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18 Anime Like March Comes in Like a Lion

March Comes in Like a Lion, a.k.a. 3-gatsu no Lion, is an anime adaptation of a manga series of the same name. From SHAFT studios, the same guys that gave us that awesomely weird Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, comes another slice of life drama anime that touches on heavier themes like mental health, amazing character development, and adult issues.

Rei Kiriyama, who achieved professional rank in middle school, is among the few geniuses in the field of shogi. As a result, he is subjected to great pressure from both the shogi world and his adoptive family. He settles into an apartment in Tokyo in search of freedom from his difficult family life. Rei, a 17-year-old living on his own, is prone to poor self-care, and his reclusive personality isolates him from everyone at school and in the shogi hall.

Not long after his arrival in Tokyo, Rei meets Akari, Hinata, and Momo Kawamoto, sisters who live with their grandfather, who owns a wagashi shop. The eldest of the three girls, Akari is resolved to use motherly hospitality to offset Rei’s loneliness and unsustainable lifestyle. Coping with past traumas, the Kawamoto sisters share with Rei a special familial relationship that he has missed for much of his life. Rei must learn how to his intrapersonal relationships and grasp his own complex feelings as he attempts to sustain himself physically and emotionally during his professional shogi player career.

No, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill sports(?) or slice-of-life anime series. It handles realistic characters in everyday life, where a complicated relationship can cause more damage than life lessons. So, if you’re looking for more of those raw human emotions, heavy themes, and heartache, why do you want to hurt? Anyway, here are 18 anime recommendations for anime similar to March Comes In Like A Lion. 

A Silent Voice

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Both March Comes in Like a Lion and A Silent Voice center on a young male protagonist who is depressed. While coping with their mental illness isn’t the series’ or film’s main plot, it’s far from incidental.

Koe no Katachi portrays the touching story of Shouya’s reunion with Shouko and his sincere attempts to rectify himself, all while being haunted by the ghosts of his past.

As a wild adolescent, Shuya Ishida, an elementary school student, tried to beat monotony in the cruelest of ways. Shouko Nishimiya, who is deaf, transfers into his class, and Shouya and the others in his class bully her for fun. He is blamed for everything that has happened to her after her mother informs the school. Shouko has transferred out of the school, leaving Shoya at the mercy of his peers. He is heartlessly shunned throughout the elementary and middle school while faculty turn a blind eye.

Shuya, now in his third year of high school, is still haunted by the transgressions of his youth. To atone for his past sins, he sets out on a mission of redemption, hoping to meet Shouko again and make amends.

 Check Out: 30 of The Saddest Anime of All Time Guaranteed to Make You Cry

Barakamon

The tone and theme of these animes are similar. Both are slice-of-life, character-driven animes that explore what it’s like to be a young, striving prodigy. Despite their different vocations (calligraphy and shogi), they face similar challenges. Natsu and Momo are both adorable young characters in both animes!

Seishuu Handa is a rising calligrapher who is young, handsome, brilliant, and, sadly, a narcissist. When a veteran calls his award-winning piece “unoriginal,” Seishuu loses his temper and suffers serious consequences.

Seishuu’s father isolates him to the Goto Islands, distant from the luxurious Tokyo lifestyle the volatile artist is accustomed to, as punishment and also to aid him in self-reflection. Seishuu must now try to discover new inspiration and build his own unique creative style in a rural setting—that is, if rowdy toddlers (led by the rambunctious Naru Kotoishi), fujoshi middle schoolers, and lively old men stop barging into his house! The newest member of the small and eccentric Goto village just wishes to get some stuff done, but the islands are very far from the calm countryside he expected. The arrogant calligrapher learns far more than he could have imagined thanks to his eccentric neighbors, who are fundamentally incapable of minding their own business.

Check Out: 25 Of The Best Underrated Anime You Need To Watch Today 

Bunny Drop

March Comes in like a Lion and Bunny Drop shares numerous similarities, including the animation, the same kind of slice-of-life Drama vibes emanate from both, and much more.

Daikichi Kawachi, 30, is a bachelor who does a good job but otherwise wanders aimlessly through life. When his grandfather dies unexpectedly, he goes back to the family home to offer his respects. When he arrives at the house, he encounters a mysterious young girl named Rin, who, much to Daikichi’s surprise, is his grandfather’s biological daughter!

