Tag Archives: Rei Kiriyama

The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Rei Kiriyama

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Alright, I know I said it before, and will likely say it repeatedly, but moving/online college sucks. Not only is it stressful, but it make it that much harder to get the things that I need to get done, done. Aside from that, though, I thought I would take today to focus on something I actually enjoy: “March Comes in Like a Lion.”

March has been one of my favorite series since I watched it back in early 2018, and one of the reasons for that is Rei Kiriyama, the series’ main character.

I have gone into detail about this in a number of previous posts, but since I have never really done a character specific post outside of writing for OWLS, I thought it would be good to take some time and focus on why exactly Rei Kiriyama is so compelling.

Arguably the strongest reason is because of how well his character highlights issues of mental health. Throughout his journey in series, Rei deals with depression, abuse from his step-family, professional slumps due to his lost love for Shogi, and a lot of overwhelming defeats. Despite all of this, however, Rei never gives into these negative feelings, and learns to rely on the others around him who become his new family, namely the Kawamoto sisters.


These mental struggles, while certainly not positive, do help strengthen Rei’s mental fortitude, thus making him a better player. A good example of this comes from after his loss to Shimada. While initially the loss during the King’s Tournament leaves him devastated and unable to even play, he eventually bounces back, so much so that Rei decides to go to Shimada for coaching.

However, Rei also shows that being weak is something that everyone goes through, and that no one can be strong and composed all of the time. The first half of the second season makes this most obvious, with Hina at the center of a bullying ring and Rei unable to do anything about it. Rather than blame her for getting bullied, Rei does everything he can to comfort her, including just being with her much more often than normal.

Overall, Rei’s character highlights just how much one person can change over a short amount of time. He went from being a alone without anyone to help him to finding people who not only love and support him, but make sure that he is okay time and time again. Rei Kiriyama is truly one of the most dynamic characters to enter popular media, and is also without a doubt one of the best.

What other characters should I take a more in-depth look at? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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


Five of the Most Interesting Characters in Anime

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Anime is a medium with a ton of variety in its stories. As such, it makes sense that it also brings with it a lot of interesting characters. Whether they be the protagonist, antagonist, or even just a random side character, the addition of a really interesting character can increase the quality of a show dramatically. Today, I want to share five of the most interesting characters I have found in my time watching anime. Let’s get started.

Rei Kiriyama (March Comes in Like a Lion)

Those who are new to Animated Observations probably are not aware of just how much I talk about “March Comes in Like a Lion.” Spoiler alert, it is a lot. One of the reasons I do that is because of the show’s main character, Rei Kiriyama.

First, Rei is a shogi prodigy. After the rest of his family died in a horrific accident, Rei was taken in by his dad’s friend, who just so happens to work for the national shogi association in Japan. His adopted father wanted one of his kids to be a shogi champion, and thus had his three kids, including Kyouko and Kouda, compete, with Rei coming out on top.

Apart from his journey as a shogi player, Rei also has a lot of mental health issues that he deals with throughout the series. These includes things like dealing with his abusive sister, having to live up to the expectations of his adopted father, opening up to the Kawamoto sisters, and trying to make new friends despite not being a great communicator. Rei’s struggle throughout both seasons of the show is probably one of the most compelling stories in anime, and speaks to a lot of the same feelings that young people in every country have about their mental health.

Hachiman Hikigaya (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU)

Now, I am no psychology expert. Not even close, in fact. However, if I were to give a lecture about self-destructive behavior, I cannot help but feel like I might default to showing some clips from this series. Specifically, a lot of those clips would feature Hachiman Hikigaya and his various actions throughout the cours of “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU.”

At the start of the series, Hachiman’s teacher forces him to join the Volunteer Service Club, a group focused around helping students with their problems, after writing an essay which mocks modern relationships. Hachiman at this point is pretty isolated from the rest of his peers, not really tuned into their emotional wavelength, nor his he especially tuned into this own.

As a result, his solutions to other students problems usually involve some sort assholish behavior in attempt to save face for others. His evolution over the second season, and likely the third season as well, is what makes him such a remarkable character to watch.


Shuuichi and Yoshino (Wandering Son)

It is not often that the LGBT community gets a lot of positive representation, especially when it comes to anime. It is even less common to see positive representation about transgender people. However, “Wandering Son” appears to be one of the lone exceptions on this front. Adapted from a manga of the same name, the series focuses on two characters, Yoshino and Shuuichi.

