[Readers Request] 3-gatsu no Lion Episode 15 & 16
Episode fifteen begins with quite the interesting scene, something we were given hints to in the past, but had yet to be revealed. Under the moonlight, we’re taken to Kyouko, who sits beside the window. The seemingly venomous words of her present day self are absent here, instead replaced by silence and the night breeze. The curtains beside her are blowing softly, creating this calming atmosphere contrary to her nickname as the Tempest.
While my initial impression of this memory was, “Wow what the heck,” when it was first introduced to us many episodes ago, the little bit of context given here makes it a lot less polarizing. Unlike the feverish dreams in which we first caught a glimpse of this memory, the scene is both clear and beautiful. Perhaps this is the most vulnerable and emotional we’ve ever seen Kyouko, connecting with the ‘brother’ with whom she shares such a complicated relationship.
Rei’s past in Mr. Kouda’s home is further revealed in the episode, with some surprising context about his eventual decision to leave and Kyouko’s relationship with Gotou. Kyouko brings up the idea of running away with Gotou, which seems like an absolutely horrible idea for a girl of her age and intellect, but it’s quite clear she’s basing the decision out of spite rather than with logic. But being the type of guy he is, Rei chooses to leave himself. This makes the scene with Kyouko in the bed ever so much more tragic and melancholy, with the two of them trying to convince the other that their father loves the other more. It’s just a beautiful scene that reveals why Kyouko acts the way she does, and why Rei still cares for her anyway.
While I love their relationship and Kyouko’s character in general, I’m also interested in the other brother, Ayumu. If the familial landscape of Mr. Kouda’s family twisted itself into Kyouko and Rei this deeply, I’m sure Ayumu has just a strong story to tell. Very excited for that in the future.
While Rei and Kyouko’s history is a blast to watch, the fiery competition between Shimada and Gotou is almost as entertaining. Ever since we saw Gotou drown Smith in his “oily” sludge, I’ve been eager to see him face off against another strong player and Shimada is the perfect equal. The intensity of the match is something we’ve never seen before. Usually we’ve accompanied Rei’s chaotic thoughts and timid personality revealing itself as he faced various opponents and old men, but this match is a different animal all in it self. The cuts from the battlefield that is the shogi board to the reactions of Rei and the other spectators in the Shogi Hall make for a great scene. Especially after the smackdown that Shimada dropped onto Rei last episode, it was extremely satisfying to watch him play against Gotou in a much more even match.
Also can I just say, Gotou’s presence in the episode he’s in is just undeniable. I think it’s awesome that I feel the same way that the characters of the show do, but damn is he actually intimidating whenever he’s onscreen. The scene after the match with all three, Kyouko, Gotou, and Rei together on an empty street was a bit unnerving. I wasn’t certain what would happen, and I sure as hell couldn’t fathom the idea of Gotou who had someone like Kyouko following his heels.
Overall, the episode was pretty damn amazing and the train really never stops. From Grandpa Kawamoto’s amusing words of wisdom to the blazing battle that was Shimada and Gotou’s match, the episode didn’t let me down in any way. Also, a big shoutout to Rei’s teacher once again for being absolute best bro. Forcing him out of school to watch the matches was definitely something Rei needed.
Episode sixteen begins with the Afterburners Club! Spurred to action by the risk of Kiriyama being left back, Mr. Hayashida takes Rei to the only students in school who could help him. Dressed in lab coats and looking like old men, the students hear Hayashida’s plea and decide to help Rei. While it’s both amusing and cute, the biggest thing I took away is just how much Hayashida cares for Rei. He’s made it abundantly clear through previous episodes how far he’s willing to go to help Rei, yet he continues to go above and beyond for him! He even drops some amazing advice on relying on other people when necessary, or else no one would rely on him.
I thought of the same thing as Rei, with the Kawamoto family coming to mind immediately. Rei realizes that he’s relied on them so often, yet they’ve never relied on him yet. I wasn’t exactly sure if I agree, with Hina’s cathartic night screaming by the river coming to mind, but perhaps Rei doesn’t really see that as them relying on him. I’m sure he’ll have the chance in the future though.
As for the Gotou Shimada final match, 3gatsu really tricked me into thinking Gotou won. With all the media attention and his smug smile, all the signals pointed to Gotou winning. Rei however, realizes an interesting point about how the winner is often so exhausted after winning, that they cannot speak. Meanwhile, the loser has plenty of time to gather up their resolve and words. Shimada himself looks like he’s going to pass out from the stress of the match, but I was glad to discover he won. Even more so during his conversation with Rei, where both of them bring up the idea of Rei joining Shimada’s workshop. It’s a sweet moment united by Nikaidou’s adorable confusion, and a nice ending point for the intense matches between Gotou and Shimada.
Shimada’s workshop itself is a gathering of hotheaded, crazy shogi players. Both Nikaidou and Morio exceed expectations with their outbursts and heated arguments. It gets even more chaotic as Rei joins in with his own arguments, exhausting old man Shimada even more. But I’m sure Rei is having a load of fun with the workshop, being able to passionately rant about his hobby with others who think the same way.
Overall, an alright episode. Still looking forward to more, and it’s great that Rei hasn’t been terribly depressed in a while!