This was a real return to the first two episodes where we are once again fully trapped in Rei’s perspective and this episode showed me exactly why I fell in love at the start of the season. The use of music, ambient noise and silence is perfect in this episode as is the imagery. However, the real star is Rei himself and to be honest he is a character that I cannot get enough of in these episodes where we see him and how he views the world (the slice of life episodes not so much). I think it is that he is so entirely trapped by his own negative emotions, he knows this and while giving up happens occasionally mostly he is still really struggling to find a reason not to and that inner conflict is quite compelling. I kind of get that anyone who doesn’t relate to or really care about Rei will mostly find March a mish-mash of visual imagery with a not-so compelling plot given this episode showed us Rei playing Shogi with music conveying the tone, and then had Rei walk us through the game with commentary as part of the post-match review. Not a lot of action there but a lot of subtle (and not so subtle) character work at play. Plus, Rei’s little melt down in the park at the end was kind of the perfect climax to Rei’s turmoil this episode.
March Comes in Like a Lion is available on Crunchyroll.