Another masterpiece from the wonderful insightful Chika Umino, the creator of the very successful series Honey and Clover. She really knows how to stir you up in emotions with her unique characters and plot.
Story: What would life be like at the age of seventeen, living on your own with no real family and having to play Shogi to earn a living? This is the life of Rei Kiriyama, who is an introverted quietly awkward boy that’s been through so many traumas in his past, that it makes your heart swell. He is also a professional player of a Japanese board game called Shogi, which gives
him the earning of making a living on his own.
He has scarcely any friends. Among his acquaintances is a family of three sisters, a young woman, Akari, and two young girls, Hinata and Momo, that lost their parents too and who also keep a numerous number of cats. Another person he know from Shogi competitions is Harunobu Nikaidō, which declares he is Rei’s “best friend,” but Rei thinks other wise.
Art: What can I say?! Chika Umino is a beautiful artist that has such a fresh creative way of making Character designs. She has such a unique style that it’s so sweet. She has great detail in her work, it’s just lovely! I give the rating of a 10!
The Characters are so thought out; they feel so human and genuine with so many different kinds of personalities in the series. I just instantly grew to fall in love with them!
I very much enjoyed this Manga, it was insightful, touching, sweet, funny, educational and all in all very wonderfully enjoyable! I can't wait for the next volume, I just want keep on reading this greatly wonderful series!
Ps: This is my first review, so I really don’t know if I did much of good a job at it and I’m sorry for any mistakes I might of made.
The failure of a sports manga, or a sports story, comes when the activity is segregated from human perception and life itself.
There’s one scene in the completely over the top TV series Aoi Honoo where Honoo realizes that the secret to Adaichi Mitsuru’s success as a sports writer was that he wasn’t writing sports manga at all – but school manga. This, to me, is the secret to making a sports story shine – the activity must be an excuse to develop human emotions, because this aspect is where it really sticks inside your head beyond the mere manipulation of parts.
I find the same idea
applies to mystery fiction, although a lot less people have opened up to this. The ingenuity of a trick is only one level, but when it becomes intertwined with heartfelt psychologies – like Isin’s mysteries or Hyouka – you have a way for the work to break its genre boundaries.
Genre exists because people have realized that a certain kind of narrative structure can be abused to invoke certain pleasures inside a human being, and a limited genre writer is basically a person who sticks to a baseline abuse without allowing it to be seen in a different light. I’m not saying this is a bad thing though, since those who pull it off the best will be representative of the genre, but although they win over a certain segment of experience – they cannot ever develop a full scope of it.
So mysteries would be abusive of the pleasure that one gets from a logical twist as well as fitting together disparate elements. Fantasy & Sci-Fi are abusive of the discovery of new worlds, ideas and cultures, while frequently forgetting that merely creating a new culture and explicating on it with high exposition is never going to ground it beyond anything other than a novelty. Slice of Life works on tranquility and nostalgia – but such a mood can be easily dissipated if it doesn’t allow for these moments to build upon one another.
The moment one extracts the core abstract concept of a genre – that allows for it to be broken and utilized, while still retaining the pleasures of the genre itself. This is the core strength of 3-Gatsu no Lion. Like Chihayafuru, it develops the community around the activity and focuses on the lives of these professionals who have devoted themselves to such a narrow scope of activity.
3-Gatsu no Lion’s primary strength as a Manga, and maybe even moreso than Chihayafuru, comes from Umino Chika’s talent for characterization and the kind of sentimental poetic mood that fits Shoujo Manga so perfectly. This gives it that atmosphere of ‘life itself’ – something which may deflect many viewers from enjoying it fully, but gives a resoundingly good payoff should one understand what it’s building up to.
A sign that this approach is working is when you look back upon a character and realize that this character has developed without you realizing it. Like life itself, you suddenly look back on yourself and you have the impression that you were still that person you were before, but somehow everything has been recontextualized – you become surprised at the change. The is more or less what it feels like to see the world through the eyes of Kiriyama Rei – and by the time he achieves his stability later in the manga and comes into his own, you cannot pinpoint any overtly specific moments of development – but can only ambiguously grasp that the accumulation of a variety of experiences has built up and stacked and multiplied themselves against one another to forge him anew.
