The Lion Cub Can Grow Again: Season One Episode Seven
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
Welcome back, friends, to my March Comes in Like a Lion re-watch/analysis. In the last episode, Rei explains how events led to the present, and his current feelings of isolation and stagnation. The show had also revealed in episode five a lot of the emotional, physical, and possibly even sexual abuse Rei’s adopted sister Kyoko had been putting him through while they were living together. Also, Hina has a crush and can’t deal with actually talking to him.
Arguably the most important part of the episode in terms of character development comes during “Child of God (Part Three),” where Rei talks to Hina’s crush and middle school baseball star, Yuusuke. It is here where Rei is surprised to learn that Yuusuke knows who he is. After, Yuusuke recognizes Rei as a professional Shogi player since middle school, he asks him why it is Rei decided to go back to high school. Previously, Rei’s teacher Takashi had pondered with him on this same subject, noting that Rei didn’t need to come to school to learn, and thus deducing that he must have come for connections.
When answering Yuusuke, Rei more or less says the same thing, emphasizing that he didn’t want to run away and then have regrets.
Its important to note that Rei also says that this encounter also made him feel a lot more comfortable, and that getting to talk to Yuusuke helped him understand and deal with his own feelings a little better. which makes sense. People often feel better talking about there problems to those who they do not know very well, because it take away any feeling of judgement from those they care about.
The next part of the episode happens after both Yuusuke and Rei both agree to meet again on Saturday with Hina. Hina is, of course, extremely nervous about having her crush over, but nonetheless it happens. It is here where Rei has another interesting experience. Yuusuke shows Rei a video of him playing live on TV, to which Hina and Momo respond with surprise, as they did not know he was a professional player. Yuusuke asks him about a match which he had lost, and why he made the move that was a losing move. Rei, aware that the move he made was in fact a losing one, again answers honestly.
However, what sets Rei off into one of his most emotional displays in the series so far is when Nikaidou, acting as a commentator, yells at him to “treat him and his Shogi better.” Rei then proceeds to yell at Nikaidou through the TV screen. In this scene, its pretty obvious why Rei is angry. He still feels stuck, with Shogi as the only thing he has been attached to for most of his life, but yet resents it because of his adopted family. For Nikaidou to essentially just say “do better” as if its that easy is, of course, a little patronizing, to say the least.
Another not insignificant part of the episode from the same section comes when Hina starts laughing when he gets angry. For Hina, seeing Rei as energetic about the whole situation as he was was probably a relief, considering what she has learned about his past up until this point. It is also an interesting parallel to how Rei described Hina at the beginning of the chapter, mainly that she is usually always energetic.
The last section of the show involves Rei teaching Hina about Shogi after she asks him to do so. However, Rei is not that great at explaining, so Nikaidou, who tagged along, steps in to help. There is not a whole lot going with this section of the episode, but still there is an important takeaway, mainly that Rei is now involved enough in Hina’s life that she has become interested in what he does. Now, some might respond to me pointing this out and say, “well, yeah, that’s character development,” and those people would not be wrong. However, considering what goes on later in season two, I think it has a lot of extra significance.
How do you guys feel about the series up to this point? Let me know in the comments below. If you would like to support Animated Observations, consider buying me a coffee on Kofi:
Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!
If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friendos!