Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

Alt title: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen

TV (12 eps)
4.423 out of 5 from 7,605 votes
Rank #185

As leaders of their prestigious academy’s student council, Kaguya and Miyuki are the elite of the elite! But it’s lonely at the top… Luckily for them, they’ve fallen in love! There’s just one problem—they both have too much pride to admit it. And so begins the daily scheming to get the object of their affection to confess their romantic feelings first…Love is a war you win by losing.

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I Will Make You Invite Me to a Movie / Kaguya Wants to Be Stopped / Kaguya Wants It image

Episode 1

I Will Make You Invite Me to a Movie / Kaguya Wants to Be Stopped / Kaguya Wants It

Kaguya Wants to Trade / Chika Wants to Go Somewhere / Miyuki Wants to Hide His Ignorance image

Episode 2

Kaguya Wants to Trade / Chika Wants to Go Somewhere / Miyuki Wants to Hide His Ignorance

Miyuki Shirogane Still Hasn't Done It / Kaguya Wants to Be Figured Out / Kaguya Wants to Walk image

Episode 3

Miyuki Shirogane Still Hasn't Done It / Kaguya Wants to Be Figured Out / Kaguya Wants to Walk

Kaguya Wants Affection / The Student Council Wants It to Be Said / Kaguya Wants Him to Send It / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Talk image

Episode 4

Kaguya Wants Affection / The Student Council Wants It to Be Said / Kaguya Wants Him to Send It / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Talk

Kaguya Wants to Handle It / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Show Off / Kaguya Wants to Be Covered image

Episode 5

Kaguya Wants to Handle It / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Show Off / Kaguya Wants to Be Covered

Yu Ishigami Wants to Live / Chika Fujiwara Wants to Test You / Kaguya Wants to Be Noticed image

Episode 6

Yu Ishigami Wants to Live / Chika Fujiwara Wants to Test You / Kaguya Wants to Be Noticed

Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Work / Kaguya Wants Him to Join In / Kaguya Wants to Control It image

Episode 7

Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Work / Kaguya Wants Him to Join In / Kaguya Wants to Control It

Kaguya Wants Her to Say It / Miyuki Shirogane Can't Lose / Yu Ishigami Closes His Eyes image

Episode 8

Kaguya Wants Her to Say It / Miyuki Shirogane Can't Lose / Yu Ishigami Closes His Eyes

Kaguya Wants to Give a Gift / Chika Fujiwara Wants to Pay a Visit / About Kaguya Shinomiya, Part 1 image

Episode 9

Kaguya Wants to Give a Gift / Chika Fujiwara Wants to Pay a Visit / About Kaguya Shinomiya, Part 1

Kaguya Won't Forgive / Kaguya Wants to Forgive / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Go Somewhere image

Episode 10

Kaguya Won't Forgive / Kaguya Wants to Forgive / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Go Somewhere

Ai Hayasaka Wants to Get Soaked / Chika Fujiwara Really Wants to Eat It / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to See You / I Can't Hear the Fireworks, Part 1 image

Episode 11

Ai Hayasaka Wants to Get Soaked / Chika Fujiwara Really Wants to Eat It / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to See You / I Can't Hear the Fireworks, Part 1

