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Anime Review: March Comes In Like a Lion (2016)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

March Comes in Like a Lion Blu-ray cover.

March Comes in Like a Lion Blu-ray cover.

Quick Info

Series Director: Kenjirō Okada
Director: Akiyuki Simbo
Distributor: AniplexUSA
Released: December 9th, 2017
Runtime: 550 minutes
Availability: on blu-ray, streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Netflix

Story Summary

Rei Kiriyama is a professional Shogi player, going through a crisis of not knowing what he’s going to do because he feels his career has stagnated. Now he must find purpose in his life while improving as a professional shogi player.

As he spends time with his friends, Hinata “Hina” Kawamoto and her older sister Akari Kawamoto, he learns to overcome his career slump and his depression.

The Story is Different than what I usually watch, but I enjoyed it!

I’m not really one for slice-of-life anime and at first, March Comes in Like a Lion (2016) didn’t seem like something I would enjoy, I wasn’t intrigued by the summary, but I was looking through the anime that had just been added to Netflix and saw it there.

It did take a few episodes for me to become really invested in it, but I ended up binging through both the first and second seasons of the anime.

March comes in like a Lion Trailer

The Animation and Art are Nice to look At!

Many anime fans will recognize Studio Shaft’s work, especially if you’ve watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011), you’ll know they’re known for their weird trippy imagery and unique background designs. While March Comes in Like a Lion (2016) doesn’t have a lot of the weird imagery, it does have very lovely background settings and nice character designs.

The animation is very fluid but since it’s not an action-oriented story, it mainly focuses on nice backgrounds and good character designs.

It is a very pretty anime to look at and that’s one of the things that make the anime unique and it’s what you remember about the anime.

The anime excels at making mundane life look entertaining. The anime also has very nice cinematography. It looks nice and uses animation to enhance what would be mundane everyday life.

Rei Kiriyama in his apartment.

Rei Kiriyama in his apartment.

Audio and Subttiles

Audio: Subtitles:

English (Reviewed) (Crunchyroll, Netflix)

English (Netflix, Crunchyroll)

Japanese (Netflix, Crunchyroll)

Spanish (Netflix, Crunchyroll)

The English Dub is Excellent!

Khoi Dao voices Rei Kiriyama, the main protagonist. He’s new to me and I haven’t heard him before but he did a great job voicing his role. I liked what he brought to the character and he fit the role very well.

Kayli Mills voices Hinata Kawamoto, Rei’s closest friend and someone who always keeps tabs on him. She’s a very sweet character and she’s a very memorable character because of her arc in the anime. She gives a heartfelt and emotional performance for this character.

Laura Post voices Akari Kawamoto, she gives a great vocal performance as a kind and caring older sister. I liked her performance and her character. I also like how she’s not the “perfect big sister” that is portrayed in many anime.

Zach Aguilar voices Harunobu Nikaidō, a character that is a stereotype of the anime character in all the sports anime that is usually the protagonist. He’s a fantastic parody of the usual protagonist of a sports anime. I enjoyed his character and his performance. He gave a great and emotional performance and clearly enjoyed being over-the-top in his performance.

Lauren Landa voices Kyōko Kōda, her character really stood out to me because she’s not really a villain, but she’s clearly antagonistic towards Rei. She’s also an interesting character and it was always interesting when her character was there. Lauren Landa gave an amazing vocal performance e and it was one that really stood out to me.

The English dub is amazing; I think everyone was perfectly cast for the English dub. I really enjoyed this English dub. I’ve always noticed that I’ve enjoyed every AniplexUSA English dub that they’ve put out, Funimation’s dubs have always been good, but they’ve become generic, but AniplexUSA’s dubs have always been great to listen to.

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Bump of Chicken「アンサー」

The Soundtrack is Really Nice!

Yukari Hashimoto’s soundtrack is really great. I like that she used various styles of music for the anime. The anime has very nice music that fits the mood of the anime.

I really enjoyed the first opening for March Comes in Like a Lion (2016). The first opening is "Answer" (アンサー) by BUMP OF CHICKEN and I have always liked BUMP OF CHICKEN so hearing them do another opening song is always a treat.