The meek and unapproachable daughter is thought a disgrace to the family and is shunned by her father’s relatives, who all refuse to care for her in the aftermath of his death. Daikichi, enraged by their treatment of Rin, declares that he will take her in, despite the fact that he is a young, unmarried guy with no prior childcare knowledge.

Usagi Drop follows Daikichi’s journey through parenthood as he raises Rin with his kind and affectionate attitude, and an investigation into the warmth and connection at the heart of a happy family. 

Chihayafuru

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 Traditional Japanese games that isolate the main protagonists from most aspects of daily life. Relationships and friendships are either not blossoming as intended or are blossoming in ways that they should not.

A prevalent feature is dramatic or heavily somatic dream scenes during competitive shogi scenes and analysis.

Chihaya Ayase, a strong-willed tomboy, lives in the shadow of her big sister. She is comfortable with her life, having no ambitions of her own until she meets Arata Wataya. A quiet transfer student at her elementary school teaches her competitive karuta, a mentally and physically challenging card game inspired by the Hundred Poets anthology. Arata’s passion and the idea of becoming the best in Japan inspire Chihaya to fall in love with the world of karuta. With the prodigy Arata and her snobbish but hardworking companion, Taichi Mashima, she joins the local Shiranami Society. The trio spent their lovely childhood years playing together until they were separated by fate.

Chihaya, now in high school, has grown into a karuta enthusiast. She hopes to found the Municipal Mizusawa High Competitive Karuta Club and compete in the national championships in Omi Jingu. Chihaya’s ambition of establishing a karuta squad is just one step away from becoming a reality after reuniting with the now-indifferent Taichi; she must pull together individuals who share her passion for the game.

 Check Out: 15 of The Best Josei Anime that Any Anime Lovers Should Watch

Clannad

clannad a top 20 list of the best drama anime for your viewing pleasure

Both anime feature protagonists who are struggling with mental health and family concerns. The setting and tone are similar, and both shows place a high value on family and friends.

Tomoya Okazaki is a troubled youth who believes he will never amount to anything. He skips school and aims to waste his high school days with his buddy, Youhei Sunohara.

While walking to school one day, Tomoya notices a little girl murmuring quietly to herself. Without warning, she yells “Anpan!” (a popular Japanese meal), drawing Tomoya’s attention. He quickly learns that the girl’s name is Nagisa Furukawa and that she proclaims things she enjoys to motivate herself. Nagisa asserts that they are now friends, but Tomoya walks away, dismissing the meeting.

 On the other hand, Tomoya increasingly notices Nagisa around the school. He eventually relents and befriends her. Nagisa had already been held back a year owing to a terrible sickness, and her dream was to resurrect the school’s theatrical club. Claiming he had nothing better to do, he offers to assist her in achieving this goal with the assistance of four other girls.

Tomoya learns more about the females and their concerns as he spends more time with them. As he tries to assist each female in overcoming her own challenge, he realizes that life isn’t as dull as he originally assumed.

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Handa-Kun

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This anime is about a high school boy. He is skilled at calligraphy. This anime is primarily about Handa’s misunderstood and amusing existence. Both “March Comes in Like a Lion” and “Handa-Kun” are hilarious and aggressive anime. The Handa-Kun animation has the most amusing bits. So, if you like March Comes in Like a Lion, Handa-Kun is also worth watching.

Sei Handa, despised by everyone around him, continues on with his high school years as an outcast—or so he thinks. In actuality, Sei is by far the most popular student in school, admired by all for his unrivaled calligraphy talents, good looks, and cool demeanor. However, due to a never-ending sequence of misunderstandings, Handa interprets the adoration he experiences from his legions of followers as bullying, causing the school’s idol to isolate himself from the rest of his classmates.

However, his attempts to distance himself from his friends do not dissuade them from appreciating him; in contrast, his attempts to divert attention away from himself frequently wind up unwittingly converting even the most dubious students into believers. Sei Handa’s genius is unrivaled by fashion models, delinquents, passionate fangirls, and others.

 Check Out: 12 Anime Like the Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

Hikaru no Go

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 Both major characters are regarded as prodigies and experience a phase in which they seem unable to win. Somebody that is better than them mocks them. They are both quite young when they become professionals, and this causes others to look down on them until they prove otherwise.

