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!
Considering the circumstances that have lead us to these conditions, I conclude the state we're currently facing is refreshingly cuddly in a soothing manner.
I.e. How cute.
I don't really like A-1, but this time they are doing pretty darn impressive job. Even the character design which A-1 fucks up approximately 100% of the time is quality here. Unbelievable. Sure the stares and GAZES could deliver more, and the how cute moments can only be so cute, but otherwise this is a ridiculously high quality adaptation which success was unpredictable.
The first and last thing that stands out here is the directing. Those who have seen
basically any anime at all will immediately recognize that this style is close to SHAFT's Shinbou Akiyuki, who is known as the nro. 1 anime director in the world pretty much. The director of Kaguya seems to be his old underling/coworker and, needless to say, he has learnt a great deal from the master himself. However -- unlike Tomohiro, who is the underling of the other big anime director (2nd biggest if you will), Ikuhara Kunihiko -- Kaguya's directing is much closer to its director's very own innovation, and to say that this is just a copy-paste would be a blind insult. This man has vision and style and doesn't seem to be afraid of anything. This is creativity and detail at its finest. It's rare to see modern anime even try and even more so: to success at anything new, but what our director, Shinichi Omata is doing here is nothing less than impressive. It's damn fresh to be accurate. Fully approved.
Now that this nerd stuff out of the way, the content:
'Love is War' is a rom-com series aimed for mature audience. It centers around 2 main leads and few other leads who are kinda as important as the other two but also practically in the side roles. Our main 'couple' are Shirogane and Kaguya who have made the concept of 'love' their battlefield. In this battle they are quite literally trying to outwit each others with the power of psychology, logic and pure rhetoric. Why do this, then? Because they both share this fundamental idea that love is weakness of the mind and confessing it an act so against ones pride that doing so makes them.. losers. So, what they are doing instead is try and make the other one confess first. Hence the battlefield.
The series heavily relies on both: interactions between characters and silent monologue that plays inside the heads of our different POV's. The catch being how different the characters are inside their own head and how they appear to others in real life. They have lots of personality and can show different sides of it. Perhaps my favorite part of all of it are the "war planning" and also how overly dramatic Kaguya often is. To say few words about the other cast members, Fujiwara is criminally cute and the rest are pretty much weirdos.
There is one entity in the series that is highly important to the overall execution and that's the narrator. He appears to add lots of missing links and initial reasoning for the characters' thoughts, actions, and real purpose among other things. It balances out the comedy and "plot side" of the series as well as simply makes the overall narrative work/more solid.
As of currently, I'm extremely happy with this show. There are no major issues, only few small things that are questionable but also necessary to make the series' core idea hold water. As far as rom-coms go, this is already among the better things anime has to offer. Also +1 for Fujwara's dance scene which animation budget is higher than the entire season of Date A Live III's cashmoney.
A masterpiece that evokes every emotion I want to feel from a Romantic comedy.
President Miyuki and Vice President Kaguya are in love with each other, but both view themselves as the ultimate object of desire, and thus see no reason to confess, in fact when you are as perfect as they are shouldn’t it be the duty of other people to aspire towards you? However, this is quickly revealed to be a front used by two egotistical Teenagers who can’t quite work up the courage to ask out their crush. What follows from this is a sequence of over thought-out plans in order to force
the other to confess. The comedy in the series comes from its hyper-dramatization of the utterly mundane. Asking someone to the movies is a complex web of intrigue, a game of 20 questions is a western shoot-out, and cat ears are banned by the Geneva convention. But no matter how well-laid the plans of Miyuki and Kaguya, destroying them is but child’s play to their secretary, Chika. This show would be amazing even if it was just comedy, but underneath the absurdity is a sincerely heart-warming story of teenagers learning to move past their flaws, insecurities, and other problems. We are given enough reminders that beneath all these mind games between the two leads there is genuine and sincere emotions for the other. So even though they never confess outright significant progress is still made in the characters’ lives.