More importantly, this change happens concurrently with the intersection of lives and other minds that populate the Shogi community Kiriyama is situated in, as well as the characters that inhabit his own personal life. This is vastly different with, for example, the kind of coming-of-age story that an author like Herman Hesse would write, whereby all the other characters serve as symbolic representations for the development of the protagonist (Hesse is still a good writer though, because of how well he does his style of plot).
You can see this development of a community in a similarity between Chihayafuru and 3-Gatsu. Both Manga are willing to take a break from focusing on the young, who are slowly coming into themselves, in order to focus on the struggle between veterans who are finding themselves displaced by the newer generations. This kind of focus on every age bracket and the overall community as a whole is the sign of a work that’s willing to build a larger universe of human feeling beyond its initial premises. Boku no Hero Academia is able to do this to a certain extent, but since it still has its Shounen battle roots to consider, it has yet to break out into a full examination of the community to the extent that something like 3-Gatsu has.
And here is the clear difference between a work that is about ‘loads and loads of characters’ and a work that is about ‘loads and loads of lives’. One seeks to push them like pieces on a Shogi board, towards a certain goal, while the other is willing to take the time to deviate from the goal in order to give it greater meaning. This is a skill that has to be learned – the importance of pause, digression, and atmosphere in developing a story.
Losing your parents at a young age can influence your later life significantly. Luckily for the protagonist Rei, he is taken in by a family. How did it affect his life, and the relations with other people? From the creator of Honey & Clover, comes the manga "3-gatsu no Lion", a slice of life manga which incorporates dramatic elements.
As mentioned earlier, due to Rei losing his parents, his life is thrown upside down. Insecurity and loneliness plagues his everyday life, even when living in an adopted family, being shogi his only scapeway to avoid confronting his new-found life. Obviously showing talent in Shogi, he ranks
up to a professional player, enabling him to move out. Next door a family composed of three sisters live, which have one thing common: both don't have parents. This will enlighten the protagonists mood through this new heartwarming and welcoming neighbours.
It may appear as the main focus of the manga lies in developing the main character as a shogi player; I rather believe it to be play a secondary role in developing and narrating Rei's everyday struggle with life, such as loneliness and his insecurities. Through interactions with different characters, the author manages to flesh out the different main characters as well as developing them subtly through heartwarming, realistic, yet human relationships including their hardships.
To lighten up the atmosphere of the story, humorous moments are introduced through personalities of certain characters, or simple, yet daily situations. The story doesn't focus entirely on Rei: besides of the background stories of secondary characters, and interactions between them, it also incorporates detailed explanations on how Shogi works, as well as providing in-depth explanations at the end of chapters of certain rules or moves on certain matches.
The characters of 3-gatsu no Lion are fleshed out well through background stories and interactions with the cast. However, character development is restricted to the main protagonist, which in turn isn't tremendous either, focusing mainly on exploring his past and behaviour. Nevertheless, through little actions, some of it can be appreciated.
One thing that must be mentioned is the fact that most secondary characters are overly too positive and bright, meaning not acting as realistic as the main characters are. Nevertheless, this in turn provides a good medium to enlighten the overall atmosphere of the manga and enhance the narrative, as I believe its objective isn't to narrate realistic stories, rather a heartwarming tale of a developing young adult.
The art style of 3-gatsu no Lion is well done. The characters are easily distinguishable from each other, even the secondary characters. It must be mentioned that the main character's design is very generic. Backgrounds are detailed and drawn when needed, though at times there were empty panels present. The succession of these panels are not displayed in the usual approach either, which is a nice change.
Overall 3-gatsu no Lion was an enjoyable read, where its main strength lay in portraying human relationships, in which Shogi played a secondary role as a medium to develop the main character. I personally found myself more intrigued in the human relationships and background stories than the game, yet readers that want to have an insight and immerse themselves in Shogi won't be disappointed, as this was shown well.
Sangatsu No Lion is a good manga that is less talked about than many others that it is superior to .
Perhaps it's because of its synopsis which fails at being eye-catching .In any case this is not bad or boring provided you don't dislike slice of life .
On to the review then .
Story - 7
Being slice of life in its purest form ,Sangatsu No Lion doesn't exactly have what you can call a major plot line .This is just the story of a high school shogi pro with family issues .Like a biography ,you cannot exactly pick a point that represents the story even if
it's the ending .That doesn't mean the content is poor or scanty however as his life and troubles are portrayed in a realistic and interesting manner .The score for this aspect of the manga could be seen as higher by some though I think 7 is the lowest possible score it should be given since it isn't plot driven .Calling it a 9 would not be something I say is incomprehensible though .
Art - 7
Another difficult part to judge .The art might be seen by some as rough and not very neat while others might see it as good for the story's presentation .Sangatsu No Lion's drawings are not terrible though calling them excellent seems to be a stretch .In any case this is one of those things you have to see for yourself to judge and as it depends on your preferences I cannot but give it a score of 7 in relation to other manga .
Character - 8
This is the manga's strong point .Being a drama SoL it depicts it's characters realistically .No plainly drab or boring characters to spoil the appeal of the series ,no ridiculously unbelievable characters to ruin it either .It does what it does well and that is enough .The MC especially is well fleshed out and can be understood .Some characters might be seen as slightly unrealistic by some but I don't think it affects the quality if this work .
Enjoyment - 8
In terms of enjoyment I'd give this an 8 .It's a good read especially if you enjoy slice of life .To be honest this kind of manga isn't what I usually read and so I'm quite impressed by it .Don't worry about the synopsis and read it .
Overall - 8
The above ratings might put you off but I think this is a manga that can essentially be seen as greater than the sum of its parts .Drama/SoL lovers should like this especially .
Instead of a review, i think i will just be preaching about my favourite manga, cause i honestly love sangatsu too damn much. I think manga really is a very interesting medium, combining the best aspects of books and films. While books is able to vividly describe the wonders that can be shelved under without much thought in images, images however, is much easier to consume and can still pack quite a punch in conveying feelings. I think manga is a perfect balance of these two aspects and that Sangatsu was truly able to ultilise them in perfect harmony.
There is unique and impactful use
of metaphors to convey strong emotions. Though what really excelled is the excellent use of panelling in the manga. You would almost never see a bland white background as there will always be amazing sceneries or thematic backgrounds such as the use of the river to underly the emotions of the characters. Every single page is filled with so much fun details to seek out and they add more to the story the more times you read it. The sort of messy yet cutesy design of characters and their expressions really makes me fall in love with them just on sight.
Though enough about how the manga is drawn, the characters are where the linchpin is at. This story is about Rei. I have seen many who confuses this story as one about Rei and the sisters but i don't believe i is true. The shogi aspects of Rei, the times in the Kawamoto household and the events in his own school all culminate into Rei's own experiences and lessons as he learns to become a stronger individual in all the aspects in his life. I don't know why but these types of story just warms my soul, knowing how far he has come from the beginning . The sisters, what can i say, they are the most cheerful bunch of sunshine i have ever laid my eyes on. Every moment with them is like a ride in the amusement park and this can be said for many of the characters in the shogi association and Rei's school as well. Each of them just have such unique and fun personalities which mix and mash way to well. Though that isn't to say hey don't grow like Rei did, because there are certain arcs in the story when they come out to the spotlight as well *ahem the bullying arc*.
I really can't do this story justice and it hurts my soul just thinking about it. I only have a single advice to anyone who was even slightly interested in reading this. Enjoy your ride, Sangatsu is meant to be a manga where you absorb everything and truly embrace each of the characters wholeheartedly. Sure some aspects might bore you a little, but don't fret, just trust me when i say every of those aspect ties into the story for a much richer reading experience. But since it is also a slice of life, knock your socks off and enjoy this with some tea too. I hope you will love it as much as i do.
March Comes In Like a Lion has skyrocketed into my top 10 list of anime and manga at blinding speeds. There is so much about it to talk about because it is a story that encompasses so much.
I have a hard time trying to explain to people what the plot is about. Yes, it is a story of a young shogi player that lives off of the earnings of his matches, but it is so much more. On one hand it is about the lives of professional shogi players everywhere and all the mentality, personality and back story that has built up each of them
to the person they are today. On the other hand its a story about family, with the healing of the main character's and the Kawamoto family's past familial trauma through the experiences they share. You could also say that it's about a lonely kid way in over his head trying to deal with the stress of living by himself and his battles with loneliness, depression, and purpose. It's all of these in one. The story is told in small arcs that span the length of a few chapters at a time, usually dealing with a shogi match, the MC's history, or his time with the Kawamoto family, all of which connect to major themes and character growth throughout the story.
