 (Chapter.45 Shin Gakki / Faitaa)
“Chapter.45 New Semester / Fighter”

Was I the only one who didn’t realize this was the last episode until Kiriyama thanked us at the very end?

Before jumping into the final impressions (boy was I not ready to write these this week), can I just say how amazing this episode felt with an overabundance of positivity in Rei’s life? Also, it looks like he had an awfully crappy childhood which may explain why Rei was so hesitant to let people into his life.

Anyways, let’s jump into those final impressions shall we?

Final Impressions

It’s been quite some time since I’ve covered a 2-cour show, but I think 3-gatsu was definitely worth it. Even with the pacing slowing down to a crawl at certain points and other moments that I wish the show spent more time fleshing out, overall I think we were given a fantastic show about a young man who is trying to live life while figuring out how to deal with his unique set of problems. As the titular character, it was a blast watching Rei go on this adventure of someone who’s been thrust into a position of responsibility way above his level. Stumbling at nearly every corner, there was such a strong cast of side characters to pick him up and support him that I don’t think I even have the right to call them “side” characters. There was also some Shogi here and there, but I think SHAFT did a great job of not pushing that side of it too hard. By using it as a storytelling device rather than making the story about Shogi, it was a great tool that helped personify some of what Rei was feeling in a tangible form that just about anyone could understand. Overall, I think 3-gatsu had a strong run for a show that tried to tackle some intricate topics without reducing itself to using the typical tried and true strategy for telling these types of sad underdog stories. And while I don’t want to go and try to talk about the entire show, let me go into a tiny bit of detail on some of things that I really enjoyed.

First and foremost, let me give a shout out to our three favorite sisters who I wished got more screen time. Akane, Hina, and Momo brought with them such a huge amount of happiness and positivity that even as bitter as I am about the lack of their appearance in the last episode, I understand it would have overshadowed the finale that the plot was trying to give us. In any case, I really appreciated the show giving us a parallel for Rei’s situation. With another perspective of how a family deals with the loss of a parent, it was just that much more amazing when you think about just how positive our sisters tried to be. Akane taking the role of a mother, Hina trying her best to support Akane while also setting her sights on the family business, and Momo just being an adorable little kid who helped everyone forget about the harsh reality that they were all living it. Together they were the perfect trio who helped bring life into the show without overlooking the tough issues that the story was trying to tell us about.

Second, who would have thought Hayashida-sensei would have been such a reliable person? With a somewhat late introduction since I don’t consider his first appearance all that significant (he was still a joke character!), I never thought he’d become a source of inspiration for all of us. Giving Rei the confidence he needed to move forward while being there for him when no one else at school would give him the time of day, he was a prime definition of just how powerful a good teacher can be. And while you could attribute some of that to Hayashida-sensei’s infatuation with Shogi, you could tell that he was always looking out for Rei and cared for him more than your typical student. If anything you could say he played the role of an older brother that Rei never had.

Third, we have Shimada and to a lesser extend Nikaidou. The latter coming off rather annoying early in the series, I never thought that by the end of things that he and Rei would be good friends. On the other hand you have Shimada who ended up being the mentor that Rei needed but probably would have never asked for until getting into a situation that would force him to. And while he may have only been here toward the end of the show, Shimada’s story served as a nice change of pace as. Seeing how he had his own troubles to deal with and ultimately ended up unable to achieve his goals, it was awe inspiring to see him keep his head held up high for the next set of challenges that lay in-front of him. Also, without his story suddenly taking the limelight, I doubt we’d have a good transition for Rei overcoming his tough loss and growing into an even better person.

Last I just wanted to take a second to talk about Kyouko. We didn’t get to know all that much about her, but seeing how there’s a lot more that lies beneath the surface, I’m hoping we get to see a lot more of her in the future. If anything, I’m really hoping that she and Rei eventually make up and are able to repair that brother-sister relationship that they both badly need in their lives.

Anyways, I don’t want to go on for too long since this post is already getting quite long so I’ll cut it off soon. As a quick note for those of you still here, 3-gatsu no Lion already has a confirmed second season this fall so we won’t have to wait for too long to hopefully see all of our favorite characters back on screen. Also, thank you to everyone who’s been keeping up with these posts — especially those of you who’ve been coming since episode one. It’s been a journey watching Rei and the rest of the cast grow and mature throughout these past 22 episodes and I’ll be highly considering picking up the sequel when it airs.

