Tag Archives: Nikaidou

The Lion Cub Can Grow Again: Season One Episode Fourteen

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

If it feels like it has been a while since I have done one of these, it is because it has been. I explained in my last update post some of the reasons for that, so go read that if you like. However, I do not want to waste to much more of your time, so it is now onto the review.


Episode fourteen picks up right where the last one left off. After seemingly going into autopilot against his latest Shogi opponent, Rei is quickly snapped back into reality after Shimada corners him on the board. Cut to the opening, and here it goes again.

As Rei returns to reality, a few things begin to settle in his mind. First, Rei realizes just how egotistical it was of him to treat Shimada like just another player on his way to beating Gotou. Because of this, he feels immediately embarrassed, barely able to focus his attention on the board. Second, after Rei finally calms down, he looks at the board only to realize that his chances of winning are incredibly slim. Still, Rei understands that it would be childish to run away during the game, and so the two continue. This ultimately leads to Shimada taking the game.

What is likely the most devastating to Rei’s mentality is when the two talk about the game after the fact. Rei realizes when the two of them review different movement possibilities that his loss was inevitable from early on. Rei thanks Shimada for the game and rushes out.

Rei rushes home, running without stopping. Sweat drips down his face as he barrels away in confusion. The experience of losing in such an embarrassing way was to much for him. After he spent countless nights studying Gotou’s record while barely focus on an opponent who is so much stronger than him, it all came crashing down on him.

After the match, Rei sleeps, not simply to recover, but in a desperate hope to forget his loss and move on. However, it is not that simple. What he fails to do in the moment, and what he will later stubbornly admit to himself he must do, is learn from his failure. Another big component that made Rei’s loss so devastating is that he is not use to losing, because of his status of child prodigy.

Eventually, Rei realizes there is not point in sleeping anymore, and wakes up, only to discover he is dehydrated, only then to try and re-hydrate whilst realizing that hydrating to quickly makes it much harder to keep everything in. Eventually, Rei finds enough strength to return to his daily routine. As he regains his strength, Rei decides it best to go back to school, because of his large amount of absences due to Shogi.

He returns to school, goes to class, and eats lunch by himself, only to wonder if returning to school is even really worth it. Rei begins to cry, sitting alone by himself at the top of the stairs, but then Hayashida comes to talk to him, and then begins to console him.

An important note to make, Hayashida is undoubtedly one of the more important characters in the series, at least in terms of what he represents. Because Rei has never has been without a proper family for a while, Hayashida, like the Kawamotos, is part of his support system, and while it may not seem like it that often, Rei relies heavily him for advice, which is why he ultimately will follow Hayashida’s and join Shimada’s Shogi workshop later on.

As the episode ends, Shimada and Nikaidou have a brief conversation about why they cannot simply invite Rei to the workshop. Shimada explains that it is something that Rei has to figure out on his own. In other words, Shimada is underscoring that Rei’s desire for growth, both as a person and as a player, has to come from himself.

The episode as a whole serves as both a reminder of Rei’s failings but also as the beginning of his redemption arc. He will eventually come to understand what it is he did wrong, and learn from it as a result, something he is currently incapable of.


What do you all think of this episode? Let me know in the comments.

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The Lion Cub Can Grow Again: Season One Episode Eight

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.

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:

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If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 17: My Favorite Male Supporting Character

Hello, Anifriends

I’m sure there are plenty of main characters that I could just as easily write a thousand words about, but today I’ll be focusing on my favorite male side character.

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I’ve talked at length this year about how much I love March Comes in Like a Lion, and to those who have read my thoughts on the show, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it was going to show up for at least one of these challenges. My favorite male supporting role is hounds down Nikaidou

Nikaidou_drawing
This mans!

During the course of the first season, I was not really sure how to feel about Nikaidou, especially because he did not really seem to do much, and at times could be a bit annoying, but, like almost every other part of the show, March Comes in Like a Lion’s second season made him so much better.

Not only does the show explore more of the relationship with Rei, it also manages to tell the heartbreakingly tragic backstory of Nikaidou in just one 10 minute segment of one episode. Nikaidou also takes on a much more active role as a character in Rei’s growth. Not active in the sense that he actually does much, but more so in the sense that he becomes an inspiration and allows Rei to focus on his Shogi, and also win the Lion King Tournament.

Also, his interactions with Momo are a level of cuteness that I simply cannot comprehend.


Who is your favorite male anime supporting character? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!