Yoshino is girl who identifies as a boy, and Shuuichi is a boy who identifies as a girl. The two become friends after Yoshino transfers into Shuuichi’s class. Most of the story focuses on their struggle for acceptance among not only their peers but also their friends.

However, it is not just their gender identity that makes the two of them interesting. Shuuichi’s romantic feelings toward Yoshino, along with their growing awareness for just how little acceptance there is for transgender individuals and their need to mature rapidly gives the story a ton of depth, and takes the story from just being an LBGT one to a great one.

Altair (Re:Creators)

“Re:Creators” is a show that, from what I can tell, fell under the radar of a lot of people, even when it first came out. A lot of this was probably due to being locked behind an extra paywall on the part of Amazon, which is a shame because it arguably produced one of the most interesting antagonists in all of anime.

“Re:Creators” story focuses on a world where the characters of various anime, manga, and video games suddenly start coming to life. The reason behind this is Altair, a character created for a music video gains consciousness only to find out that her creator Setsuna Shimazaki was driven to suicide because of hate comments on the internet. Because of this, she vows to take revenge on the world of the “gods” by bringing to life various characters and having them rebel against said gods.

Altair’s very existence serves as reminder of just how much art can imitate life, as Altair’s arc feels very reflective of Setsuna, in the way that she wishes to take revenge on those who wronged her. Many of the characters in the series are like this, but what makes Altair so unique is how, even despite literally trying to destroy existence, her anger somehow feels justified.

What are some more interesting characters you can think of? Let me know in the comments. Also, did you enjoy this post? I am really trying to experiment with the content I make, so any kind of feedback would be greatly appreciated.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

OWLS June “Mindfulness” Tour: Shimada and Loving Shogi

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Thank you all for once again stopping by for another OWLS tour. This months theme is mindfulness.

For the past few months, things have been pretty hectic. Everyone’s lives have changed to some degree, and we can’t help but feel anxious, nervous, and overwhelmed. This month we will be focusing on ourselves and keeping a strong peace of mind with our theme, “Mindfulness.” We will be analyzing characters that have crafted and practiced their own philosophy on life and have spread their beliefs to others. We will also be talking about habits, hobbies, and things that are keeping us sane, positive, and peace within our souls. 

As always, be sure to stop and check out some of our other members on the tour. This month it will be Megan on the fourth and Matt on the tenth.

For this month’s post, I wanted to do a follow up to last month, in which I talked about the need to adapt in “March Comes in Like a Lion.” With that said, I hope you all enjoy.

In last month’s post I talked about how the people around Rei were a big reason he was able to adapt to his new life outside his adopted family. Arguably the most important influence outside of the Kawamoto sisters is Shimada.

Before meeting Shimada, Rei was in a place of extreme struggle, both personally and professionally. Not only was his relationship with his family, especially his sister, still incredibly uncomfortable, he was also quickly losing any love he had left for shogi.

While participating in the King’s Tournament, Rei vowed to beat Gotou for supposedly wronging his sister Kyouko. Now, there is a lot wrong here that is also worth dissecting that would probably reveal a good amount of Rei’s thought process. However, before he can get his revenge on Gotou he loses to the A ranked Shimada.

At first, Rei is confused. He barely comprehends what happens, and ultimately does not even remember half of the game. After eventually swallowing his pride about his loss, Rei looks to Shimada for guidance about his play. Shimada then decides to accept him as a student at his shogi summer camp.

While his usual tired, unimpressed expression often hides it, Shimada is someone who has a ton of love for the game of shogi. Not only does he run his summer camp, helping both Rei and Nikaidou, but also actively coaches Rei one on one. Shimada is someone who has a sincere love of the thing he does, and because of that is willing to spend time on others who also want to get better.


Much of this positive presentation rubs off on Rei, and because of this, he starts to find his love of the game again. While watching Shimada play against shogi grandmaster Souya after the King’s Tournament, Rei realizes just how amazing the game can be at a high level.

This not only inspires Rei’s love for the game again, but makes him want to do better. Before meeting Shimada, Rei’s rank was at risk of slipping while Nikkaidou was ready to become a B ranked player.