Anyways I’ll catch you guys later and don’t forget to check out our Season Preview since it should be out soon. See you!

Epilogue:

March 19, 2017 at 10:39 pm
19 comments »
  • March 20, 2017 at 12:20 amBambi

    Ugh I did not realise until the end that it was the last episode… thankfully my spirits were quickly revived when I heard that the next season is not TOO far away!
    Also really happy that Umino sensei did the ED sequence art! Love this series, I’d also recommend the manga, the art is beautiful and cute and detailed and the story is pacing is a bit better?
    Thanks for the blogging Takaii :)

  • March 20, 2017 at 2:28 amdanny

    Awww… I knew the end was coming but I didn’t realize it was this, either. Not until towards the end when Rei was reflecting on all the shogi players and how far he’s come.

    I wish the sisters had been shown as being a part of that, instead of it being so exclusively shogi-centric.

    Oh well, I think SHAFT did a nice job and it is a very faithful adaptation. I agree the pacing suffered a bit in places but overall, I think SHAFT is one of the best crews to tackle animating those still moments in a non-action orientated “sport”. The stormy seas, the flooding rooms, the suddenly appearing wild avalanches….SHAFT likes visualizing those abstract “here is a moment” scenes.

    Thanks for following and looking forward to the continuation in not too long!

  • March 20, 2017 at 3:00 amraxar

    Didn’t realize it was the last episode, I was wondering why there’s no shogi scene since I thought he should be working tournaments, and when I check out mal turns out it’s the last episode :/

    So happy to see how Rei now compared to his childhood, he have a club and friends now. Also using the first OP for the last episode ED is a nice touch, and fits the ending of the first season too.

    Thanks for your work as usual Takaii, hopefully we’ll see you again writing the 2nd season!

  • March 20, 2017 at 3:37 amChin

    I was flabbergasted that this is the last episode. 3-gatsu is one of those series I picked up to binge watch before the second cour started from then on I’ve been a fan every week. I was expecting 25 episodes but well. Glad to hear the first ED from Bump of Chicken wrapping the season finale because Fighter (and Answer) lyrically gives you the feeling of how Rei feels about his life and how slowly but surely he started to let people in. Rei has be come one of my favorite characters because I can definitely relate to his feeling of alienation, but he never gives up. I can’t wait for the next season.

  • March 20, 2017 at 5:30 amlupus

    I just started from the first episode. It looks so much like Honey and Clover xD Omgad…..

    • March 20, 2017 at 7:16 pmBakazuki

      Well they ARE by the same mangaka. Shaft chose to be very faithful to the visual style… even if it is at the cost of people complaining about the mouths. lol *rolls eyes*

      • March 21, 2017 at 11:38 amDoro

        Speaking of the mouths, I only just now noticed that their thick-linedness largely disappeared at some point during the show’s run. When did that happen? I thought I had just gotten used to it!

  • March 20, 2017 at 6:56 amZaiden

    Hopefully, people were satisfied with the conflict resolution of Shimada’s arc since a few people seemed quite upset and dissatisfied after he lost in straight sets. To address the lack of screentime from the Kawamoto sisters that created much dissatisfaction towards the second half of 3-gatsu, worry not. Expect to see them around for most of the time next year!

    SEASON 2 HYPE

    I think I predicted the second season in a reply to someone’s comment on the Episode 20 post? Anyway, from the perspective of someone who has read the manga, I could tell that S2 was on its way when they were including characters who featured later in the manga during the cutscene with the train continuing on its journey, which I have to say was quite a neat metaphor in itself. As far as I can recall I don’t remember it featuring in the manga, but this will create a seamless stop gap transition between S1 and S2 which otherwise would have been quite awkward.

