12 Days of Anime Characters – Shimada

12 Days of Anime Title Image

Continuing with the 12 Days of Anime I am moving on from Siluca Meletes in Record of Grancrest War, to a character who takes a lot longer to really show his strength. However, once he does, he becomes quite the force to be reckoned with. 

Day 2 has us turning our attention to Shimada from March Comes in Like a Lion.

March Comes in Like a Lion

It is amazing that a character introduced like Shimada ended up having quite the impact that he has had. The one thing I must put it down to is the incredibly solid writing that is consistently delivered in March Comes in Like a Lion. Originally, Shimada is a character Rei is facing off against in a Shogi match and Rei utterly underestimates him, expecting to advance to the next round and take on the next opponent. What we see during the match is that Shimada, though he is quiet, unassuming, and has an undramatic approach to the game, is every bit as hungry for victory and with far more experience and patience, he’s able to more or less crush Rei under-heel with almost no effort.


It is quite the humbling experience for the protagonist and promotes some very real growth in him. However, in and of itself, this moment doesn’t really help Shimada register. He’s just another opponent Rei has faced and someone we assume he’ll play again and maybe beat once he is stronger. 

How wrong this assumption is. Shimada is not so simple a character and the relationship he ends up forming with Rei really defies a single classification. 


And that is because, it is a dynamic relationship. It is one that evolves naturally over time. At first he is the guy who beat Rei, who seems ordinary but is strong, and then you realise he’s incredibly physically weak as stress takes a more or less continuous toll on him. The more you learn about Shimada and how ill he gets with the stress of matches, the more I admire him for continuing to throw himself into the game again and again and never walking away and taking an easier path.

But what really helps is that Shimada becomes something of a teacher and mentor to Rei. Rei joins the workshop Shimada runs and over time we see that Shimada relies on Rei to a point as he prepares for a crucial match. Rei’s insight and talent is valued even if he’s still forming as a player. Rei also accompanies Shimada and helps him before and after the match, building a strong friendship and respect between the pair. So while Shimada remains the mentor figure, there’s a lot of give and take in the relationship.

March Comes in Like a Lion Shimada

Season two though gives Shimada the moments he deserves. Shimada’s story is one of the quiet hard-worker who can’t compete with those who have flair, the gift of gab, powerful presence or the like. He isn’t a draw card to the Shogi world and is seen as an ordinary man. But he is an ordinary man who never learned how to quit, who carries the weight and expectations of those he treasures with him (even if they do not wish him to feel burdened), and who has also learned how to reach out to others in need.

March Comes in Like a Lion Shimada

Shimada is a powerful character who’s journey was almost as moving as Hina’s and yet he is an almost unsung hero. 

Here is to Shimada.

A character who is essential to Rei’s progress both in Shogi and as a person, and a character who has real goals and ambitions all of his own and will work to achieve them.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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March Comes in Like a Lion Movie Original Soundtrack
March Comes in Like a Lion Movie Original Soundtrack

11 thoughts on “12 Days of Anime Characters – Shimada

  1. It’s a testament to how fantastic March really is when you can write so deeply about the *side characters*. Shimada, for all the screen time and attention he gets, isn’t even a co-protagonist like Nikaido or the Kawamoto sisters!

    1. I think at some point I’d like to write a post about Rei’s teacher as well. I never remember his name, but he’s had a huge impact on Rei over the two seasons and he’s just another interesting character in a show that seems full of well written characters.

  2. Shimida was a pleasant surprise in season 1. I liked the growth of he went through out the series, and getting a better understanding of who he was. Was happy to see he didn’t disappear from the series completely, and given something to do. Gave me something to look forward too when Rei wasn’t doing much for me.

  3. I love the anime and the character. And I kind of see Shimada’s influence on Rei reflected in the way Nikaido guides Momo in first learning about shogi. . .(seriously, was that picture book great or what?!)

    1. I also think Rei agreeing to help the teachers at school with the shogi club was part of Shimada’s influence. Prior to joining the group with Shimada, I don’t think Rei would ever have participated in the school group.

  4. Shimada is such a great adult character. I love how hard he tries, how he has stomach pains from stress, and how much he loves his adopted brother.

    Then again, March Comes in like a Lion has a bunch of great characters.

  5. It’s the great thing about March comes in like a Lion, side characters are so well-developed and have such relevance to the ongoing story, the competition between Shimada and Yanagihara is amazing and the understanding we get of each of the characters lets us understand Rei even better.

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