March Comes in Like a Lion S2, Episode 12

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Slowly but surely, I am making my way through March Comes in…. No matter how far away we get from its original broadcast, I will finish this show and review its episodes…or die trying. And hey, the Opening changed, so that means I’ve made it halfway!

We’re finally back in the middle of Hina’s classroom drama, and things appear to be reaching a climax. The style of the entire opening act is, as the show itself mentions, as black as the mood. It’s as if I accidentally stumbled into an episode of Another. The tension and darkness in the room has become tangible. Also like Another, the teacher has a drastic fit that leaves the room completely unsettled, but I’ll get to that later. Right now, Hina’s about to lay the smackdown on the vile bitch known as Takagi.

There doesn’t seem to be much to know about Takagi, other than she’s a bully. Takagi badmouths Hina for the entire class to hear as their spineless teacher does nothing to rectify the unacceptable behavior on currently on display. This leaves Hina open to react in whichever way she sees fit, stomping forward to deliver Takagi a fistful of justice…or at least, she could’ve, but instead took the high road in simply calling her out and stating that she would not stoop to her level. Good job, Hina.

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And bad job for teacher, as she has her dramatic meltdown for the entire class to witness in horror. She becomes engulfed in a shadow, and I half-expected The Phantom Thieves to burst in steal her heart. Instead of the unexpected crossover of the century, we get a ranting, raging freak-out over the history of bullying in this weak-willed teacher’s past—how she failed, over and over again, to the point where she now blames the children for not getting along, rather than herself, the adult, who could’ve easily made all the difference in the world by intervening.

After the teacher is dismissed from her job, Hina is still left feeling down, and so it’s up to Akari to cheer her up—and so, they go out to eat, splurging on all kinds of delicacies typically not afforded to them in their day-to-day lives. Interestingly enough, this reaction is framed as a useful source of levity rather than evil first step into the cycle of depression and obesity that “eating your feelings” actually is in the real world…or perhaps I’m just being harsh.

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Whatever the case may be, that was simply my opinion, and in the context of Japanese culture, opinions aren’t always something you’re expected to share. Quite the opposite, actually, as being opinionated makes you a bit of a leper. This “go-with-the-flow” attitude that the show keeps coming back to is actually quite real, and going against it will absolutely cause problems within a given group’s structure. This is commented on again and again, but this time we get to hear it from the mother of the Takagi. Not only that, she brings up the burden of proof once Akari confronts her. “He-said-she-said” situations are all plagued by the same unavoidable issue, that “trust” does not equal “truth”, and therefore the guilty can run free because evidence of this type of circumstance does not exist—and one cannot be prosecuted without evidence, at least in societies that implement due process.

And while it is certainly subjective, I would dare to claim that the best societies do abide by due process. Though that opinion doesn’t matter in Hina’s position, because on an individual level, there is no changing the game. There is only working with what you have and finding a way to win despite the crooked way things have played out. Right now, this could be framed as the rotten, exploitative monster vs helpless victim…except Hina isn’t so weak. Brilliantly tied together within a narrative centered around shogi, Hina’s finally found her win-condition.

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“If I just survive and graduate, I win.”

Endure. That’s her answer. And it’s not a particularly easy one to come to. Rather, it’s one of the hardest truths to admit, because there’s no levity in understanding that life is suffering. We all have our crosses, so pick up yours and BEAR IT. That is the revelation that I believe Hina has come across. Her strength and conviction are truly admirable.

But the episode doesn’t end there. The new teacher seems to be turning things around on the scumbags of this conflict. This isn’t his first rodeo, and he apparently knows how to handle this better than that spineless old hag he replaced. The garbage mother feigns outrage at her bitch daughter being accused of bullying, demanding retribution for such a claim. But alas, she doesn’t have proof that the claim is false. While the script isn’t flipped so that Takagi becomes guilty until proven innocent, what this new guy says does seem to shut them up. Hopefully we’ll see if he has a remedy to this corrosive situation.

Thanks for reading.

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