I really loved this episode for so many reasons but I’m going to try to see if I can keep this post from getting out of control. However, other than being a fantastic continuation on Hina’s story and closing the newcomers tournament story, what episode 31 of March Comes in Like a Lion does beautifully is have Rei draw on all the things he’s learned since the start of season 1 and actually take on some of the advice. This whole season we have seen a more proactive Rei who wants to connect with others, but actually seeing him acknowledge a fault within himself and stopping himself from repeating a mistake was truly wonderful.
Nikaido, for all that he only appears briefly in the episode outside of Rei’s memory, is definitely the most valuable player here for even though Rei has been given advice from others, it is Nikaido’s words that hold the most sway and forcibly bring Rei up short right before repeating the same mistake he made in a tournament back in season 1.
Despite the success Rei has in the tournament, this episode doesn’t celebrate this moment. For Rei, winning the tournament was really important for his journey but his focus right now is definitely on Hina and having won, Rei immediately shifts his focus back to the girl who has saved him so many times from himself.
Another seriously good episode from this show. As a side note, I recently started a rewatch of this series starting back at season 1 with a friend and while I knew Rei had grown and changed over the course of the 2 seasons, going back to season 1 it is astounding just how profound that change has been. It really kind of blew me away because it has always felt like such a slow development and yet the Rei we are watching now has come so far since those early episodes.
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