There’s a side of competition that stories seldom tell — the less favorable, ugly side where losers taste despair. For every story of someone triumphantly overcoming the odds, there’s one where someone falls just short of the finish line. In competition, there are no in-betweens; there are only winners and losers. Sometimes, a loss can have heavy implications for people. For the world of professional Shogi in March comes in like a Lion, a loss can make the difference between the professional and the amateur. In some cases, a person’s livelihood is on the line. This most recent episode captured the nature of competition and its lingering impact on those involved brilliantly.
This episode circled back to the roots of what made March Comes in like a Lion so appealing in the first place — the exploration of Rei’s internal turmoil and guilt. Instead of focusing on the backstory of his opponent, Mr. Yasui, the series opted to tell us just enough to understand the weight behind the match, but not enough to linger on the pointless details of his life (something that I couldn’t tolerate from past episodes). I loved how the story delicately explored the gnawing, incessant guilt associated with the match. Rei knew that if he were to win, he’d destroy Mr. Yasui’s family — a metaphorical Grim Reaper unmercifully stripping people of what they hold dear. But can he really be blamed for that? Is it truly Rei’s fault if he wins the match?
Watching those thoughts seize hold of him was particularly painful and that’s what made this episode so darn powerful. I could not bear to see Rei choking on his own emotions after the match. Kyouko’s dialogue with Rei was also really intriguing, providing us with a deeper insight into the nature of their codependent, toxic relationship. It makes me want see them interact even more. This episode was all kinds of awesome.
– Palpable T_T