A couple of spoilers below so if you care who wins the matches maybe watch the episode first. That and I really went over my 100 words this week. Oops.
From the start this episode is a bit off. We get a fairly long recap of what happened last week and then we have a musical interlude while Smith goes about his morning business. None of this is bad. The recap reinforces a fairly significant turning point in the series and while the musical interlude is a bit strange and the animation during it (particularly the fridge sequence) isn’t the best, it allows a smooth transition into the first half of this episode which is narrated by Smith.
From this we see that Rei has in fact been deep in preparation for his upcoming matches and we also get to see Smith’s frustration that Rei is clearly not even considering that he might win against Gotou. Which, from a narrative point of view, even the audience isn’t considering that possibility.
The match between Gotou and Smith is actually given a decent amount of screen time and as much as Rei sees Gotou as a villain, and some of what we’ve seen and heard about him suggests he isn’t a pleasant person, while playing against Smith we see the professional that he is. Including offering a calm critique at the end of where Smith went wrong.
We then get another recap of last week before we switch to Rei’s perspective as he approaches his own match against a character I cannot remember the name of but he’s the older brother of Nikaido, maybe. That bit was a little unclear. This match we don’t see the end of but it is clear Rei is struggling so I’m really looking forward to the continuation next week.
Once again the visual metaphors in this show (while not in any way subtle) are really quite impressive and continue to convey the appropriate mood and tone to the audience and make what might otherwise be a fairly dry viewing experience quite immersive.
March Comes in Like a Lion is available on Crunchyroll.
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