Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Season 1 Review

Lately I’ve been on an intense anime kick. Normally, I watch anywhere from one to five shows a year, try to watch all the anime in theater events, and usually reread my favorite manga series yearly. But lately, I just have been watching show after show. The reason why I haven’t watched a lot of anime (or any tv show really) for a few years is because…. I have an addictive personality. With me, I usually binge the show in a week or I don’t watch it at all. I’ve been this way all my life (this also applies to books and video games.)  So while in high school and college it was easy for me to binge anime and other tv shows, now that I’m a full fledge adult person, binging tv has very negative consequences.

But these past few months, as I’ve had more time on my hands, I’ve dived right back into anime and I’ve been playing catch-up with older stuff I always wanted to watch and new releases. My currently watchlist of AIRING anime is shocking to many, especially me, since I usually only watch binge-able shows (see above.) However, I also added a bunch of animes from last season/couple years ago that I could binge while I waited week to week. While I usually go off recommendations from my bff Rose, black and Latinx AniTwitter, and My Anime List, I decided to use the Crunchyroll Awards nominees to build my watch lis. In the process I discovered this little gem: Kaguya-sama: Love is War (also known as Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen.)


Kaguya-sama: Love is War was nominated in the “Best Couple” category and being the big love fan that I am, I definitely had to check it out. After reading the synopsis, I thought it sounded cute enough to give it a chance. I normally try to watch 1-2 episodes of an anime to give it a fair shot. After a couple of minutes of Kaguya-sama: Love is War, I knew I was in for a TREAT! 

At the renowned Shuchiin Academy, Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya are the student body’s top representatives. Ranked the top student in the nation and respected by peers and mentors alike, Miyuki serves as the student council president. Alongside him, the vice president Kaguya—eldest daughter of the wealthy Shinomiya family—excels in every field imaginable. They are the envy of the entire student body, regarded as the perfect couple.

However, despite both having already developed feelings for the other, neither are willing to admit them. The first to confess loses, will be looked down upon, and will be considered the lesser. With their honor and pride at stake, Miyuki and Kaguya are both equally determined to be the one to emerge victorious on the battlefield of love!

myanimelist.net

Kaguya-sama: Love is War is a refreshing anime that takes the cute anticipation of your anime OTP’s cluelessly flirting and maybe getting together and turns it up to level 100. The antics are wackier, the stakes are higher, and the cherry on top is the sport-like narrator who breaks the 4th wall and ties in the story hilariously. Where in your typical romance you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for the characters to get together, here you’ll be wanting this dance to go on as long as possible to see what else these lunatics can do. Despite being hilarious, there are also many heart-warming and serious moments to keep you on the edge of your seat.

In an effort to avoid spoilers, my full review is what’s coming up next. If you haven’t watched or do not want to be spoiled, please STOP READING HERE! Come back when you’re ready to discuss and hear my thoughts


Storyline

So I’m a sucker for a good romance anime. I want these people to fall in love, get together, and be together for ever! That being said, Kaguya-sama: Love is War isn’t what I’ve usually being going for lately because its more about the antics of Kaguya and Miyuki trying NOT to confess their love for each other. However, I was instantly hooked on this show because of how extreme those antics are. This anime takes all the tropes that usually annoy many (unconfessed feelings, misunderstandings, tsudenres, stubbornness among many) and make them so extreme you just have to laugh. 


One of my favorite parts of this anime is the narrator. Someone voicing over the antics, saying the things the audience is thinking in a deep series voice just adds another layer of comedy.  Then you factor in the internal monologues of Kaguya and Miyuki are on another level. The amount of back and forth they go through, wild outrages thoughts, schemes and games are so ridiculous, I just kept thinking “these characters are insane.” I loved the amount of effort Kaguya put forth in trying to set things up with Miyuki (especially in episode 2 with the cell phone.)

As the show went on, you definitely see more emotions behind the “antics” and while they are still hilarious, I felt myself growing attached to Kaguya and Miyuki as I would characters in a slice of life. I really enjoyed seeing how much they really care about each other underneath the dramatics. Also learning of Kaguya’s back story towards the end of the season, her antics and her cluelessness really start to make sense.

As far as Miyuki goes, he truly has my heart. I love how under his exterior he is super self conscious about his actions with Kaguya yet manages to make more “moves” and be somewhat more direct than Kaguya. Even though they both do not have experience, Miyuki has a better grasps of relationships than Kaguya.

Characters

While of course, Miyuki and Kaguya are THE BAES, the show also does a great job with the supporting characters. Chika is the perfect ditsy character with her own notable moments, such as the ramen incident.

My real favorite student council member is Yu Ishigami. Yu is a hybrid character from many different tropes in a way I’ve never seen before. Self deprecating but typical perky teen but honest, straightforward dude. He does it all so well and has brought me many laughs.  

My favorite character aside from the mains has to be Ai Kayasaka. Her love and dedication to Kaguya is everything! She’s so honest with her and even though she’s probably so annoyed with Kaguya, you can tell she really cares about her and wants Kaguya to be happy. She’s also down with the OTP!

Animation

The animation in Kaguya-sama: Love is War definitely deserves to be noted because it is absolutely beautiful. Any funny moment was elevated by the cut-scenes to Miyuki and Kaguya’s thoughts. A portion of the comedy in this anime relies on its animations and the animators seemed to combine both new styles and old styles for the perfect scenes. I’m not much of a rewatcher, but a lot of scenes had me rewinding just to take in all the points in a scene. The animators definitely went in on the ramen scene and the firework scenes.

Overall

It has recently been announced that the second season of Kaguya-sama: Love is War will be premiering in March of 2020. The manga is still ongoing and while I definitely want to read it, I’m going to hold off on starting it until the anime is done airing. I’m excited to see what comes next for Kaguya and Miyuki, since the end of season one left them kind of the same as they started? I think they both may be realizing that the other likes them but maybe not because they’re not confident in themselves! Ahhh so frustrating but I’m so excited to watch them keep up the charades. I also want more of Miyuki’s back story! I feel like there’s so much there waiting to be divulged. More solo moments where Kaguya and Miyuki can have a heart to heart would be good too. 


Overall, I absolutely loved this anime and am sooo happy I decided to watch it. I’m sad to have to wait for another season, but I know the wait will be worth it.


Cover Image: myanimelist.net
Tv photo: Photo by Burak K from Pexels
Screenshots from anime

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