November 28, 2020

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ANI-MONDAY: Kaguya-sama: Love is War

What is love? It’s a question everyone asks themselves at some point. Is it a many splendid thing, or is it blind? To some, it could be either one of these. But to others, Love. Is. War.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War is a romantic comedy anime developed by A-1 Pictures and adapted from a manga by Aka Akasaka. The first season of the series ran from January to March 2019, with a second season forthcoming.

The story takes place at high-end Shuchi’in Academy and centers around two very affluent (and somewhat socially awkward) students: Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya. After working closely together as student council president and vice-president respectively, they begin to develop strong, romantic feelings toward one another. However, both Kaguya and Miyuki see confessing his or her feelings as a show of weakness and an abandon of dominance. Therefore, they both set out to make the other confess first, using every clever trick they can think of.

Whoever confesses first is the loser.

In my opinion, Kaguya-sama is one of the funniest anime released in 2019. I love the premise of two young people – both of whom have immense intelligence – facing struggles with something as seemingly simple as love and relationships. They devise complicated mind games and set complex traps in order to avoid the nerve-racking action of just asking the other person out. The amount of overthinking both characters do may be extreme, but it can also be relatable to people (like me) who tend of REALLY overthink every single situation they’re in.

Many times, the would-be lovers’ convoluted plans are spoiled by their ditzy-yet-charming friend and fellow council member, Chika Fujiwara. Chika steals the show (and one of the ending sequences) with her cheery attitude and total obliviousness toward what Kaguya and Miyuki are trying to do most times. Along with pessimistic introvert Yu Ishigami, the cast of characters stays somewhat small but still provides a fun variety of personalities that play off each other well.

What makes this anime so funny is how over-the-top each confrontation between Kaguya and Miyuki is presented. The main characters’ shenanigans are accentuated by exaggerated animations (some of which include actual weapons of war) and an overdramatic narrator who makes every simple conversation between characters feel like an intense tennis match or a battle between gladiators. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously while demonstrating the absurdity going on in the character’s heads in the most silly and chaotic way possible.

Part of these campy dynamics are showcased in the anime’s opening sequence. The visuals, accompanied by a super catchy, jazzy theme song, make this one of my favorite OPs of the year. You can check it out below:

And let us never forget that this anime gave us this gem:

You can watch Kaguya-sama: Love is War on multiple different platforms. The original Japanese broadcast with subtitles is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu, while the English dub can be found on Funimation’s premium service.

Rating: 7/10

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