Kaguya-Sama: Love is War Episode 3 Review
There is no denying that Kaguya-Sama: Love is War is a very slick production. Visually it is really fun to look at with strong colour choices, great character designs, and some really interesting visualisations during the conflicts. The sound is equally well done, though I have to wonder what was with this week’s ED as that was just kind of odd.
The problem is once again a case of fans of the source over-selling everything else when this adaption started. With regular comparisons to the mind games of Death Note and the endless amount of praise for these characters and the writing in general, even with a sensible amount of lowering the expectation, they’d really talked it up.
But… here we have Shinomiya acting all proud and haughty having had her first time when it was obvious the punch line was going to be that she misunderstood the concept. The fact that it took Shirogane and Fujiwara so long to figure it out was just painful and to be honest I’ve never really found jokes made at the expense of a lack of sex education particularly hilarious. So there weren’t really any clever mind games going on, the dialogue was all pretty ordinary, and the punch-line telegraphed from the start with no actual twist to spice it up. All and all, the first skit here falls pretty flat.
Then we move into a game of twenty questions. This one actually did have some psychological drama going on and yet still the punch line was obvious. They made an unmissable reference to the dog at the start of the skit, and anyone who has been watching knows Shinomiya’s personality at this point in time. Again, Shirogane taking so long to click and allowing himself to think otherwise just undermines how clever he’s supposed to be.
Finally, the last of the segments, and this one I liked, but that’s because it wasn’t an attempted mind game falling flat or even a battle. Instead we just got to see Shinomiya walking to school for the first time and after helping a younger student she runs into Shirogane who is also running late and ends up getting her to ride on the back of his bike. It’s just a daily bit of life but both characters felt far more genuine and without the forced and strained dialogue when the anime is trying to be clever, they were both a lot more likeable.
This is by no means a bad anime, and from a production point of view it is pretty great. However, the hype around episode one and the expectations before it started didn’t do it any favours. The ‘war’ between the protagonists is fairly juvenile and most of the schemes are either transparent or ridiculous. Personally, I’d prefer just to see more of these two characters in genuine day to day situations rather than the contrived and forced ‘battles’ they set up in the student council room. Though clearly, that would be an entirely different show.
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Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Vol. 1
- Episode 1: A Comedy About A Broken Philosophy on Love and Romance
- Episode 2: The Tools of War – Phones, Vacations and Love Advice
- Episode 3: Solid Visuals, Great Music, Average Most Everything Else
- Episode 4: All’s Fair In Love, War, And Welcoming Parties
- Episode 5: The Battleground of Love Advice, Volleyball and Umbrellas
- Episode 6: It Isn’t Paranoia When She’s Really Threatening To Kill You
- Episode 7 and 8: The Love War Flat-Lined
- Episode 9: Is It Terrible If I Call This Episode ‘The Cold War’?
- Episode 10: Passing the Olive Branch
- Episode 11: No Love, No War, No Real Interest
- Episode 12: Heartfelt Moment Undermined by ‘Humorous’ Conclusion
- Images from: Kaguya Sama: Love Is War. Dir. S Omata. A-1 Pictures. 2019.