- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Comedy, Psychological, Romance, School, Seinen
- Airing Date : January 2019 – March 2019
- Producers : A-1 Pictures
Kaguya-Sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen~ (Kaguya-sama: Love is War) Introduction and Story
Romance is tricky. One false move may lead to a lifetime of embarrassing flashbacks and an irresistible urge to scream into a pillow. Love should not be considered lightly. Kaguya-sama: Love is War takes this concept and runs with it! A psychological comedy with hints of romance and a fondness for exaggeration, A-1 Pictures' series unquestionably ranks among Winter 2019's most successful anime. However, popularity does not automatically equate to quality. Does Kaguya-sama: Love is War amount to more than a few memes and a charming dance?
As Shuchiin Academy's student council president and vice-president respectively, Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya are admired by the entire student body. Sustaining an air of professionalism and restraint, Miyuki and Kaguya appear to be perfectly in sync, so much so that the rest of the students believe the two are dating. While the pair share a mutual attraction, neither one has the courage to verbalize their emotions. Instead, Miyuki and Kaguya engage in a battle of wits to trick the other into coming clean. Chika Fujiwara and Yuu Ishigami, the remaining two student council members, are inadvertently dragged into the conflict.
1. Best of Both Worlds
Kaguya-sama: Love is War splits its episodes into sketches revolving around stand-alone conflicts pitting Kaguya and Miyuki against each other, although Chika and Ishigami are occasionally involved. Each segment ends with the narrator declaring a winner before the next sketch introduces another contest. Sounds simple enough, right? Kaguya-sama: Love is War takes things a step further by resisting the urge to reset following every sketch. Although the characters do not undergo an exceptional amount of growth, the narrative advances at a steady pace. Somehow, Kaguya-sama works as an episodic and continuous story.
2. Everybody Wins
Kaguya-sama: Love is War may possibly be the most wholesome anime concerning a psychological battle of wits to ever grace the small screen. Miyuki and Kaguya's contests are driven solely by emotion rather than results. Nobody is keeping score or trying to embarrass their opponent. The individual skits may conclude with a victor but bragging rights are never the point. Consequently, Kaguya-sama: Love is War's comedy is permitted to stand on its own without being held back by angst or personal vendettas. While comedic shenanigans are undoubtedly the name of the game, Kaguya-sama sprinkles in the occasional dramatic scene, especially during the second half of the season. Due to the amiable tone prevalent throughout the entire cour, the emotional moments feel congruent with the humor.
3. Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Even if Kaguya and Miyuki's heartwarming journey towards mutual happiness gave this cynical otaku renewed hope in love, at the end of the day, Kaguya-sama is a comedy and should be judged by its ability to spark fits of laughter.
Is Kaguya-sama funny? The answer is a tentative yes. The comedy mainly revolves around the characters overanalyzing every single situation while trying to present a confident facade to the outside world. With the exception of Chika periodically injecting a touch of randomness into events, the humor seldom deviates too far from the beaten path. If anything, Kaguya-sama tones down its comedy as the series progresses. That being said, A-1 Pictures masterfully captured the kinetic energy so pivotal in elevating the humor to the next level in the manga. At the very least, Kaguya-sama is quite consistent. If the first episode tickles your funny bone, the rest of the series should hit the spot without fail. Even though they are usually only reacting to Kaguya and Miyuki, Ishigami and Chika have arguably funnier and quirkier personalities than the main couple.
Kaguya-sama relies heavily on its narrator as a comedic device. Yutaka Aoyama gives a solid albeit over-the-top performance as the omniscient storyteller and contributes to some of the series' funniest moments. Narrators are best used sparingly and never to spell out obvious plot points already apparent to the audience. Kaguya-sama's storyteller overstays his welcome by a significant margin and diminishes solid scenes through pointless interruptions. Kaguya-sama needs to trust in its fantastic cast to deliver the punchlines without depending on a cheesy narrator.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War is a romantic comedy that serves a healthy helping of both genres. The humor borders on parody, while the characters are uniformly endearing. If love is war, then it is time to enlist.
Did you agree with our review? Is Kaguya-sama: Love is War worth watching? Please let us know in the comments below!