Kaguya-Sama: Love is War: The Complete 180

The “three episode rule” is a standard for Anime fans it seems nowadays. Most people agree that three episodes of a new series are enough to judge whether or not it is good or worth watching. While I believe in that idea somewhat, I also feel that sometimes a show needs more time to establish itself and that dismissing a show too early can rob you of a great experience, and frankly there has been no better example then what we are discussing today. After the cut is my thoughts on the other best anime of the season: Kaguya-Sama: Love is War.

Image result for love is war
I never expected to go through the wringer with this show.

I’ll be honest, I was ready to drop Love is War after the first three episodes. The ideas were unique, but I found that after those initial first episodes that the entire premise would run out of gas soon, and frankly that first batch of episodes aren’t the best in the series. However, for some reason, I kept the series in my viewing lists for a little bit longer and I am glad I did because by around the halfway point I had done a complete 180 on the series. Now as the final episode of the series ends, I walk away thinking this is probably one of the freshest and fun anime comedies I’ve watched since the first season of Konosuba or Devil is a Part Timer.

Image result for chika gif
A character like Chika comes around very rarely and is probably going to make the company fucking BANK.

I think that change of view comes from an acceptance of what the show is. Love is War is not some grand epic nor is it a by the numbers school drama. Instead, it feels more like an anime version of the looney tunes, mini-episodes that involve the silly mind games of two stupid teenagers too blinded by pride to just admit they love each other. Once I accepted that is what Love is War was about, I found I was able to enjoy it far more than I had been. This time however it just took a bit longer than the usual three episode limit that many people (myself included) often impose on ourselves.

Like Date A Live before it, this show succeeds because of the iron-clad commitment to its premise. Love is War goes all out on the “war” aspect of the two leads trying to be the first one to confess, and how both of them, so blinded by pride and societal expectations, are unable to admit that they want to be together. Coupled with the two excellent supporting characters in the chaotic Chika, and the morose Ichigami, each episode had me laughing wildly at the extremes both Kaguya and Shirogane would go to one-up each other. And it is thanks to that ironclad commitment, that Love is War was able to catch so much attention to so many anime viewers and remain fresh, even if it is playing with a premise that has an extremely limited shelf life.

Image result for love is war gif
The chemistry of the main cast is something to behold. All of the four leads just ooze that kind of effort and love put in by creators.

I don’t know what else to say about this series really. There was just something that made me do that complete 180 from dismissing it to absolutely loving it. Maybe it’s the great animations, the wonderful characters, the amazing opening and ending themes, the meme potential of Chika, or the series ability to drift between comedy and seriousness effortlessly. Frankly, I am at a loss for words on how to describe why I enjoy this show so much, but I can say that Kaguya-Sama: Love is War is one of the best animes this year and like The Rising of the Shield Hero, is going to end up on several end of year lists. If you haven’t checked this show out yet, give it a look and try to put aside the three episode rule for this one. Keep your mind open and I think you’ll love it as much I ended up doing.

Image result for love detective chika
If this isn’t already being made, then start making it.

 

8 thoughts on “Kaguya-Sama: Love is War: The Complete 180

  1. Nice that the anime came back for you. This was another hot take for me haha, I actually had to take a break from Kaguya (and I ended up watching slime… unfortunately) and when I came back I still couldn’t get into it. Something about using the same joke over and over and over and over, with a million cuts of Kaguya / Shirogane’s tense face, just wasn’t very funny.

    Ishigami and Fujiwara though were awesome, and the only refreshing respite in the series.

    Still, this one wasn’t as bad as slime! So in a way it was OK to come back to, although honestly I feel lilke Kaguya may be the perfect example of an anime that is best watched weekly, because binging it just doesnt work.

    Like

  2. I read this and honestly I feel like I am presented with more questions than ability to relate.
    You talk about the premise a lot; an “iron-clad commitment” to it, in fact. What does that mean..? Are you saying that it’s, like, consistent to what it’s trying to do? I can see how that’s a positive thing. However, “consistent” is not a clear positive by itself. Because I can say something like ‘man, these weeks my body’s had an “iron-clad commitment to blowing up the toilet”‘ and, y’know, that isn’t something I always appreciate.

    There are some anime where that consistency is obviously necessary. Like in Eureka Seven; I think the messages are super clear and consistent throughout its 50-episode run. If that is what you’re saying here I feel like it isn’t as big of an achievement for a 12-episode romcom. My reasoning is this: LiW doesn’t carry the same level of skill or technique it takes to write something like Eureka Seven. Not necessarily because there’s a skill difference in their respective writers but because there’s less to juggle with in LiW.

    This is something I like to call “juggling” and what juggling basically means is… Imagine a man juggling 3 balls. Each ball is named something different: “characters, story and writing”. And he’s super consistent; even doing tricks like throwing a ball over his back, doing a spin and catching the ball just in time. Throwing them under and over his legs. It seems really cool to anyone who hasn’t seen a lot of people capable of juggling even 3 balls. But then another guy pops in and he has 6 balls. He starts juggling and it isn’t as clean or as fast as the man juggling 3 balls. He can’t do too many tricks, either. The man with 3 balls feels confident until everyone else is a little more aware what those balls represent: “Story, character, design, atmosphere, setting, writing”. People start to appreciate what the man with 6 balls is capable of doing even if it isn’t perfect and I would always argue that the man with 6 balls is always more impressive than the man with 3. So, that’s my take on that if all that makes sense to you.

    You also say things like ” Love is War goes all out on the “war” aspect” and “These characters ooze chemistry”. It kinda feels like you’re just saying things just to say them. Like, Idk what “war” means in this context. IIRC, Love is War is similar to many other romcoms in the fact that the ‘premise’ of the anime itself is not actually that these characters are aware of their feelings between one another and they’re competing for one another to confess. Rather, they are unaware and they feel less-than-comfortable confessing or giving any sort of hint of their feelings and the irony is that they’re both dense ASF and come to negative conclusions. You can say this is because of their highly-esteemed statuses in society and that wouldn’t be wrong for these characters. However, this happens to everyone in any walks in life so it’s really not a unique mindset and, as a result, ‘dynamic’. So if this dynamic gives you a, what I would assume to be a “Cold War” vibe, metaphorically speaking, then you could apply a statement such as what you said to many romcoms and more.

    I don’t see Love is War as much different than a lot of other romcoms that I watched other than the fact that it has some nice animation in a very “sakuga” manner and also, yeah, I will agree it has a pretty unique way of attributing visual analogies to coincide with the predicaments at hand. It certainly helps it stand out but I think an anime that merely “stands out” typically means Worshipping the first page it was drawn on and I just don’t agree with that.

    Sorry if I overstepped maybe you’re not a very critical blogger but I got the impression that you were on Twitter so I figured I’d just go ahead.

    Like

    • I’m a critical blogger, but, as my blog title suggests, I don’t go that deep. I prefer a shallow approach, looking at how it makes you feel, what you can see. I don’t nitpick, or try to blame a series for faults that might not be there. Frankly there are too many of those people on the internet, and I have no interest in being one of them.

      I will criticize certain shows (as I have with things like Mirai Nikki, The Bunny Girl Senpai movie) when I have to be, but I would rather talk about what works, or worked for me, than getting into the nitty gritty of certain scenes. Just my style really.

      LiW to me, does have an ironclad commitment to the premise, because from episode 1 through 12, it is about two characters trying to one-up each other into confessing. That doesn’t go away, or is left to rot after a few episodes, it’s there throughout. Many shows often pull back on certain things after awhile, but LiW didn’t, which is something I really liked.

      In regards to them ‘oozing chemistry,’ again I do believe this. The four main characters just click together for me, and they bounce off each other exceptionally well, especially Kaguya and Shirogane, because the show is really good (to me at least) at showing how well these two would be as a couple.

      It’s almost like your reviewing my review lol.

      Like

      • Yeah, I read the title of your blog and, frankly, that doesn’t mean anything to me. I… Have a strong belief that if you’re a critical person of any medium then you have a goal of making that medium better. Or w/e you think “better” is. When I read this post I got the impression it was more of a uh… I guess “hobbyist” approach? I guess that would be the word? And that’s all well and good but I think it’s important to recognize the difference between them.

        Anyway, I don’t know how to further respond without sounding mean because I don’t feel like your reply said much or correlates at all with some of the things I was arguing. All I can really do is further reinforce that you’re wrong about the premise: it is not necessarily a battle about one-upping each other into confessing because they’re not aware of each other’s feelings in the first place. It’s mostly anxiety-induced misunderstandings that they’re trying to avoid because they don’t want to seem like a lesser human in front of the other. And then there’s the other attachments my original comment has to this that feels like you didn’t address.

        P.S. yes, it feels like I am reviewing your review because it is very easy to do that when you’re arguing against the points being made in said review. Which is a really cool thing about language I think.You can do multiple things at once without trying too hard to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose I am a hobbyist. I’ll be honest. I haven’t put much thought into being a critic or anything. This has always been something I do for fun, an outlet to share my thoughts, whatever they might be. You clearly place a lot of value on being critical in regards to the medium and beyond, I can respect that.

        When I say ‘ironclad commitment to it’s premise,” I mean that the series is dedicated in following with the premise it set up, using the tools and ideas it started off with. An anime that doesn’t do that is something like say Oresuki, which pretty much drops it’s central plot point in the first few episodes, or more recently My Next Life as a Villainess, which seems to have moved away from it’s idea of trying to avoid a ‘doom ending’ and becoming more of a fluffy harem romp. Now whether or not that makes Oresuki or Bakarina bad shows is up to the viewer. I still like them both a lot, but I can’t deny that they decided not to follow up on the interesting hooks they presented in those first few episodes.

        Compare that to say Ishuzoku Reviewers, in which every episode reinforces the central idea of ‘rating the girls’ or Date A Live’s consistent use of it’s dating system throughout the story. To me, LiW was, and is a show about two idiot teenagers who, because of pride and teenage hormones won’t just admit they like each other, and the constant battle to get the upper hand makes the show so work, which almost every episode reinforces.

        It is clear that we see Love is War in different viewpoints. That’s fine, that’s life and what makes dialogue so interesting. The idea of this post was to really just gush about what turned out to be an exceptionally strong anime (for me), and talking about what I liked, the characters, the premise, and how the series didn’t skimp out on that. I won’t lie, this is one of my weaker blog posts, and my writing is always in a constant state of review. Check out my recent posts on Sword Art Online, or High School DxD, or even School Days or Yosuga no Sora, where I think I get more in depth.

        Like

      • Okay, I can respect that. I’ll definitely check out your other posts. If you feel more comfortable towards me being critical of those if I were to feel like being critical.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s