「Chapter.30 月光 / Chapter.31 自我のカタマリ」 (Chapter.30 Gekkou / Chapter.31 Jiga no Katamari)
“Chapter.30 Moonlight / Chapter.31 Lump of Ego”

I’m so happy we finally got an episode that gave us some more insight into Kyouko.

Your Sister(?)

The struggles of being the unsuccessful child in a family is a god awful feeling, especially if you’re the eldest. The thought of failing your parents and being unable to accomplish the hope and dreams they set out for you can drive even the toughest people off the edge. Which is exactly why I left this episode with a completely different opinion of the “evil” older sister that spent her time making Rei’s life more difficult than it needed to be. Honestly, when you try to see things from Kyouko’s perspective, it’s not too hard to see where all that nastiness comes from and how it isn’t necessarily all her fault. At a young age, can you imagine the pain of letting down your shogi obsessed father while simultaneously watching all the passion you thought was coming your way now being directed at your adopted younger brother? In one fell swoop it’s like your world was turned completely upside down without even giving you a chance to prepare for the fall. But you know what the worst part of it all is? Judging from what we saw in that flashback when Rei announced he’d leave home instead, it really feels like their dad tried his best to adjust his expectations in a failed attempt to prevent all this from happening. Like Rei said, his father loves all of his children and even if Kyouko can’t see it, there’s no denying their dad wouldn’t want his children to find their own form of happiness even if it didn’t involve shogi.

Anyways, what I’m trying to basically get across is just how fun this show can be when we get some great moments that help define or redefine the characters we thought we knew. And in this week’s case, it gives me hope that Kyouko might turn into a positive force that’ll help Rei find the answers he needs to move forward.

Shogi Battle!

Man, who would have thought that the final matches of the tournament would be so intense? With Gotoh and Shimada bringing out their A-game, I thought it was a nice tough to add some dramatic sound effects every time they brought a piece down. Honestly, the whole thing would probably have been even better if I actually understood what was going on — but then again I guess it goes to show you how interesting something can become with the right use of angles and sounds!

Looking Ahead

With various plot points about to veer straight into one another it looks like we’re going to be in for a big episode sometime soon. From Kyouko and Gotoh to Rei’s confidence and our favorite three sisters badly needing some air time, wouldn’t it be nice if this all somehow came together to the point where Rei actually manages to win big time? Anyways, I’ll see you guys next week where Rei hopefully does enough catch up work to graduate on time. See you then!




  1. Somehow the moment Kyouko said “Don’t touch me. But don’t get away from me.” It brought a totally different view of Rei and Kyouko’s relationship. I don’t know how to say it, but it looks like a relationship where both of them cared for each other as deep as they hurt each other. Considering the environment she grew up in, I guess it’s not weird if she’s kind of twisted. The fact that she cried and say “Are you running away from me?” After Rei said he’ll leave to stop her from leaving is just contradictory for me.

    On another note, this episode brought a more comical side of Shimada and Gotou, which I like. Watching their fight just makes me wonder how I’ll see the episode if I learned shogi beforehand. But for me that can’t play chess properly, learning shogi might be impossible for me haha :p

  2. 3-gatsu no Lion Episode 15 Analysis:

    As Kyouko’s past slowly revealed through her intermittent appearances, one can come to appreciate Umino Chika’s masterful writing. When Kyouko does appear, she fluctuates from a viciously manipulative behaviour, to caring about Rei’s well-being, whilst simultaneously attempting to crush his confidence. It becomes immediately clear that she’s exceptionally torn between needing Rei in her life, and despising him for being the primary causation of the issues she had with her family in previous episodes. However, this episode finally outlines the subtle dynamics in their relationship, really showing that things are not as apparent as they previously seemed.

    It’s one of the first times we get a fuller picture of Kyouko, in how she views both herself and Rei. She possesses particularly complicated feelings towards Shogi, hating it for controlling her life, but franticly seeks out an attachment to it, so that she can feel like she has a place to exist. The way 3-gatsu portrays Kyouko’s obsession is absolutely amazing. Her dependence on Rei and Gotou, is a symptom of the aforementioned desire in wanting to belong, and helps to rationally contextualise her erratic interactions, whilst expressing a silent cry for help.