For so long Rei had been carried by his natural ability for the game that hitting a wall nearly made him quit. However, meeting Shimada turned out to be one of the best things for him.

While it may seem childish to some, looking up to those who are better than you can be great for improvement at nearly anything. Using myself as an example, starting last year I wanted to get better at playing Smash Bros competitively.

I had always played against my friends, but I was never able to learn much because I did not own the game, and rarely had the ability to practice. However, when Smash Ultimate came out, I got pretty serious about getting better.

I spent about the last year practicing, and the results have definitely paid off. Not only am I able to perform a ton of combos I could not do before, I also am getting much better at going against top players in my region. Ultimately what Shimada ends up teaching Rei is two-fold. One is to love the game again, and two is to dedicate himself to the things he loves.

What other things should we be mindful of in these times? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

OWLS May “Adapt” Tour: Rei and the Need to Adapt

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its that time again for another OWLS post. Just in case, for anyone who is not familiar with the group, OWLS is:

A group that promotes the acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and disabilities and highlights the importance of respect and kindness to every human being.

This month’s writing theme is “adapt,” as described below.

Right now, we all have lost something or gained something in return during this dark time. Our lives have been completely altered due to coronavirus. For this month, we will be talking about anime series and other pop culture media where we have characters having to adjust to changes in their environment. Whether it’s adjusting to a new school or heading towards an isekai fantasy world, we will be discussing characters that had to make changes within themselves in order to adapt to the circumstances they are in. This will also give us an opportunity to express our own personal lives as we try to adjust to a “new normal.”

For this month, Megan will be going after me on the 14th, so be sure to give her post a look, and drop her a follow as well.

With all that being said, enjoy the post.

I talked last week about a game called Hearthstone, a card game that features a large amount of random effects, and one that consequently requires its players to be able to adapt to changing situations. Life, in many aspects, is the same way. Things rarely go as people plan them, whether it be their dream job, school of choice, or even just plans for the weekend. In all of those cases, people need to be flexible, adapt, and find a plan B. If most people were not able to accomplish this, life would fall apart pretty quickly.

“March Comes in Like a Lion,” and more specifically Rei, embodies the need for both forms of adaptation very well. When it comes to playing Shogi, its obvious that Rei stands as a cut above many of his fellow competitors. There are many reasons for this, one being his training in the game from a very young age. Another, though, is his ability to adapt.

Episode to episode, Rei meets a great deal of shogi players, each who have their own play style. Some lean heavy into aggression, while others choose to play much more offensively. Rei, however, sits somewhere in the middle. His style is ill-defined, often leaving him to react to his opponent, rather than developing his own unique way of approaching the game.

This ability to adapt to his opponent mid-game and create a new path to victory based on his current board state is what makes Rei such an excellent player. However, the same cannot be said for Rei’s ability to play the game of life, at least initially.

The story of “March Comes in Like a Lion” opens on a Rei still stuck in the past. He is solely focused on his past and what his adopted family put him through. His anger and resentment keep him from seeing anything else important, and he continues to hate shogi as a result.


It is only after he meets the Kawamoto sisters that things begin to change. The three sisters, Akari, Hina and Momo, show him genuine kindness. They let him stay out there house, they feed him homecooked meals, and even watch his matches after they find out about his career as a pro shogi player.

After meeting them, Rei’s life begins to change drastically. Suddenly he has more to focus on then just shogi and paying bills. While his memories and family members still bother him a lot, he is better able to deal with those things because he has the sisters to help keep him positive.

Throughout the rest of the show, Rei uses this change in attitude to his advantage. Not only does he grow as a player, improving his shogi skills by studying alongside various top players, he continues to grow as a person.

Ultimately, what “March Comes in Like a Lion” shows is that adapting is important. Whether it be in a game or in real life, adapting can be the difference between victory and defeat, and sadness and happiness. While it might feel hard to change while worrying about the existential threat that is COVID-19, it is worth remembering that even taking small steps can eventually lead to a more healthy and desirable version of yourself.

Yeah, so this kind of turned into an advice column more than a post, but I know even just based on my own headspace that people can use a little more positivity. Also, money and healthcare, but that’s a different post entirely. Do you feel like you are adapting well to COVID life? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

The Lion Cub Can Grow Again: Season One Episode Ten

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Sorry for being absent for a whole week, honestly I just didn’t have a whole lot to write about, as I’ve kind of been head deep in Smash Bros as of late, But, the one thing I will always want to talk about is March Comes in Like a Lion, and oh boy was this week another crazy episode. Also, If it has not been obvious at this point, basically any episode that prominently features Rei and Kyoko interacting is going to be an important episode for both characters. With that said, let us discuss.