Hikaru Shindou discovers an antique go board while exploring his grandfather’s attic. He is met by a peculiar voice when he touches it and quickly falls unconscious. When he comes to, he realizes the voice is still there and belongs to Sai Fujiwara, the soul of an ancient go specialist. Sai, a go instructor for the Japanese Emperor during the Heian Period, has a passion for the game that surpasses time and space, permitting him to continue playing as a ghostly apparition. Sai’s ultimate ambition is to learn a heavenly go strategy that no player has yet accomplished, and he hopes to do so through playing the game through Hikaru.

Despite his lack of interest in board games, Hikaru reluctantly agrees to play, following Sai’s instructions. However, when he meets the young go prodigy, Akira Touya, he gradually develops an interest in the game. Hikaru’s voyage into the world of Go is just getting started, inspired by his newfound competitor.

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Honey and Clover

honey and clover a top 20 list of the best drama anime for your viewing pleasure

Umino Chika’s March Comes in Like a Lion and Honey and Clover are set in different locales, yet they all deal with the same subject: the yearnings and aches that reside in people’s souls and the often startling truth that no one is free of such agonies. Despite this, all stories contain the same life-affirming truth: that being with other people is a remedy for this agony.

In a modest apartment, Yuuta Takemoto, a sophomore, lives with the quirky Shinobu Morita, who struggles to graduate due to his frequent absences, and Takumi Mayama, who acts as Takemoto’s legitimate senior, constantly watching over him.

Takemoto gave little thought to his future until one beautiful spring day when he met Hagumi Hanamoto and fell in love with her. Hagumi, who possesses an extraordinary artistic talent, enrolls at Takemoto’s university and soon becomes friends with popular ceramics student Ayumi Yamada. In addition to being familiar with the three flatmates, Ayumi has a strong affection for one of them.

‘Hachimitsu to Clover’ is a beautiful story of youth, love, soul-searching, and self-discovery told through the complex relationships of five friends.

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 Orange 

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 Both shows deal with the consequences of depression and suicide ideation. One is more concerned with friendship, whilst the other is preoccupied with work and striving to be flawless all of the time.

The first day of Naho Takamiya’s sophomore year of high school is tense. She receives an odd letter addressed to her after waking up late. The letter, however, is from herself—ten years in the future! At first, Naho is doubtful about the note. However, after witnessing some of the events recounted, she concludes the letter is indeed from her 26-year-old self.

The note states that Naho’s future existence would be riddled with sorrows, and she wishes that her teenage self would be able to fix the mistakes she made in the past. The letter also urges her to keep a close eye on Kakeru Naruse, the new transfer student. Because Kakeru will not be present in the future, Naho must use extreme caution while making judgments regarding him. With the letter as her guideline, Naho now has the ability to safeguard Kakeru before she regrets it again.

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Run with the Wind

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Both series have characters who have innate aptitude in an area that defines them, but they struggle. Loneliness, failure, and trauma are all themes in both shows.

They have a similar balance of competitive action and slice-of-life components.

Kakeru Kurahara, a former Sendai Josei High School runner, was caught shoplifting. Shaking off his pursuer, he meets Haiji Kiyose, another university student. Haiji is impressed by Kakeru’s quickness and convinces him to stay in Chikusei-sou, a run-down apartment with eight other students.

During Kakeru’s welcome party, Haiji reveals that the apartment is actually the Kansei University Track Club’s dormitory. His ultimate objective is to compete in the Hakone Ekiden, one of Japan’s most famous university marathon relay competitions. Except for Haiji and Kakeru, the locals are all runners. Worse, none of the locals is even mildly interested in Haiji’s absurd scheme! Will the fourth-year pupils be able to change their minds in time to participate in the Hakone Ekiden?

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Shion no Ou  

shion no ou 

Both of these series revolve around a child who is orphaned, is adopted by a shoji pro, and is raised to become a professional player themselves. As the characters try to find their place in their new environment, each episode is a blend of severe darkness and extraordinary warmth. After all, both series are about love, family, friendship, conquering complex emotions, and, yes, shogi!

Shion no Ou follows Yasuoka Shion, a 13-year-old Shougi player with a tragic past. Shion was five years old when her parents were cruelly murdered in front of her. After instructing her that if she wanted to stay alive, she should forget how to talk and forget what occurred that night, the killer sat down with her and invited her to a game of Shougi.

Shion has now entered the domain of Joryu Kishi, the quiet but powerful. As her performance gains popularity, so do questions about her background and the horrible murder she saw. Shion’s memories gradually return as the mystery unravels thread by thread. 

