This week features a sort of a build up episode: layering in some expectations and Rei’s perspective on Souya’s character through aptly placed visual metaphors.

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The opening scene starts with a flamboyant poster advertising he commemorative match between Rei and Souya; with Shimada and Yanagihara stare at it in a petrified exasperated state. Rei was Newcomer King in 2008, the anime has a lot of material to cover then (which is a good thing). Then to go on a comedic limb, the two find out that their title match’s poster wasn’t even professionally printed, their poster was great- I mean, great as to set up that comedic stark contrast between the posters. Then the comedy skit evolves into an elongated segment- where the show takes some time to go over how low energy of the whole ‘spectacle’ was during Shimada and Yanagihara’s match.

Poor Shimada gets unfairly bashed on for not being a bishie. Anyway, Yanagihara proudly reveals to the viewer that he ended up retaining the title. And with some self-deprecating humble-bragging (I just whipped this up from nothing), Yanagihara departs the scene, leaving Shimada getting exasperated at his bluntness.  The scene ends on a tender note- where Shimada introspectively voices his realization that Rei will finally go up against Souya.

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Scene change to school rooftop: Takahashi sees Rei engrossed into shogi game records. It is pretty clear at that point that Rei is super serious of the match- he doesn’t want to lose the match easily. Anyway, Takahashi learns that the bullying situation has been resolved and tells Rei that he did his best. Results aren’t everything, and with that he smoothly transitions into wishing Rei good luck with the match, implying that the match’s results don’t really matter. That was such a good piece of script structure that conveyed ideas with minimal time and words- little things like this that accumulate to strengthen my appreciation for the writing of Sangatsu.

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The second half of the episode indulges in the character of the Souya , or at least, the perceived character of Souya through Rei’s lenses. Rei sets up a contrast of Souya’s still profile to his violent “stormlike” playing style and he leaks a forecast of the near future to the viewer. Things get back to light hearted mode with Rei getting uncomfortable and trying to get (at the same time) comfortable with his new spacious, extravagant staying place.

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Rei suddenly fills the weight of the extravaganza of a simple commemorative match as he reads the program schedule for the evening. And it turns out to be true- Rei’s respect for Souya increases as he realizes that Souya has enough stamina to go through these formalities. In the midst of all this, Rei realizes that it is thanks to Nikaidou that he is now standing beside the Meijin for such an occasion. And because of how unstable his win was during the Newcomer final- he realizes that he isn’t really prepared to face the Meijin.

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And after some rounds of questions from the match participants. Souya accidentally bumps into a waitress and red wine spills onto his white suit- his robotic character shines through as he calmly goes on with the interview as spilled red wine soaks and ruins his suit. The red wine acts as a sharp visual metaphor for blood- paralleling that even wounded, he is a beast and he will continue.

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The ending scene is dramatized as Souya- donned in angelic white- sits down opposite to Rei, with a whirlwind sound effect to sprinkle that ‘white storm’ audio-metaphor in. Yet, there is sakura petal imagery- so Souya is also graceful and elegant (?) (whereas Rei has green leaves to accompany his inexperience). Anyway, Souya has interesting imagery to his enigmatic character. I hope I get to see more character stuff from his own perspective next week.