Solid Visuals, Great Music, Average Most Everything Else

Kaguya Sama: Love is War Post Title

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.

Kaguya-Sama Love is War Episode 3 Shirogane

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.

Kaguya-Sama Love is War Episode 3 Fujiwara

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.

Kaguya-Sama Love is War Episode 3 Shinomiya

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.

Kaguya-Sama Love is War Episode 3 Shirogane

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
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Vol. 1

7 thoughts on “Solid Visuals, Great Music, Average Most Everything Else

  1. Kaguya’s School Road was definitely my favorite segment. It was a good way to get to know her better, independent of her relationship with Shirogane, and I loved the throwaway gag with an actual yeti wandering into the edge of the frame a few seconds after the younger girl mentioned her friend’s nickname. I like that kind of creativity. I enjoyed the 10 questions segment, too, and I didn’t figure out the trick until a few seconds before Shirogane did, for what that’s worth. I’ve seen manga readers saying that particular segment was actually done better than it was in the manga, though of course I can’t speak to that myself.

    1. Yes, the yeti wandering through, without any comment or attention drawn to it, was pretty amusing. That whole segment was just fun and relaxing and just felt much less forced than the other sections. I wouldn’t mind more like that.

    1. It would probably sit a lot better if people stopped trying to oversell it or compare it to things it just isn’t. By itself, it is alright, they should just leave it be.

  2. Tend to agree. Save the Death Note comparisons for The Promised Neverland.

    Kaguya-Sama is fun, but not extraordinary. Except for Chika’s ED. Must… stop… rewatching…

    1. That ED just seemed out of place with the rest of the episode and I was just left wondering what was going on. Clearly lots of people like it but I’m still in that place where I’m wondering why.

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