The Lion Cub Can Grow Again: Season One Episode Five
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
Today I present the fifth installment of my March Comes in Like a Lion re-watch/analysis series. Before we get into the fifth episode though, It would be good to establish all of the important information from the first four episodes, because, while it may not seem like it, there is already a lot. So, let’s review:
- Rei’s adopted family has been ruined by their father’s obsession with creating a great shogi player, and the rest of his family resent Rei for it.
- Rei now lives alone in order to escape said resentment, and as a result is isolated from them. However, he is still emotionally troubled by the situation
- Rei continues to play and progress as a pro shogi player, despite not being attached to the game, mainly so he can escape his adopted family
- The Kawamoto sisters, along with Nikaido, seem to be his only social escape from his family life.
Ok, so maybe not A LOT a lot. but these things are important to keep in mind when trying to understand march on a more fundamental level.
Well, I’ll be honest, I kind of forgot how much of an information dump this episode is, but its one of the more important episodes to analyze in the series, so let’s get started.
The episode opens with a scene from the past, showing Rei playing Shogi against one of his father’s work friends, and then beating him. Soon after, his father walks into the room, apologizing to his friend for being late. It is during this opening scene that the show reveals that despite Rei’s current success in Shogi, that he never even liked it that much. This sentiment gets reiterated later on in the episode as well, but more on that in a sec.
The first half of the episode, much like others in series so far, remains fairly light-hearted. Akari recruits Rei to pick up Momo from school, to which Rei agrees. After beginning their walk home, Rei and Momo run into another women with a dog who chases Momo around, causing her to fall down and hurt herself. Rei take Momo back to her house, and while treating her wounds, he is reminded of his little sister, causing him to cry.
Later on that day, the sisters are talking about Rei after dinner, with Momo mentioning that Rei cried. Akari explains to them that Rei once had a little sister as well.
The second half of the episode gives even more information about Rei’s childhood. It starts with Rei remembering his family, and then cuts to a his family’s funeral.
Then, Rei’s father’s friend, who is introduced at the beginning of the episode, approaches Rei and asks him a simple question, “Do you like Shogi?” It is here where Rei admits once again that he does not like Shogi at all, but in this situation he makes a sort of deal with the devil in order to avoid his fate being decided by his opportunistic extended family. In that moment, Rei decided to lie, telling him yes, and going to live with his father’s friend.
It is at this point that the relationship with his adopted family becomes immediately strained. Being the children of their father, his adopted brother and sister, Ayumu and Kyoko, are extremely competitive. Kyoko, in particular, becomes violent with Rei whenever she loses to him.
Eventually, though, Rei becomes an unstoppable force, beating both Kyoko and Ayumu, causing them to quit and to ascend as the best among the three of them. Rei understands the resentment felt by his new brother and sister, and it causes him to dive further and further into Shogi, understanding that he can use it as a way to escape his family.
The episode ends with a pretty powerful metaphor about the Cuckoo bird, who lays eggs in another birds nest, using the baby to force out the other eggs and have the mother raise it, even despite it obviously not being hers. Rei recognizes himself as that Cuckoo bird, with his presence and talent for Shogi completely disrupting his new family.
One thing worth discussing before I end this post is the relationship between Rei and Kyoko. I mentioned it in the last post when Rei is shown at the kids shogi tournament, walking away from Kyoko and Ayumu, but the show suggests a lot about their relationship that can at the very least can be described as “complicated.”
In this episode, Rei describes her as “a tempestuous storm” in relation to her anger, but also in relation to her beauty. In the context of just this episode, that may seem like just a weird comment, especially considering Kyoko punches him the face not five seconds later. However, in the context of the whole show so far, it seems to be implying some kind of sexual abuse, where Kyoko is using Rei’s more passive nature as a way to get back at him for invading their home. Definitely something else to pay attention to while watching the show.
In case you guys did not see it, if you do not have Crunchyroll and do not feel like dealing with ads, Netflix just added both seasons of March with both the English and Japanese Dubs of the show. So if you have not seen it, now is a really good time to get into it. As always, if you would like to support me, or are just feeling generous, consider donating on ko-fi:
If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friendos!