Already the show is diving back into the elements that made its first season such an enthralling watch. If the first episode was showing the ways in which Rei’s life has changed then this episode is its stark contrast.
The second episode featured the title match between Souya and Kurokuma, in the final game between the two. It was expected to be an intense match, but Souya managed to clean house in just seventeen moves, further displaying his dominance as a shogi player after having mad some strange moves in other games. When Rei played out the match from his last move, he realized that there was no way Kurokuma could have won, and Rei realized that the gap between him and a title match player was much bigger than he could imagine.
Episode two further also explored Rei’s stagnant relationship with his sister, who he cares for deeply, but who is also in love with one of his shogi rivals Gotou. Rei is viscerally angry at Gotou for continuing to date his sister not only because of his lack of commitment to her but also because that lack of commitment stems from him being married. Rei sees Gouto as a serious harm to his sister Kyouko, but he knows that he doesn’t have the same kind of relationship with her.
In the second half of the episode, we see the distance that Gotou puts between him and Kyouko in their relationship when the two go shopping. After having Kyouko do some his errands for him, he refuses to let her stay the night at his apartment. However, She tricks him into letting her into his apartment. When the two lay down on his bead, Gotou ties her to the bed frame and then goes to sleep. While he sleeps, Kyouko notices the bags under his eyes and realizes that he hasn’t gotten much sleep, to which she replies:
This episode is one that understands the internal struggles of its characters. We find out at the end of the episode that Gotou has been visiting his wife in the hospital, who appears to not have a lot of time left. This tiny touch at the end really makes the show, because it puts a lot of the tension between Gotou and everyone else into perspective. He has been dealing with what could end up being the death of his wife, which would be hard for anyone. Without that detail, we as an audience would go on thinking that Rei’s hatred of him is 100 percent justified, when in fact it might only be 70-80 percent justified.
Rei, of course, is feeling a lot of pain as well. At the end of the first part of the episode, one of the men who was sitting with him and watching Souya’s match says this:
This line is preceded in the episode by Rei’s monologue about his sister, which connects it with Rei’s thoughts even though we know he is talking about Souya.
March Comes in Like a Lion has a lot to offer in the way of nuanced and interesting storytelling, and this episode highlights that perfectly. It creates a perfect dichotomy around Rei and Gotou who are both suffering from similar problems and portrays them in a complex and, might I say, human way. Chaos may have been this episodes theme, but that chaos is tightly controlled and beautiful.