「Chapter.39 夜を往く / Chapter.40 京都(1)」 (Chapter.39 Yoru wo Iku / Chapter.40 Kyouto(1))
“Chapter.39 Through the Night / Chapter.40 Kyoto (1)”

Sorry for the late post guys! New job is kicking my butt and making me feel a little like Shimada.

Shimada’s Childhood

If there’s something that 3-gatsu does well, it’s setting up really depressing stories that always begin with some sort positive lure. And if what happened with Rei wasn’t enough, I don’t think my body was ready for what happened to Shimada. Growing up in a small rural village that didn’t have many (if any) kids around his age, it was nice to see he found solace diving into the depths of Shogi. Using his knowledge and skills, it felt almost like a rag to riches story as we watched him escape the clutches of his tiny village as he moved closer and closer to sprawling big city. Except, instead of ending with a bang that would send him off into the cherry sunset, we instead got to see the harsh reality of life. A reality that doesn’t necessarily care about how much effort you’ve put in or how much you’ve sacrificed and instead favors the geniuses who have the extra “oomph” built right into them.

I don’t know about you but if I had a peer like Souya to contend with, I’m not sure if I could keep moving forward. And as much as I’m an optimist who believes you can overcome nearly any struggle with enough hard work and determination, this show is slowly converting me into a realist that questions whether or not putting in the extra effort is worth it or not.

That said, I’m glad to see that Shimada is still trying his damndest to fight against his losing position. With a weak constitution and a humiliating 0-4 loss streak staring him right in the face, how can you not root for a guy that is give it his all? Toss in the guidance he’s provided to Rei both by breaking him down and building him up and I’d call you crazy if you weren’t rooting for Shimada.

Hopefully things go better for him next week. I’m not sure what I’m going to do if he ends up losing and ends up having to face his elders at home.

Rei’s Growth and Looking Ahead

Even though he may be a little irresponsible when it comes to his own health, it’s nice to see that Rei is actually a fully functioning human being that has the skills to take care of others. Something that actually says a lot about his character as a person or rather the characteristics he’s been hiding for quite some time now. In any case, I’ll catch you guys next week where we’ll either be jumping for joy with Shimada’s first win or well, you know.

See you then!




  1. To me, I see Shimada as someone who doesn’t stand out in the manner you’d expect from someone who’s a challenger, which is amazing in its own right. Instead he comes across as someone who is a “normal guy” (in the most relative sense) working hard, and that’s reassuringly realistic? Like he’s just a small town boy with big dreams and working towards them like any other person, and it’s a small world but it’s his world?? It’s great haha.

    Shogi players seem to occupy this strange realm that normal people wouldn’t exactly understand, and they’re real pros and some of them supposedly holding maybe a celebrity-like status in their field, but Sangatsu has this mysterious way of turning their characters into someone very relatable, almost salaryman-like people.

    On a different note, Rei is learning to take care of others as well as himself, after being connected to more and more people in his life in positive ways!? Nice.

  2. Something I really appreciate about 3-gatsu is how it simultaneously is and isn’t about shogi. It’s about people and their connections to others through shogi. We can see Akari’s direct influence upon Rei’s development, where his attempt to care for Shimada reflects how some of Akari’s caring nature has been imparted onto Rei himself. Shimada is also starting to play an older brother figure, in addition to being a mentor, and serves as a platform for which Rei can grow as a character.

    Looking after both himself and Shimada has allowed Rei to learn more about what he wants in terms of the direction he’s taking in life, something he was desperately lacking prior to this point. I don’t quite think that Rei aspires to be like Shimada, though evidently he does admire Shimada’s tenacity in the form of his disciplined work ethic.

    When they first introduced Shimada, there was something underwhelming about him that I couldn’t quite put my fingers on. This episode, I finally realized what it was when the Chairman himself uttered it so bluntly: Shimada doesn’t stand out. But Umino sensei has done a great job fleshing out his character, despite various traits suggesting he would be uninteresting and plain. Perhaps it’s his lack of emotional words and tendency for introspection, but he has always come across as a stoic and passive character. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Actions are mightier than words. The lengths to which Shimada will go in spite of all his pains leaves no room for doubting his love towards shogi, be it taking up part time work requiring intense physical labour, or waiving his medical conditions to continue competing against Souya. The proactivity he shows in pursuing what he wants is a source of admiration for those who dabble in shogi and respect him like Rei and Nikaidou, as well as the viewers. These traits alone are enough for the viewers to relate to and like his character.

    Speaking of actions being more powerful than words, the moment of silence when Rei was talking about his father by blood rather than his father by adoption was something I found to be very subtle and very powerful. Another small thing to note that made the scene all the more powerful, is the single chime we hear following said silence when Shidama registers his mistake. Truly excellent production and directing by the people over at Shaft – their extraordinary attention to detail deserves much credit.

    Then Shimada brings up Souya. What can I say? Every scene Souya is in never fails to captivate. Using the analogy of a snow storm that is slowly increasing in intensity, his presence can be described as such. Beautiful, soft, cold, and silent come to mind, but also a deceptively powerful force of the natural world that threatens to overwhelm.

    However, I have to disagree with Shimada’s assessment on how Souya and Rei are similar. Perhaps aesthetically they look similar, and that they both think about shogi in similar ways in terms of how they intuitively feel the game instead of thinking about it. Nonetheless, I can’t help but see Souya as this graceful, ethereal parallel to Rei. We are exposed to Rei’s awkwardness amongst other shortcomings that bring him down to earth and make him relatable. On the other hand, Souya’s disconnect from people, and the world beyond shogi, makes him seem so above people to the extent of being divine. Whereas Souya was never able to interact with the world around him, Rei is already embarking upon a markedly different path full of people who will influence, affect and change him. The two already live worlds apart.

    Once Rei learns how to be depended on by others, he can finally understand what the Kawamoto sisters can do for him, and what he can finally do for them in return to the love and support they have given him. He had previously been afraid of bothering them, without considering the possible quandaries of give and take in the relationship. This is even mentioned by Akari in a previous episode, that Rei cannot truly help the Kawamoto sisters until he understands this. You can see he is finally coming to terms with this idea through his relationship and interactions with Shimada. Once fully grasped, it will really allow him to close the distance that had developed between himself and the Kawamoto sisters, in addition to taking their family reminiscent relationship further.

    1. Which episode are you referring to regarding how Akari mentioned him? I’m reading the manga, so I’m trying to understand when it happened; was it after he lost?

      1. Episode 11, when Akari is chiding Rei for not relying on the sisters when he was ill, was the one I was thinking of. Though she follows her harsh rebuke, by later saying that being able to look after Rei emotionally saved her.

        I think she does mention it later on in the manga too, under circumstances which shall remain unspoiled.

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