Kaguya-sama: Love Is War - Reviews

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

sweetdesu's avatar
Feb 17, 2019

Seeing as the series is only halfway through, this review could be premature. However, I've thoroughly enjoyed the six episodes of this series. The characters aren't stiff or cliche. They're dynamic, interesting, and hilarious. The comedy lands every time and, even when it's not trying to be funny, it can still produce a little laughter, always for the right reasons. The narration attributes to the story in a way that isn't monotonous, unnecessary, or irritating. This anime is so brilliantly written in the aspect of its comedic timing, development of characters and relationships, and the entertaining mind games played between Shinomiya and Shirogane. Chika could be construed as the token "stupid, big-boobed extra," but she's only one of those things. She may not have the high intelligence that Shinomiya and Shirogane possess, but she's definitely not a dope. She was able to emotionally manipulate Shinomiya during the word game in order to win. She adds to the story in a positive and entertaining way instead of the usual annoying side character that adds no true value to the story or main characters and is purely to fill the obligatory "best friend" role.

Overall, this anime is incredibly entertaining with golden comedy, well-developed and interesting characters, and a story that leaves you wishing the episodes were longer than thirty minutes. This is truly the most refreshing romance anime I've seen in a while. 

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Fluffs's avatar
Jun 19, 2019

Let me start off by saying that I usually don't watch this genre. However, I've thoroughly enjoyed this and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something funny, lighthearted and cute.

In terms of story this anime doesn't have much to offer. A girl and a boy like each other, neither wants to admit it but keeps trying to get the other party to do that, which of course, rarely gets them anywhere. Throw in some comic relief characters and a few stories and you'll get Love is War.

Animation was pretty consistent and the anime looks great. The ending sequence in the third episode (infamous Chika dance) is amazingly well animated and that alone makes it worth watching.

Voice acting was great, sound effects suit the situations well. OP theme is pretty catchy too.

Characters were interesting, I liked how the second half of the season gives them some depth. Kaguya's story is pretty interesting, and we actually get to see why she acts the way she does.

I really hope this gets a second season because it's one of those shows that you can just binge and relax and laugh to, without worrying about complicated plot lines.

7/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
Epitaph71's avatar
Mar 31, 2019

Certainly one of the best romantic comedy!

This series was just pure perfection .From  animations to storytelling along with  the overall interesting characters this show was like a fresh breath of air among all trash animes.Also each episode seemed to be more and more interesting than the previous one which is rare now a days.

Overall 10/10    

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
CodeBlazeFate's avatar
Mar 30, 2019

“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: CodeBlazeFate
Proofread by: Peregrine

8.8/10 story
7.8/10 animation
7.7/10 sound
8.8/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
HajimeHinata1's avatar
Aug 12, 2019

You’re seriously crazy dude! But y’know... At least, I wasn’t boring right?”

– Kaito Momota, Kokichi Oma

A question that has haunted me ever since I was born is - What would happen if two tsunderes fell in love each other? Before watching Kaguya-Sama, I thought that the concept was very interesting, and it was pretty much the driving factor that made me watch it, but I was also sure that this “Love is war” idea would become boring, dull and repetitive after a few episodes. Fortunately, I have been proven wrong; not only have I been proven wrong, I have been completely blown away! This Anime executes the concept almost perfectly. It masters the art of blending comedy and mind games perfectly. One second, you could be on the edge of your seat, and the next you can be laughing your eyes out. It's fast pace and episodic nature have only added to this excitement and have helped prevent it from feeling banal.

A war wouldn’t be possible without two sides now, would it? That’s where the 2 leads come in. You’ve got your genius high school guy – Shirogane Miyuki – and an equally competent girl – Shinomiya Kaguya – vying to get the other to confess their love to them as their pride won’t allow them to do the same. Thus, they do what any normal person would do when they want to confess to their crush; they start fabricating incredibly extra, but at the same time kind of believable, scenarios in order to be confessed to. You know, your typical high school antics. And thus, the scheme to psychologically manipulate the other to confess their love is initiated by both sides, which, inevitably paves the path for some engrossing mind battles between the teens masquerading as being far more intelligent than they actually are. In the introductory episodes, Shirogane and Kaguya are somehow utterly oblivious about the infatuation that each has for the other, and that’s the crux of the show. Every episode is divided into three separate segments, each placing the characters in an unpleasantly awkward situation, with the characters using their wits to parade around the problem at hand, which gives rise to some tense as well as some hilarious moments.