A large part of the appeal of this series to me is the way that Chica Umino, the author, writes and panels. It's filled to the brim with metaphors and inner thoughts to the point where you start to not just understand the characters, but start to deeply empathize with them as well. You can feel the weight that each match brings to every professional shogi player because you get the chance to see into their past and see what they are thinking in the present. Very rarely do I get to see characterization as good as this. Umino gives side characters more motivation and depth than many main characters get in more popular series, and it just makes for a wholly refreshing experience.
The characters are the absolute highlight of the story. Every emotional beat and lesson learned is always tied to a character undergoing growth. Maybe it's the MC seeing how far his self-proclaimed rival push himself just because he loves the game so much, or maybe its one of the Kawamoto sisters learning the evils of bullying first hand, but each character interaction leaves the reader with a very real sense of what the characters themselves are feeling. It's hard to describe just how poignant it is without actually reading the story oneself. Every character is cute, charming or funny in their own rights, and all have distinct personalities for the reader to get to learn.
The art is different that what most people would be used to, but it really rubs of on you as you read more.
Overall I can't say how much I enjoy this manga enough. For someone who loves to see character growth and to understand what it's like to be in the shoes of each character, I absolutely adored this manga. I will say that it is not for everyone, especially if you're looking for something light to read, but it is an absolute masterclass of characterization and strong storytelling in general
One of the best manga I've ever read. The story, Art, potraying the emotions of characters in such a wonderful style. Really Beautiful.
The story of a teenage boy who has already started living in the world of adults and still trying to find the emotions and life that a normal teenager goes through.. Beautiful story indeed.. There are so many characters with different personality and background and the manga goes through everyone's story, delivering it in a level that seems as important as a protagonist. Writer really did a good job vis a vis this aspect. The Art style is simple and yet
detailed and mesmerizing.
I started reading Manga from chapter 90, where the second season of anime concluded. I was really surprised that manga delivered the same level of calmness, excitement, anxiety and happiness the anime did, even more i could say.
I feel very conflicted about this series. Because I think what it does, it does well. Really well, even. But I often found myself very irritated while reading it. Why? One thing: the way this manga changes direction very abruptly, going into long arcs on new topics. (I will go into what those topics are here, if you consider that spoilers, but I won't give any spoiler-y details about what exactly happens.)
It starts off mainly about three things: shogi, Kiriyama's family/past, and the sisters he meets and builds bonds with. So far so good. I think it gives you a
little of each, never too much on one thing. Felt like a good ol' slice of life showing Kiriyama's day, his life both current and past, and going into his emotions/mind. (And on that note, I REALLY like how deep this series gets into his feelings and mental state.)
All of a sudden, the manga is about school bullying for an extended arc. Now, look - I'm not saying this segment isn't well done, because it absolutely is. But to me, it felt like a very abrupt and lengthy change of direction. It could have been a totally different series - but it sort of works, since it ties in Kiriyama's past and current events. Okay, we'll give it a pass. But at this point, I'm a little bothered. I definitely like this segment on its own, but I'm not so sure I like it as part of the whole.
So we're back to shogi now! Cool, I'm one of the people that really like the shogi parts. Get a bit further along though, and suddenly (and here is what I think is the biggest shift) - this becomes a romance manga. And I know the community was a fairly divided on whether or not they wanted the romance direction. I did not want it, but I don't hate it or anything. But my point is - suddenly, for a lengthy number of chapters, the manga is about romance. Once again, kind of felt like I could have been reading a different series. But also once again, it sort of works; it's showing more emotional development. But I'm even more bothered at this point.
Then BAM - from romance to shogi again! I saw people's reactions online at this particular shift and saw two sentiments: "At least these chapters go fast because I just skip all the shogi" and "I would much rather it focus on shogi and drop the romance crap". And it absolutely makes sense to me that you'd end up with people feeling strongly in both of these directions, given how the manga is written with these sudden shifts.
Certainly, there are a number of people, perhaps even the majority, that enjoy every aspect of this manga fully, and don't mind the direction changes. Maybe, they even like them - I mean, this series is rated at an 8.64 at the time of my review. But for me, when trying to figure out how I felt about this series on the whole, I ultimately decided that I feel like it's trying to do too much.
I do like this series. Enough to keep reading new chapters and to see where it continues in the future, enough to watch more of the anime adaptation when/if it comes out. But I can't bring myself to give it higher than a 7/10. If I take bits and pieces of the manga on their own, it would probably be a 9. But as a whole, it just doesn't quite work for me.