Loneliness. It’s a word that seems to crop up ever more frequently. In this age of social media and internet, more and more people are becoming isolated and aren’t really leaving their homes anymore, even more so now that the world faces this current crisis. And even if they are, it seems sometimes that they are more interested in looking at their cellphones, than actually engaging with other people. But it’s not the only cause. Some people just have trouble making contact with others period, maybe because they are shy, or feel they don’t fit in well. Or as it’s also sometimes called, are socially awkward. You might not have guessed it, but I am one of those people. I always have trouble making connections in real life, and whenever I am in unfamiliar surroundings about to meet people I have never met before, I feel more like running away. As such loneliness has become a part of me, and I battle it every day. It’s a terrible feeling at times, but I also know that I am still blessed every day. There are people that have it way worse than me, and don’t have anyone in their lives at all. I am lucky to have some very good friends, both here on WordPress and in the real world. And most importantly I have two loving parents that have cared for me all my life, and who really mean the world to me. The thing I fear the most, as my parents are growing older, is that eventually they will be gone. It gives me an empty feeling, and it’s something I don’t want to think about too often, but it does pop up from time to time.
That said, what if you lose your parents at a young age? It’s something I can’t even imagine, but my own mum for instance lost her mother when she was just a teenager. She still grew up as an amazing person, and is all the stronger for it. But that doesn’t mean everyone is the same. March Comes in Like a Lion is an anime series that deals heavily with both the aforementioned issues. As such you might think this is one heck of a depressing show, one that will leave you behind as a depressed wreck after having watched it. But no, you would be wrong. The anime is centered around Rey Kiriyami a socially akward 17 year old man, who has one important thing in his life and that is playing Shogi. We follow him as he struggles through every day life. When he was just a boy he lost his parents and was subsequently adopted by a good friend of his father a man called Masachika Kouda. He began to learn more of the art of Shogi through him, much to the annoyment of his adoptive sister Kyouko, which puts a strain on their relationship right from the start. Now that Rei has grown up, he lives alone, trying to get through school, his goal in life to become one of the best Shogi players. His frame of mind however becomes ever more depressing, as each day he tries to fight against his loneliness.
But then one day he meets three sisters that have had similar tragedies in their lives, but have a totally different outlook on life in general. Through them Rei is beginning to see a brightness in his life that was missing before he met them. That doesn’t mean it will be an easy journey to turn his life around though. March Comes in Like a Lion is a show that throughout this first season I have had quite a number of mixed emotions for. At some points I loved it, at other moments I cringed (don’t get me started on the Shogi song) and then there were certain point that it was so slow that I had trouble maintaining my focus for it. Overall though, my feelings on this show are definitely positive. The character of Rei is one that I felt a very strong connection with. His journey to try and take control of his life again, is one that you just want to see him succeed at. He is a tragic character, and one you can’t help but feel sorry for. The way he at times sits alone in his house, eating a bowl of noodles and in total silence you simply want for him to get up and leave for the outside world. Some of the most interesting scenes in the show were the confrontations he had with Kyouko. His love/hate relationship with her gives us some very dramatic scenes, and for me served up some of the best moments in the series.
But it’s not all doom and gloom luckily. The three sisters that he eventually gets to meet are a true ray of sunshine. Not to mention that the youngest, Momo, is pretty much what the word Kawaii (cute) was invented for. The scenes where he is at their house, are so incredibly heartwarming, and you want to shout at Rei to just stay there, and bask in their positivity. You know how some shows can make you feel good? That’s exactly what happens to you when you see how Rei comes alive through them. The game of Shogi is an aspect that is featured heavily in this anime, and I would argue that at times it was a little bit too much. Especially during the second half of this season, there were some episodes that consisted of almost nothing else than watching a match of Shogi. Time seemed to crawl to a standstill for me during that, and for me it was an aspect of the show that I was the least interested in. Don’t get me wrong I definitely get the significance and importance of the game for Rei, especially considering his awkward love/hate friendship with his rival Harunobu Nikaidou. But for someone who isn’t at all familiar with the game itself, I think at times the show focussed a bit too much on it.
Another aspect of the series that felt out of place (not all of the time though) was the crazy humor that popped up at the weirdest moments. It reminded me a lof of Your lie in April which also featured that. In fact the two shows have a lot in common I have to say. But where the latter show really achieved it to stab right into my heart emotionwise, that didn’t happen to me here. Yes, there were certainly moments that were heartwrenching, but it never did get to me as much as Your lie in April did. It’s always a little bit intimidating for me, to write a review for a show that has a pretty big reputation, and that a lot of people care for so much. Because what if you don’t pay it the respect it deserves, or maybe even have a slightly different opinion on it? As mentioned my overall feelings for this anime, having now completed it’s first season, are pretty positive. The journey and growth of the characters, as well as the story are very moving, and one of the main reasons to keep watching. At the same time I also have this slight feeling where I expected just a little bit more from this. Nonetheless, March Comes in Like a Lion is definitely an impressive show, and one that gives hope to people who fight against loneliness every day. It shows that no one can make it on their own in this life, and how important it is to have real human bonds with people. In the end, that’s what’s really important.
I give March Comes in Like a Lion Season 1 a 8 out of 10 score.