First Impressions – 3-gatsu no Lion (Season 2)

Note from Xeno: It’s finally happening! I get to blog about 3-gatsu no Lion Season 2! It sure took me a while (five weeks). I’ve been meaning to cover this season ever since it started (again, five weeks). For those who don’t know, I gave 3-gatsu Season 2 a spot on my Season Preview for Fall 2017 and even said it’d be one of the shows I’m most likely to cover on this site. I also said that I was going to write a review on Season 1 first and for a couple of reasons (tons of premieres to get through, college, life), it took me a long time to finally get it posted. Well, the review is up now so without further ado, here are my thoughts on the Season 2 premiere.

A lot of shows have returned this Fall and one that I knew I was absolutely going to check out was the second season of 3-gatsu no Lion. I really, really, really loved the first season, so much so that I really wanted to write a review for it before getting to this season. It’s a very wonderful show; one that is quite lifelike and yet also super stylistic at the same time. And no other anime from either 2016 or 2017 has made me both super happy and super sad as this one. It strikes a powerful balance between lighthearted and somber.

Because I enjoyed Season 1 that much, my expectations for Season 2 were quite high. I try my best not to let the hype cloud my judgment because I know that some shows can take a while to get back into the full swing of things. Boku no Hero Academia Season 2, for example, started with a pretty lowkey premiere, only to then jump to a very intensive tournament arc. In the case of 3-gatsu Season 2, I thought the first episode was more or less taking things nice and slow. Nothing super crazy happens here and it largely serves to remind a number of us about why we like these characters. Still, I thought it was pretty enjoyable.

In fact, even though I know this is a season premiere, I think this could’ve been the Season 1 finale. Season 1 ends with Rei forming the Shogi Science Club at school and after hesitating for so long, he finally visits the Kawamoto sisters who welcome him back without a second thought. This episode follows that up with Rei teaching his club members shogi and ends with him comfortably enjoying the company of Akari, Hinata, and Momo like usual. I don’t know, I just get the impression that this was originally the Season 1 finale but since Season 2 got greenlit, this material got saved for later.

Quite a bit of time in this episode is also dedicated to the final match of the shogi tournament everyone partook in. Here, Souya defends his Meijin title from Kumakura, a Nine Dan. I’ve seen some complaints that 3-gatsu gets a little too lost in its shogi content, especially since this is more of a slice of life drama than a legitimate sports anime. I myself admit that it’s among the anime’s least interesting material or at least its most underdeveloped. Thing is, I actually think Souya is a really interesting character. The guy practically comes across as an adult version of Rei, gifted at shogi but also at a bit aimless about his career. There is serious potential there but so far, Rei has never had a real chance to interact with the meijin. I’m hoping this will change at some point but I can’t deny that, right now, it can drag a bit.

Still, everything else was a lot of fun to watch. I’m really amused that Hayashida-sensei’s proposed shogi club and the chemistry club joined forces but the synergy it is producing seems to be very two-sided. Just as Rei partakes in some fun cooking science experiments, the scientists themselves seem to be getting super into shogi. Watching the latter group get hyper-competitive and lose their minds over their game was pretty darn funny. In general, it’s just great to see Rei socializing a lot more now, especially since he was a loner at school for almost all of Season 1.

This more socially active side of Rei also seems to carry over to him visiting Kawamoto sisters. For a while, it seemed like Rei can be very hesitant to pay them a visit. There were even moments in Season 1 where Akari orchestrates plans to compel Rei to hang out with them. Here though, Rei very adamantly heads over to their house with homemade ramune in hand (and watching everyone enjoy the tablets made for a pleasant experience). It seems like Rei’s been enjoying his life a lot more now. Even that bit where Hayashida-sensei asks Rei if he has fun playing shogi and the latter goes through an existential crisis is mostly played for laughs. I don’t know if I’d go as far as say everything is all sunshine and rainbows now though. If it really did…well, this season would be mighty unnecessary then. Still, Rei seems to be heading in the right direction and that’s certainly progress on his part.

OP: “Flag wo Tatero” by YUKI

As someone who loved “Sayonara Bystander”, I’m really happy to have YUKI sing another OP for 3-gatsu.

ED: “Kafune” by Brian the Sun

Something about the wings and puppet strings shown in this ED really stands out to me…

One thought on “First Impressions – 3-gatsu no Lion (Season 2)

  1. The second season has so far been amazing. I was really looking forward to the return of March Comes in Like a Lion and I was worried that the second season wouldn’t hold up, but so far it has been really impressive and fantastic to watch. Hope you continue to enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

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