Anime, Holiday Special, I Guess

Day 337: Kaguya-sama Love is War (Valentine’s Special, I Guess)

There will be no spoilers for this show in this post. If you haven’t seen the show yet, fear not: you are safe here.

Written By: Aka Akasaka
Published By: Shueisha
Anime Directed By: Mamoru Hatakeyama
Anime Written By: Yasuhiro Nakanishi
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Available On: Crunchyroll

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for yet another capitalist trap aiming straight for your wallet. Or as most people prefer to call it: a holiday. And this one is meant to target everyone’s most desperate desire: love. So what better way to celebrate than to talk about a new anime built all around it, designed with the sole purpose of making you laugh and forget that large corporations are using the inherent human desire for company and affection to sucker money out of you.

Cynicism aside, I want to make one thing clear before we discuss this show. The main reason I love anime is that, at the best of times, it’s completely unpredictable. Unlike other forms of art, where you can mostly predict a large number of things based on the genre or creator, anime is a roulette wheel. Even the most tried and true genres can be transformed into something fresh, original, and often times: hilarious.

Such as the topic of today’s rant: Kaguya-sama: Love is War.

If you haven’t seen it yet: you are missing out big time. There are many solid shows this season, and this one stands near the top in terms of quality. Hell, it would probably be the top, had it not come out at the same time as Mob Psycho 100’s second season.

For those who haven’t seen it, let me break down the premise for you. Imagine if someone took the infamous “I’ll take this potato chip and eat it!” scene from Death Note and thought “I can make a romantic comedy about that!”. Bam! You’ve got Kaguya.

The series is a romantic comedy starring Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane, the vice president and president of the student council respectively. The two are convinced that the other is in love with them, and they play constant mental war games with each other in order to trick the other into confessing their feelings. Little do they know that they both actually do harbor such feelings for one another, and their constant games and inability to swallow their pride is the only thing standing in their way.

Joining them for their romantic battles are a variety of fun side characters, but chief among them is Chika Fujiwara, the secretary of the student council. She is the wild card, the unpredictable factor that can completely transform the outcome of their mental jousting. Despite coming across as silly and simple, she’s actually incredibly competent and intelligent in her own right. Thanks to her, this show never becomes predictable, and as such, never stops being hilarious.

She’s also the only real competition for Raphtalia from Shield Hero in the “Best Girl” category for this season. On top of that, she’s the star of the special ED that has taken the internet by storm. I’ll leave a link to that down below if you want to check it out.

Which you totally should, the animation is fucking amazing.

The premise of this show is incredibly refreshing, and it’s absolutely hilarious to boot. I’ve had an insatiable itch for truly funny romantic comedies ever since I finished “Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun“, and no anime has truly been able to scratch that. Then this one came along, and it’s done something few shows have done in a while: it’s made me consistently laugh so hard I’ve cried in every episode.

Words cannot communicate how badly I’ve needed that recently, so you have no idea how grateful I am that this show exists.

More impressive still is that this show doesn’t rely entirely on that comedy to get by. It also has some truly incredible animation. I’ve already mentioned the one-time special Chika ED, which features some incredible rotoscoped animation, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the show is slacking in any regard.

Every character is drawn and animated beautifully, even in the down moments where the characters aren’t having mental duels (as rare as those may be). The expression work is fantastic, communicating the feelings of the character flawlessly without a single word. From Shirogane’s panicked wide eyes and sweat drenched face to Kaguya’s coldest glare, each character looks fantastic in practically every shot of the show.

Speaking of characters, I really like every single one of them! Each one has a very likable personality, simple and easy to understand backstory that plays well into said personality, and some incredibly solid designs. They’re all very likable, and they’re relationships with one another are all a treat to behold. It’s hard to really talk about why without going into spoilers, but there are plenty of moments where the characters play off each other in hilarious ways, even if they’re not trying to trick each other into doing something romantic.

Now, there is one massive caveat with all this. An issue that often prevents me from talking about shows until they’re finished. The series isn’t over yet. Excluding any talk about the manga, it’s unknown whether or not the show will fall apart in the next few episodes.

But this same caveat should communicate to you how much I truly love this show. I’m more than confident that it will continue to supply me with the belly laughs that I’ve been so desperately craving in my romantic comedies. If the next few episodes are even half as good as the last few have been, than this will be a truly amazing show. It will take a lot to ruin the goodwill it’s built for itself thus far.

If you’re in the mood for something cute, fun and over-the-top to watch this Valentines, be it by yourself or with your significant other, than I’d highly recommend Kaguya-sama: Love is War. It’s a fantastic show that’ll warm your heart and make you laugh at the same time. And you can be sure to see it again when it comes time for the Winter Anime 2019 in Review.

And if you’re still not sold, then click this link below and check out that Chika dance. If that doesn’t sell you, then I have no idea what will.

Best Dance in Any Anime Ever, Fight Me.

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