Details: Also known as Sangatsu no Raion. Season 2 aired in 2017 through 2018. There are twenty-two episodes in this season with each a little under twenty-five minutes long.
March Comes In Like A Lion is a sad, warm, beautiful anime whose plot resembles something that you’d see in a Asian soap opera. I hate soap operas, but what makes this so much better than soap operas is the use of beautiful art, animation, and music.
March Comes In Like A Lion is a story about a young boy who is also a professional shogi player and the relationships in that boy’s life.
In the first season, we mostly focused on the protagonist Rei and his emotional issues and conflicts with other characters, namely his adoptive family. Season two still looks at Rei, but switches a lot of the focus onto supporting characters. Primarily, there’s a big focus on the young character of Hinata and her experiences with bullying.
As with the last season, a lot of what made this show so attractive was the presentation. The music is perfect for the subject matter and perfectly supports the imagery presented on-screen. The art takes on a hand drawn, water colored quality. If I were to try to describe it in one word, it would be “flowery.” There’s a lot of landscapes and pan shots, which I really liked. Some were very detailed and were of actual places in Japan. Others images took more artistic license and did a better job reflecting characters’ mental states and the mood.
I really liked what they did with the story. The first season did so much with the protagonist that I think another season that dived so deep into the character’s psychology might have been redundant. We understand Rei already. Luckily, the show takes a look at the supporting cast and other issues like bullying and handles them pretty well. I think the primary crux of what made bullying such good issue to tackle was the effect and pain it inflicts on children as well as how difficult it is to resolve. A lot like it is in America, the parents in this show do not like being told what to do or how to raise their kids. So you get this conflict where parents with destructive kids will not do anything to change and in fact attack the parents of the kids who are victims to the bullying. It’s a tough issue and, unlike in real life, I think the show did a good job to provide a decent solution that resolves bullying. Real life isn’t so simple I think, but I do agree with the shows thesis that everyone involved (teachers, parents, everyone involved) all have a role to play to lessen bullying.
There is of course a number of episodes focusing on the shogi aspect of the show. I enjoyed those and their deep dives into the players psychology. I like the sports anime aspect and I’m glad they didn’t abandon it and become a full on drama ignoring the shogi part.
Also worth mentioning is the lack of romance in this show, which impressed me. I feel like introducing romantic interests is an easy way to pump up a story. Audiences are suckers for ‘shipping (or making characters hook up or fall in love with each other), but I’m glad they don’t do much of that here. There is some romance, but it is very minimal and it all ends with zero payoff or consummation. The primary relationships explored here relate to family, school relationships, and Rei’s relationship with shogi and the other shogi players. In the words of Dominic Toretto, this show is mainly about “FAMILY.”
Overall, this was another great season of a great show. It’s rare to see a well done depiction of an unconventional family, but you really get that sense in this show of a group of people who’ve suffered misfortunes and yet do their best to love and support each other. It’s a beautiful thing and if you like good art and soap operas or Asian dramas, this is a show I easily recommend.