「Chapter.41 京都(2) / Chapter.42 京都(3)」 (Chapter.41 Kyouto(2) / Chapter.42 Kyouto(3))
“Chapter.41 Kyoto(2) / Chapter.42 Kyoto(3)”

This episode felt like a slightly uncomfortable kick to the face.

Kai Shimada

Boy, I was left feeling like a hopeless mess after this week’s episode. With the support of his hometown as well as the hope and enthusiasm of his kouhais riding on this match, I was really hoping that Shimada was going to pull out some sort of magical victory. Toss in the mere fact that the match had went on so long that it had to be pushed to a second day and I was feeling really good about Shimada’s chances about taking a win from Souya. That and with everyone in the peanut gallery commenting about his inability to take a win and his “mediocre” performance, I felt conflicted between wanting Shimada to win for his own reasons versus just getting the ability to make everyone else shut the hell up. Honestly, if there’s a show can do that’ll really get my blood boiling, it’s probably when the plot takes an underdog and really starts running them through the mud.

But unfortunately, we all saw just what happened by the end of the episode. What probably hurt me the most besides watching Souya showing Shimada a move that could have turned literally everything around was watching Rei have so much faith and hope in someone else only to see them unable to accomplish what they strove to do. I know that 3-gatsu’s story isn’t a happy-go-lucky one but would it be so hard for the show to throw us a bone every now and then? I guess if there was anything positive about this whole situation, it’d hopefully be Rei learning a lot about himself and others within a very short time frame?

Getting back onto Shimada though, I can’t imagine just how bad things are going to be next week. He seems like a fairly laidback guy and I’m willing to bet he’ll be putting up a tough front especially when Nikaidou shows back up but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to handle watching him breakdown (if it happens). Because out of all the things that happened this week, what probably resonated the most with me was that dream Shimada had early on in the episode. Thinking about how things could be different had he made different choices throughout his life, I think a phrase that’ll probably stick with me for a long time when thinking about how life could be different is going to be “Which one is the nightmare?”

Looking Ahead

I don’t even know how I’m supposed to feel anymore. Typically we’d be a point in the story where our characters have finally reached a turning a point and are able to figure something out. But I guess when you’re talking about real life, nothing is really all that simple and I suppose things wouldn’t be all that enjoyable if everything could be determined based on patterns alone.

Anyways, I’ll see you guys next week. Later!




  1. You mean Kyoto(2) and Kyoto(3).

    I’m surprised you don’t note that Kei sees the same move Souya does, reinforcing Shimada’s observation in ep19 that there’s something similar between Kei and Souya. It seems the story sacrificed Shimada to make this point. I suspect Kei’s focus eventually shifts from Shimada to Souya, and that makes sense; I would expect him to focus on the current meijin eventually.

    I think ending the tournament here is for the best. If it had stretched on to Yamagata, it probably would have consumed the rest of the season, and for what? A limited success on a secondary story thread. I’m not sure what lesson to draw from that, maybe, “Work hard for a limited goal.” That’s actually not stupid, but it isn’t very satisfactory. I prefer what we get in this episode: Rei’s realization that he’ll get the answers to the questions he really wants to ask from himself, not from someone else.

  2. Recently, my friend introduced me to the wonderful game ‘I am Setsuna’. After listening to the OST for hours on end, I got the feeling that the beautiful piano soundtracks would not be out of place in 3-gatsu. My beliefs were further reinforced, after I discovered ‘Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna’ translated to ‘Setsuna of Sacrifice and Snow’. Linking the latest episode of 3-gatsu to my personal discoveries in real life, it felt like Shimada had become the sacrifice to Souya’s relentless onslaught. Honestly, I would go as far as saying ‘Ikenie to Yuki no Shimada’, which would translate to ‘Shimada of Sacrifice and Snow’.

