March Comes in like a Lion
|March Comes in like a Lion|
The cover of the first chapter in Young Animal
(Sangatsu no Raion)
|Genre||Sports (Shōgi), Comedy, Drama|
|Written by||Chica Umino|
|Original run||July 13, 2007 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Akiyuki Shinbo|
|Music by||Yukari Hashimoto|
|Original run||October 2016 – scheduled|
March Comes in like a Lion (Japanese: 3月のライオン Hepburn: Sangatsu no Raion?, lit. March Lion; alternatively called Sangatsu no Lion or 3gatsu no Lion) is an ongoing manga series by Chica Umino, best known for Honey and Clover. It began serialization in Hakusensha's seinen manga magazine Young Animal from its fourteenth issue in 2007 (published on July 13, 2007). Hakusensha aired a television commercial announcing the series on numerous Japanese television stations, also posting it on its official website. Eleven tankōbon volumes of the series have been released. A television anime adaptation by Shaft is scheduled to air in October 2016.
The series is set in Tokyo, following the everyday life of a 17-year-old shōgi player, Rei (lit. "Zero"). While describing the series, Umino noted that she based the setting of March Comes in like a Lion on research she conducted herself, whereas in her earlier and most famous work, Honey and Clover, she had already been familiar with its setting.
The protagonist Rei is a 17-year-old professional shōgi player, who lives by himself, not having a real family, and has scarcely any friends. Among his acquaintances is a family, which consists of a young woman, Akari, and two young girls, Hinata and Momo, who also keep a number of cats.
- Rei Kiriyama (桐山 零 Kiriyama Rei?)
- Voiced by: Kengo Kawanishi
- The protagonist of the series. 17 years old. A five dan in the beginning of the series, he is later promoted to six dan. Rei became a professional shōgi player while in middle school and his achievemants soon make of him one of the most promising players of his generation. His parents and sister died in a traffic accident, and after that he was taken care of by his father's friend Kōda and became his apprentice in shōgi. After becoming a professional shōgi player and completing middle school, he became independent of him and decided not to attend high school. After feeling a "need" to attend school however, Rei later joined a high school after a one-year delay. He lives in the city of Rokugatsu-chō (June town). Rei is potrayed by Ryunosuke Kamiki in the film.
- Akari Kawamoto (川本 あかり Kawamoto Akari?)
- Voiced by: Ai Kayano
- A resident of Sangatsu-chō (March town), she is the eldest of three sisters. Her mother died and subsequently she took care of two younger sisters. In the mornings, she helps her elderly grandfather run a traditional wagashi (Japanese confectionery) shop, Mikazuki-dō, while in the evenings, she works as a hostess for a bar in Ginza, Misaki, which her aunt manages. She often calls Rei "Rei-kun". Akari is potrayed by Kana Kurashina in the film.
- Hinata Kawamoto (川本 ひなた Kawamoto Hinata?)
- Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa
- The second of the three sisters. A middle school student. She sleeps in late in the mornings till the very last minute and often makes bentos by herself. She calls Rei "Rei-chan". Like her elder sister Akari, she likes taking care of Rei, who develops romantic feelings for her as the series progresses. Later she graduates from middle school and enrolls at the same high school where Rei studies. Hinata is potrayed by Kaya Kiyohara in the film.
- Momo Kawamoto (川本 モモ Kawamoto Momo?)
- Voiced by: Misaki Kuno
- The youngest of the three sisters. A preschool student, she attends a daycare center. Pure and innocent, she has a bit of a selfish streak at times. Her favorite anime character is Bodoro (modelled on My Neighbour Totoro's Totoro). She calls Rei "Rei-chan". Momo is portrayed by Chise Niitsu in the film.
- Masachika Kōda (幸田 柾近 Kōda Masachika?)
- Rei's shōgi teacher, a pro eight dan. He was both Rei's father's friend and rival in shōgi. He cared for Rei like he did for his children and taught him shōgi. Kōda Eight Dan is portrayed by Etsushi Toyokawa in the film.
- Kyōko Kōda (幸田 香子 Kōda Kyōko?)
- Kōda's daughter. She is four years older than Rei. Beautiful and hot tempered, Kyōko seems to hold a grudge on Rei as she has the habit of exerting a negative influence on him by discouraging him on purpose before his official matches and still lived with her family. She appears to be in love with Masamune Gotō Nine Dan, a married man 20 years her senior.
- Ayumu Kōda (幸田 歩 Kōda Ayumu?)
- Kōda's son and Kyōko's younger brother. He is of the same age as Rei. After losing to Rei in shōgi, he stopped playing at all, and afterwards started confining himself to his room and only playing video games.
Professional shōgi players
- Harunobu Nikaidō (二海堂 晴信 Nikaidō Harunobu?)
- Rei's self-proclaimed "best friend" and "lifelong rival". A four dan, he has played with Rei since they were children. Even though he might appear to be healthy, he is in fact chronically ill. He is from a good family. He is modelled after actual real-life shōgi player Satoshi Murayama.
- Kai Shimada (島田 開 Shimada Kai?)
- In his late 30s, of the same age as Tōji Sōya. Eight dan. He is a senior fellow student of Nikaidō, who he takes care of like his own little brother. He is a gentle tempered person and is naturally inclined to look after younger shōgi players. But he is also an incredibly tough soldier in shōgi. He hosts the "Shimada shōgi study groups", which he invited Rei to join. He originally comes from a rural area. In his youth, he had to work long hours on the farm and relied on his fellow villagers' donations to support his shōgi study in Tokyo. He had to break up with his girlfriend since they were unable to maintain a long-distance relationship and he didn't want to give up his shōgi career. Shimada is portrayed by Kuranosuke Sasaki in the film.
- Masamune Gotō (後藤 正宗 Gotō Masamune?)
- In his early 40s. Nine dan. A tall and muscular man with a stern and frightening face. His wife is ill and seems to have been hospitalized for a long time. He was a younger fellow pupil of Masachika Kōda, whose daughter Kyōko he appears to have a very complicated relationship with, though he calls her a "stalker". Rei sees him as a main antagonist in life for he thinks Gotō is having an affair with Kyōko and breaking her heart. He is generally very forthright and impatient to a point of being arrogant, but he also doesn't hesitant to stand up for Shimada when he overhears some other players making demeaning comments about him. Gotō is portrayed by Hideaki Ito in the film.
- Tōji Sōya (宗谷 冬司 Sōya Tōji?)
- The current meijin. He has longed for a rival like Rei. Similar to Rei, he became a professional shōji player in middle school and several players who faced both pointed that their playing styles are very similar. He became the youngest ever meijin at age 21. Later in the story it's revealed that he has intermittent hearing loss due to unknown cause. He is portrayed by Ryo Kase in the film.
- Issa Matsumoto (松本 一砂 Matsumoto Issa?)
- 26 years old. Five dan. He is 181 centimeters tall. A quite expressive and enthusiastic person, he can be aggressive at times as well. He comes from the countryside. He is a fan of Akari.
- Tatsuyuki Misumi (三角 龍雪 Misumi Tatsuyuki?)
- 26 years old. Six dan. He is often called "Sumisu" (for "Smith"). He is 180 centimeters tall. A bit aloof, he gets along well with Matsumoto.
- Shōichi Matsunaga (松永 正一 Matsunaga Shōichi?)
- 65 years old. A seven dan. He is a veteran who has been a professional shōgi player for over 40 years. He comes from Fukushima.
- Yasui (安井?)
- A six dan. Upon losing a match, he lost his temper, thus resulting in him divorcing his wife.
- Yūsuke Takahashi (高橋 勇介 Takahashi Yūsuke?)
- A middle school student. A childhood friend and classmate of Hinata's, they are quite close to each other. He is the son of a milkman. He is the ace of his school's baseball team and aims to be a pro. Since Rei became a shōgi pro in middle school, Yūsuke greatly looks up to him. In order to realize his dream to become a professional, he moves to a high school in Shikoku seeking to participate in the kōshien baseball tournament, much to Hinata's sadness.
- Someji Kawamoto (川本 相米二 Kawamoto Someji?)
- The grandfather of the three Kawamoto sisters. He runs a traditional wagashi shop, Mikazuki-dō. Even though he may appear to be unexpressive, he actually dotes on his grandchildren a lot, in particular Momo, and aims to live long enough to send them away for their marriages. Along with Akari, he likes to watch over Rei.
- Hanaoka (花岡?)
- The butler of the Nikaidō family, who has been in continuous service for them for over 45 years. A gentle and kind elderly man, he has been taking care of Harunobu ever since he was a baby.
- Takashi Hayashida (林田 高志 Hayashida Takashi?)
- A teacher of the high school where Rei decided to join. He is a big fan of shōji and regularly reads shōgi magazines. He is the only one in the high school who had heard of Rei being a professional shōgi player though when he first knew of him joining, he presumed he only had the same surname. He speaks in a very friendly manner with Rei and is often concerned with his wellbeing, always thinking of ways to help him socialize with others.
- Misaki (美咲?)
- The aunt of the three Kawamoto sisters. She, helped by Akari, manages a bar in Ginza called "Misaki".
- The father of the three Kawamoto sisters. He left them and their mother when Momo was still a baby to live with another woman and returns several years later, after a long time without contacting them once. Once Misaki warns Rei about him, Rei makes his own investigation about Seijirō and discovers that he kept leading an irresponsible life, involving himself with other women and abandoning them on his own whim, just like he did with Akari, Hinata and Momo's mother. After Rei exposes Seijirō, the sisters reject his plea to raise their half-sister, daughter of one of his other women, and he leaves with her to never return.
- The cats
- The three cats of the Kawamoto household. The first two cats, the black and white and orange ones, were the first two gathered, while the white cat is a new arrival. Their names are unknown. They are big-eyed and always apparently hungry. The third cat looks strikingly like an owl.
- Volume 1: ISBN 978-4-592-14511-0, published 2008-02-22
- Volume 2: ISBN 978-4-592-14512-7, published 2008-11-19 (features alternative cover by Berserk manga artist Kentarō Miura)
- Volume 3: ISBN 978-4-592-14513-4, published 2009-08-12
- Volume 4: ISBN 978-4-592-14514-1, published 2010-04-09
- Volume 5: ISBN 978-4-592-14515-8, published 2010-11-26
- Volume 6: ISBN 978-4-592-14516-5, published 2011-07-22
- Volume 7: ISBN 978-4-592-14517-2, published 2012-03-23
- Volume 8: ISBN 978-4-592-14518-9, published 2012-12-14
- Volume 9: ISBN 978-4-592-14519-6, published 2013-09-27
- Volume 10: ISBN 978-4-592-14520-2, published 2014-11-28
- Volume 11: ISBN 978-4-592-14521-9, published 2015-09-25
A television anime adaptation was announced in the Young Animal magazine's 19th issue of 2015 on September 25, 2015. The 22-episode series is produced by Shaft and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, featuring character designs by Nobuhiro Sugiyama and music composed by Yukari Hashimoto. Bump of Chicken will perform both the anime's opening and ending theme songs. It is scheduled to air in October 2016 on NHK.
In 2009, the series was nominated for the 2nd Annual Manga Taishō, and it won this award in 2011. Also in 2011 it won the Kodansha Manga Award in the general category (shared with Chūya Koyama's Space Brothers). In 2014, it won the Grand Prize of the 18th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.
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