A fast frenetic directing style gives the characters so much life even though all they are doing most of the time is thinking in a room. It’s not afraid to break away from reality constantly keep its visuals engaging, and the camera loves to spin, swing, and slide across the main set; Maneuvers made possible by some excellent use of CGI and compositing. Character expressions are exaggerated in creative ways, and the voice actors bring their A game to match the animation. Much like Jojo the color swims to match the mood of a scene, and combined with an eclectic collection of background music serves to set the tone perfectly for most scenes. Character movement is usually quite fluid. Aesthetically it knocks it out of the park. Not to say every frame is a masterpiece, as the cut corners are quickly discernible to a practiced eye, but the peaks far outnumber the troughs.
Aesthetically fantastic and narrative-ly ingenious: A show people must at least try.
Disclaimer: This is a more critical view of Kaguya sama than something commented just on pure enjoyment overrall.
Kaguya sama is one of the newest and most popular comedy animes in the current times, be it due to simple jokes being shared or the dance in the ending that literally everyone decided to talk about, however, the overall quality of the anime itself should'nt be ignored because like everything else, it has it's flaws.
First of all, the anime is extremely episodic almost to the point of being predictable, it sticks to it's formula and never decides to change or take absolute advantage of being formulaic which
ends up in it being repetitive, still fun due to the visuals and somewhat great jokes every now and then but, critically speaking it's far from being as perfect as many reviews i've seen here make it out to be.
Also, the direction is overall pretty weak, it's an extremely visual style that reminds a bit of what studio shaft's directors tend to do but the way the director applied those tecniques makes it more something visually interesting that good unlike the huge majoritiy of the works by shaft.
And Lastly, the characters themselves are pretty "ok-ish", they sure are fun to watch but they lack some depth to them, even if you argumente that it's unnecessary for a comedy series to have a bit of complexity, Kaguya sama tries to actually be a romance at times to try going further into developing the relationship between the main cast so, if it's attempted by the author, even if weakly, automatically makes the argument invalid and compromises a bit more the anime.
Well, concluding it all, Kaguya sama is a weak anime and far from being the best of the current season, however, it's a fun ride, not a perfect one and even less one that deserves a nines and tens but one that should be taken a look if you want just a pretty nice comedy.
“Wieners sliced to look like an octopus! They really exist! I want to try one…” — Kaguya Shinomiya
“Ohh, gawd. Did I accidentally stumble upon Shokushu Goukan….(again)?!” — Krunchyman
Overt references to tentacle erotica aside, Kaguya-sama: Love is War is an anime about two people — Kaguya and Miyuki — who secretly love each other, but are unwilling to confess their affections in fear that the other person will gain the upper hand. This, invariably, commences a series of events in which Kaguya and Miyuki attempt to psychologically outmaneuver one another, generating a conglomerate of awkward/comedic circumstances. Whether or not these ventures
result in genuine laughter is a matter of comedic taste, but it won’t stop me from telling you my thoughts on the matter.
Love is War presents a situation that is all too common in preteen-to-teen years, that being: “I love you, but I’ll pretend otherwise.” The school milieu, along with pent-up hormones, forces numerous young-adults to experience these contradictory feelings towards one another, resulting in numerous awkward/hilarious situations. For Kaguya and Miyuki, these situations involve Death-Note-level internal monologues where they battle one another in a metaphorical game of cognitive love-chess. It’s actually fairly entertaining (albeit in a foolish way — which is precisely the way I like it, uh huh huh).
The best moment of the series, thus far, was when Kaguya (a sixteen year-old girl, mind you) thought that her “first time” was a reference to kissing, instead of sexual intercourse. Her naive innocence propelled her to claim, “I did it to my newborn nephew,” which resulted in horrified looks from Chika and Miyuki; I was laughing my balls off!
Love is War is not the type of series that will blow your socks off, yet its coquettish dynamic between Kaguya and Miyuki has a certain charm that is not easily consummated in the genre. The jokes, themselves, are more miss than hit, but the ones that do hit are exceptionally hilarious. The direction of the plot seems quite obvious (an eventual confession by either Kaguya or Miyuki, or both at the same time), but the journey towards their declaration of love is quite humorous, plus the ending dance by Chika is dope as f—k!