March Comes in Like a Lion

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March Comes in Like a Lion
Sangatsu no Lion.jpg
The cover of the first chapter in Young Animal
(Sangatsu no Raion)
Genre Sports (Shōgi), Comedy, Drama
Written by Chica Umino
Published by Hakusensha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Young Animal
Original run July 13, 2007 – ongoing
Volumes 11
Anime television series
Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo
Studio Shaft
Network NHK
Original run October 2016scheduled
Anime and Manga portal

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.[1][2] It began serialization in Hakusensha's seinen manga magazine Young Animal from its fourteenth issue in 2007 (published on July 13, 2007).[3] A television commercial announcing the series was aired by Hakusensha on numerous Japanese television stations, which was also posted on its official website.[1] Eleven tankōbon volumes of the series have been released. A television anime adaptation has been announced and is scheduled to air in October 2016.[4][5]


The series is set in Tokyo, following the everyday life of a 17-year-old shōgi player, Rei (lit. "Zero").[1] 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.[2]

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, and who also keep a numerous number of cats.


Main characters[edit]

Rei Kiriyama (桐山 零 Kiriyama Rei?)
The protagonist of the series. 17 years old. A five dan, Rei became a professional shōgi player while in middle school. 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 after 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).
Akari Kawamoto (川本 あかり Kawamoto Akari?)
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".
Hinata Kawamoto (川本 ひなた Kawamoto Hinata?)
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.
Momo Kawamoto (川本 モモ Kawamoto Momo?)
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".

Kōda family[edit]

Kōda (幸田?)
Rei's shōgi teacher. 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.
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 exercing a negative influence on him by disencouraging him on purpose before his official matches and still lived with her family.
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[edit]

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 in poor health. He is from a good family. He is modelled after actual real-life shōgi player Satoshi Murayama.
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.
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.

Other characters[edit]

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 wishes to proceed to a high school in Shikoku to participate in the kōshien baseball tournament.
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. 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 taken 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 when Rei becomes lonely.
Misaki (美咲?)
The aunt of the three Kawamoto sisters. She, helped by Akari, manages a bar in Ginza called "Misaki".
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.


The series has been serialized by Hakusensha in Young Animal since 2007 in issue #14. It has been collected in eleven bound volumes


In 2009, the series was nominated for the 2nd Annual Manga Taishō,[7] and it won this award in 2011.[8] Also in 2011 it won the Kodansha Manga Award in the general category (shared with Chūya Koyama's Space Brothers).[9] In 2014, it won the Grand Prize of the 18th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.[10]


External links[edit]