With a name as big as Chika Umino and a title as long-standing (again) as her second main work, March Comes in Like a Lion is definitely poised (or at least everyone expects to) to have its next season somewhere down the line. But first, a recap, and to know what exactly we are up against for a potential Season 3.
What Happened so Far in March Comes in Like a Lion Season 3
A quiet morning. An empty apartment. An unassuming bespectacled young man.
Kiriyama Rei’s introduction is as enigmatic as it gets. At first, we are simply introduced to the immediate vicinity of his life. His current career as a very young, 17-year old (at that time) professional 5-dan shogi player opens him to fellow players like “Smith” (Tatsuyuki), Harunobu, and eventually to more unique ones like Shimada and Namerikawa.
His residential location in Rokugatsu-cho eventually led him to meet the Kawamoto sisters, the warm household everyone is jealous to be a part of. This is also the part of the brief introduction to his lost family, and a hint as to why he was living in that empty apartment in the first place.
As his narrative progresses, the perspective stretches out farther and farther to the bigger realm of shogi, and the interconnected social relations that lay underneath. The spotlight now shifts to characters like Shimada and Goutou, and we are now officially introduced to the adoptive family of Rei, the Kouda family, after being briefly shown in the first episode.
The latter half of the tragedy is finally revealed.
Season one then concludes with the Shishio tournament, right as the new school term begins for Rei as a student. This is also where our two “rivals” finally settle in on the next rookie tournament, before Rei tries to live on his life as a regular high-school student… at least for a while.
The next season then fires up with a technically higher central focus on personality-driven shogi games, thus putting Rei’s fellow (older) professional players in the spotlight further. That being said, Rei gradually settles in more and more with what is supposed to be his youthful high school life. Rei, especially, through several key events, realizes that school isn’t just a means to graduate and keep his independence (and his apartment) from the Kouda family anymore.
We also learn more about the entire Kawamoto family, specifically Hinata’s side of life (a huge topic for the rest of the season), as well as the dreadful question the audience has been asking since learning of their mother and grandmother’s passing: the father’s whereabouts.
The series then ends not with a climax, but with an invitation. This time, with Takahashi finally out of the way, season two’s conclusion positions all the necessary pieces to the biggest development between Rei and Hinata yet…
What’s Going on With Shaft?
After being hyped so much since its announcement, March Comes in Like a Lion finally aired on October 8, 2016, smack dab in the middle of other very highly anticipated (and eventually massively popular) original animeseries such as Yuri!! On Ice and the second season of Hibike! Euphonium.
The first season aired with twenty-two (22) official episodes (the recap episode after 11th doesn’t count), ending on March 18, 2017. Shaft then took a short hiatus on the series to focus on Owarimonogatari 2 (Summer 2017), before continuing the next season the following autumn. Like the first, the second season had 22 official episodes, concluding with both episodes 21 and 22 on March 31, 2018.
Director Kenjirou Okada made his big debut with March Comes in Like a Lion, delivering the largely positive critical review from audiences alongside co-director Akiyuki Shinbo, the mastermind of Shaft’s current style of cinematography. Yukito Kizawa largely wrote the scripts for each episode, while Yukari Hashimoto composed the series’ musical scores.
Shaft at this point in time has been universally known by fans all over the world as one of the anime studios with the most unique visual styles. In particular, at least for the average joe, scenes give a very striking emphasis to the portrayal of the “subject” character. Because of this, a certain quirk began to develop among some of the recent adaptations of Shaft. For instance, the infamous “Shaft tilt” is an inevitable byproduct of its team’s unique blend of character focus, and once you notice it, there’s no way you can never unsee it.
Thankfully (or not?), March Comes in Like a Lion doesn’t exactly pander to the same Shaft-related memes already expected by anime fans. The same character focus is still there, of course, and in fact, it is this very style that Chika Umino wanted for the adaptation. “Either Shaft makes it, else it doesn’t need to be adapted,” paraphrased from one of her interviews.
Of course, with a world already as expansive as it is in the manga, March Comes in Like a Lion was only able to adapt a tiny part of its series. Conveniently at least, each episode is introduced into two chapters each, so that anime viewers can more or less cross-reference the original material with the chapter titles (barring some scene-per-scene variations).
What do we know about March Comes in Like a Lion Season 3 so far?
There are no official announcements, but the discussion (and desire) for a third season is a very hot topic among fans of the series, even today. Many rumors came and went, but none have definitely confirmed it so far, not even a hint of its greenlit production. Due to Chika Umino’s reserved attitude towards any form of alternative adaptation of her work, we have yet to see any derivative out there that represents the franchise in other forms. And looking back at her other previous legendary work and how its anime adaptation went, the prognosis becomes even bleaker.
Will there be a March Comes in Like a Lion Season 3?
What about Chika Umino’s other work you ask? Well, suspiciously enough, despite the difference in anime studios (Honey and Clover was adapted by J.C. Staff), the pattern remains somewhat the same. Here’s an approximate enumeration of their similarities when it comes to adaptation details:
Two seasons are separated by a year (technically by one or two other in-between series).
Both seasons end technically in the same month.
No other adaptation came after the second season.
To be fair, Honey and Clover did end on the adapted conclusion, while March Comes in Like a Lion is far from over after season 2, but the rest of the points remain the same. That is, March Comes in Like a Lion third season would most likely never be green lit, at least not in the next few years.
What are Fans Saying About March Comes in Like a Lion Season 3?
Enthusiasm has dwindled lower and lower. The fire is still there, and hope is eternal, but fans are just moving on one by one. You can expect one or two unconfirmed sources to spread rumors/leaks from time to time. But as we have concluded earlier, the pattern of two seasons going side by side in the span of two years and then absolutely nothing at all remains consistent between Chika Umino’s two works.
And that is despite the absolute current massive popularity of the original source material(s).
When will March Comes in Like a Lion Season 3 be released?
If Shaft decides on a similar scheduling route, it would most likely to be NOT on 2022. But really, there are no official announcements. It would still take many years again down the road if Shaft’s adaptation pattern over March Comes in Like a Lion were to ever be broken this time.
What can we expect in Season 3 of March Comes in Like a Lion?
As we mentioned earlier, the anime follows a pretty straightforward chapter-to-chapter format that you can somewhat cross-reference with the manga. Thus, season 3 will definitely start on chapter 91, perhaps with some bits of chapters 89 and 90 that were not included in the anime’s final episode. This will continue the very vital turning point for the now senior-high-school-student Hinata… Yup, just when things are really going well for Rei and Hinata, we don’t the S3 fans are absolutely craving for.
Well, at least we can always do a re-analysis of the myriad of eccentric players in the realm of March Comes in Like a Lion (original manga). Up until somewhere between chapter 91 to chapter 113, where the whole theoretical season 3 would most likely take place.