    The little anecdote aside, every scene Souya is in never fails to captivate me. Going back to the analogy of a snow storm that is slowly increasing in intensity, his presence can be described being exactly that, silently burying those that he inevitably encounters. Beautiful, soft, cold, and silent come to mind, but also a deceptively powerful force of the natural world that threatens to overwhelm those amidst its terrifying wake.

    What I love is the subtle implication that Souya is far more a mortal than being god that others revere. The fact he no longer simultaneously holds the seven titles despite having previously done so serves as testimony to this fact. Raidou having the dragon is one proof of that. Nevertheless, everyone else sees Souya as this unparalleled deity, which further translates into reality immediately following the fourth game. Talented people or skilled people are looked up to as some sort of unobtainable goal to justify lack of effort. On the other hand, seeing raw talent crush the best efforts of a humble individual is thoroughly disappointing. Unfortunately, Shimada became utterly overwhelmed, in spite of all the effort he had put in. Everyone wants to see hard work prevail, so seeing it lose out in such a miserable fashion is extremely disheartening, and for all intents and purposes Souya may as well be an unparalleled deity.

    At the end of the day, both Rei and Nikaidou had too much faith in Shimada. Then again, who didn’t? Previously, I suggested that Rei had been influenced by the characters throughout this series. Aside from the negative self-esteem issues arising from Kyouko, we can also see that Akari’s altruism and Shimada’s tenacity have positively influenced Rei. Although it has probably been present for a while, this episode finally gave a chance for Rei to exhibit the influence Nikaidou has had upon him – believing in others through thick and thin. Nikaidou’s words are what we wanted to believe too, that Shimada would continue to fight until the end – instead, he conceded.

    Shimada conceding the match was heartbreaking. This could be mainly put down to his failure in seeing a way out of his predicament that seemed so obvious in hindsight, not to mention his gut-wrenching setbacks and his innate fear of the reputation preceding Souya. Then both Rei and Souya demonstrated the true fragility of the fourth game, that Shimada could have turned around the stars chosen to line up in his favour. Going back to the analogy of Souya being a storm of snow, shogi itself can be further explored on a deeper level as being that of a snowflake. Every snowflake is unique, not to mention the fact they are exceedingly fragile and complex. I think this sentiment accurately reflect shogi’s nature as being a complex game full of limitless possibilities, although surprisingly fragile too, considering how fleeting advantages gained can be.

    To surmise, I have nothing but love and adoration for 3-gatsu. There is an agonising beauty in the struggles of these Shogi professionals in living their day to day lives, and their acceptance of Souya being the master as status quo. Furthermore, there is also an agonising beauty in how Rei desperately clings onto shogi as well as his life after the death of his family, which we can clearly see in the instance where he refuses to accept Shimada’s loss. What an exceptional episode as usual I suppose and the dreaded premonition is starting to build up that March will soon go out like a Lion.

  3. Responding to Takaii’s reaction to the dream, the dream and the phrase ‘Which one is the nightmare?’ stuck with me too, but possibly for another set of reasons. Even in a dream of an alternative reality tinged with the melancholic what-ifs, it remains apparent that the lack of shogi would constitute the real nightmare, as opposed to the living nightmare of losing 4 straight sets to Souya. It is evident how much Shimada loves shogi, and how it has become his life. He simply could not live without it.

    Going against the flow of general thought and opinions, Shimada’s dream expressed the different perspective of those aspiring to become masters.
    A peaceful life in the countryside waited for him back in his hometown, and he knew it. Even the highest fulfilment in other forms was not worth it in his eyes, if that dream entailed ending his aspirations of playing professional shogi.

    For a professional aiming to become a master, ordinary desires are not a mere passing fantasy that can be so easily embraced. It is a distraction, a haunting temptation that one must aggressively battle to reject day after day; a threat endangering his present chances of winning and moving on to play in that same hometown which he deeply loves. Although he overcame such a struggle, the aim was not attained. His subsequent loss to Souya has to make you ask whether it was worth the sacrifice. To us, perhaps not, but for someone who loves shogi as much as Shimada does, I have no doubt that there would be a lack of regret on his part.

