March Comes in like a Lion

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This article is about the manga and anime. For the live-action film adaptation, see March Comes in like a Lion (film).
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 – present
Volumes 12 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by
Written by Yukito Kizawa
Music by Yukari Hashimoto
Studio Shaft
Licensed by
Original network NHK
Original run October 8, 2016 – present
Episodes 22 (List of episodes)
Live-action films
Wikipe-tan face.svg 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]

Hakusensha aired a television commercial announcing the series on numerous Japanese television stations, also posting it on its official website.[1] Twelve tankōbon volumes of the series have been released as of January 2017. A television anime adaptation by Shaft aired between October 8, 2016 and March 18, 2017 on NHK, with a second season scheduled to premiere in October 2017.[4][5][6] A two-part live action film adaptation of the same name is scheduled for release in March and April 2017.


The series is set in Tokyo, following the everyday life of a 17-year-old shōgi player, Rei (lit. "Zero").[1] Umino based the setting of March Comes in like a Lion on research she conducted herself, whereas she was already familiar with the setting for her earlier work, Honey and Clover.[2]

Rei is a 17-year-old professional shōgi player who lives by himself. He is estranged from his family and has scarcely any friends. Among his acquaintances is a family which consists of a young woman—Akari Kawamoto—and her younger sisters—Hinata and Momo—who also keep several cats. As the story progresses, Rei deals with his maturing as a player and as a person, while developing his relationships with others, especially the Kawamoto sisters.


Main characters[edit]

Rei Kiriyama (桐山 零, Kiriyama Rei?)
Voiced by: Kengo Kawanishi[7]
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 achievements 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 portrayed by Ryunosuke Kamiki in the film.
Akari Kawamoto (川本 あかり, Kawamoto Akari?)
Voiced by: Ai Kayano[7]
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 portrayed by Kana Kurashina in the film.
Hinata Kawamoto (川本 ひなた, Kawamoto Hinata?)
Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa[7]
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. (In chapter 104 of the manga, she heard Rei declare his intent to marry her in the future, though she later writes this off as a lie to silence her father) Later she graduates from middle school and enrolls at the same high school where Rei studies. Hinata is portrayed by Kaya Kiyohara in the film.
Momo Kawamoto (川本 モモ, Kawamoto Momo?)
Voiced by: Misaki Kuno[7]
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.

Kōda family[edit]

Masachika Kōda (幸田 柾近, Kōda Masachika?)
Voiced by: Tōru Ōkawa[8]
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?)
Voiced by: Marina Inoue[8]
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[edit]

Harunobu Nikaidō (二海堂 晴信, Nikaidō Harunobu?)
Voiced by: Nobuhiko Okamoto[6]
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?)
Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki[8]
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?)
Voiced by: Akira Ishida[8]
The current meijin. He has longed for a rival like Rei. Similar to Rei, he became a professional shōgi 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?)
Voiced by: Subaru Kimura[8]
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?)
Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita[8]
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?)
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya[8]
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?)
Voiced by: Shigeru Chiba[8]
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?)
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai[8]
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.



The series has been serialized by Hakusensha in Young Animal since 2007 in issue #14. As of September 29, 2016, the series has been collected in twelve tankōbon volumes.[9]

Volume list[edit]

No. Release date ISBN
1 February 22, 2008[10] ISBN 978-4-59-214511-0
2 November 28, 2008[11][a] ISBN 978-4-59-214512-7
3 August 12, 2009[13] ISBN 978-4-59-214513-4
4 April 9, 2010[14] ISBN 978-4-59-214514-1
5 November 26, 2010[15] ISBN 978-4-59-214515-8
6 July 22, 2011[16] ISBN 978-4-59-214516-5
7 March 23, 2012[17] ISBN 978-4-59-214517-2
8 December 14, 2012[18] ISBN 978-4-59-214518-9
9 September 27, 2013[19] ISBN 978-4-59-214519-6
10 November 28, 2014[20] ISBN 978-4-59-214520-2
11 September 25, 2015[21] ISBN 978-4-59-214521-9
12 September 29, 2016[9] ISBN 978-4-59-214522-6


An anime television series adaptation was announced in the Young Animal magazine's 19th issue of 2015 on September 25, 2015.[22] The 22-episode[23] series is produced by Shaft and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, featuring character designs by Nobuhiro Sugiyama and music composed by Yukari Hashimoto.[5][24] The anime's first opening and ending theme songs are performed by Bump of Chicken,[25] titled "Answer" and "Fighter", respectively.[26] Yuki will perform the series' second opening theme song, titled "Goodbye Bystander", while Kenshi Yonezu will perform the series' second ending theme song, titled "Orion".[27]

It began airing on October 8, 2016 on NHK and finished airing on March 18, 2017 with a total of 22 episodes.[6] The series has been licensed by Aniplex of America and Anime Limited for North America and the United Kingdom, respectively.[28][29] Crunchyroll simulcasted the series in their Fall 2016 line-up [30] A second season was announced at the end of the first season's final episode, which is scheduled to premiere in October 2017.[31]

Episode list[edit]

No. Official English title[b]
Original Japanese title[32]
Original air date[32]
1 "Rei Kiriyama"
"Kiriyama Rei" (桐山 零)
October 8, 2016
"The Town Along the River"
"Kawazoi no Machi" (河沿いの町)
2 "Akari"
"Akari" (あかり)
October 15, 2016
"Beyond the Bridge"
"Hashi no Mukō" (橋の向こう)
3 "Harunobu"
"Harunobu" (晴信)
October 22, 2016
"Beyond the Night Sky"
"Yozora no Mukō" (夜空のむこう)
4 "Hina"
"Hina" (ひな)
October 29, 2016
"Buiesu" (ブイエス)
5 "Agreement"
"Keiyaku" (契約)
November 5, 2016
"Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
"Kakkō no Su no Ue de" (カッコーの巣の上で)
6 "Child of God (Part 1)"
"Kamisama no Kodomo (Ichi)" (神さまの子供 1)
November 12, 2016
"Child of God (Part 2)"
"Kamisama no Kodomo (Ni)" (神さまの子供 2)
"Child of God (Part 3)"
"Kamisama no Kodomo (San)" (神さまの子供 3)
7 "Important Things. Important Matters."
"Taisetsu na Mono. Taisetsu na Koto." (大切なもの。大切なこと。)
November 19, 2016
"Teach Me How to Play Shogi"
"Shōgi Oshiete" (将棋おしえて)
8 "Image"
"Omokage" (面影)
December 3, 2016
"Distant Thunder (Part 1)"
"Enrai (Ichi)" (遠雷 1)
9 "Distant Thunder (Part 2)"
"Enrai (Ni)" (遠雷 2)
December 10, 2016
"Distant Thunder (Part 3)"
"Enrai (San)" (遠雷 3)
10 "Something Given (Part 1)"
"Okurareta Mono (Ichi)" (贈られたもの 1)
December 17, 2016
"Something Given (Part 2)"
"Okurareta Mono (Ni)" (贈られたもの 2)
11 "The Old Year"
"Yuku Toshi" (ゆく年)
December 24, 2016
"The New Year"
"Kuru Toshi" (くる年)
11.5 "Omnibus Special Episode"
"Zenhan Sōshūhen" (前半総集編)
December 29, 2016
12 "What Lies on the Opposite Shore"
"Taigan ni Aru Mono" (対岸にあるもの)
January 7, 2017
"Black River (Part 1)"
"Kuroi Kawa (Ichi)" (黒い河 1)
13 "Black River (Part 2)"
"Kuroi Kawa (Ni)" (黒い河 2)
January 14, 2017
"Beyond the Door"
"Tobira no Mukō" (扉の向こう)
14 "Blinding Darkness"
"Mabushii Yami" (まぶしい闇)
January 21, 2017
"Just a Little Water"
"Honno Sukoshi no Mizu" (ほんの少しの水)
15 "Moonlight"
"Gekkō" (月光)
January 28, 2017
"Lump of Ego"
"Jiga no Katamari" (自我のカタマリ)
16 "Running Through the Night"
"Yoru o Kakeru" (夜を駆ける)
February 4, 2017
"Middle of the Slope"
"Saka no Tochū" (坂の途中)
17 "Silver Thread"
"Gin no Ito" (銀の糸)
February 11, 2017
"Water's Surface"
"Suimen" (水面)
"Base of the Blue Night"
"Aoi Yoru no Soko" (青い夜の底)
18 "Torrent"
"Honryū" (奔流)
February 18, 2017
"Passing Time"
"Heru Toki" (経る時)
19 "Passing the Night"
"Yoru o Iku" (夜を往く)
February 25, 2017
"Kyoto (Part 1)"
"Kyōto (Ichi)" (京都 1)
20 "Kyoto (Part 2)"
"Kyōto (Ni)" (京都 2)
March 4, 2017
"Kyoto (Part 3)"
"Kyōto (San)" (京都 3)
21 "When the Cherry Blossoms Bloom"
"Sakura no Hana no Saku Koro" (桜の花の咲く頃)
March 11, 2017
"Small Murmur"
"Chīsana Tsubuyaki" (小さなつぶやき)
22 "New School Term"
"Shingakki" (新学期)
March 18, 2017
"Faitā" (ファイター)