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

shouwa genroku rakugo shinjuu 18 anime like march comes in like a lion

Both programs are excellently crafted with great stories and characters. In Sangatsu no Lion, shogi is employed to enrich the tale. Rakugo does the same thing in Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. These shows all deal with heavier themes, including bullying, loss, sadness, and disease. If you liked one, you’d like the other.

Defunct yakuza member Yotarou wishes to perform rakugo, a traditional Japanese style of theatrical storytelling, rather than return to a life of crime. Inspired by the great practitioner Yakumo Yuurakutei’s performance, he resolves to meet the man who transformed his life. Hearing Yotarou’s desperate plea for guidance, Yakumo is forced to take on his first apprentice.

Yotarou meets Konatsu, a sassy young woman who has been living with Yakumo since the death of her loving father, Sukeroku Yuurakutei, another famous rakugo performer. Despite studying other approaches, Yotarou is captivated by Sukeroku’s distinctive style of rakugo. Seeing this brings back memories for Yakumo, who recalls a day when he made a pledge to his fiercest adversary.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a tale set in both the past and now; Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu follows the lives and souls of individuals dedicated to preserving the art of Rakugo. 

Stars Align

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 Both series are coming of age dramas that use the sports element to discuss mental illness and our heroes’ family concerns.

March Comes in Like a Lion is more concerned with the MC, whereas Stars Align is more concerned with demonstrating the different troubles that family may cause with its larger cast of characters.

The animation is superb in both, with March Comes Like a Lion opting for a more experimental approach rather than Stars Align’s flowing realistic animations, but both options are sound and make sense for the sport they handle.

Most significantly, their tone and approach to personal matters are fairly similar, so if you like one, you’ll probably like the other as well.

Due to insufficient skills and poor results in matches, the boys’ soft tennis club is on the verge of disbanding. Toma Shinjou, in dire need of members, is eager to recruit skilled players, but he is unable to scout anyone. Maki Katsuragi, a recent transfer student, shows amazing reflexes when he saves a stray cat in his classroom. With his interest sparked, Toma begs Maki to join the boys’ squad but is promptly rejected because Maki doesn’t intend to join any groups. Toma is unwilling to back down and eventually persuades Maki—but only if Toma compensates him for his involvement and covers other club expenses.

When Maki joins the team, his exceptional form and quick learning enable him to quickly outperform the rest of the crew. Despite the fact that this causes friction among the guys, Maki encourages and pushes his teammates to keep pace with his seemingly innate aptitude and dedicate themselves to the game they had previously neglected.

This story highlights the potential of the boys’ soft tennis club and their realization of their own abilities while also coping with personal problems and the darker side of middle school life. 

Check Out: 30 Of The Best Sports Anime Of All Time

Sweetness & Lightning

sweetness and lightning

It gives off a strong sense of familial unity. Despite the sweetness and sourness of life, there is a connection via supper and honest affection.

Kouhei Inuzuka has been caring for his small daughter Tsumugi to the best possible level since his wife‘s death. However, due to his lack of cooking skills and his demanding teaching schedule, he is forced to rely on ready-made meals from corner shops to feed the small girl. Frustrated by his inability to provide a healthy supper for his daughter, Kouhei accepts an invitation from his pupil, Kotori Iida, to dine at her family’s restaurant. However, on their first visit, the father and daughter uncover that the restaurant is frequently closed due to Kotori’s mother being gone on business and that Kotori frequently eats alone. Kouhei resolves to continue going to the establishment with Tsumugi to make and share excellent handmade cuisine.

Amaama to Inazuma tells the beautiful story of a devoted father doing everything he can to make his adorable little daughter happy, all while delving into the meanings and values of cooking, family, and the warm meals at home that are frequently taken for granted.

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The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!

the ryuo's work is never done!

Both animes address the themes of exclusion and solitude. The male protagonist gradually comes to terms with who he is and how he interacts with others. The characters they meet aren’t all flawless, and both animes deal well with the trials of the side characters and how their lives become intertwined.

Shogi, a Japanese game comparable to chess, is one of Japan’s most widely played games, with everyone from kids to the elderly getting involved. Some players are skilled enough to compete at a professional level. The title of Ryuuou, which translates as “dragon king,” is only given to those who have reached the top of competitive shogi.

