Never in my life have I ever needed an episode recap before. Quite frankly, it’s one of the biggest reasons I’ve held the shounen genre in contempt for so many years. Episode recaps are most often nothing but a time-filler, masquerading as a service for those with weak memories, or for people like me, whom jump back into series after prolonged hiatus. More likely than not though, what you left off on will most likely come back to you anyway, so long as what happened was at all worthy of being remembered—at least, that had always been the case for me, which is why I’ve come to deem recaps as near-intolerable wastes of time. That all being said…I kinda appreciate the recap this episode of March Comes in… gave me.
I really did need a bit of a refresher on this series, due to the unforgiveable length of time I stepped away from it (3 months—how dishonorable!). The narrative probably would’ve came back to me eventually, but I must say the episode’s “recap” made for a very smooth transition back into the show. The reason I appreciate the recap, aside from its confirmed practical usefulness, is that it wasn’t anything like the typical “last time on Dragon Ball Z…” bullshit that I’ve come to hate so very much. Instead of reused animation from its last episode, March Comes in… gives us a quick look at previous scenes through a new perspective before continuing with the story.
First, we find ourselves in the head of Junkei, the man that beat Nikkaidou in an ill-fought fashion, taking advantage of a young boy’s health condition to simply outlast him in a strategy rather than find a way to checkmate. Junkei’s story is…seemingly irrelevant, as making him more of a character doesn’t look to add anything to Rei’s or Nikkaidou’s story. His moment in the spotlight is brief, and what information is illustrated about him just doesn’t feel even remotely significant. We see him in a party setting with friends, drinking at a bar. He comments on their superficial questions about his profession. Next, we are given imagery and metaphors describing the never-ending cycle of shogi, in the form of jumping off a cliff and diving deeper into murky water to find answers. He finds plenty of answers at first, but the more he plunders, the less there is left for him to uncover. Junkei is old, and has trouble diving again and again into this challenge and coming back with little to no results. Yet, in the end, he finds inspiration from watching Rei and Nikkaidou take the plunge, over and over, their youth and tenacity reigniting his own passion for shogi.
I don’t see what the point of making Junkei more human is. Rei already has enough rivals with far more compelling backstories than this guy, and I don’t believe it’s going to add much, especially considering Rei has already defeated him. I could be wrong, but I just don’t see any reason to care about this guy, nor any reason why there should be a reason to care about this guy. Let’s just get back to Hina already. And what about the Kyouko drama? Are they ever going to get back to that? It’s getting pretty annoying to me that the most interesting character in the entire series just keeps getting sidelined. Oh well.
So, the second alternative perspective we get from the two recaps this episode had to offer was from the eyes of Hina, literally. The second half of the episode opens up from her first-person view, her eyes widening to reveal Rei standing there as she wallows in her own sadness. Rei is her knight, and I absolutely love how this episode illustrated this—through quite mundane interactions and a thorough lack of meaningful dialogue. Here’s a quick summary of what happens: Hina tries on Rei’s jacket and glasses in hopes that she can disguise herself and hide form her classmates when they go back into the city. The glasses don’t really work because she can’t see a thing through them. Rei offers her some food and reminds her to take her medicine. And this isn’t some painful, disgusting medicine Hina needs to take to recover from some sort of debilitating illness. This medicine is for making her tummy feel better.
That’s it. That is all that happens, and though the way I framed it just now might come off as weak, I actually like to think these moments were quite powerful—portraying the simple power of just being there for someone. I liked that the show continues to subvert hackneyed and needless dramatics for a truer to life essence. Conflict in stories doesn’t need to be so dire, and saviors needn’t be so flashy in their heroics. Sometimes all we need in despair is someone to be there with us, reassuring us that our world is far from over.
They go back home and Rei takes the family out for dinner. Slice of life antics ensue, and the episode ends with Akari recognizing how much Rei has done for her and her family—gleeful in the fact that because of him, she got to see Hina smile again. It’s a nice end, though I doubt Hina’s arc is over just yet. Anyway, I’ll be catching up on this series and trying to speed up the pace a little, so stay tuned if you’re still interested in this show and my thoughts on it! Thanks for reading!