Tag Archives: Shimada

The Three Best Characters in March Comes in Like a Lion (Besides Rei)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its been a while since I have had the motivation to spam the blog with “March Comes in Like a Lion” content, especially since college has pretty much drained all of it. I am hoping to start up my episode analyses of the series again soon, but until then, I thought it a good idea to do the thing I do best, and talk about the wonderful series. Today, I want to highlight the three best characters in the series outside of Rei.

For the purposes of this post, when I say the best, what I really mean is a combination of most dynamic, greatest addition to the story, and generally the most interesting. So, in no particular order, here are the three best characters aside from Rei.


It is always fun to keep things at least a little controversial, which is why I decided to start off with a pick that will likely get me a lot of weird looks from other fans of the show.

While Kyouko is to put it nicely, cruel and vindictive, she also suffered from her father’s mistreatment and neglect. Throughout the series she serves as a reminder to Rei of the unwelcoming environment of his adopted home, and why he started living on his own in the first place.

She constantly pushes him to his emotional limit, sometimes even blurring the lines between the Rei that we know, and one that is fueled by the same rage as Kyouko. Her presence within the series is exciting, melodramatic, and anger-inducing all at the same time, and for that she is easily one of the best.


They always ask “what you doing,” never “how you doing?”

In all seriousness though, it feels like the hype men never get as much love as those they hype up. Hayashida is there for Rei since pretty much the first episode. He consoles Rei when he is down, and cheers him on when he is doing well.

Though he does not go through much of a dramatic change himself, Hayashida does become an integral part of the series, and even starts his own journey to becoming better at shogi. His willingness to help others shines through in almost every moment he is on screen, and that alone makes him pretty amazing.


I have already detailed Shimada as a character at length in a different post, so I will try and not make this too lengthy. The reason he is such a great character is actually pretty similar to Hayashida, but in a very different way.

Whereas Hayashida helps console Rei in a way that makes him feel better, Shimada is, ironically, much more of a teacher. After beating Rei at the Lion’s Cup, Shimada takes him on as a student, not only offering him advice but forcing him to become his own best advocate.

Seperate from Rei, Shimada is also pretty incredible. He trained for the majority of his life to get where he is, going to the shogi association every week to become a better player, not because he was set up to be a prodigy, but out of a genuine love for the game. Stories like these are always inspiring because they speak to a character’s true passion, and for that, Shimada is truly awesome.

Who do you think are the best characters in March Comes in Like a Lion? 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 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!

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!

March Comes in like a Lion Season 2 Episode 2: Chaos, Indeed.

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.