March comes in like a lion is not always an easy show to watch. I’ve lost count of all the times it’s brought me to tears. The protagonist, Rei Kiriyama, is probably the most relatable and moving representation of anxiety and depression I’ve ever seen. He’s the one thing that brought me to this show, but he’s not the only reason I stayed.
While it might seem like March centers on shogi, the game itself isn’t quite as a relevant as what it means to the players. Shogi works as a centerpiece that brings all these people—with their different life experiences—together, but what really sticks out is what the game does to its players.
The careful exploration of each of its character’s lives and struggles, and the way the show uses the world that surrounds them to reflect their emotional states, are the strongest points of the show. We see characters surrounded by snow, struggling to keep swimming, falling off cliffs, or drowning in water. Sometimes we see them consumed by darkness or drifting away, surrounded by colorful lights. We see soft and warm pastel worlds and worlds devoid of color.
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