March Comes in Like a Lion S2 Ep 20: Hina & Highschool

This is going to be a short one because I don’t have much to talk about in this episode, other than that this episode fleshed out Hina’s way of thinking even more, and made me appreciate her even more as a personality.

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The episode starts off where the last left off, on Hina’s drawings. Rei, like Akari, finds the colorful drawings delicious. Hina lets out a sigh and laments that she has so many ideas for sweets that she’s going to sell in a future festival, but she has a mountainous pile of homework- which has built up since her class got behind because of the bullying incident. The conversation takes an awkward detour where Hina asks Rei when he decided that he wanted to be a pro-shogi player.

Rei starts off with a prelude of being in fourth grade and then the memory of his family’s funeral came up, that made him steer more towards more to the real reason- that he didn’t have anything to hold onto when tragedy befell him.

Anyway, Hina talks about wanting to help her Grandpa with the shop with her ideas, but she can’t do that because of entrance exams and homework. She also levels with the idea that maybe she just wants a distraction- which made me appreciate this angel of a personality even more. She is anxious about getting in a new environment, who may or may not bode well for her. With all of this laid out, Rei, considerately so, invites her and Momo to a flume noodles party (I don’t know what exactly it’s called).

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When the Kawamotos arrive, they confuse Noguchi as the teacher, a joke that weirdly hasn’t been done before. Hayashida also gets introduced to the Kawamotos, and he gives some jabs to Rei after he sees how cute Hina is. But, on seeing Akari, he forgets all about Rei and Hina, and freezes. It’s love at first sight.

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A light-hearted sequence follows where the science boys have a bit of a problem with calibrating the height of the bamboo shoot, and then Hayashida fails to get tempura. Among this, the Kawamotos see Rei having a fun time and Hina says, ‘I didn’t know there were fun high schools like this.’ And one can guess where the conversation goes from here. Hina wants to give entering Rei’s high school a try.

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When Rei finds out that Hina will be trying to get into his school, he is ecstatic; so he comes by the next day with a serious study plan. Akari also joins in to help with Pampered Udon, which she got the idea from her mother. This is shown through a neat little flashback where Mikako cooks that udon for Akari during her entrance exam prep.

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The episode ends with Hina confronting her Grandpa about her going to a private high school and him having to work even more to pay for her tuition. And he gives the best speech imaginable. He praises Hina that she has a sound mind on family finance, but he says that he wants Hina to enjoy her life more than anything else. And that brings Hina to tears- who wouldn’t cry when you hear a cool speech like that?

The viewers are reminded that it’s New Years in Sangatsu’s world.

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March Comes in Like a Lion S2 Ep 19: March Town Festival

Episodes like this remind me why I love this show. The flow of this one isn’t constrained by a specific theme, yet they are strung together seamlessly as ideas transition into another like nodes in a river. Maybe I am exaggerating my point here because it’s been quite a while since I have been watching this show weekly- but, again, it’s the little things that cumulate to make me appreciate how wonderful a show is.

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The episode begins by bringing back the Kawamotos on screen, and you know what that means for the color palette- pastel heaven. The sisters are making rice flour dumplings for sale in the upcoming March Town Festival (a summer festival). While they are taste-testing the dumplings, Akari realizes that they taste good with matcha (green tea powder) but that’s not really economical for mass production and sale. So they make alternative flavors like tapioca and plum syrup- and Grandpa, especially, likes the plum syrup.

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Hina informs him that she got the plum syrup from Chiho. And with that, the story transitions to a flashback sequence where Hina visits Chiho as soon as her summer vacation starts. It is revealed that Chiho is still having trouble with coping with her bad memories when she is around people her age. So, in the presence of Hina, Chiho’s buried memories of being bullied come to the surface which makes her she tense up as she tries to keep them at bay from being ‘out’ in the form of a breakdown. And this strain, probably, caused her fever- which made Hina leave early; and on her way home, as Hina recalls the three steps to being socially active again, she realizes that Chiho is still fighting hard on her third step, and that gives Hina strength to try harder on her side to cheer Chiho up.

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And with that heartful of determination and enthusiasm derived from her visit, Hina steps into her work in the March Town Festival. Rei makes an appearance as the considerate shop helper. The shop is booming with business, even Takahashi makes a brief visit- and in the midst of this cheery atmosphere, Grandpa reminisce about a memory during a past March Town Festival and, probably for the first time, we see the faces of Mikako (Akari’s mother) and Grandma.

