In the solitude of Rei’s apartment, the ambient noise of his daily life sets in, becoming unbearable to his senses. This is when a creeping realization sets in: now that he knows what it’s like to belong, he can’t tolerate being alone. The Kawamoto sister have added color and flavor to a life that would otherwise be filled with white walls and cheap ramen. He has experienced the vibrance of their home and tasted their homecooked meals. Stagnation threatens these strong bonds he has established with them. He can’t afford to linger in the depths of his own despair anymore. This week was the first time we’ve seen him press forward with resounding conviction. You could practically see the determination in the gleam of his eyes. Who cares if the themes of the series are painted in bold broad strokes for everyone to see? The show revels in it, allowing the audience to get a firm grasp on the weight of the moment. We don’t just see Rei’s drama unfold, we get to experience it in all its vivid detail.
The exploration of character’s personalities this week felt meaningful. Smith’s return was impressively marked with some much needed depth. We begin to see more of his lax nature and how his silliness serves to balance Rei. Rei loses his cool in the drama between him and Gotou, but Smith keeps him in check by keeping the situation light-hearted. There’s also Smith’s swift victory over Mr. Yomizo which only highlights that there’s more to him than his silly exterior; He can get down to business when he needs to. The opponents this episode also had more personality than those of prior episodes. Smith faced Mr. Yomizo who analyzed every point of the game to the point of his own demise. Well, he also may have underestimated Smith quite a bit. Then there’s Rei facing Takeshi Tsujii who loves telling lame jokes with shameless confidence. He was amazing. I feel as if I’m really missing out on an element of his character though. I’m not sure if some of the humor of his jokes gets lost in translation since I don’t know Japanese.
All of this leads to the confrontation between Gotou and Rei. I have to give credit where credit is due: March Comes in like a Lion utilizes Gotou’s character brilliantly. He seems like someone you really wouldn’t want to mess with. He stands in his suit with a towering confidence and a sideways leer that exudes Mafia boss; The first of the cast of characters to truly seem villainous. You could practically see Rei seething with anger as he stared into Gotou’s smug grin. Gotou’s character is great because he pushes the plot forward with purpose. He also came at a time where Rei realized he can’t afford to stagnate anymore. The confrontation serves to have somewhere to point Rei’s newfound resolve. Though, I’m a bit torn. While I really want to see Rei go all out, it’s a shame that Smith will most likely have to be offered as a sacrifice since he is facing Gotou first.
The episode ends with another endearing moment at the Kawamotos. I’m growing rather fond of Rei’s repeated trips to the Kawamotos. It’s a comforting point of relief contrasting all the conflict between Gotou and Rei. These scenes always manage to be filled with a blissful quality that balances the depressive elements of the series. It’s akin to drinking hot chocolate on a winter day. The small moments build up like sips against the mug, trickling into you until all that can be felt is soothing warmth. Even Rei acknowledges this, comparing the Kawamoto home to a Kotatsu. The coziness of the Kotatsu makes it so he just never wants to leave. And that’s exactly how I start to feel when seeing the sisters and Rei interact. He’s filled with a sense of joy that reverberates across all elements in scene. It’s evident in the dishes of food with steam puffing out, the large smile across their faces as they joke around, and even in the bright colors of the environment. It’s impossible for me not to be giddy with joy.
With the direction of the recent episodes, all my worries have mostly been put to rest. March Comes in like a Lion has put in some serious work to bring us compelling plot points. I’m stoked to see Rei taking a step forward with confidence. I really want to know more about Gotou’s history with Rei. Until next week, friends!
— Palpable ヽ(´▽`)/