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3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season – 02 »« 3-gatsu no Lion – 22 (END)

3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「フラッグを立てろ」 (Flag wo Tatero) by YUKI

「Chapter 46 Setting Sun/Chapter 47 Ramune」

General Impressions

Good heavens, just look at the time! 3-Gatsu no Lion marks a triumphant return, and for Shaft, it might have been another day in the office. But it looked like they were having an absolute blast, as they showcased a signature blend of style and flair! So many artistic styles and animation techniques were incorporated throughout the episode, highlighting the limitless creativity of a veteran studio, while seamlessly expressing a wide array of colourful emotions. For example, cartoonish faces played off lighter moments, whereas detailed pastels drove home the more serious scenes. I can also swear that Shaft has an unhealthy obsession with Noguchi’s moustache, because I got a hearty chuckle every time it quivered like pudding. Ho ho ho! However, if I had to pick my personal favourite segment within the episode, Kumakura’s snacking tendencies easily took the cake. And for anyone else who got deja vu, “I’ll take a potato chip slice of cake… and EAT IT“. Not only did Kumakara munch with excessive energy and vigour, but Shaft also opted for all sorts of weird and wonderful angles, which included the inside of Kumakura’s mouth. Is it unreasonable to suspect that a certain animator on their team has some rather interesting taste? Who knows. Even more bizarre was the fact this all took place during a competitive shogi game, carrying the kind of pressure I can’t even begin to fathom. Nevertheless, the intensity exuded by Kumakura in his game against Souya was quite impressive. I honestly think I would have crumbled in the face of his sheer willpower.

I really liked how they brought up the mental fortitude required for competition at the highest level, by having Rei psychotically explain how defeat is a continually steeper slippery slope as you get stronger. Noguchi and Hayashida-sensei are already averse towards losses despite being complete casuals – which brings us onto the topic of how the stakes are infinitely higher for Rei and other professionals. Since he’s the protagonist, some can easily take for granted the burden that weighs down upon his shoulders. Protagonists are meant to easily shoulder these trivial burdens as part of the story, and bounce back stronger. To us, it might simply seem like losing a mere board game, and more importantly a means by which to have some fun. But for Rei, it isn’t even about enjoymentshogi is a way of life. Every loss for him is soul-crushing, and somewhat denies his very existence. Similarly, victories that come at a great expense for his opponents also deeply hurt him, if you can recall the breakdown he had last season. In other words, shogi merely inflicts endless torment upon Rei, far outweighing any pleasure it could possibly derive. That’s just a sad fact of reality, because despite his young age, Rei has lived like an adult for many years by sacrificing what any normal youth would have.

Which is why I’m so pleased when he eventually found himself places where he could belong to as a peer, with the most recent addition being highschool. When Rei finally experiences the happiness of having friends at school, by making ramune sweets together with the Science Club members, we can see him being so overcome by the warmth of such emotions. He wonders if these guys are what it feels like to have friends, and it’s impossible to deny the overwhelming sincerity of his raw sentiments. I was so touched by his epiphany, that even I was almost left on the verge of tears. Rei finally found the support he had needed, yet lacked, for most of his life. It never ceases to amaze me how Umino Chica manages to consistently portray this kind of beauty through her works, demonstrating her caliber as a writer, as well as the extraordinary quality of 3-Gatsu’s storytelling.

Concluding Thoughts

A combination of Umina Chica and Shaft might not be everybody’s cup of tea – as evidenced by the rather controversial response to last year’s first episode. However, I think this potent duo allows for a full exploration of both style and substance through abstract imagery and metaphors, which all have their place in stories like 3-Gatsu no Lion.

When I browsed comments on Takaii’s post following Shimada’s defeat, some people suggested that Rei gained nothing from the final arc. Specifically that hard work and friendship are ultimately useless, when faced by Souya’s incredible genius, which felt like an antithetical resolution. Even though we saw how badly Shimada had been hallowed out, I’m confident that this episode should put those concerns to rest. Although it may not have seemed like it, the gains that Rei makes are actually incremental. There’s no spark facilitating a rapid change for the better, and in that way, I would describe this particular representation of change as being truer to life. Rei was mentally trapped by the cuckoo nest metaphor, given his previous traumatic experiences with the Kouda family. But the whole point of the Shimada arc was to make Rei realise that dependency is fine, provided there’s a quandary based upon give and take. Seeing the help go both ways during his bootcamp with Shimada, Rei comes to realise that he can also offer things in return for the Kawamoto sisters without parasitically leeching off their kindness. Therefore, we are able to savour the fruits of a resounding progression, where the prodigal son finally returns home, bringing back treats for the precious Kawamoto sisters.

