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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.