March Comes in Like a Lion Episode 17

Review:

This episode is split into 3 parts with each lending its own weight to Rei’s ongoing journey.We see the start of the title match for Shimada but it is Rei’s meetings with various characters and his reflections that sell this section. Particularly his meeting with his adoptive father because that leads us firmly into the second part of the episode.

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Kyouko is back and she is definitely a character I have come to love to hate. She is a master manipulator (at least of Rei’s fragile emotional state) and she continues to inject some much needed venom into the story. More importantly though, this is probably the calmest Rei has been when dealing with her which kind of shows that he is slowly but surely moving forward.

Lastly we see Rei back at the workshop where we learn Nikaido has managed to rise up to his level at Shogi and the two of them will not get to play each other at matches.

This episode is full of small encounters and each one helps us to see where Rei is now sitting emotionally and in his relationships.It also kind of feels like a calm before a storm but maybe things are just becoming more positive for Rei. Optimism, have to love it.

March Comes in Like a Lion is available  on Crunchyroll.


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March Comes In Like A Lion Episode 9

Review:

While this episode was visually more impressive than episode 8 I liked it significantly less. Mostly this was because the old man, who was the focus for most of the episode, was just an annoying character. I didn’t really care about his plight. Plus, it kind of made Kyouko’s baiting at the end of the last episode fairly pointless given Rei was never going to lose that match.

Actually, what really bothered me was Rei. I get that he is evolving as a character, that’s kind of the point, but at times he was animated with the old man as he is when dealing with Nikaido and there just  didn’t seem to be a big enough catalyst for him to have become that involved. Still beautiful to watch but I’m already wanting to see the next episode because this one was not impressive as a story.

March Comes in Like a Lion is available on Crunchyroll.

March Comes in Like a Lion Episode 8

Review:

The shogi lesson continues and we see more of how Rei responds to Nikaidou’s presence in his life. I love how Rei says he feels suffocated when he spends time with Nikaidou but it didn’t seem to be directed at Nikaidou himself and more the way Nikaidou makes Rei feel about himself. It was a great scene (though I’m not entirely sold on listening to the cats sing about Shogi again).

However, the final part of this episode has Kyouko (Rei’s older sister after he’s adopted) visit ad this is where I really got interested in the episode. So many questions about the history between these two characters and there are just so many layers to their relationship. Ultimately we’re left with Kyouko essentially trying to rattle Rei before a match and the question of whether or not he will actually be able to play his best or whether he will crumble under the pressure, but that was kind of just the icing on the cake of the emotional currents that ran through this entire segment of the episode.

Anyway, still loving this series. March Comes in Like a Lion is available on Crunchyroll.

Bungo Stray Dogs Episode 20

Review:

Bungo Stray Dog does a lot of things well, but it also has a lot of problems in terms of writing a cohesive narrative. We just seem to keep piling on more characters, abilities and craziness for the sake of novelty and for every explanation we get there’s a whole bunch more questions (and usually the explanations are a throw away line about someone’s ability). Did we really need a giant, mechanised, floating whale? Hello? Does anyone need that?

Kyouko has probably been arrested and is lost in despair, Atsushi is momentarily in hero mode before we get his next break down of patheticness, Dazai is still showing up to save the day even though there is no logical way he should have had any idea that Atsushi was going to dive out of an airship, have his parachute shot down and then run sprinting down that particular street (and don’t tell me Ranpo foresaw it because that actually makes it even worse), and lastly we have Atsushi suggesting an alliance with the Port Mafia. Who would have thought that both Japanese agencies would come together to defeat the Americans?

Anyway, even if the alliance does happen, and it does seem like the only plausible next step but that doesn’t mean much for this show, we know the Port Mafia  will ultimately betray the Agency when it is to their best advantage so it isn’t like we’re all going to forgive and forget the casual murder and property destruction the mafia have engaged in up until now.

Oh, and in case you think after reading that I disliked this episode, that’s not exactly right. I smiled most of the way through it and got a great laugh from the end. It’s crazy, over-the-top and absolutely ludicrous story telling running at full tilt and hoping no one looks closer because it all kind of falls apart and yet it was a really fun episode on the back of a so far superior second season.

Bungo Stray Dogs is available on Crunchyroll.