ED Sequence

ED: 「カフネ」 (Kafune) by Brian the Sun

Epilogue:

Preview

End Card

P.S. – Special thanks to Takaii-sempai, who allowed me to take over the reins after doing dedicated coverage for the first season.

P.S.S. – In addition to events and themes present within the episode, I’m up for talking about the new opening and ending themes. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comment section down below!

October 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm
18 comments »
  • October 15, 2017 at 8:54 pmzztop

    Today’s endcard by Miura Kentaro of Berserk fame.

    I remember S1 had a lot of notable artists and mangakas doing their endcards.
    Hara Tetsuo (Fist of the North Star), Nakamura Hikaru (Saint Young Men), Vofan (Monogatari series)and Anno Moyoko* (Sakuran), to name a few.

    I wonder what other industry names will contribute for S2.

    *Also spouse of Anno Hideaki.

    • October 16, 2017 at 10:21 amZaiden

      I’m digging the universal love for Umino Chica, even within the community of professional mangaka. That they recognise her talent is testimony to her extraordinary capabilities as both an artist and storywriter.

      An artist who I would like to see helping out with the end cards is probably Umeda Abi. If you have the time, check out the show ‘Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau‘ from this season, which is an adaptation of her work. Thanks to Netflix money, the visuals are stunning to the point where it can contend with Mahoutsukai no Yome, although I still prefer the intricate detailing in the manga.

  • October 16, 2017 at 1:38 amraxar

    Was wondering who’d write 3-gatsu and turns out it’s you Zaiden xD

    Other than Kuwabara’s ‘Snack Time,’ I’m also amazed by the fact that Souya is putting pure glucose and lemon to his tea and drink it like it’s nothing lol. I mean, does it taste good?
    And maybe we’ll see Rei bringing his own ramune if he ever face Souya lol.

    • October 16, 2017 at 2:09 amZaiden

      Hey Raxar! I got a bit lucky, since Takaii had too many shows to juggle on Saturday. Hence I was given the opportunity to write for 3-Gatsu S2, which I want to make the most out of.

      As the kind of person who piles in sugar whenever I drink my tea, I can confirm it does taste pretty damn good.

  • October 16, 2017 at 2:01 amyoukai

    Who needs pure glucose when you have Momo? That epilogue face, ngh…..

    • October 16, 2017 at 9:21 amZaiden

      Momo giving me diabetes.

  • October 16, 2017 at 2:06 amZaiden

    Shaft want to thank us for watching the episode, by tweeting keyframes of Momo? https://twitter.com/shaft_official/status/919211786057814024

    No Shaft, thank you. We are truly not worthy.

    • October 16, 2017 at 4:18 amKaineng

      Considering our appetites just one keyframe will NEVER be enough haha

  • October 16, 2017 at 4:20 amKaineng

    So much hype, I’d like to hold my tears like Rei so I don’t get too excited about the return of this show.

    About the theme songs, Zaiden? I miss Yonezu Kenshi and BUMP OF CHICKEN haha

    • October 16, 2017 at 9:26 amZaiden

      Personally, I preferred both ‘Answer’ and ‘Sayonara Bystander’. However, the visuals for the new OP theme are absolutely gorgeous. I love Brian the Sun, and the new ending theme is currently my favourite out of all the ones we’ve had so far. The art has a mysterious dreamlike quality, while being fairly melancholic. I’d venture and call it a surrealist depiction of Rei’s inner world. For me, the frame below particularly stands out. It totally captures the emptiness inside of Rei, and how helpless he felt in the grand scheme of things.

  • October 16, 2017 at 6:57 amzeroyuki92

    I think the previous Shimada Arc is possibly the most innovative “training arc” for a sport anime I ever saw. Instead of competitive matches against rivals or a hell training camp, we have a crushing defeat and sidelining the main protagonist into practically a support role– which is perfect considering that the main roadblock for Rei’s progress is mostly psychological. He did a lot of introspection by widening his horizon a lot, realizing about a ton of things he missed previously because he was simply too obsessed in his survival.

