“Having reached professional status in middle school, Rei Kiriyama is one of the few elite in the world of shogi. Due to this, he faces an enormous amount of pressure, both from the shogi community and his adoptive family. Seeking independence from his tense home life, he moves into an apartment in Tokyo. As a 17-year-old living on his own, Rei tends to take poor care of himself, and his reclusive personality ostracizes him from his peers in school and at the shogi hall.” – Mal Rewrite
3-gatsu no lion was a dark horse coming into the season, having never heard of the light novel nor been exposed to Shogi, there wasn’t a lot of hype for me about it. The only incentive that I had to watch it was because SHAFT would be the animating it. 3-gatsu no lion is a hidden gem that won’t get much recognition because shogi is considered “boring”.
The story revolves around Rei, and the ones he meets in the world of Shogi. While Shogi is one of the main aspects of the show, a lot of it also deals with Rei’s state of mind. At first, I thought the idea of an anime about Shogi was going to be dull, the matches are quite intense (once you understand the fundamentals of how it’s played). I love that there is an episode, that seems like fun and games, but in reality, it helps teaches the audience who don’t understand the idea of shoving and teaches them the basics and that is helpful in getting the audience to get pulled in by the story.
Artwork & Animation:
The story is told masterfully through the use of vivid colors, wonderful animation, and very cute characters! SHAFT again, captivating the audience with their signature, dramatic, and surreal animation. Very lovely color palettes throughout the entire depend, and each palette depends on the lightness or heaviness of the tone at the moment in the show. A neat little easter egg that most people don’t appreciate unless they know!
At the beginning, Rei is very introverted, normally staying in his room and only leaving for Shogi matches. But as he meets more people, be it challenges or people reaching out to help him, he begins to realize his self-worth and opens up his heart a little more. For Rei, shogi isn’t something that he competes, it’s something that makes someone sit across from him, in a way it keeps him from being lonely. And that the saddest part of this entire show. It hurts, you begin to feel Rei’s pain through the dialogue and the animation and that’s powerful.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
Both OPs and EDs are fantastic, sound-wise and visually showing us what’s going on in Rei’s mind and how much of a mess he’s in. The animation, of course, continues to be amazing in all OPs and EDs as well. OST throughout the show does a wonderful job of grounding the situation and also using silence with only dialogue to depict the loneliness that Rei experiences. But when there are happy times, there is a lot of nice energetic and fun songs in the background that picks up the mood!
Fully enjoyed 3-gatsu no Lion and I’ve actually gained an interest in shogi! And I’m also quite invested in Rei’s character, I want to see him succeed so I watch each episode with bated breath!
Overall: score 10
3-gatsu no Lion is a beautifully crafted masterpiece that is sure to make you feel it in your heart and want to root for Rei. Shogi may sound boring but it is depicted very well in this series and could even get you interested in it! And GOOD NEWS, another season of 3-gatsu no Lion has already been announced! It will be airing October 2017, THIS FALL!!!