    Shimada’s wistful dream do not make me feel sad. In hindsight, perhaps it does, given the outcome of the match. But at the time, it really drove me into believing and hoping that Shimada could somehow win. The manic energy emanating from his very being and the crazy look in his eyes were not unlike Gotou. Feeling the intense resolve and emotions directed towards achieving victory gave his otherwise down to earth character an incredible amount of energy and vibrancy. But alas, victory was not to be.

      1. *gasp* My senpai replied! How I have long awaited this day, where you would finally notice me commenting on your 3-gatsu posts!

        Jubilations aside, you know how I was talking about ‘I am Setsuna’? There’s this character in Fire Emblem Fates called Setsuna that I only became aware of, because 90% of the YouTube comments for the ‘I am Setsuna’ OST are puns referencing the Fire Emblem character, who (ironically in the context of this particular episode) is well known for her happy go lucky ‘Victory’ song. Go figures!

        Seems like my translation of the name from Japanese was a bit too literal too. My friend told me ‘Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna’ reads more like ‘A Sacrifice and Setsuna of the Snow’, which is a touch more poetic in my opinion.

      2. Aha. I’m not as big as a Fire Emblem fan as I should be, but that’s a pretty nifty fact!

        ALSO I’M SO SORRY. I recently started a new job and have been swamped with trying to get accustomed to life away from home. I’m trying to refocus my time and also make sure to reply to comments since that’s what literally makes this blogging thing as fun as it is.


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      3. It’s okay. I’m actually not a big fan of Fire Emblem either, apart from maining Lucina in Smash 4. The last and only entry I ever played was Sword of Flame, and I never even finished it. Kek.

        Happy to hear you got a new job, at that particular place too! Am a huge fan of them, not to mention they have some pretty strong link to the anime industry. Life away from home is tough, which is also seen in 3-gatsu. But the new experiences broaden your horizons, as well as helping you to develop as a person! Hopefully you’ll meet awesome people along the way like Rei does too.

  4. I usually don’t like it when shows get too realistic, but you can’t forget about everything else going on in this show. Did anyone else think this whole Shimada arc might have dragged on a bit too long?

    1. I feel a bit like that. For one thing, Shimada hasn’t been a wholly satisfying substitute for the sisters, but maybe it should be that way. Recalling Rei’s simile in ep12 of the Kawamoto house as a kotatsu, and borrowing from the imagery of shogi as a stormy sea, Rei is rather like a sailor who leaves the comforts of home to travel the oceans. In a romance he would be lured by adventure and discovery, but in reality it was probably just a job for most (and home wasn’t that comfortable). Given his sketchy attachment to shogi, Rei falls more in the latter category, so maybe we should feel like something we want has been left behind.

      Also, the morale of the Shimada arc is ambiguous. It started with Nikaido’s rather dubious notion to teach Rei he isn’t alone by humiliating him, and while Rei has made progress socially (joining Shimada’s workshop, and the After School Burners Club looks promising), in the end Rei decides that he can find the answers he wants only in himself, not from others. All right, so others can help only so much, and perhaps Rei will take some reassurance from the fact he is not alone in struggling with shogi. Still, this resolution is not resounding.

      However, I think what has most bothered me is that the Shimada arc interrupted a story line for which I’d like to see some resolution, and that’s Rei’s conflict with Gotou. I have some hope that we may get that in the remaining episodes: Fujimoto reminded me strongly of Gotou, and Rei certainly showed him up, so perhaps that foreshadows something similar happening with Gotou.

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      1. Have to say, I doubt that Nikaidou’s initial aims were to humiliate Rei. Rather open him up to newer experiences of shogi, considering that Rei was certainly stagnating in uncertainty for quite a while, and had naively approached his game with Shimada. Rei would certainly not have been prepared to face Gotou. If you consider the fact Rei got wiped out by Shimada, who barely obtained victory over Gotou, it would not have been conducive to have pitted him against Gotou when he was simply not ready. Hence I do not know why you are so keen to see a resolution to that particular strand of the story, when time should be given for Rei to reach a caliber where he can confront Gotou in shogi and prevail.