I Can't Hear the Fireworks, Part 2 / Kaguya Doesn't Want to Avoid Him image

Episode 12

I Can't Hear the Fireworks, Part 2 / Kaguya Doesn't Want to Avoid Him

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Reviews

CodeBlazeFate
8.5

“See, this show's what having a good director can do for your fuckin' show. You can make A-1 Pictures look like a competent studio. That's fucked up!” -DEEsidia from REVEL HOUSE, 2019 Pride is cruel and ignorance is bliss, and when love is war, feelings are the casualties. Kaguya-sama is this concept taken to a hilarious extreme, with two teenage egotists trying to manipulate each other into confessing their feelings as every idea they ever had gets trampled on. This show thrives off its comedic timing, with tons of audiovisual flair, character chemistry, and wild ideas for our main leads to plan around and exploit. With A-1 being listed as the studio behind this, I’m sure some alarms were triggered, but thanks to Rakugo director Shinichi Omata, everything listed prior is utilized spectacularly.Shinichi Omata brings a ton of life to this anime with his stylistic flourishes. A lot of the time, backgrounds and camera movements are incredibly stylized, adding to scenes of characters overthinking things. Whenever a character starts freaking out or shouting in an over the top fashion, several grainy motion lines consume either the characters or the backgrounds. The ED themes have some creative visuals as well. These and more all add so much character to the visuals, which is a blessing since despite the fun character designs and facial expressions, the artwork dips a surprising amount early on, and the sparse CGI models can be pretty terrible. Thankfully, the visual inconsistencies and blemishes are so infrequent that the expressive visual flourishes and amazing shots more than make up for them.On top of the great visual comedy is the actual character comedy, relying on bombastic personalities and their chemistry with one another, including the narrator of the show, who provides a healthy dose of both on his own whilst poking fun of our main leads. Shirogane’s an over-the-top serious character, constantly shouting despite always maintaining a sense of authority, combining the general style of Gendo Ikari from Eva with the ridiculously dorky yet serious nature of someone like Yamamoto from Tylor or Sora from NGNL. It makes things all the funnier when he’s undermined by love interest Kaguya Shinomiya, who constantly wants to retain her air of refinement and superiority despite being a sheltered, jealous dork who gets flustered at the drop of a hat. However, the character that steals the show for me is Chika Fujiwara, the busty wildcard cloudcuckoolander --think Mayuri from Steins;Gate but probably evil-- who’s constantly making Kaguya jealous and single-handedly dismantling everyone around her and whatever they try to do. This doesn’t include the times when Chika has to teach Shirogane how to do things, which brings her immense pain. A close contender for best character is Ishigami, who appears halfway into the show, and is as paranoid and ridiculous as he is sensitive and adorable. It takes half the show to introduce him, but some of the show’s most gut-busting moments come from him, especially when he reaches critical sass levels. Lastly, there’s our helpful deadpan character in Kaguya’s maid, Ai Hayasaka, who has particularly great chemistry with Kaguya as she attempts to help her earn Shirogane’s heart. Somehow, she has the most surprises up her sleeves. The random tertiary characters are all entertaining as well, thanks to the comedic and sometimes emotionally resonant writing of a well-balanced and vibrant main and supporting cast. Each skit tells us something new about these characters. Combine that with their chemistry and the sheer number of skits, it leaves these characters feeling incredibly rich, on top of being varied and colorful. You can honestly make a case for any of the 5 major characters being the best, which is a great sign.Kei Haneoka’s music does a good job complimenting the show’s calculated absurdity. The OST often cycles between being as bombastic as the scenarios they support and being whimsical, meme tracks that play over sequences such as a comedic explanation of the game 20 Questions. The OP "Love Dramatic feat. Rikka Ihara" by Masayuki Suzuki is one of the standouts of the season, boasting a jazzy, almost James Bond-like feel with the sneaky and sometimes psychedelic visuals to match once the song reaches its chorus. It matches the personalities of the main duo quite well and how they treat these scenarios like mind games. Sadly, the EDs don’t live up outside of the visuals and the meme factor of Chika’s ED. That, however, is a small loss.Kaguya-sama is one of the funniest and most well-directed shows I have seen in a long time. This outrageous premise certainly won’t appeal to everyone, especially to those who hate the concept of two main characters pussyfooting around confessing to each other. However, the wonderful cast, humor, and visual direction more than make up for any possible annoyance that otherwise may have caused me. Nearly every skit and episode build upon the last. If you want your fix of romcoms or shows starring manipulative egotists, this is almost certainly the anime for you. It’ll probably stay in my holy trinity of comedy anime for quite some time.Written and Edited by: CodeBlazeFateProofread by: Peregrine

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