    RETROSPECTIVE LOOK AT REI’S CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT IN 3-GATSU

    Adding to the crappy childhood experiences, the traumatic experience of losing his biological family at a young age definitely affected his personality to a huge extent. These final two episodes showcase the subtlety in Rei’s growth even if he keeps denying any change, because this is already shown to be not true. There is a stark difference, because he was utterly alone before, whereas now he has friends he can count on and people he deeply cares for that are not poisonous to him. He has met people who have changed his life in a good way, and 3-gatsu really enjoys showcasing human interactions at genuine depth.

    The path of a lone wolf is no easy one, and it greatly relieves me that Rei strayed away from this by the end of the series, finding people who would pick him up after the stumbles he made while trying to find a way through life. Although Souya seemed to have no issue, he seems by far to be the anomaly rather than the standard: The Kawamoto family support each other; the shogi studying seminar in Nikaidou and Shimada, as well as other shogi players like Issa and Smith; Hayashida-sensei and the Afterburners Club at school. Even Gotou and Kyouko have a weird, unhealthy and twisted relationship, but it serves as an unstable pillar of support for both nevertheless as they deal with their respective problems in life. And it is the unique experience from Rei’s perspective, as he has allowed other people to support him throughout his journey, that lets us have an insight on the lives of all these other characters, making them seem like so much more than side characters as Takaii has succinctly put it.

    BALANCING THE INCLUSION OF SHOGI

    Not making the series like a sports anime in focusing upon shogi, really makes it accessible to a much wider audience. Not to say that shogi isn’t a fascinating game, but its rather complicated set of rules, and the unique nature of strategising involved may come across as unfamiliar and alienating to many. Instead, the direction often focused on displaying the mental states of the shogi players through metaphors such as Souya being a snow storm, Shimada being a cascade of swirling water, Rei’s concerns and questions about what it meant to play shogi, etc.

    PRAISING UMINO CHICA’S CHARACTERISATIONS

    After also misjudging Nikaidou and Hayashida as joke characters based upon their initial appearances, I would go as far as saying that 3-gatsu is trying to tell us that there is so much depth to these kind of characters that rarely get explored in other shows. Again, this is why I am very willing to praise Umino Chica as a master at fleshing out characters and making them feel so real.

    Kyouko may be an incredibly polarising character, but love her or hate her, you cannot deny her depth of character and how it is intricately constructed. Umino Chica needed to achieve the balance between creating the damage in Kyouko, without shattering her, to refine the sense of her being a fragile, leaking, broken glass. This is no mean feat.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Takaii. It should not be you who thanks us, but us who thank you for dedicating the time and effort to write these posts. You have helped shape people’s viewing experiences week in and week out with your various insights into episodes, and I would count myself amongst that number. It has been quite a journey, and the pleasure was mine to have followed with you on it all the way to the end of the first season.

    • March 20, 2017 at 8:25 amAnonymous

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • March 20, 2017 at 9:44 amZaiden

        Having seen Koe no Katachi recently, my eyes were opened regarding how deaf people experience the world, and honestly I can really see what you meant there. Koe no Katachi has probably been my favourite anime so far this year.

        Going back to your point, Souya does lose and is not impervious but I was more or less referring to the fact that he himself is able to walk down the path of shogi relatively free of human interaction.

  • March 20, 2017 at 7:20 amcurryfan3016

    This is one of the few shows of the fall season I’ve regularly watched and I enjoy so much about it: the art (love the watercolor-backgrounds), Rei’s journey, Shimada-sensei and the other characters. I liked the profound and sad moments, especially the ones dealing with Rei’s depression, a lot more than the lighthearted scenes. I’ve rarely seen those sad feelings depicted so accurately (and without being “angsty”).
    Definitely very happy about the second season and reading your reviews again, Takaii!!

    There is a wonderful youtube-channel about Japanese artists and creators, who introduce their favorite places and their work. The current episode is with female Pro Shogi player Manao Kagawa. You can see the Japan Shogi Association headquarters there (totally like the backgrounds…) and even a poster of 3-gatsu no Lion at 5:25 mins:

    toco toco ep.48 Manao Kagawa

  • March 20, 2017 at 8:22 amAnonymous

    Every time I read the manga or watch the anime, I always think of “Watashi no Uso (Piano Version)” playing in the background. I feel that Sangatsu and Shigatsu are very similar. Both characters are trying to overcome their past with the help of others, so I feel that the bgm is really fitting. I’m glad to hear that this is getting a second season. I can’t wait to see more progress in Rei.

  • March 20, 2017 at 8:22 amzeroyuki92

    Firstly, let me talk about adaptation quality. While Shaft’s direction (especially in the beginning) is shaky at times, but in the end I am satisfied with this adaptation of 3gatsu no lion (Some scenes at the second cour were adapted with grace). Afterall, a very faithful (often panel to panel) adaptation with a lot of love thrown in should be considered as a blessing. Many other series could only dream for this kind of faithfulness and dedication (especially with second season already on the line).

    As for the series itself, I think 3gatsu has one of the best portrayal of melancholy, depression, and social problems for a young adult. The way Rei slowly building confidence, strength, and friends to fight against his personal issues is really beautiful, written with a delicate balance of gloom and warm in it. It never felt like a forced drama or emo fest; It really felt like a struggle of a person which I personally really relate to.

    Adds in with a really briliant way of writing characters, shoven in a ‘Sport’ which served as a good symbolism for life. Combined, this show became my favorite for this season along with Shouwa Genraku and Konosuba.

    Lastly, thanks for the coverage Takaii. I hope I could read your posts again next Fall :D

  • March 20, 2017 at 10:05 amproper1420

    After realizing the cour was tracking to end in the middle of a manga volume, I’ve been concerned about how it would end. Ep21 (the beginning of a volume) was a surprise; rather than starting something new, it largely wrapped up the arc that preceded it. In this cour through ep21, Rei pushes himself away from the sisters to concentrate on shogi, fails miserably at his shogi objective, sees Shimada fail miserably at his shogi objective, sees Shimada reinvigorated by a visit home, and returns to the sisters. That feels like a story arc to me, and I would have been satisfied if the cour ended at that point. All it was missing was a coda.

    Well, the Fighter chapter was certainly an excellent coda. On the other hand, I’m ambivalent about having the New School Term chapter in ep22. While it follows up the theme of working with others, it feels like it starts a story (about a shogi club at school) that has been suddenly truncated. I suspect this chapter would have been better postponed to the next cour, but such is the tyranny of making an existing story fit in a set number of 22+ minute chunks. All in all, this cour has ended far better than I feared it might.

  • March 20, 2017 at 11:38 amuipt

    What’s the chances that when Rei is in 3rd year HS that Hina shows up at 1st year HS?
    She’s 12 to his 15?

    Hina shows lots of jealously scenes since she saw Kyoko.
    Her face also seems to glow when she talks to him or about him.

    So chances of them ending up together?

    Probably no cause the end result will probably be Rei and Kyoko?

    It would be interesting if they went to the same HS and he ate lunch with her every day.
    How the students and even the teacher would talk and wonder!

    • March 20, 2017 at 6:08 pmChromeNova

      I honestly would prefer Rei pairing up with Hina, maybe fast forward a little bit like a year or two so Hina is old enough. Rei is 17, so Hina should be 14? I can see them both having good chemistry, they’ve also had sincere moments together, albeit a few. It would be a healthier approach IMO for Rei to move on from his sister, although I hope her sister also overcomes her own troubles.

  • March 20, 2017 at 6:13 pmChromeNova

    I would have been absolutely devastated if not for the fact we’re getting a second season. I’m so glad I still have this show to look forward to in the somewhat near future.

    At first, I only found about this series on RandomC, and it looked a bit intriguing so I checked it out. The first 4 episodes weren’t all that good IMO, but things started to change once we finally learned about Rei’s troubling past and all the struggles he had to go through. His current personality and lifestyle suddenly started making a lot of sense, I can finally start emphasizing with him. Throw in a memorable cast of genuinely good individuals (the sisters, Nikaidou, the best teacher Hayashida-sensei, Shimada), and you’ve got a great show that tackles broken characters that do their best to live on and still find a reason to smile.

    Many thanks for your coverage Takaii, as I may have missed this gem without it.

  • March 21, 2017 at 5:23 amZaiden

    Slight typo. Oldest sister is called Akari, not Akane.

  • March 25, 2017 at 8:59 pmsealouse

    I’m so happy that’s there’s another season coming.

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