March comes in like a lion 2nd Season

March comes in like a lion 2nd Season

March comes in like a lion 2nd Season anime series cover
March comes in like a lion 2nd Season

Overview

March comes in like a lion 2nd Season (3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season / 3月のライオン 第2シリーズ) is the second season of the series March comes in like a lion, in case you couldn’t figure that out. But while this season does continue the story from the first, there’s a fairly major shift in how the story is told.

While the first season did include the other characters who surround our protagonist, Rei Kiriyama, he and his loneliness were the main focus. Season two takes a different turn, and one that I think suits the series much better. It’s still very much a drama, but now it’s more about how the other people around Rei help him, and how he in turn helps them.

For example, we get a lot more substance from Rei’s friendship with Nikaido in this season compared to the first. Nikaido is no longer portrayed somewhat as a nuisance, but more as he actually is, which is Rei’s best friend whether he wants to admit that or not.

Likewise, Rei’s involvement with the Kawamoto family increases during this season, as do his relationships with just about every other character. Interestingly, despite what I originally expected, his adoptive family played even less of a role, however.

I’m actually not sure if Kyouko made a real appearance in this season. She probably did at some point, but I really expected Rei’s turbulent relationship with her to be explored more fully. Perhaps if there’s a third season, which I hope there will be, we’ll get a bit more information regarding where Kyouko stands.

Also Souya, the reigning shogi champion, was an actual character in this season rather than just being someone Rei sees off in the distance. There’s an interesting plot “twist” regarding him which I won’t spoil, but it made me like him as a character more because it brought him down to Earth.

Improvements

So along with the fact that I preferred how this season took more of a holistic approach by incorporating more of the characters into Rei’s life in meaningful ways, there were a few other quality of life improvements. The main one was the removal of the CG cat scenes where they teach you how to play shogi.

I know that some people actually liked those parts of the first season, but I always felt like they took me out of the story. They never actually taught me anything that I didn’t learn just by watching the series since they weren’t all that in-depth, but the main thing I didn’t like about them was that they really served no purpose in my mind.

Yes, this is an anime about shogi. But you don’t need to know anything about shogi to watch and understand this anime. Shogi isn’t the focus of the series. The focus of the series is on the characters and how they grow and adapt, and shogi is just a tool used to illustrate that. Even the tournament arcs, which are heavy on the shogi gameplay, don’t require the viewer to know how to play shogi.

And that brings me to the next improvement of this season, more tournament arcs. Now, tournament arcs in this series aren’t the same as ones in shounen battle anime, but they’re still exciting. And perhaps this season didn’t actually have any more of them than the first did, but it felt like it did because it followed more characters than just Rei.

Shift in Focus

The fact that Rei isn’t the sole character we follow this time around is actually the thing I liked the most about this season when compared to the first. Rei’s definitely a good character, but so are a lot of the side characters, and the focus shifts in this season to illustrate that.

Along with Rei, we follow other side characters such as Nikaido and Shimada in small ways. But then we get the side characters who have major arcs mostly to themselves such as Hina and Sakutarou, whom from here on I’ll be calling Saku because that’s what his friends call him.

Sakutarou Yanagihara from the anime series March comes in like a lion 2nd Season
Sakutarou Yanagihara

Nikaido and Shimada are good characters in their own right, but from here on out I really want to focus on Hina and Saku because they have the best arcs in the entire series. That’s right, Rei isn’t even the focus of the best arcs despite being the main character. Also note that I will be spoiling these two arcs going forward.

Now that you’ve been warned about spoilers, let’s get into Hina’s arc. It focuses on the bullying which has been going on in her class for some time. There are three girls who are the main culprits, but everyone else in the class, including the teacher, pretend not to see what’s going on.

The original target of the bullying was one of Hina’s friends from elementary school, but after she transfers away due to the bullying, Hina becomes the new target for standing up to the bullies. I think this arc definitely had the highest highs and lowest lows from an emotional standpoint which is why it was so good.

I especially liked how the bullying was resolved, or at least began to be resolved once another teacher stepped in. Rei’s teacher, Mr. Hayashida, is cool and all, but I loved how Mr. Kokubu handled the situation when he said that the only evidence needed to prove bullying is happening is for there to be a victim who claims it is.

But despite how much I loved that arc, Hina’s arc wasn’t even my favorite. Instead, my favorite arc was titled Burnt Fields, and it followed Saku as he attempts to hold onto his last remaining shogi title. This may not have been the most exciting arc, but it definitely felt like it was the most important.

Yes, bullying is an important thing to combat as Hina taught us, but here we’re talking about what could be the end of Saku’s life (playing shogi). All of his friends have retired, and as the last of them, and the oldest current shogi player, all of their hopes and dreams rest on his shoulders.

Without his title he wouldn’t have anything as far as he’s concerned, so there’s already enough pressure as it is. But the added weight of all those cheering him on doesn’t help. He even mentions that if he loses he’ll simply retire, but that at the same time playing shogi is what keeps him alive so in a sense he really is playing for his life.

And, of course, I absolutely loved when, towards the end of the match, Saku decides that he’s going to keep winning for as long as he can, not just for himself, but for all of his friends who have retired before him. I actually thought he was going to end up dying in this arc, so I was glad to see him alive and celebrating his victory.

Conclusion

If you’ve read my review of the first season, you’ll know that I gave it a 7/10. However, the second season is better than that. In fact, the second season is much better than I expected it to be going in. In the end I gave it a 10/10, meaning it jumped farther than even Saekano in ratings between its first two seasons.

It should also come as little surprise that I ended up really enjoying this series because, after all, it is made by my favorite studio, Shaft. Yes, Fireworks wasn’t that good, but I have yet to be disappointed by one of their series, which means they know how to pick good projects to work on most of the time.

If you enjoyed this review, and especially if I’ve convinced you to check this series out for yourself, click the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on all the latest content and schedule changes.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how to become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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