Live-action films[edit]

A two-part live action film adaptation of the same name directed by Keishi Ōtomo (ja), starring Ryunosuke Kamiki and distributed by Toho and Asmik Ace is scheduled for release in 2017 in two parts, with the first part scheduled for March 18 and the second scheduled for April 22.[33][34][35]


In 2009, the series was nominated for the 2nd Annual Manga Taishō,[36] and it won this award in 2011.[37] Also in 2011 it won the Kodansha Manga Award in the general category (shared with Chūya Koyama's Space Brothers).[38] In 2014, it won the Grand Prize of the 18th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.[39]


  1. ^ The second volume of the manga featured an alternate cover illustrated by Berserk manga artist Kentarō Miura[12]
  2. ^ All English titles are taken from Crunchyroll.


  1. ^ a b c "Chika Umino, Kazuhiro Kumagai, Shokotan's Newest Manga". Anime News Network. 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  2. ^ a b "Honey & Clover's Umino to Start Manga in Young Animal". Anime News Network. 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  3. ^ "Honey & Clover's Chika Umino's Latest to Start July 13". Anime News Network. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  4. ^ "Madoka Magica's Akiyuki Simbo Helms March comes in like a lion Anime at Shaft Studio". Anime News Network. 2016-01-05. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  5. ^ a b "Shaft's March comes in like a lion TV Anime Premieres in Fall". Anime News Network. 2016-01-07. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "March comes in like a lion Anime Premieres on October 8". Anime News Network. 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2016-09-02. 
  7. ^ a b c d "March comes in like a lion TV Anime's Cast, October Premiere Revealed". Anime News Network. 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2016-07-21. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "March comes in like a lion Anime Casts Marina Inoue, Takahiro Sakurai, More". Anime News Network. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  9. ^ a b 3月のライオン 12 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  10. ^ 3月のライオン 1 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  11. ^ 3月のライオン 2 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  12. ^ "March Comes in Like a Lion's Cover by Berserk's Miura". Anime News Network. 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  13. ^ 3月のライオン 3 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  14. ^ 3月のライオン 4 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  15. ^ 3月のライオン 5 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  16. ^ 3月のライオン 6 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  17. ^ 3月のライオン 7 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  18. ^ 3月のライオン 8 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  19. ^ 3月のライオン 9 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  20. ^ 3月のライオン 10 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  21. ^ 3月のライオン 11 (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  22. ^ "March comes in like a lion Manga Gets TV Anime, Live-Action Film". Anime News Network. 2015-09-19. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  23. ^ "Shaft's March comes in like a lion Anime Listed With 22 Episodes". Anime News Network. 2016-07-15. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  24. ^ "SHAFT's March comes in like a lion Anime Reveals Main Staff". Anime News Network. 2016-03-24. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  25. ^ "Bump of Chicken to Perform March comes in like a lion Anime Theme Songs". Anime News Network. 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  26. ^ "March comes like a lion TV Anime's Promo Video Previews Bump of Chicken's Song". Anime News Network. 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  27. ^ "Yuki, Kenshi Yonezu to Perform March comes in like a lion Anime's New Theme Songs". Anime News Network. 2016-12-08. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  28. ^ "Aniplex USA Licenses March comes in like a lion, Occultic;Nine Anime". Anime News Network. 2016-10-02. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  29. ^ "Newswire #94 - 4th Nov 2016". Anime Limited. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  30. ^ "March Comes in Like A Lion – Release, PV, Key Visual, News & Characters Designs". Nagame Digital. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  31. ^ "March comes in like a lion Manga Gets 2nd TV Anime Series in October". Anime News Network. March 18, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  32. ^ a b "STORY". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  33. ^ "Live-Action March comes in like a lion Films' Additional Cast, March & April Openings Revealed". Anime News Network. September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  34. ^ "3月のライオン 前編". (in Japanese). Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  35. ^ "3月のライオン 後編". (in Japanese). Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  36. ^ "10 Titles Nominated for 2nd Manga Taisho Awards". Anime News Network. 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  37. ^ "Umino's March comes in like a lion Wins Manga Taisho". Anime News Network. 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  38. ^ "March comes in like a lion, Space Bros. Win Kodansha Manga Awards". Anime News Network. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  39. ^ "March comes in like a lion Wins 18th Tezuka Osamu Prizes' Top Award". Anime News Network. 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2014-07-30. 

External links[edit]