It’s fairly obvious to anyone who’s seen season one of March Comes in Like a Lion that this show knows how to handle mature topics. In fact, using the word handle might be underselling the show’s complex and terrifyingly human tendencies. This episode, continuing with the show’s bullying arc centered around Hina, show’s two very different reactions to bullying.
The first half of the episode focuses Rei talking to his homeroom teacher Takashi about Hina’s situation. Rei eagerly takes notes on the advice his teacher gives him. Takashi gives one key point of advice to Rei, being that he should only get involved as much as the victim, in this case, Hina wants. Getting too involved, he explains, will isolate her from her friend groups and only exacerbate the problem.
After their discussion, Rei accidentally drops some papers detailing the money he could win from various tournaments. He then explains to Takashi that he owes Hina a debt, and in multiple scenes throughout the episode, he says that he must repay his debt win money. This is probably one of two times I can say that I have disliked Rei as a character because I think this idea is fundamentally wrongheaded.
Rei believes that he owes a debt to Hina “as a human being” because Hina is his “savior.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with feeling like you owe someone something because they helped you in a huge way, but the idea that debt can be repaid by attaching a dollar sign to it is wrong. A human debt, as a described it, should be repaid by legitimately caring for that person. It also flies right in the face of the advice that Takashi was giving him for 10 minutes of the episode, rendering those 10 minutes irrelevant.
We see Rei in the second half continuing with his plan to help Hina by trying his hardest to win and vowing to not lose, to which afterward he loses immediately. He tells Nikkaido to help him train and they play at his house.
After this scene, Rei gets a text from Akari, presumably about helping her with groceries, as we see the two walking home with an abundance of food. In what is probably one of the most impactful scenes in the show, Akari sees that Rei is struggling to carry the box of onions and potatoes and asks if he needs any help. Rei responds with “I’ve got it. I’m a man after all.” Akari then says under her breath “Rei doesn’t seem to be getting fluffy at all.”
This scene imparticular portrays so much detail in just these two lines. Now, if it were a mediocre shonen action series and a character said “I’ve got it. I’m a man after all,” then nobody would blink an eye. But here, in a show as complex and nuanced as March is, it comes off as noticeably different from his usual personality, which might have even criticized someone else for saying that. Rei says this because he likely believes in that moment that he is indirectly helping Hina by literally taking a weight off of Akari’s shoulders.
Akari’s response also holds a lot of meaning, specifically as a response to Rei’s change in character. For those who haven’t been paying attention to details in this show, Rei, both in personality and in appearance, has been described as “fluffy” by multiple characters in the show, especially by Momo. In this case, Akari saying that “Rei doesn’t seem to be getting fluffy at all” is a testament to how noticeably different he is in personality compared to the beginning of the show.
The two get back to Akari’s house and begin to clean the vegetables. Akari, alone in the kitchen with Rei, wears her heart on her sleeve and starts speaking aloud, not directly to Rei, about how she feels guilty that she can’t do more for Hina.
In her own words, she feels like she hesitated, and that if she had said something more concrete like her grandfather that Hina would be feeling a lot better. Rei tells her that she shouldn’t be sad and that it is normal to feel lost in a situation like that. He also explains his feelings that Hina is a savior to her, and that Akari is in many ways an indirect savior as well.
The episode ends with Hina, Momo and their grandfather returning from the amusement park and eating curry together. Hina gives Rei a charm she won that she thinks looks like him, to which he says “I’m touched.”
I would say I’m touched as well, but how about you guys? What did you think of this episode? Are you enjoying season two? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for Reading, and bye for now, Friendos!