The Lion Cub Can Grow Again: Season One Episode One
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
Hello, everyone, and welcome to a series that I only really got the idea for a few days ago, but I now am really excited about. This post now marks the beginning of my March Comes in Like a Lion re-watch/analysis. It has been a minute since I’ve seen the series. The last time I watched it was while it was airing a little over a year ago. Since I don’t mention it that often, I feel I should reiterate: this show is one of my favorite, if not my outright favorite, anime of all time. As such, I wanted to take some more time to reflect on it, from the beginning. I hope you all will follow along with me in this journey, as I want to really dig into the meat of this show and revisit what works, and even what does not. Anyway, enough rambling. Here are my thoughts on the show’s first episode.
It has definitely been a while since I have seen the show’s very first episode, and honestly, the first thing I have to say is Damn. I did not remember the show being that emotionally gripping in the first episode, and there is so much to unpack.
The first thing I want to point out is just how well the show establishes the amount of emotional turbulence Rei is going through in the opening moments of the show. We see what looks to be a storm, Raging on around Rei, but after the show’s intro finishes it cuts back to that same seen, introducing Rei’s sister Akari, it gives more context to what the storm means. It is the storm inside Rei’s head, unending and relentless.
We get even more context a few minutes later in the episode, when Rei faces off against his dad in a game of Shogi. In between their match, the show cuts to flashbacks of what looks to be Rei’s first tournament as a kid. He ends up winning that tournament, but his adopted brother and sister, Ayumi and Kyoko, resent him. During the match Rei does not say a thing to his father. In fact, it is quite tonally significant that the first thing Rei says five or six minutes into the first episode is a response to his dad saying the family misses him, “That’s a lie.”
The overall tone of this first third of the episode is fairly somber, and yet also deeply angry. This also comes through after Rei meets up with the Kawamoto sisters and the four of them have dinner. While eating, a report comes on the TV talking about a son who had brutally beaten his father. At this point, Rei explains that every move he made in their earlier Shogi match felt like a fist to the face, like he was getting back at his adopted father, and yet, Rei is still deeply resentful.
This is later shown when Hina comes to bring him a blanket, only to remove the glasses Rei had left on while falling asleep and reveal the tears still in his eyes, implying that Rei had been crying while sleeping.
However, amid this confusion and sadness, there is also a major paradigm shift for Rei. The first episode also shows just how much love and support Rei does have. The Kawamoto sisters all seem to genuinely care about Rei, as if they had always been family. Not only does the family offer to feed them twice in the first episode, and Hina gives him a huge lunch when he wakes up, they also tell him at the end of the episode that he is welcome over any time.
The first episode is not only a great on its own, but it also serves as a fantastic character introduction to Rei Kiriyama, showing both the emotional turbulence that he will have to deal with throughout the show, but also the potential to overcome it with the help of the people who care.
Edit: I accidentally said Kyoko’s sister was Akari, but I meant to write Kyoko. Apologies.
By the way, I have not yet decided how often I plan on doing these, but more than likely it will be an at least once a week type thing. Anyway, thank you all for taking a read. If you would like to support The Aniwriter or are just feeling generous, consider donating on ko-fi or by using one of my affiliate links down below:
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