Kaguya is the Vice President of the student council and she has it all. She’s intelligent, attractive and is from a pretty distinguished and wealthy family. She’s your typical high-school tsundere, or at least that’s what I thought in the beginning. She has the trademarks of a quintessential tsundere, but she actually is not peevish and doesn’t go around killing the main character. She also has her cute side that she shows every once in a while, and trust me, it’s cute. On the other hand, Shirogane is a transfer student from somewhere unknown and is also the student council president. He’s intelligent, but unlike Kaguya, he’s not from a posh background. These 2 characters wouldn’t be as special as they currently are if one of them wasn’t there. The chemistry between them is simply extraordinary. The two of them complement each other and play off of each other magnificently.

Obviously, the show doesn’t consist of just Kaguya and Shirogane. We also have the incredibly quirky side characters. Starting with Chika, who’s an adorable member of the student council. She adds a dumb, but rather interesting take on things, and has had her fair share of hilarious and adorable moments. She massively helps with the process of keeping things fresh, cute and cuddly. I would’ve been fully content with the dynamic of Kaguya vs Shirogane with Chika interfering, but they felt the need of adding one more student council member, and what a decision that turned out to be. It might’ve taken him a while to make his first appearance, but the true star of the show is Ishigami, the student council’s “Treasurer”. He adds quite a unique perspective to the show. His acerbic and brutally honest nature helps make his interactions with all of the characters funny and entertaining (Especially with Kaguya). I honestly wouldn’t mind if they made a spin-off of Kaguya-Sama showcasing his day to day life, that honestly would be better than a lot of the stuff that comes out every season. He’s arguably Kaguya-Sama’s best character, and that’s massive statement considering the great characters this show already possesses. We also have other side characters such as Kaguya’s maid and Shirogane’s sister, who I could care less about right now, but they’ll hopefully grow on me with time and more focus put on them (In the next season).

We have the Narrator of the show. This show contains inner monologues, a lot of them, but instead of the show adding even MORE inner monologues (which aren’t bad per say, but they’re better when they’re not overdone) they’ve decided to go with the narrator route. The narrator in Kaguya-sama really reminds me of the one from Kaiji. He’s loud, explains important parts of the show (sometimes over-explains which may be a hit or miss for some, but it definitely was a hit for me), and like the narrator from Kaiji, he has also faced a large amount of hate, with people calling him annoying, unfunny, disruptive and more. I do agree, he did feel a bit disruptive in the beginning, but ever since episode 2, I felt that the studio had really found the right amount of when to add him and when not to add him, which has prevented him from being annoying and more of the opposite. This addition is a massive plus for the show, because I think that the narrator has a valuable insight on what the characters are thinking, while providing pretty enjoyable and funny commentary that has enhanced most of the scenes that he’s been a part of.

I was a bit scared, when I heard A1 pictures were going to adapt this show, but I’m genuinely impressed now that I have watched it. The visuals might seem a bit boring and mundane looking at first, but once the comedic scenes hit, that’s when Kaguya-Sama’s visuals truly shine. The large amount of detail on some of the pieces of imagery you’ll see alongside the fantastic dialogue and masterclass directing, will make you crack up. Seriously, this is easily one of best visually directed shows I’ve seen this season. I love the way it shifts around in so many styles, you feel that the studio are having a blast making this. Considering A1 pictures were the ones making this, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the character designs. Each character is easily distinguishable and looks visually appealing. I also couldn’t help myself from fawning over the amount of adorable expressions Kaguya and Chika made! Sometimes I find myself just pausing the episode and just admiring them (It does sound kind of creepy, but you really will understand what I mean once you watch the show lol).

The voice actors really do their job fantastically, and are one of the main reasons why I’ve opted to keep watching the anime instead of switching to the manga. It doesn’t feel like they’re reading off of a script. Be it the Kaguya’s banter with Shirogane, Chika being adorable or the portrayal of Ishigami’s depressed nihilism, the voices feel natural. I also love the jazzy vibe the opening gives off and it’s a must watch every episode. Even though I love all of these things, the true star here is the ending, it’s so adorable and mesmerizing, to the point where you really feel the passion and the effort that A1 have put into this project. If that ending isn’t enough to convince you to watch the show, then I don’t know what will! Also, I have to give a special mention to that fantastic Chika Ed. That ending song was amazing! It had dazzling, and almost hypnotic animation, and an equally captivating and adorable song. Seriously, it’s arguably better than the other Ed, and why it hasn’t made another appearance in the show is one of life’s biggest mysteries. It’s a clear reminder of how if a studio doesn’t half ass everything and actually try their best at making something, they can create something truly special. If you haven’t watched it yet, then I implore you to get off of MAL and watch it for God’s sake.

Overall, Kaguya-Sama has been a major success and has been praised by fans and critics alike, and for once, I honestly think it deserves every single praise it gets. It was a refreshing take on the oversaturated rom-com setting and was able to overcome some of the inveterate traits found in other anime in the genre. Don’t take the score I have given this review so lightly; I don’t give 9’s too often.


8/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall