Tag: Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic

Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Ultra Romantic anime series cover art
Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic

Season Overview

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic (Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Ultra Romantic / かぐや様は告らせたい-ウルトラロマンティック-) is the third season of the series. It also has a different naming convention than what the series used prior.

In case you weren’t aware, a question mark is the only difference between the Season 1 and Season 2 titles. In Japanese, a question mark (?) replaces the colon (:) from the Season 1 title in the Season 2 title. Season 3, though, goes back to using the colon and adds a subtitle, Ultra Romantic.

Does this change matter at all? No. But, anime tend to stick to their naming conventions across seasons. So, I thought this was interesting.

Anyway, Kaguya-sama is the best anime of the spring 2022 season. I’d say that its main competition was the Magia Record Final Season. But, that was just some leftover episodes from the previous season. So I’m not sure if I’d actually count it as a spring anime.

I know there are some people who will say that Spy x Family was the main competition for Kaguya. And while I do think Spy x Family was the better of the two in the middle of the season, I don’t think that overall.

The first third of Kaguya-sama Ultra Romantic was very good. I’d say it was on par with Season 1 (which I liked more than Season 2 as a whole). The middle was less good. I’ll explain why later. And then the end of the season is why I’m going to argue that it’s the best anime of the season.

What I liked about this season was that the plot progressed. Outside of Ishigami’s little arc, Season 2 felt like more of the same content we got in Season 1. Ultra Romantic had more going on.

Mid-Season Low Point

Rumor has it that people liked Ultra Romantic Episode 8. I’m not one of those people. In fact, I’d say that it was the worst episode of the entire series. And, when this episode aired, I lowered my rating of the season.

So, what’s wrong with Episode 8? Well, it used literal manga panels multiple times. You can even see an example of one of those times down below. That’s not a screenshot of the manga. That’s the anime. And although some argue it was an artistic choice, it looks more like a choice made out of desperation.

One way people make fun of bad animation is to refer to it as a slideshow. Parts of this episode were literally a slideshow of manga panels. If you think this is good, you must be coping. Using a manga style can be good. This wasn’t.

Manga panels featuring Kaguya Shinomiya from Episode 8 of the anime series Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Ultra Romantic
Manga panels featuring Kaguya Shinomiya from Episode 8

When I watched Episode 8, I was very concerned about the future of the series. I thought, “if they’re resorting to using manga panels now, what’s the anime going to look like by the end of the season?” Usually, production quality doesn’t rebound over the course of a single cour.

The good news is that after Episode 8, we got five great episodes in a row to close out the season. So, yes, it does appear that the manga panels were a (poorly executed) artistic choice. But, it’s possible that this was all part of the master plan.

If Episode 8 looks like garbage, then the episodes that follow it will look even better by comparison. And, in defense of the manga panels, I’d say that turned out to be the case. But, I’d still rather not have a manga panel slideshow while I’m watching anime.

School Festival Arc

Something that surprised me was that I enjoyed the final five episodes of Ultra Romantic. They all take place during the culture festival. And if there’s one thing I can’t stand in anime, it’s culture festival episodes, arcs, and seasons. Typically, if a culture festival is present, I’m going to lower my rating.

It’s not like I see a culture festival and automatically reduce my rating. But, I tend not to like them. This may be the first time I’ve ever thought a culture festival arc was good. And, I’d say there are two main reasons for why that is.

The first reason is that there’s not a stupid school play. I hate when we have to watch the main characters perform some dumb play at a culture festival. It might be my least favorite trope in the entire medium of anime. Most of the time, I stop paying attention and open Twitter or Discord on my phone.

Kaguya Shinomiya from the anime series Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Ultra Romantic
Kaguya Shinomiya

Of course, Ultra Romantic still included a bunch of other culture festival tropes. There was a haunted house, a maid cafe, a bonfire, etc. And, to be fair, those can be boring too. But, the cast of Kaguya-sama is good. So, their interactions with each other in these situations made them enjoyable.

The second reason I liked this culture festival is that the content was good. By this, I mean there was a lot going on. Every one of the main characters had something going on. And while their stories were independent of each other, they were still intertwined.

For example, both Kaguya and Shirogane were invested in Ishigami’s confession. Also, Shirogane had to account for the wild card named Chika in his plans. And everyone was loosely tied to Iino due to the role she played during the festival.

Conclusion

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic is an 8/10. That’s still good enough for it to be the best anime of the season, even if it’s lower than what you may have rated it. Could it have been a 9 if it didn’t include a manga slideshow? Maybe.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server to discuss anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and Key Mochi for supporting this blog at the Heika and Senpai tiers this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2

Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2

Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2 anime series cover art
Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2

Season Overview

Kaguya-sama: Love is War season 2 (Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai?: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen / かぐや様は告らせたい?~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~) is basically just more of the same stuff that was in season 1. So if you liked the first season, you’ll probably like this one. And if you didn’t like the first season, you probably have bad taste in anime.

Unrelated to the actual review, it’s nice to see that even Kaguya-sama is following the tradition of adding random punctuation to its title to denote additional seasons. Notice how the Japanese title doesn’t actually say that it’s the second season, but instead includes a “?” to differentiate itself from season 1.

The first season of the anime covered the first term of the school year and the summer break. In Japan, the school year begins in January, with the summer break denoting the halfway point. This second season covers the second term of the school year, which is the fall semester.

Apparently, the fall semester is when the next student council election takes place. I don’t think this makes a lot of sense. Really the election should either be at the very end of the year or the very beginning of the following year, not right after the mid-year break. But whatever; let’s roll with it.

So the student council election is the primary event taking place throughout this season. This is important storywise for two main reasons: First, it serves as a minor reintroduction to the current student council members. Second, it introduces a few new characters who want to join the student council.

Aside from that, the only real difference between season 1 and season 2 is the character development that occurs. But rather than discussing that here, I’ll have a full section on it later.

New Characters

The two new characters introduced this season are Miko Iino and Kobachi Osaragi. Miko is a new main character while Kobachi is a new supporting character.

Miko believes that the current student council has become too morally corrupt and is no longer in any position to lead as role models for the other students. She views Shirogane and Kaguya as the most morally depraved because of their apparent open relationship. And she also just hates Ishigami (or does she?)

The only current student council member Miko thinks is worth keeping around is Chika, who she believes is the perfect role model. And as part of her election campaign, Miko chooses Chika to be her vice president should she win.

Chika Fujiwara and Miko Iino from the anime series Kaguya-sama: Love is War season 2
Chika Fujiwara and Miko Iino

Kobachi originally plans to join the student council as well, but it’s later revealed that she doesn’t actually have any interest in that sort of thing. She simply wanted to support Miko in her endeavors. In that regard, Kobachi is like a watered-down version of Hayasaka.

While Hayasaka is completely devoted to Kaguya (because it’s her job to be), Kobachi is devoted to Miko (because she’s actually her friend).

I should also mention that both Miko and Kobachi are first-year students just like Ishigami. I find that it’s sometimes difficult to determine who’s an upper and underclassmen because they all look the same — and their roles don’t seem to be based on their year.

For example, there are no third-year students currently in the student council. And even some of the third-year students who we know of aren’t in high-ranking positions in their respective clubs. Basically, the ranks of junior (kouhai) and senior (senpai) don’t really apply except for when speaking to or about a student older than oneself.

Season 1 vs. Season 2

I know that 99% of people who watched this season will disagree with me on this, but I think Kaguya-sama: Love is War season 1 was better than season 2. The second season definitely had some higher points and some much-needed refreshment with the introduction of Miko, but overall I think it was worse.

On the comedy side of things, it got a bit stale. With the exception of the final episode, basically all of the gags involving Chika were just rehashed from season 1. And I can’t really think of any gags involving Shirogane from this season that I actually found funny.

The character development that happens across seasons 1 and 2 is a mixed bag for me. I think the vast majority of viewers would agree when I say that Ishigami’s development was the peak of the season, and potentially the series as a whole so far. However, I think both Kaguya and Shirogane got worse this season.

Ishigami wearing Kaguya's school uniform from the anime series Kaguya-sama: Love is War season 2
Ishigami wearing Kaguya’s school uniform

Let’s start off with Ishigami because his development is the best. Ishigami’s character arc came in episode 11 when we learned about his backstory. This was not only a way for us to learn why Ishigami is the way he is but also presented an opportunity for him to grow as a person by leaving his past behind him and learning to make new friends and enjoy new things.

What interested me the most about this episode was how it presented a much more realistic drama plot in an otherwise generally comedy series. There’s been drama in Kaguya-sama in the past, but it’s generally been shoujo romance trope drama, not “real” drama.

And lastly we have Kaguya and Shirogane’s development, which was probably the least entertaining part of the series for me. The issue I have with these two is that Shirogane hasn’t really developed at all, while Kaguya has regressed into an infantile-like state.

There’s not really much of the back and forth between these two characters that made the first season so entertaining. Instead, Kaguya does something, Shirogane barely reacts, and then Kaguya goes into her inner voice “baby Kaguya” mode. I just don’t see that as good development. It’s technically development, but not good.

Conclusion

Kaguya-sama: Love is War season 2 is a 7/10 from me. It’s still a good season of anime, but I just don’t think it was at the same level as the first season. And while a third season is obviously going to happen, I’m not convinced that it will be any better.

Also, just to add more fuel to the fire, I have to say that the OP and ED(s) of season 1 were better than season 2. I get that a lot of people like the season 2 OP, but I think it’s inferior in almost every way. It’s probably just a case of recency bias causing everyone to think it’s the best thing ever, just like when Funimation (viewers) claimed Demon Slayer was the best anime of the decade.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. And if you disagree with anything I’ve said, be sure to let me know in the comments.

Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month, as well as Rob Wright and SG for supporting at the Kouhai tier. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of Ultra Romantic (Season 3) is available now.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Kaguya-sama: Love is War anime series cover art
Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Overview

Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen / かぐや様は告らせたい~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~) was one of the two best anime to come out of the Winter 2019 season, the other being The Promised Neverland. But, as I’m sure I mentioned in my review of that series, these two are nothing alike.

Both are highly psychological but in vastly different ways. I won’t be going over The Promised Neverland here since there’s already a post dedicated to it, but Kaguya-sama uses its psychological aspects as a form of comedy, which isn’t something you see too often.

Usually, psychological anime are action-filled thrillers as well, but not this time. And, I’m actually a bit surprised that this series was as popular as it was due to that simple fact. I don’t like series like Death Note as much as the general populace, and I would have thought they would see something like this as automatically inferior due to the way it uses psychology.

Basically, the story revolves around the student council of a prestigious high school for the children of Japan’s wealthy and powerful elite. Within this student council, the president and vice president each have crushes on one another but see confessing their love to be a sign of weakness.

With this setup, the series follows the mind games of these two as they constantly try to trick each other into confessing their true feelings. However, it isn’t quite as simple as a one-on-one battle of wit. There are also the other two members of the student council, as well as a few other characters, who serve as obstacles in the quest for love.

Characters

The titular Kaguya Shinomiya is probably the best main girl in the series despite what the uninformed attempt to claim. I won’t say that she’s the most entertaining character, that distinction does fall to Chika, but she’s still the best main girl.

Kaguya is the vice president of the student council as well as one of the smartest students in the entire school. As for her background, her family owns some corporate conglomerate, which also means she comes from one of the wealthiest families of all the students as well.

With all this in mind, Kaguya is definitely an opponent worthy of the president of the student council, Miyuki Shirogane. While his family isn’t as wealthy and powerful as Kaguya’s, Shirogane more than makes up for it by being the top student of the academy.

Shirogane is also cheap, works a part-time job, and bikes to school, all characteristics which reflect his family’s lower-income status when compared to his classmates. His younger sister, Kei Shirogane, is also low-key the best girl in the series, but she doesn’t play much of a role, so I’ll allow Kaguya to keep her title.

The third member of the student council is Chika Fujiwara, the secretary. Unlike the other student council members, Chika doesn’t actually seem to serve any real purpose, and it’s unclear exactly how she came to hold this position. Perhaps she was merely chosen by Kaguya.

As previously stated, Chika is the most entertaining character in the series due to her nature as the wildcard. You never quite know what she’s going to do or how she’s going to get in the way of Kaguya and Shirogane’s love. She’s also obsessed with love and rumors, even going so far as to refer to herself as love detective Chika.

Chika Fujiwara from the anime series Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Chika Fujiwara

The fourth and final member of the student council is the treasurer, Yuu Ishigami. I forget exactly why he was chosen for this position, but Ishigami was hand-picked to be the treasurer by Shirogane despite not wanting to be a member of the student council in the first place.

Ishigami would much rather simply go home after school and play video games, making him the most relatable of the bunch. He’s also the worst student in the student council, frequently failing or nearly failing his exams.

As a bonus fact, Ishigami is terrified of Kaguya and believes that she wants to kill him, which is a major reason for why he doesn’t show up to the student council room unless a meeting is scheduled.

Finally, we have Ai Hayasaka, another candidate for best girl. As you can see, despite Chika being a great character, she’s still the worst of the girls in this series. If nothing else, that should just prove how likable the characters are as a whole.

Ai Hayasaka isn’t a member of the student council, but she is Kaguya’s valet and so can frequently be found by Kaguya’s side. Her family has served the Shinomiya family for generations, which is why she was tasked with getting into the same school as Kaguya in order to be of service to her there.

Of these five major characters, Hayasaka is the most normal. She’s not out of touch with the world like Kaguya, she’s not a cheapskate like Shirogane, she’s not crazy like Chika, and she’s not a shut-in like Ishigami. Hayasaka is just a normal girl who has to put up with Kaguya’s antics.

Conclusion

Overall, I gave Kaguya-sama: Love is War an 8/10. It’s really good, but not every chapter which was adapted is perfect. There are a few episodes that didn’t really adapt any chapters I thought were amazing, and most of the time the chapters which were adapted were hit or miss.

That said, even the misses were decent, and the hits were bulls-eyes. If you’re a fan of comedy anime, I’d suggest checking this one out if you haven’t already. But if you’re looking for a more traditional romance series, this one might not be what you’re looking for.

I’d also like to include a clip of what I thought was the best part of the series, Chika’s dance from one of the EDs. But unfortunately, every video of this on YouTube gets taken down, so I can’t.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to click the like button ❤ down below, and let me know in the comments who you think the best girl is (it’s Kei). Also, you should follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about becoming a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of the second season is available here.

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