After winning the grand championship, Yaichi Kuzuryuu is now the youngest Ryuuou. However, the shogi world is hostile to his victory, with some dubbing him the “worst Ryuuou in history.” Furthermore, he forgets his commitment to Ai Hinatsuru, a young girl he agreed to coach if he won. When she appears on his doorstep, he grudgingly agrees to keep his promise and accepts Ai as his disciple.

They both want to grow and push the boundaries of their shogi prowess: Ai wants to discover her latent skills, and Yaichi wants to show the whole world that he is deserving of his achievements. 

Those Snow White Notes

Both characters are extremely talented at playing Japanese instruments or sports, but they are unable to fully appreciate what they do due to mental health issues or traumas.

After the death of his grandfather, the famed shamisen master Matsugorou Sawamura, Setsu Sawamura flees his little hometown. Matsugorou begged Setsu on his deathbed to abandon the shamisen if he was merely going to copy others and not play in his own style. Setsu flees to Tokyo, expecting that the huge city will inspire him to develop his own distinct playing style. On the other hand, Tokyo contradicts his assumptions by blotting out all other sensations with the overwhelming noise of metropolitan life.

Setsu’s wealthy and successful mother, Umeko, returns to his life, is concerned for his well-being, and pushes him to enter Umezono Academy. There he meets Shuri Maeda, a girl who is enthralled by the Tsugaru shamisen and wants to perform a song that her grandmother heard from a long time ago. Shuri creates a shamisen appreciation society and persuades Setsu to teach the club’s members how to play the instruments. Will Setsu be able to regain his love for the shamisen and create the unique tone he lacks if he’s more involved with the club? 

Toradora!

Both series follow the male characters’ recovery and progress, which is aided by their circles of friends. Relationships in each series develop alongside the characters while maintaining a certain delicacy. Toradora!, the more romance-focused film, contains a very touching post-credits scene.

Furthermore, each offers a high level of visual refinement and voice performance that leaves little room for criticism.

While the action in each differs at the moment, the overarching arc of the plot in each retains a similar contemplative rhythm.

Ryuuji Takasu is a polite high school student who enjoys housework; nonetheless, his scary visage often leads to him being classified as a criminal. Taiga Aisaka, on the other hand, is a petite, doll-like student who is anything but a cute and frail girl. Taiga, armed with a wooden sword and a fiery disposition, is known as the “Palmtop Tiger” throughout the school.

An unfortunate blunder brings the two classmates together one day. Ryuuji learns that Taiga has a soft side: she has a crush on the charismatic vice president, Yuusaku Kitamura, who also happens to be his best friend. But things become even wilder when Ryuuji admits to having a crush on Taiga’s best friend, Minori Kushieda!

Toradora! is a romantic comedy that depicts this strange couple as they begin on a quest to help one another with their crushes, creating an uneasy alliance in the process.

Check Out: 10 Must Watch Anime If You Like Toradora

Your lie in April

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Both animes feature an emotionally scarred protagonist who has to deal with a past that prevents them from thoroughly enjoying their present moment. Each is surrounded by adorable people that not only help them discover themselves but also cast some light on what could sometimes be an emotionally draining show.

Music accompanies the career of the human metronome, Kousei Arima. In the aftermath of Saki Arima’s death, Kousei enters a downward spiral, making it impossible for him to hear the sound of his own piano.

In two years, Kousei still lives a colorless existence with friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari after abandoning the piano and abandoning his admirers and adversaries. His world changes, however, when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a lovely violinist who shakes things up and sends him back into music.

Your Lie in April, based on the manga series of the same name, tells the narrative of Kousei’s recovery as he understands that music is more than just hitting each note correctly and that a single note may bring in the fresh spring air of April.

Check Out: 20 Anime Like Anohana That Will Make You Cry

And there you have it slice of life anime fans, drama anime fans, and emotionally masochistic otakus. 18 anime recommendations like March comes In Like A Lion. Did we miss your favorite slice of life anime? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll watch the hell of that show to confirm if we truly are emotionally masochistic or not. 

Written by Charlie

I've watched a lot of anime in my days, but that doesn't stop me from watching more. Whether it be new or old, I'll give it a run-through and tell you what I think about it. We're currently living in the golden age of anime with so many great shows out there to watch.

Some are better than others for sure, but they're all worth checking out at least once. My beautiful daughters also love watching animes...well not as much as their dad does!