Tag Archives: Shirogane

The Observation Deck: Kaguya-sama Love is War: Ultra Romantic

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The end of another season of course means the end of another block of anime. However, this season feels a bit different, and a lot of that can be attributed to the series I am talking about today, Kaguya-sama. I have admitted in the past to not being the warmest on the show when it first came out. In fact, it felt kind of gimmicky. At least, that is how it was at first.

Not only did the series only get more and more entertaining, but the amount of longevity and growth it has had over its now three seasons is also one of the most impressive I have seen from a show in a while. Any hesitancy about its quality on my part has since been replaced with whole-hearted enthusiasm for one of the most charming romantic comedies of the last decade.

For those unaware, Love is War focuses on Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, the president and vice president of the student council of the elite Shuuchin Academy. After working together for about half a year, the two simultaneously develop a crush on the other. However, the driving philosophy among those at the top is as such: Admitting one’s feelings is tantamount to admitting defeat, and so the two engage in war to get the other to confess first.

Ultra Romantic? More Like Ultra in Panic

I said in the plot description that the show focuses on their game of not admitting to one another, and while that is still generally true of the third season, there is a large shift in philosophy that encompasses much of Ultra Romantic. Whereas seasons one and two felt significantly more playful and comedy focuses in their approach to the story, Kaguya-sama’s third season is decidedly not that.

Ultra Romantic instead looks towards the end game. For as much as the antics between Kaguya, Miyuki, and the others are fun, time is not static, and both seemingly want this game to come to an end. Kaguya is as restless about the situation as ever, and at this point is even worried about sending him a message on social media, not only because of their game but because she is genuinely confused about how she should approach the situation.

Meanwhile, Miyuki’s sense of self-worth has always been determined by his ability to outwork others. Consequentially, this has meant that his relationship with this game has become more tied to his self-worth. Thus, this sense of resignation in wanting to confess to Kaguya is a genuine internal conflict that she is only aware of on a surface level.

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Romance Isn’t Just For Protagonists

If Love is War was only good for its leads, I do not think I would be able to leverage the amount of praise for it that I do. What sets the series apart from other romantic comedies is that its side characters are decidedly less one-note in their effect on the story or any individual gag.

A great example of this is Ishigami. While he certainly started out as kind of a nothing character, his evolution throughout the series has been phenomenal. His arc during the final episodes of season two showed that the series is able to handle heavier moments despite its more lighthearted nature.

Season three only built on this development, as the revelation of his feelings for Tsubame creates a funny and heartwarming side-story which at times feels as compelling as the push and pull of Miyuki and Kaguya. If season two was Ishigami’s lowest moment, then the end of season three is a moment of triumphant return.

However, Ishigami is not the only other love-struck idiot desperately hiding their affection. It really could not be any more obvious that Miko herself has started to develop feelings for Ishigami, who does not seem to notice, and yet continually feeds this attraction by showing her continual kindness. This comes to a head when Ishigami hand delivers an IPad so she can watch the campfire that she helped organize in the first place.

As much as the main romance of the series is great, some of my favorite moments have come from the interactions between Hayasaka and Shirogane. Embedded in their encounters is a message about what it means to be one’s genuine self, and how the two of them are forced to hide behind a social mask for fear of being ridiculed. Apart from the obvious romantic dynamic of Hayasaka’s crush on Shirogane, their relationship also symbolizes the hardships that come with being from a lower-class family, which itself makes their relationship feel like a continuous moment of solidarity.

The Visual Gag Level Up

Another thing that Kaguya-sama has always been good at is visual gags. Its ability to utilize moments of extreme sakuga and other weird references to tell a joke is second maybe only to a few others. Much like the previously mentioned character development, the visual gags of season three have only gotten funnier.

One of my personal favorites comes from Maki during the early to mid part of the season, where Ishigami tries to protect her from playing her erotic relaxation soundtrack out loud because she forgot to plug in her headphones, meanwhile the image of cute boys is constantly appearing in her head.

Kaguya’s facial expressions are also amongst my favorite, as she can often go from menacing psychopath to adorable gremlin in a matter of frames. The thing that makes it even more humorous is when the series ops to cut in the moments of heaviness with these strange visual gags, which can certainly feel jarring if done poorly, but is almost always on point.

The Finale/Confession

The climax of the series’ cultural festival arc is one that I did not see coming even despite how obvious it was that something was going to happen. In a final bid to get Kaguya to confess, Shirogane undergoes a secret identity of the phantom thief, leading everyone around so that he can have his moment with Kaguya, and while neither actual confess, they do share a kiss under the thousands of heart-shaped balloons which he had risen up from the campfire below.

Again I am not gonna pretend like I did not see it coming. It is literally in the premise of the show that it was going to happen eventually. However, I am a strong believer in the idea that a plot point being obvious is not necessarily bad as long as it is executed well, which this flashy display of romance most certainly was.

