Jun 24, 2022
Love is complicated, scary, fleeting, but certainly not war. For Kaguya and Miyuki, though, it is. For months upon months, they have played this game where whoever confesses first loses, having lots of fun along the way, but when faced with a time constraint, was all this “war” a waste of time? Love doesn’t always wait for us, people come and go, and that’s why people must take advantage of every opportunity to be with those they love.
Watching this third season of Kaguya-sama was like watching the last act of a play, or listening to the last verse of a song. It felt like at the end of this cour, something momentous would happen, and the characters would step away from the status quo, starting potentially a new journey in their lives.
I have to credit mangaka Aka Akasaka’s brilliant storytelling and hysterical comedy in the original work, but I can’t give enough credit to the wonderful work of A-1 Pictures, the animators, and all the staff working on this passion project. The anime brings the manga to life so well, with adaptations shattering all expectations. For example, that rap sequence in Episode 5 this season was one of the best single anime episodes I have ever witnessed, with references that made me shocked. Throughout the series, we’ve seen so many different references, such as the Monogatari series, Dragon Ball, and even Western culture references like A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Once again, I cannot give enough credit to the staff for coming up with this type of modern masterpiece. What I find most impressive is director Shinichi Omata’s grasp of modern society. He has done his research on what kind of comedy works in this day and age, and it’s not always situational comedy, it’s comedy that harnesses works from other mediums other than anime, which is such a creative spin that borders on comedic genius. Comedy is subjective, and it’s possible that not everyone enjoys this comedy, but for me, it couldn’t have been much better and funnier.
My grading criteria: Story: /25 Art: /10 Music: /10 Characters: /20 Enjoyment /15 Thematic Execution /20
The continuation of the antics of the student council. The continuation of Kaguya and Miyuki’s relationship. Similarly to previous seasons, each episode is divided into skits, but this season is a bit less episodic than the rest, because the meat of the season lies in last few episodes focusing on the cultural festival.
I never can get too much of Kaguya and Miyuki’s mind games, and there is no shortage of that this season. It’s not all the same as the previous seasons though, because there are some important developments, and near the end of the school year, Miyuki gets accepted into Stanford University, a renowned school in the United States. That would mean he would be separated from the student council earlier than expected.
The underlying reasons of these mind games and why they never confessed is simple. One, it is scary. Two, they thought they had all the time in the world. When we are in a good place in our lives, with little time constraint, it’s hard to leave the status quo. In fact, it’s scary leaving a comfortable place in our lives. For Kaguya and Miyuki, it would have been comfortable and fun to play their mind games forever, but each person has their own lives and ambitions, and when there is a time constraint, they had to act upon their feelings and get it all out there. It’s really a tale that depicts the different sides of every person, the playful side, the childish side, but also the mature side. It’s a pretty relatable story of one’s growth in high school.
A side story, and one I was very invested in watching, was Ishigami’s story with Tsubame. Ishigami has been one of my favourite characters since the first season, and he has a very intriguing personality, delivering cynical lines now for fantastic comedic relief. Tsubame is the leader of the Cheer club and the organizer for the cultural festival, so naturally, she was pretty popular amongst the students. Ishigami doesn’t come off as a very confident person, so a relationship with him and Tsubame didn’t seem very possible at first, but Ishigami, with some help from Kaguya, was able to take action in search of a date with her. The funny thing about all this, is that this is hypocrisy to the highest degree, in that she’s telling Ishigami to go forward with his ambitions, but she doesn’t want to confess to Miyuki herself. It was honestly very entertaining to watch the twists and turns of this relationship play out.
Overall, there was a lot of development this season for a few characters, not just the main couple, which was a good take on the romcom genre, allowing many characters to shine.
As I mentioned, this is a passion project made with a lot of love. The animation is vibrant, and always adds to the comedy. It’s a visual feast always, with chaotic animation every episode. I would also love to shout out Vercreek, an 18 year old animator who was the key animator for the Episode 5 ED “My Nonfiction”, which was such eye candy. The regular ED was also very good and colourful, with yet more references, this time, to Kaguya-Hime, and Starship Troopers! Sasuga A-1 Pictures!
Masayuki Suzuki had yet another wonderful opening in “Giri Giri”, though I do prefer the previous two openings. You can’t have Kaguya-sama without Suzuki though. The two endings were wonderful musically as well, especially “My Nonfiction”, which took rap elements and k-pop elements in a visually appealing ending. The OST is also great, as always.
The main cast of characters bounce off each other very well, for great comedy. The voice actors do a great job, and I bet they had a lot of fun while doing the lines. Aoi Koga is such a great voice actor for Kaguya, killing it yet again, with her excellent range, balancing her dark side and shy side so well! I’ve talked about the characters a lot already, and it’s no surprise that I like every single one of them. I’ll just go over some of the characters I found interesting, besides Kaguya, Miyuki, and Ishigami.
Let’s start with everyone’s favourite comedic character, Chika! I noticed her somewhat lack of screen time in the cultural festival arc, and that made sense, since she’s more of a comedic character. Her running gag this season, similarly to previous seasons, is her being Miyuki’s teacher for many things, and getting PTSD from those experiences. Every time, that type of comedic bit is great, though I think they overly used it this season. Her bubbly personality was still a joy to see.
Next, we have a new character, Maki Shijo. I admit, I found her kind of annoying at first, but her friendship with Ishigami was why I ended up liking her. She has her problems with romance, but she’s able to use that to help Ishigami in his pursuit of romance. She was a wholesome character to watch, and had some great moments.
Lastly, let’s talk about Iino. Her “healing music” made for one of the funniest comedic moments of the season, as it was just so weird, but in a funny way. Her sensitivity to indecency made for an obstacle at times, so maybe she’s the “fan-service police”? Because of her, the fan-service in the show was limited? That’s how I like to see her as.
Great cast of characters that made for awesome comedic moments, while having their own character development in the process.
Had so much fun with this series, as I usually do with Kaguya-sama. Always was invested, so I was frustrated with the cliffhangers, but that’s a sign the show made me excited.
THEMATIC EXECUTION: 19.7/20
Basically, all the excellent animation and musical themes helped coalesce the production, and establish drama and suspense. Director Omata’s cinematography and grasp of modern culture and the human condition made for excellent comedy. The romance felt as well paced as ever, never forced.
Kaguya-sama has been a work of pure love, and it has always been made with great passion. I love works of art like this show that doesn’t rely or flashiness or fight scenes to create suspense, but just relatable romance tales that keep me engaged and excited all the way through. I found that when there was a great episode, I always smiled throughout the end credits, and honestly, this show made my day sometimes. It’s one of the most fun I’ve had with an anime ever, and if anyone ever wants a funny romcom to watch, or even if they’ve never watched anime, this would be near the top of the list for me to recommend. I haven’t poured my heart out this much writing a review, and that’s a testimony to how good this show is. I feel blessed to have been part of this 12 week journey, and to be able to share all my thoughts to you. If you’ve read everything, I truly appreciate it.
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0