    Now, look at my boy now, could not be any more ready to tackle things once again. Expecting a lot of great things from both 3gatsu and your coverage, Zaiden!

    • October 16, 2017 at 10:31 pmZaiden

      Thank you, zeroyuki92. I can’t wait to do write-ups for 3-Gatsu myself. Let’s see if Rei can overcome immediate trials, or whether he still has a thing or two to learn.

      Having read the manga up till the latest chapter, I most certainly have the benefit of hindsight. Hopefully that will positively impact my posts, provided I don’t get ahead of myself.

  • October 16, 2017 at 1:26 pmKana-chan

    I’m so happy the second season is here and you’re blogging this wonderful show Zaiden! Thank you! I missed my daily dose of my favourite sister-trio.
    The new opening is very nice, the OP/ED songs were always so lovely in the past but I think my favourite theme will always be ED2 Orion by Kenshi Yonezu, however the visuals are particularly great again in the ED this time.
    I regret a little that I spoiled myself a bit by taking a glimpse into the manga when S1 ended..but generally speaking I still have no idea how shogi works but that doesn’t really stop me from watching this there is so much more to it what keeps me hooked. Looking forward to this!

    • October 16, 2017 at 10:39 pmZaiden

      Welcome back, Kana-chan! It’s good to have you back around the comment’s section. I totally agree that the Kawamoto sisters are an incredible trio, although as of now in the anime, I would still place the Minami sisters from Minami-ke as my personal favourite sister-trio.

      Haha, the temptation to read ahead was simply too much, right? No worries. Did you know that you have no idea how shogi works, because Umino Chica herself isn’t confident that she can make shogi matches entertaining? That’s why the manga has very little focus on the game itself, but rather every other aspect of life pertaining to them, which is part of the reason 3-Gatsu is so different from conventional sports anime/manga. Also another reason why I love it so much, because of how character-driven the story is!

      • October 17, 2017 at 6:28 amKana-chan

        This is quite interesting. I do think the matches are entertaining because they focus much more on the emotional side and not the actual gameplay, however at some point even with the child-like explanation in the anime I still don’t really understand the rules and what’s considered a “smart move” or how one could turn the tables when facing the thrilling temptation. Umino Chica is still doing a fantastic job and it’s good to hear she’s working on it.

        My first contact with her works was in the past when I watched Honey & Clover around the middle of 2016 (yes! very late!) simply because it was finally due on my endless watchlist and when I was done watching it, I was blown away by pretty much by everything it had to offer. I think I had a moment of regret why I didn’t watch this earlier. The quality of animation was quite a hassle at first because I got used to today’s standards somehow, but the characters were so well done I had to read the manga as well just to make sure I don’t miss anything.

        I immediately checked if she was working on another series. When I read it was about shogi and season 1 would air only a few months later I didn’t want to spoil myself and was once again enchanted by her story telling. Like you’ve already said the characters she brings to life that tell the story are so compelling. But you sure got a point that I couldn’t resist the temptation. I didn’t read too far since S2 was announced pretty early so it’s all good I think. This is still pretty exciting to watch.

        Thank you for your kind words btw kinda missed it too leaving a few comments here and there but the last season wasn’t really for me this time (only got fond of 2-3 shows and one is still airing) but for 3 gatsu no lion I would never want to miss this!

      • October 17, 2017 at 4:45 pmZaiden

        I do think the matches are entertaining because they focus much more on the emotional side

        Precisely. It explores the emotional and mental aspect, which is arguably more important for a strategic board game like Shogi.

        Anyway, I’m due for a rewatch on Honey & Clover. It’s Cherrie’s favourite anime, but I must have been way too young (12/13) to appreciate how good the characters were, because my impressions weren’t that high. Back then, I enjoyed highschool anime much more than I do now, that’s for sure.

        As for shows from last season, my favourites was Sakurada Reset, which is so underrated. From the carryovers, I’m really liking Mahoujin GuruGuru and Shoukoku no Altair.

  • October 19, 2017 at 4:51 pmcapncrunch

    This felt way more like a midseason episode than a season opener, but I’m super happy to have 3-gatsu back on air.

  • October 22, 2017 at 1:35 pmcshin9

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