The first ending is "Fighter" by BUMP OF CHICKEN; I really enjoyed it a lot. It’s a nice ending song.

The second opening is "Sayōnara Bystander" (さよならバイスタンダー) by YUKI. While it’s a good opening, I like the first opening more.

The second ending is “orion" by Kenshi Yonezu and it’s also a nice ending, but I also like the first ending more.

The second season’s first opening is "Flag o Tatero" (フラッグを立てろ) by YUKI. I do like it a lot but the first season’s opening is still my favorite.

The second opening is "Haru ga Kite Bokura" (春が来てぼくら) by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN. I like this anime opening but the first season’s opening will be my favorite.

The second season’s first ending is "Kafune" (カフネ) by Brian the Sun. It’s a nice ending and I do like it.

The second season’s second ending is “I AM STANDING" by RUANN. I really enjoyed this ending. It sounded very nice.

The soundtrack is fantastic and I really enjoyed the music. It was a very pleasant soundtrack that suited the anime.

Reader Poll

Rei walking home deep in thought.

Rei walking home deep in thought.

It’s very unique; it’s one of the few anime where the Cat’s “Talk” but human’s can’t hear Them

There’s a funny thing about this anime that the housecats talk. This is usually the sort of thing you see in children’s cartoons or anime aimed at children. This anime’s main audience is teenagers and it’s funny to see this sort of thing in an anime aimed at older viewers.

It Deals with Surprisingly Heavy Topics

March Comes in Like a Lion (2016) deals with some surprisingly heavy topics, like depression, illness, and bullying. It also deals with them in a realistic way and I do think that it was nice that it avoided some of the clichés when it comes to bullying. It also showed realistic bullying and defined a lot of tropes associated with dealing with bullies, which I thought was a nice change since there are certain clichés that usually happens in stories with bullying.

It also shows someone overcoming depression in a way that is somewhat idealized but is still realistic when it comes to the portrayal of depression. I think that aspect was very well done.

It also showed a character dealing with an ongoing medical condition and I think that it was shown in an idealized yet realistic way as well.

It Does Take a few episodes to Grab Your Interest

March Comes in Like a Lion (2016) does take a few episodes to really grab your interest. I wasn’t too interested during the first few episodes but it will grab your interest if you’re patient. If you’re not feeling it then you can drop it.

Hinata, Akari and Momo Kawamoto.

Hinata, Akari and Momo Kawamoto.

The Physical Release is Expensive!

AniplexUSA’s physical release is notoriously expensive. Because it’s so expensive I’m not picking up a physical copy of this anime even though I like it a lot. If you’re on a budget you should just stream the anime because it’s legal and if you have Netflix, the English dub is available there as well as the first season for Crunchyroll users, the second season is not available on Crunchyroll in the English dub.

This Anime is Heartfelt and Heartwarming and Worth Watching

I found March Comes in Like a Lion (2016) to be very heartwarming and adorable. The characters were great and while the story of their lives isn’t exciting, I found Rei’s inner struggles to be a very interesting look at people who struggle with depression and how a helping hand from others can pull them out of it.

It may not be the most amazing thing I’ve seen, but it has great production values and it’s an enjoyable anime to watch. It can get a little heavy though.

It’s a very enjoyable anime but it’s too expensive for me to purchase because AniplexUSA’s blu-ray discs are so expensive.

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

An intriguing story, characters and world-building

The slow pacing may cause viweers to lose interest

Nice animation and unique art style

Viewers might not like the slice-of-life genre

Excellent English dub


My Grade: A-

March Comes in Like a Lion (2016) is a fantastic anime in the slice-of-life genre. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope they’ll make more seasons of the anime because the manga is still ongoing. I hope they’ll announce it soon.

I highly recommend this anime because it is very well done and not only in its production values but the characters and story are interesting.

I will not be buying this anime because it’s too expensive and I can’t afford it. But I will recommend streaming it on either Crunchyroll or Netflix if you have access to them.

It’s a very good anime, it’s not perfect but if you want something heartwarming to watch, you’ll enjoy this anime as I did.

My Rating

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