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With more shots of luminous, petaled scenescapes- Hina shares with Rei that she just discovered that she really likes the festival’s wholesome atmosphere and that she wants to do the festival again, soon. The sales at Crescent Moon overload and run supplies dry, which the sisters didn’t foresee. So they don’t end up making as much money. Grandpa, initially, lightly scolds them for not being prepared but he, being reminded of the times when his wife and daughter used to be salesladies during the festivals, invites the sisters to give another go in the next festival. And much to Hina’s delight, she starts thinking about what to make in the festival… until Akari reminds her that she needs to study for her upcoming high school entrance exam.

A sharp turn of perspective leads to the face of a new homeroom teacher who is complaining to Kokubu that Hina’s class would be too much to handle in the light of recent events. Takagi is brought to the spotlight again, as Kokubu and the new homeroom teacher discuss how would they handle Takagi’s case. The homeroom teacher argues that, regardless of ill intention or not, a serious offense always warrants a punishment. Kokubu doesn’t answer that directly, but we get his answer through his subsequent actions when he confronts Takagi.

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With some interesting visual set up of inverted colors and grey-muddied water puddles (which is fitting) around Takagi’s desk, Takagi’s annoying question of ‘Why do people work hard?’ is posed again. Kokubu replies rather succinctly that wanting to try hard is always instinctive, and as he gets up to leave- he leaves a confused Takagi with some advice. That Takagi needs to be sincere with herself and understand herself to get rid of her anxiety and fear of not being successful.

Now, in my review of episode 13, I complained about Takagi being obnoxious and intolerable, which she still is- but that’s because she reminds me of the side of me that I absolutely hate. I also complained about her not being humanized and thought that her side of things didn’t get a conclusion. But now, I retract those opinions since this small interaction between brought a substantial closure to her character role in this season.

Anyway, the episode ends on a sweet (literally) note as Akari discovers Hina asleep with her drawings for new sweets- which, admittedly, look really delicious.

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March Comes in Like a Lion S2 Ep 17 & 18: Burnt Field

I haven’t watched Sangatsu since its resumption after that three-week break, and I finally got around to watch a couple of episodes, which coincidentally make up a whole character arc, so here are my thoughts on them.

March Comes in Like a Lion had returned with a fresh character perspective on Sakutarou Yanagihara (Saku-chan), and the presentation of this character arc had an extra-poetic finesse to it. It’s a story about someone being alienated and an eventful slice of his journey to find meaning and not giving up on hope, hope that you get from others.Read More »

Anilog Monthly: February 2018

February just ended… fourteen days ago, and it’s time for another monthly entry for this series.

This will be a pretty short since I watched next to no anime last month. I wanted to delay this until I finish Mononoke, but it’s pretty late already. Anyway, I just binged on films last month, so I am going to talk about five anime films. These are all good films, so this post is going to be a more positive one compared to January.Read More »

My Top 10 Anime of 2017

Hey there, Never-too-late-for-anything-kun here.

And after 20 days of endless, near-syndromic-and-pathetic levels of procrastination, I remembered that I started writing something. And here I am, I just needed to sit down for 2 hours and write this.

And… so here’s my Favorite Anime from 2017 (Top 10 + Honorable Mentions). Unlike last year, there are no rules this time- it aired in 2017, and I watched it, it’s considered. Wait there’s one, I didn’t include films- because I don’t want to.

And now there’s enough ‘ands’ starting each paragraph, let’s move on…Read More »

Anilog Monthly: January 2018

Anilog is back with a new format. Instead of featuring weekly roundups of seasonal anime, this will be a monthly thing where I briefly share my thoughts on the non-seasonal stuff I watched in a month.

So the first month of the year is gone, and I haven’t finished my “Favorites from 2017” series (I was supposed to complete it by 15 January!) and I haven’t started watching any Winter 2018 shows. So yeah… not a good ‘New Years start’ in terms of blogging.

I have been continuing on March Comes in Like a Lion and Gintama, and binged on Devilman: Crybaby, but that’s about it for seasonal stuff. I have been mostly watching old non-seasonal shows last month instead, and so this list will be a bit long.Read More »