Kaguya-sama: Love Is War (Winter 2019) – The War of Change

“Kaguya-sama: Love is War” breaks a stereotype of what anime shounen actually is. Yet, this show isn’t really shounen. One question is that I always wondering how if the two tsundere characters fall in love with each other. But, this game confirms that who expresses their feelings or falls in love with his/her opponent, they would lose. The show takes something really simple about what love really is. But, love is just bullcrap that it seems like these two characters don’t believe in the power of love. In fact, they don’t realize they love each other. This simple idea makes this show not repetitive and not boring. It blends mind games into comedy, wordplay, and an unexpected situation.

This war arose when two opposing genius characters never raised a white flag. There are Miyuki Shirogane, the intelligent, and Kaguya Shinomiya, the rich competent girl. They fight each other who is the first to confess their feeling and love so they will lose. On the other hand, they just don’t want if there is one person who tries to confess to their feeling. At the same time, they never acknowledged the reason for delaying it. So which one is right? And from here, they try to manipulate each other from this love psychology game.

Miyuki and Kaguya have one other closeness where they never realize that they help each other too. Miyuki has the advantage of being a genius. He is always on top of the hill as the king. However, he didn’t have one that Kaguya also had and vice versa. Even though Kaguya is a smart student, she often loses at it. However, Kaguya used her connection and status as one of the richest figures in Japan or maybe in the world.

Each episode divided into three segments, put the characters in the forward situation. Sometimes, these moments, they used witty dialogue and attack each other. They reveal their weaknesses to each other. However, they also trapped one to another so that they eat the trap. The show put all of those moments into a comedy show indicates that this is also like a rom-com.

Kaguya is the Vice President of the student council besides living in a wealthy family, she is quite attractive as a high-school tsundere character. She is like a merger between tsundere and yandere. The yandere part is her manipulation even though she seems like a serial killer with such a sharp gaze. She also has a cute side that Miyuki probably sticks with and also always falls with such shadow even though she can’t tell whether it’s her true expression. The show also focuses on two characters fighting in any game. But, Miyuki repeated the same pattern of how he always imagined that Kaguya realized his true feeling. One part is the opposite, though not too often, Kaguya once imagined it as well.

The show really put their chemistry as the core of the story. But, between this love fight, there is one quirky character we never realize they are both submissive. And she is Chika as the Joker. She is part of the student council as well, rather lazy but really active when talking about traveling. Born in a wealthy family too, she is an idiot but quite interesting because the show also put him as a noticeable supporting character. Whether it’s the Chika dance that people really obsessed with or whatever, she is like the contrasting dynamic of Kaguya and Miyuki. She is the Joker, even though she never realized, reverses a fact and action from the two main character chemistry.

Ishigami is another student council and unique supporting character. But, the show was less focus on him. He is so honest to himself, making it quite an interesting character yet also covered by other characters. He is most often open when talking about feelings, but what he says is what makes him somewhat hated by other characters. One moment when Miyuki asked how the situation was in misunderstanding. And Ishigami immediately spoke wholeheartedly with hatred, rudeness, and cruelty. He is always depicted as depressed, hopeless, and nihilistic but in a different sense. There are some minor characters that aren’t too focused like Ai Hayasaka. But, it will be better if the second season or the manga is more focused too. The fact that many people roots for her as well makes it even more interesting.

The show has an inner monologue read by the narrator of the show, adding more comic relief of the show as well. He always explained the situation of these characters but sometimes funny. It’s an addition to the A-1 Pictures itself where they also doubt of this addition. While people really say this is an annoying and unfair thing, this narrator makes things even more interesting. The design characters are great and likable. The background is really well drawn considering almost everything was in the student council room.

All the voice actors feel natural and they are always in out-of-character in some situations such as Aoi Koga and Makoto Furukawa. They are all adorable, mesmerizing, and memorable. The opening theme song reminds me of theme songs with such a jazzy vibe. The ending has a fascinating but cute you probably keep seeing it over and over again.

“Kaguya-sama: Love is War” is a great success in the season, decorating a rom-com into psychological games with wisecrack comedy. It’s refreshing a lot to cover some anime that also aired in the season too. Yeah, we don’t really see at the end who actually wins but I keep getting back from there. It’s an outstanding show that people really eat it.

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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