The Junkyard presents a review by Daz of the first series of the anime Kaguya-Sama: Love is War:
After seeing Chika Fujiwara’s dance online, I knew that I was eventually going to have to find the show it was from and watch it! So captivating was this skit that surely the show would also be as good but alas, it was not. Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War is about as captivating as a potato (sorry Sasha).
We meet our characters through introduction of a narrator: student council President Miyuki Shirogane and Vice President Kaguya Shinomiya. They both like each other but feel that they would “lose” if they were to admit their feelings. So we spend our whole time with these two trying to get each other to confess said feelings first. This gets very boring very fast. What I first thought was just stubbornness from the pair ultimately turned out to be a deep-rooted fear of being vulnerable but we don’t find that out until much later, by which point I already had stopped caring.
Now I don’t really understand the whole class president thing. Growing up in the UK, especially the school I went to, we never had any kind of student council and if we did or it existed, it certainly wasn’t important. I have seen this many times in other anime and American movies so I have heard of the concept but it doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m not sure if their position is imperative to the story. Is it meant to be funny that the two members of the student council like each other? Does this never occur? Are people generally bothered? I really don’t know.
The show plays out like a Manga. Each episode is split into chapters where they try tricking each other so you get about three or four things happening in each one with a narrator talking in-between. This did my head in. I don’t really like this kind of storytelling. It’s not something I’m totally against though. There have been other shows where, as annoying as it can be for me, it’s done in a way that it feels part of the story. In this instance, I just didn’t think it was necessary. I can see and understand this very simple premise. I don’t need to be told their thought process. As with the Manga aspect, it feels like they haven’t fully adapted the story to the medium properly. I think they could have made it flow more naturally had they filled in the blanks and made a continuous story rather than a bunch of seemingly pointless events. However, that’s just my preference. Some people might love it the way it’s done.
Along the way we meet Chiki Fujiwara (thank god). She is the secretary of the student council and the highlight or saving grace of this whole show. From her dance to her rapping, she is without a doubt the best character. I couldn’t wait for her to appear on screen. There are also other characters but Chika is the most interesting. I remember one scene where she’s eating ramen and as boring as that sounds, it was better than watching the main characters do their pointless stuff (just ask each other out already). If it wasn’t for her, I would have given up on this after a few episodes in. She really did make it worthwhile.
As this show came to its conclusion, there was a moment where I thought it was going to save itself or rather offer up some kind of normality but no such luck. It remained the bumbling hopeless show it started out as. I was disappointed to say the least but you never know, I just might not be ready for it. I did feel midway through that I would have been better off watching the dub. This show is supposed to be a comedy but I didn’t laugh once and that made me wonder if it was because of the subs. I can’t really catch the nuances in the jokes if I’m spending my time reading. Maybe I’ll go back for a dub rewatch at some point in the future. Here’s to wishful thinking!
I’m gonna give this a 6/10 purely for Chika alone. She made this show for me.
I feel that the writers did enough to make you understand and care about these people and the pacing is fine. It also has a great OP and ED theme but it just didn’t work for me. If I do end up watching the next series, it will be dubbed and only if Chika is in it! DT