What They Say:
“Chapter 76 White Storm (Part 4, Continued) / Chapter 77 White Storm (Part 5) / Chapter 78 Restart”
On the way back home from their commemorative match in Morioka, Rei and Souya are forced to stay in Sendai for a night because of a typhoon. Rei is relieved after they find lodging, but soon gets a phone call from Chairman Jinguuji, who tells him a certain secret. Meanwhile, Nikaidou is out of the hospital and ready to make a comeback in the first qualifying round of the Jeweled King Tournament
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As you may or may not know, March comes in Like a Lion will be taking a three-week break due to the broadcast of the Winter Olympics. As it stands, this was a great episode to kick off the hiatus. No cliffhangers or unresolved tensions here, instead it leaves you feeling refreshed and happy.
The first half is a continuation of the White Storm narrative from last week. The first scenes are actually from last week’s episode minus Rei’s inner monologue. With almost no sound, it makes it feel like you’re watching the same events unfold from Souya’s point of view. He finally breaks the silence when they arrive at their hotel rooms and when he does it’s only to tell Rei he is thankful for the help. However, there is a long pause before he says these words and it spoke volumes. You can almost feel the uneasiness between these two people who are very bad at communicating. The scene carries a profound air of loneliness and I wondered if maybe Souya was dreading being alone again, but couldn’t make that leap and actually connect with someone else on that level.
There’s a lot explained in the phone call Rei receives the next morning from the Chairman. He heard the news about the typhoon and is calling to make sure Rei is fine, but it’s obvious he is more worried about Souya because of his condition. It seems the problem affecting Souya goes back many years and what’s worse, no one knows the reason why it happens, the doctors think it may be stress related. In any case, it prevents him from many things and as Rei correctly surmises one of these things is interacting with people. As someone who has dealt with extreme solitude before, Rei seems to recognize himself in Souya, a “what if” in a universe where he’d never met the sisters or such a force-of-nature friend like Nikaidou. It’s almost like Souya went beyond simple isolation and actually got a physical motive to shut himself off from the world. It’s told in-joke by the Chairman, but Rei really does have an affinity for helping people. I wonder if he’s going to be able to leave Souya as is, and I do hope he won’t, even if he can’t shake the sensation of having dreamed it all.
At least there seem to be some positive indications that he will at least try, even if he almost killed himself. I’m serious, Rei becomes so obsessed with studying Souya’s past matches he almost got run over by a truck. It’s an interesting detail that this whole segment is dominated by sound and I think they did an outstanding job here of conveying the selective nature of the human ear. The more obsessed Rei gets, the less he listens to everyday noise since he is almost completely focused on the sound inside his head.
By now you are wondering how is this episode going to leave you happy with such heavy themes, right? Well, here comes the sisters to the rescue with a recipe on how to perfectly soft-boil eggs which I plan to put into practice. In all honesty, it’s a much-needed piece of fluff about nothing but the sisters being happy and it works wonders, like a massage for the heart.
The last piece is all about Nikaidou’s release from the hospital and his first match. Thinking he will be depressed, Rei goes to see him, hoping he can cheer him up a bit. I’m not going to spoil this part because Nikaidou’s personality already does that for me, but seriously, you need to watch this. Even though it barely stops raining through the whole episode, it felt like the rainbow at the end of the storm. Rei’s laughter is just a breath of the freshest air you’ve ever breathed.
A beautiful way to take a break, leaving its audience feeling happy and elated. It’s like they concocted the perfect mix of thoughtful and fluffy and poured it into this one episode. I absolutely adore the connection between Rei and Souya as I’ve always felt they work well as a mirror to each other. I also love the brief but no less important commentary on perception, on how being a genius may blind the eyes of your admirers to the point where an actual problem is chalked up to eccentricity. In Souya’s case, it works both in his favor and against him. I was also extremely happy to see Nikkaidou again. One detail I want to point out before I close is how his voice was a little raspy. Don’t know if it was on purpose but it made his frailty, as well as his excitement, feel all the more real.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll