Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
With another episode gone by, March has once again proved just how poignant it can be. Episode eight continues where the last one left off and picks up on another important story line at the end. The show so far has been fairly moderately paced, moving between liter and darker moments without much uncomfortable juxtaposition, and episode eight once again continues that trend.
The opening third of the episode continues where the very end of episode seven left off, with Nikaidou teaching Hina and Momo shogi using a well-drawn picture book. Wondering where the book is from, Rei investigates it only to realize that Nikaidou himself drew and wrote book. After finishing for the night, the two walk home, only for Nikaidou to invite himself into Rei’s apartment. It is interesting to reflect on their arcs as characters from the perspective of someone who’s already seen the show, and to remember how much Rei did not care for his eventually best friend in the beginning.
Another important thing to note about Nikaidou as a character is just how much he cares about the people around him, as well as Shogi. As Rei later finds out, Nikaidou is dealing with his sickness pretty much all the time, even when he was doing commentating during Rei’s match. He also finds out that, for as hard as it is to deal with this sickness and do what he loves, Nikaido still finds time to help spread what he loves to others.
The show also lets us know that Rei is still thinking about his dad. While walking home the day after Nikaidou stays over, Rei fondly remembers him and his dad playing Shogi, particularly when he was focusing on the game and would lean back and forth with his hand on his face. It is at this point that Rei remembers that the reason he plays Shogi in the first place is because of his father.
It is in the later third of the episode where Rei meets Kyoko for the first time in person in the show. After returning home one night Rei finds Kyoko standing outside his front door, wanting to come inside. Rei is of course, reluctant, but after not having much of a good reason to keep her house, she lets him in.
It is also important to remember, though, that the reason Rei is so reluctant is because Kyoko was extremely abusive to Rei both emotionally and physically as a kid.
Kyoko ends up staying the night after pretty much refusing to go home at all. The two get ready for bed, with Rei asking about her boyfriend. Kyoko tells him that the two are still dating, despite the fact that the show gives a flashback to when her boyfriend beat him up.
Kyoko then leans over into Rei’s bed to check if her boyfriend left any scars. One of the more interesting tells about Kyoko from this episode happens when Rei asks if her boyfriend ever gets violent, to which she replies no, and if he did she would kill him, with tenseness of the situation implying she is totally serious.
The episode ends with the two waking up, and Kyoko leaving, but not before implying that Rei should lose his rank-deciding match that day. To me, this episode alone is enough to indict Kyoko as a toxic person in Rei’s life, to say nothing of previous knowledge.
One of the things that makes March such an engaging and interesting series, among many things, is its structure, combining the feel of both episodic and story-driven series into one, and episode eight is a prime example of that, as well. The show reveals a bit of what goes on in his day to day, as well as developing Rei’s relationship with both Nikaidou and Kyoko in a satisfying way. Overall, a fantastic episode.