    Clinging to a twisted person like Gotou, because of her abject desperation for affectionate companionship, epitomises her tragedy. Before, it was Rei that she clung to, so that she could compensate for the lack of attention from her parents, even though he was indirectly the source for most of her problems. She simply didn’t have anyone else. With Rei’s departure, the wounds and misgivings of the Kouda household might have slowly started to heal, only Kyouko also came to realize that Rei was the person she depended on for emotional support, hence why she sought him out at his apartment in Episode 8. Kyouko is self-pitying and needy, desperately wanting to be loved in order to validate her existence. Such an existence, defined by an unfathomable emptiness ensuing from unreciprocated love, be it familial or romantic, is something I find to be extremely pitiful and heart-breaking. Especially so, when considering how little control she truly had over the consequences derived from events that directly shaped her character. In short, I find it difficult to personally blame Kyouko for turning out the way she did. As sadistic as it sounds, she is such a wonderful character to follow, owing to the complexity of her struggles and suffering.

    On the other hand, we have Rei, and his perspective on Kyouko. Their relationship is remarkable to think about, considering their intricate backstory. Kyouko’s visual depiction is extremely well-done as usual; half hidden by darkness at times, and we rarely get to see her full figure, especially from Rei’s perspective – it’s always obscured. From what we learned about Kyouko, her emotional fragility helps explain why Rei is so protective of her, to the point where he will put up with her negativity and abuse. Despite his trepidation towards her, due to past incidents between them, he deeply cares for her. He’s hurt by her words and actions, but still wants to protect her. It’s likely because he blames himself for her current state, that he is willing to endure for her sake, despite how she treats him. It is also intriguing, that Rei realised the need to independently resolve his own problems, before trying to help out Kyouko. His despair over his utter lack of power to help Kyouko will hopefully help to drive him forwards, rather than consume him entirely. I look forwards to the character development that this should generate on his part.

    Despite all the exposition discussed, Kyouko still remains a mystery for the viewers. To surmise, she is cold and manipulative, yet beautiful and reserved about her frail side. Other series of lesser value would be content with hastily cramming the entire substance of a backstory into one episode or chapter, dispelling the possibility of creating mystery, and limiting the extent of any potential character development. In my opinion, this is what helps distinguish merely good storytelling from the amazing writing present in works like 3-gatsu. I’ve been saying from her very first introduction, that Kyouko is a character flawed by virtue of her human nature, and upon closer inspection, it is a lot more difficult to outright call her truly evil. I would even go as far as saying, that the evil attributed to her is a by-product of the psychological damage she sustained earlier in her life. That she continues to be an enthralling character, given what we have seen of her, serves to demonstrate the extraordinary quality of 3-gatsu’s storytelling.

    1. Embarrassing grammatical error in the first sentence, too bad I can’t edit it after posting. All that proof-reading for naught ;_;

      *As Kyouko’s past IS slowly revealed through her intermittent appearances, one can come to appreciate Umino Chika’s masterful writing.

    2. Amazing analysis Zaiden. A long long time ago, I read the manga and felt exactly the same about Kyouko’s character, I’ve only managed 3 episodes of the anime (that I watched in one go some time last year) because of my busy schedule, I need to go back to watching this anime asap.

      1. Thank you, JCDRANZER! I appreciate the feedback 😀

        Also, I possibly misrepresented this analysis as being on the episode, when in actuality it was mainly comprised of breaking down Kyouka’s character. I do enjoy the other aspects of the show. However, I especially enjoy episodes that feature a good amount of Kyouka.

        I have to confess, I dislike Kyouka as a human being. Nonetheless, it does not stop me from finding her beautiful, and absolutely fascinating as a character. There is a darkness about her which draws me in. From a personal standpoint, her construction as a character is deeply compelling to the point where it warranted inspiration for writing up my thoughts and ideas. You should be able to find another writeup I made about her in Episode 10’s comment section, if you are interested in reading on more of my thoughts about her.

        In my opinion, Brains Base and KyoAni probably could have emphasised other elements of this show, drama/romance and slice of life respectively, if they were in charge of the adaption. But Shaft really bring an abstract element to the forefront, which achieves a brilliant balance between drama and slice of life, allowing them to capture and express the human and emotional side of 3-gatsu. Other than that, I encourage you to keep up with the anime if you can! Then again, this is coming from someone who is following around 20+ shows this season, so maybe I have a bit too much time on my hands. I’m reading the manga too, which lets me to cheat in making my analysis. However, seeing Kyouka come to life on the screen is just another experience altogether.

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