A Short Note on 3-gatsu no Lion
3-gatsu no lion, also known as Sangatsu no Lion or March Comes in like a Lion is not just a story to tell. It is an opera of words. Something that can’t be enlightened to until it is observed. It plays with words that tickle our heart and twitch our brain and watching it I often felt warmth in my heart and a cold blaze at my feet. There are very few shows that have made me submerge as deep as 3-gatsu . The show focuses not on delivering extreme impacts but creating moods to empathize with.
The aura of the show causes dizziness and many scenes are hypnotic. Words are pointy to some of life’s darkness and yet are simple enough to grasp. And all together they manifest a world of subconsciousness where one can float without any worries or discomfort. Anime is basically a safe zone from circumstances and conflicts of reality. We watch anime to escape from our own personal reality, imagine ourselves in a fictional world, breaking ourselves out of our four walls of impermeable shadow. We laugh on their joy, remorse to their sorrow, feel as if we’re fighting alongside with them in battles. And 3-gatsu has the very essence of it. It is a weekly show which makes it possible to escape from all those confusions and anxiety that other shows often creates. This intention of the show also reflects through Rei’s desires as he desperately finds his way back at trio sisters’ motherly household.
Becoming a professional shōgi player while in middle school, Rei’s achievements soon make of him one of the most promising players of his generation.
Alluring with charming monologues they often obliviate us of what we had expected. Every speech was designed to stand on its own and strike to capture us in its dilemma. Words are the root of a story. No matter how thrilling a story is, without the right choice of words it can collapse, leaving many angles unexplored, confusing us whether we were right or not. Although there are stories which intentionally hide them to make the viewers cook their own alternatives but plant clues in words to take viewers to the truth, our story here has the simplest form of presentation. It never plays with us, never hide, never pretends. It’s like a box of colorful candies, each having a distinct taste. You can never guess what comes next. Each episode is separated in three chapters and each chapter is a cocktail of delight and despair.
Every living being has feelings, even cats and dogs and Studio Shaft has beautifully expressed them with its utmost intensity, taking even a step further on adding amusing SFX to walls’ and doors’ expressions as if they were alive. These small gestures gave every part of that world a reason to exist, not just some details. Like that time when Momo been chased by a dog and the dog kept saying “cute”. How a horrifying situation for Momo turned into relish for us. Even expressions are subtitled on the screen to through an impact. In a way, a show with so little going can evolve into a beast.
Even in deep despair, they exhibit a way to take a breath with their optimistic behavior. Main characters are designed to express as shocked, scared and petrify on weird situations despite their broken hearts. While others are there to construct the palette of emotions. Kyouko, in particular, is a source to cause pain with her razor-sharp words and our sweet fluffy Momo is there to lighten it up.
Rei’s narration, as well as an insightful direction, is willing to let its imagery speak for itself. Secondary characters are subjected in time to stretch the contents and connect them to increase the diameter of the settings. It doesn’t jump from one aspect to another but contains them as a whole.
Visuals act as an auditor. The storytelling is narrowed down to adjustable standard to give us a sense of what’s going on while elaborating with stunning visual illustrations. Just like a painter expresses his thoughts with a single brushstroke. At the first scene we didn’t know much about what’s going on and it doesn’t explain everything in that moment either. But offering an entry point to the scene and hinting at a deeper subtext it constructs the stage. Then putting characters at their place it concludes with the starting. After that it lets the characters make their own mark into the world through the use of symbolism, like Rei’s room is cold while Kawamotos’ house has warmth. Meeting their demands it starts the storytelling. And that’s how a story should be told.
From award-winning mangaka Chico Umino (best known for Honey and Clover) a good story is expected. But for me 3-gatsu no lion is an experience to find hope despite the scenario we are in. Ripping the audience apart and stitching them back, it acts as a circle of life. For me it’s a perfect slice of life.