My quest for a good romantic anime has led me to Kaguya-Sama Love Is War. It wasn’t anything what I was expecting but everything I didn’t know I wanted. Kaguya-Sama Love is War is a romantic comedy, will they won’t they story but with a psychological element to it that sets it apart from others in the genre. The story centers around the relationship of Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane. They’re apart of the student council of the most prestigious high school in Japan. They’re the most popular students in the school and both are geniuses. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before they got together but as time passed neither wanted to make the first move. This introduces the psychological element to the series, getting the other to admit they have feelings for the other. Instead of the standard romance anime theme of building up the courage to confess their love, this show states there is a winner and a loser of love. The one who confesses their love is the loser of the relationship, the one with no power. With that mindset they turn everyday social situations into a battle of wits every episode in order to get the other to confess.
For a narrative like this to work you need good characters, good narration and good dialogue. This anime has all three. Kaguya is from one of the richest families in Japan. She is sheltered, pampered and arrogant. As the show progresses you how her friendship with Miyuki affects her. Miyuki has to work part time to help support his family but that doesn’t stop him from being the top student. He is hardworking, cheap, and a perfectionist. He tries to keep a perfect image of himself but through the inner monologues you realize he’s far from it. The supporting cast is only made up of two consistent reoccurring characters Chika Fugiwara the secretary and Yu Ishigama the treasurer. Chika is the secretary of the student council. She is the stereotypical airhead but loyal friend. She’s more of a comedy relief character but does get enough development for you to realize her first impressions are deceiving. Yu is the treasurer and a genius with numbers but doesn’t give effort to anything else. Yu is a great addition to the cast but he is only added half way in the series.
Every episode is made up of 2 to 3 situations or battles, sometimes they connect with one another and others they give insight to either of the main characters. The narrator adds extra life to the basic situations turned psychological mind battles. Even though the narrator is the best voice actor on the show, it would be a crime to not highlight the one’s behind Kauya and Miyuki. You can hear the cracks in their voices when they’ve lost the upperhand, the sarcastic tones or the disappointment. It really brings the 2d characters to life. The humor is consistently good, and it really stands out to other romantic comedies. The only negatives are that the story is kind of cliché and it doesn’t feel complete.
The one thing that bothers me is how short series is. With only 12 episodes we don’t get enough character development. Sure, we’ll get to know Chika Fugiwara a little and Yu Ishigama gets an episode around him but its just enough to build around the finale. Yu and Miyuki would act like really great friends but we didn’t get to see just the two of them together often. It feels like advertisement for the manga which is currently ongoing. This is just me nitpicking so don’t let it defer you. The animation is great, the voice acting is the best I’ve experienced in an anime, characters are all great, soundtrack is great and overall it’s just hilarious. I would give it a generous 9 not only from the previously listed quality but it stands out with its unique psychological elements. I do plan on getting the manga to see how the story progresses.