Kaguya-sama: Love is War Review

It’s time for another series review, as I have been catching up on many seasonal anime that I’d missed over the past several seasons.

The anime this time is Kaguya-sama: Love is War, an anime that seems to have done very well. I’ll just call it Love is War from now on.

Kaguya 4.jpg

One Trick Pony

Generally, I’m a big fan of comedy anime. And I’ll admit that many of the comedy anime that I love are similar in that they tend to use the same overarching theme or style in most or all of their gags. But what happens if that theme / style gets old?

For the first several episodes, I thought that Love is War had something interesting going. But after a while, the comedy began to feel more and more stale to me. There’s only so much “tense Kaguya & Shirogane overthink everything in order to hide their own feelings while trying to expose each other’s feelings” that I can handle. I actually had to take a break partway through and switch to watching something else, because the joke just got so old that I needed something new. Not to mention the million shots of Kaguya or Shirogane’s face in front of a dark background – it gets old very fast!

Kaguya 2

Perhaps this isn’t exactly the best anime to binge, but I’ve never exactly had this issue with other comedy anime. I just grew to dislike the narrator’s voice. The “scoring” was so arbitrary it felt like a waste of time, as not once did the scoring make me laugh let alone chuckle. It felt too forced, and I feel like they could have dropped the scoring after the first few episodes and no one would have noticed.

I’m really beginning to think that some anime are actually best watched on a weekly basis, or at least with some time between episodes. Perhaps Love is War is a great example of this, because binging it just doesn’t work. Too much of the same joke, and too many cuts of Kaguya / Shirogane’s tense face. Plus too much of that annoying narrator. Maybe once a month would have been better actually…

Kaguya-sama

I didn’t like Kaguya.

I thought she was an extremely bland and boring character. To me she didn’t seem to have much of a personality at all. I don’t really know what I’m missing with Kaguya, or even how to explain it, but she was felt like such a lifeless character to me. It’s like you could have replaced her with a zombie that blushes at Shirogane every once in a while and I wouldn’t have noticed. What’s so special about Kaguya?

I can’t think of anything innate to Kaguya that makes her an interesting character. It’s just so bizarre that I struggle to even find words to describe her. She’s a mostly nice girl that’s also a bit of a tsundere, I guess? I don’t really think her being rich adds too much to her character. She’s like a discount version of that girl from Blend S.

I think part of Kaguya’s issue is that the rest of the cast actually are more interesting, and so she just fades into the background as an uninteresting character. Ishigami has his paranoia, Fujiwara has her energy, and Shirogane has his quirks (like being a cheapskate). To be fair, Shirogane has his own share of problems too, but I still found him more interesting than Kaguya.

Ultimately, Kaguya made it difficult for me to get through the anime named after her, which was unfortunate. Fujiwara really just outshines Kaguya, and that puts a damper on the whole “love war” aspect for me. Not only am I relying on Fujiwara to break up the monotonous jokes, but I also can’t help but think that Shirogane should just give up on Kaguya and ask Fujiwara, the anime’s best girl, out instead.

Kaguya 3.jpg

Fujiwara & Ishigami

Thank goodness for Fujiwara and Ishigami. I’m not sure I would have been able to finish this anime if it wasn’t for them. When a “joke” just won’t end, and is being dragged out for what feels like an eternity, Fujiwara is the one who often shows up to save the day. She felt like such a breath of fresh air amongst the stale and overused jokes, I was always glad to see Fujiwara. And when a scene included Ishigami, I knew it was going to at least be a different type of joke, that moves away from the whole “one-up” gag and goes more in the direction of “misunderstanding”.

My favourite scene from the anime was the one where Fujiwara teaches Shirogane how to play volleyball, but I also loved the scene where Fujiwara tries to cheat Shirogane and Ishigami in a game of cards. Ishigami also had many great little moments, just from some of the things he would say or do.

I definitely think that Fujiwara was not only an absolute necessity to the anime, by breaking up the overused and long jokes, but she was also interesting. At face value she seems like an airhead, but as we see more and more of her, we actually begin to notice that Fujiwara is quite crafty. Many times she pretends not to let onto something, or the opposite. And that whole aspect where “Fujiwara can’t be controlled” was really funny. That was another great scene that made me laugh, when Shirogane is trying to get Fujiwara to make summer plans with the club. Fujiwara really is just a great character, and she fits into the anime perfectly. A real beacon of light in the dark and dusty anime that is Kaguya-sama: Love is War.

Fujiwara.jpg

Rating

I’m not going to drag this review out any longer, like one of the jokes from the anime. While the premise itself is interesting, and the main joke was funny the first few times, Kaguya-sama: Love is War felt like it just relied to heavily on a single joke, and so while I enjoyed several scenes and characters from the anime, the overall impression I left the anime with was “thank goodness it’s over”.

I’m giving Kaguya-sama: Love is War a 5.5 / 10 rating.
Maybe just a little bit too focused on a single premise, I feel like this anime would have been better in a shorter format or with fewer episodes.

I’ll also give it the What Is Love? award, because I can.

Kaguya Love is War Shirogane

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Kaguya-sama: Love is War Review

  1. It does feel a little samey and the two characters overthinking things goes on and on. I know a lot of people liked this one but it just didn’t do much for me. Fujiwara was very cute though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah personally I think it was a bit overhyped, and I think the MAL score is absurdly high probably as a result of hype. People see a waifu-material character like Kaguya and lose their minds… at least maybe that’s part of the reason.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a bit surprised at your rating, but I probably wouldn’t rate it much higher either. I also didn’t like Kaguya. I liked her character design which is why I started watching the show, but kept on watching it for Ishigami.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I liked her design too, I think a lot of people did which is why the show got so much attention.
      I probably would have rated it a little higher if there wasn’t so much hype around this show, but then again I probably wouldn’t have even watched it if there wasn’t hype also.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kaguya was a hit for me, but I’m the first to admit that my sense of humor is definitely not the mainstream. There are plenty of beloved anime comedies that I’ve found incredibly annoying/tedious/boring (like Baka & Test and Squid Girl, to give just two examples). I will say, though, that I’ve never been able to binge any Japanese comedies. Even with the ones like Plastic Nee-san and Haruhi-chan Suzumiya that only had like 5-minute episodes, I couldn’t watch more than 2 or 3 episodes before I started getting bored. So I doubt bingeing Kaguya would’ve worked for me either. But watching those lovable dorks just once a week either making fools of themselves or getting pwned by Chika, I had no problem tuning in for that. I’ve also heard from manga readers that after a certain point in the manga the whole “Love is War” thing basically becomes an artifact title anyway because both of them pretty much give up on the mind games from then on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I’ve binged plenty of comedies before, but Kaguya was too much of a breath of stale air for me. First three episodes were great, but I quickly became more and more disinterested as I went on, and even took a break after around episode 5 / 6 to watch that slime anime, came back to same stale content. I don’t think they have to drop the “love is war” premise completely, but they definitely could have tried to spin it a little differently at times maybe, or just spread it out and add more variety inbetween.

      Comedies like Daily Lives of Highschool Boys, or Saiki K. are more up my alley anyways.

      Like

  4. I haven’t watched the anime yet, but I have been reading the manga. I have to admit that it can get kind of boring due to repetition. I am not even in a rush to catch up with the latest chapters… hahaha…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Celebrating the Sunshine Blogger Award! | Umai Yomu Anime Blog

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