        Not to mention a sequence of events where Rei beats Shimada then gets crushed by Gotou would have been so boring. How would Gotou v Souya have been as interesting as Shimada v Souya? And if Rei prevailed over Gotou, only to get crushed by Souya, it would almost confirm that Rei already has little to prove/achieve considering where he would be at. The alternative suggestions you make out might have satisfied your craving in the short term, but led to a pretty subpar story development in the long term.

        The morale of the Shimada arc for Rei had a lot to do with allowing others to help (Rei attending the shogi workshop to get feedback on how he plays) and helping others (Rei looking after Shimada leading up to, and during his matches against Souya). To say that Rei is only able to find the answers from himself, is something I vehemently disagree with, because it discredits the idea that others have helped and guided him towards the answers such as the Kawamoto Sisters, Nikaidou, Hayashida Sensei, Shimada, and even negative interactions with Kyouko. Shimada also taught Rei that talent alone is insufficient, with hardwork and passion being needed too. In addition to seeing hardwork from Rei, we can also expect that the story afterwards will show what will drive Rei into being passionate for Shogi. Could be a personal reason for the sake of other as has been taught to him in the Shimada arc, e.g. for the sake of the Kawamoto sisters.

        The whole idea is precisely that he cannot continue to operate alone in his search for answers, which I feel that you have missed. Hence from my perspective, the resolution is resounding in terms of what it does for Rei’s development as a character, contrary to what you have suggested.

        tl;dr the deviation from Gotou into Shimada was to show how Rei was unready for the match, and what he can now do to develop into a person who is ready to take on Gotou and progress far enough into shogi to eventually take on Souya for the title of Meijin.

      2. I was addressing sealouse’s feeling that the Shimada arc dragged on too long, and the likelihood that Rei would have defeated Gotou is irrelevant to that. I’m not saying that the story should have had Rei defeat Shimada and go on to play Gotou. I doubt that, even if Rei had defeated Gotou, that would have done him any more good than fighting Gotou on the bridge did (because Rei’s primary problem isn’t with Gotou but with Kyouko). My point is that the Shimada arc interrupted Rei’s plan to defeat Gotou. That interruption is prone to linger in the back of the viewer’s mind, begging for resolution, and the Shimada arc has left little time to tie up that loose end before the end of the cour.

        Incidentally, Rei’s relationship with Gotou and Kyouko isn’t the only thread that’s hanging. There’s also Rei’s relationship with the sisters, who Rei has been keeping at a distance for most of the cour. It’s likely that most viewers are even more eager to see the tension in this relationship resolved, so I can easily see them getting impatient with the Shimada arc as the episodes have been counting down.

        Shifting the subject: as for the prospects coming out of this arc, I don’t see justification for the optimism you express. As a test of the efficacy of cooperative training, Shimada’s defeat was resoundingly negative, so it’s hard to see why Rei would be encouraged to believe in it. Furthermore, Rei’s reaction to Hayashida’s lecture in ep16 about depending on and helping others isn’t encouraging; Rei somehow doesn’t realize that his relationship with the sisters is already like that and instead thinks it has been parasitic (“they’ve never depended on me for anything”), which suggests he’s still trapped in his cuckoo bird metaphor from ep5. Rei already worked hard, so he didn’t learn to do that in this arc. Most importantly, Rei went into Shimada’s workshop in ep16 thinking Shimada had the answers for “I have no reason to win” and “why is it so painful when I lose”, but at the end of this episode he’s thinking, “I knew it from the beginning…” At least consciously, Rei has made no progress in this arc. While I can see glimmers of hope, it mostly feels like a “hopeless mess”.

      3. I don’t see justification for the optimism you express.

        Having read the source material in full it is quite difficult to see things from the perspective of someone who has only watched the anime anxiously waiting for resolutions. Nonetheless, I will continue to try and answer questions voicing discontent, and I also want to reassure people that this isn’t the final episode! Maybe you’re not seeing how a satisfactory conclusion can possibly be derived from the next two episodes, but I hope people will be pleasantly surprised. More things may be resolved than you might imagine and there were invariably going to be loose ends. The adaption was never going to fully adapt the source material so far, and even then it’s more of a continuous story than episodic, making it very difficult to break up into components even if it has arc since none of the arcs are standalone in themselves.

        the Shimada arc dragged on too long […] the Shimada arc interrupted Rei’s plan to defeat Gotou

        Not sure if you know how shogi works, but Rei doesn’t really have an opportunity to play against Gotou officially again since there are almost no tournaments that would permit similar matches, so I’m not sure it’s entirely the fault of the Shimada arc to have interrupted his plans. Considering the disparity between C1 and A, Rei pretty much has little to no other opportunity to play against people in upper classes in an official tournament context.

        Not to mention, if we consider that Kiriyama is currently class C1, a single cour following his victory/defeat over Shimada is a bit too short to document his progress from C1 all the way to being able to defeat someone from class A.

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        Spoiler for why the Shimada arc was too long

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Hayashida’s lecture in ep16 about depending on and helping others isn’t encouraging; Rei somehow doesn’t realize that his relationship with the sisters is already like that and instead thinks it has been parasitic

        I can see why you would suggest nothing was gained from the Shimada arc. But I don’t think it was correct to do this by examining the first episode of the arc, rather than examining the development across the arc as a whole.

        The arc with Shimada is set up in a way to develop Rei’s character, so that he gets past his feelings of being trapped in the cuckoo’s nest. The extended reaction to Hayashida’s lecture, was working up the courage to attend Shimada’s Shogi Workshop where Shimada serves as a mentor and older brother figure to Rei.

        Not only that, but Rei learns the quandaries of give and take through looking after Shimada. Previously, he was trapped in the cuckoo bird metaphor given his past traumatic experiences but the whole point of this arc was to make him realise that it is okay to be depended on by others and to depend on others too. Seeing the help go both ways with Shimada, Rei has come to realise that he can offer things in return for the sisters.

        At least consciously, Rei has made no progress in this arc.

        A lot of people seem to think that Shimada’s defeat was antithetical to the intent of this arc. But I would disagree, because we would need to watch the final few episodes in order to properly assess how the defeat has affected Rei. Conversely, Rei has also learned, and shown glimmers of what he could potentially achieve, given that only he and Souya noticed the way in which Shimada could have turned around the game. You see it in his frantic eyes during this episode that Rei only bothered to search for a way out because he cares for and loves Shimada. This is not something he would have done for himself prior to this arc, for anyone else or for himself, and this passion to care for others and himself is what will drive him to revitalise his shogi.

        Nevertheless, a lot of my seemingly irrational optimism is perhaps generated from my familiarity with the source material and knowing what will come ahead. To be honest, I agree that the anime ended at a less than ideal point, which I point out was not really the fault of production. At least it draws to a close on the final chapter of the Shimada arc, rather than halfway through this or any other arc.

  5. I’m pretty sure that the move Rei discovered (the one that Souya mentioned wasn’t spotted) will be the beginning of his new journey with shogi. I cannot wait.

    Wait, maybe I can. Need more Akari/Hina/Momo goodness first.

  6. Sangatsu always likens the shogi journey to a never-ending train ride and I suppose that’s what it is, it sounds depressing where they have this cycle of winning and then to only have to pick themselves back up and start again after one loss but their passion and will power is amazing? Like they hate it but love it and can’t live without it… we’ll just see more characters going through that later on and how they grow from it I think it may be tough and sad but they make it a great thing 🙂


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