The first part of the episode, titled “Something Given,” involves Kyoko out of the blue calling Rei, letting him know that she left her watch and wants to come pick it up. Despite how crazy it might seem at first, I get the feeling that Kyoko might have actually left her watch there as another excuse to see Rei. This makes a lot more sense when you consider what happens in the second half of the episode, but more on that later. The two meet up, Rei gives Kyoko back her watch, and the two start talking.

The conversation begins normal enough, but soon Kyoko asks why she could not have just come over to Rei’s house to get the watch. which leads to what I called arguably one of the most important frames in the series.

In this shot, Rei is standing with a cold expression, half of his face visible, and half blinded by light. Now, it is obvious that he is literally being blinded by the rising sun due to it being morning, but its symbolically important this is happening in the presence of Kyoko, and is noteworthy because of Rei’s conflicted feelings. On the one hand, Rei despises her for the way she treated him as a kid and continues to treat him now, abusing him every chance she gets. On the other hand though, a part of him still feels bad for their childhood, and the way that his adopted father treated Kyoko and his brother after Rei moved in. Part of him knows she’s at least partially right, and as such he can never completely ignore her.

Rei, however, is scared, and doesn’t want to acknowledge this conflict, so he decides to shut it out instead. .

Still, for Rei, it is hard. The recognition that his very presence is the thing that broke her family is what Kyoko wants Rei to feel for the rest of his life. Her goal is to make him miserable, make him feel bad in any way she can, even if it means abuse on her end. That is Kyoko’s character so far. Instead of asking her father to be better, she takes out all of her anger on Rei, and makes him believe that it is all his fault too.

The first half ends in a similar way to the last episode, with Kyoko telling Rei the story of his next opponent, Yasui, seeing if he will feel bad enough to just give it all up.

The second half opens up with a bit of needed relief, with Rei stopping by school to get his report card, and then blowing off his teacher as he tries to invite him back to school after his match. Afterwards, Rei heads to the Shogi hall, the two meet, and begin their match.

The game ends relatively quickly, and it is not until after the match that the dynamics at play are revealed. Kyoko mentioned that Yasui is an alcoholic who loses his temper a lot, and it is implied that Yasui is somewhat drunk during the match, or at the very least not in the best position to be making decisions. He makes a minor mistake immediately after they return from lunch, at which point he all but gives up on the game. Rei can visibly see the signs of him giving up, and internally begs him not to, but to no avail. Yasui gets up and leaves.

Again, the dynamics here are similar to the last episode, where Rei played Matsunaga, hoping that he would pull through and some how miraculously beat Rei, but does not, and afterward makes him feel bad for losing. However, this time around it is slightly different. For Yasui, there is no hope, no wanting to get better, only a recognition of defeat, and a perpetual assertion that there was nothing he could do, all so that he could simply find the bottom of another bottle of alcohol.

Earlier in the episode, Rei noticed a bag with a gift inside that Yasui was carrying. After seeing it left behind by Yasui when leaving the Shogi hall, he tries to return it. At first, Yasui says he doesn’t recognize it, but after Rei insists, he angrily swipes the bag, only to walk off opposite the train station.

At this point, Rei is angry, but it is more than that. He is tired of all of the guilt being poured onto him by other people, He is tired of others blaming him for their problems, but most of all he is just tired of feeling bad. As he walks home, Rei begins to run off to a nearby park, where he screams out his true feelings at the top of his lungs to nobody. He is there alone.

At the end of the episode, Rei says there is a beast inside of him, and that if he did not keep it in check it would eat everything just to survive. This seems to be the part of himself that he hates the most. Even despite still having conflicted feelings on Shogi, Rei wants to be the best, but he also acknowledges that this same kill or be killed attitude might have contributed, at least partially, to his family situation.

It is here that a bigger picture is revealed, one in which the show forces us to recognize both a justified and unjustified self-hatred. In this episode, contradiction equals conflict, and it is tearing Rei apart.

Have any thoughts or Critiques? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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!

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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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.


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

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!