Conclusion

There is not much to comment I that I have not praised the series for before, and on top of that, it has been confirmed that another anime-related project is in the works, which likely means either season four or a sequel movie. Season three was exciting, charming, and overall everything that I could have wanted from the series in its latest incarnation.

91/100


How did you all feel about Kaguya-sama: Love is War? Let me know down in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Initial Results: Kaguya-Sama Season Three

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Love is war, indeed, and the war now continues into the series’ third season. The competition: fierce, the battles: just as high stakes as ever. Even Chika is resorting to cheating just to get a leg up, much to Ishigami’s continued annoyance. Those who have watched the first few episodes already will understand what I am talking about, and those who have not…what are you doing reading this?

I mentioned in my seasonal intro that Kaguya was the series I was most hyped for. The first two seasons not only had me laughing my ass off but also genuinely had me invested in the characters as people. Luckily, the first episodes of the season have yet to disappoint.

Part of what has made Kaguya-sama work up until this point is its previously mentioned characters. Sure, Kaguya and Miyuki themselves could probably carry a good portion of the show. After all, their dynamic is well thought out on a comedic level. However, they can only be that funny for so long, and the elevated role of Chika, Ishigami, and the recent addition to the student council Miko has helped to prolong the show’s comedic value.

Still, the opening bit between Miyuki and Kaguya is no less funny. With her first-ever smartphone now in hand, Kaguya attempts the daunting task of responding to Miyuki’s messages. The 4D chess of trying to get her to admit to staring at her LINE app for hours and then getting saved by Hayasaka and the “computer system” at the last minute is honestly brilliant.

The growing relationship between Ishigami and Miko is another that I am intensely curious about going into the rest of the season. At times, it can be hard to tell whether the two actually hate each other or if the combative aspects of their personality are just being played up for maximum effect. Personally, I am not complaining either way, but I do hope we get a real conclusion in that regard.

The anime is also no less beautiful than it was last time around. A-1 Pictures seems to be handling the production well enough, and director Shinichi Omata, who handled the first two seasons as well, seems poised to deliver on quality, per the usual. Musically, the series is still quite interesting. the OST feels as strong as ever, and both the opening and ending themes also have their strengths, along with also being incredibly well animated to boot.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic seems to be on track to be one of the better entries of the spring season. Though I have definitely cursed other series with those same predictions into a spiral of bad writing, this series has a proven track record and a convincing one at that.


Are you excited about Kaguya-sama season 3? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

As always, thanks to Jenn for being our amazing supporter on Patreon.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Final Thoughts on Kaguya-Sama: Love is War Season Two

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Two positive reviews in a row? why it might just be a Christmas miracle!

Oh who am I kidding? Most of my reviews are positive because I rarely ever watch stuff I feel like I’m not going to like.

Well, anyway, yeah I doubt this is going to be much of a surprise, but “Kaguya-Sama: Love is War” is a truly exceptionally series. I’ve already mentioned a few times how my initial impressions of the series led me to believe that it was going to be an extremely repetitive series with little variation in its comedic focus and timing. Luckily, though, I ended up being sorely mistaken. Without further delay, here are my thoughts on the second season of “Kaguya-Sama: Love is War.”

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War Rages On

In my discussion of the first season of “Kaguya-Sama,” I noted how the show plays up the more conservative ideas around romantic interest for comedic relief, dumping on the idea that one needs to hide their emotions by showing how both of the main characters end up miserable for doing so. The series largely continues this idea, but also uses its time to bring new characters into the fold and develop others who were somewhat shunned during the first season, namely Ishigami.

While the battle between Kaguya and Shirogane to get the other to confess seems to be raging on, morale on both sides seems rather low. The series shows how this idea of not admitting ones love first can affect people. Shirogane becomes increasingly worried that the vice-president hates him, while Kaguya, in turn, becomes increasingly flustered and unable to come to terms with her own feelings. As sad as it is to say, though, this kind of scenario does make for great comedy, as one constantly tries to out do the other, despite the fact that they both just to end it all and be together.

Still, I should give the show’s writers a bit more credit, because while the idea itself is certainly amusing, especially given the hormones’-infused, rich kid high-school setting, it is the everyday scenarios which themselves are turned into battles of love that make the show so fun to watch.

Ishigami’s Struggle

I was genuinely surprised when I realized that they were giving not just more attention to the side characters, but a whole back story. While Ishigami was given a fair amount of screen time in the last season, it never really felt like he was an essential part of the story despite the fact that he was also extremely funny. It definitely makes sense that his past would be a little bit darker considering how gloomy he is, but those last three episodes were not the direction I was expecting.

Still, I am happy they went there. Ishigami’s actions with regards to Kyoko’s boyfriend do not feel as justified as the show probably wants them to feel. After all, he did just walk up and start assaulting the guy when he could have just confronted Kyoko herself. However, the sentiment is certainly a relatable one. After all, there are plenty of awful people in the world, and their is most certainly a visceral anger that arises when they just reveal their shittiness right in front of you.

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Conclusion

Thought there is not much information available right now, it does seem the series is ripe for a third season, and I for one am ready. The series is extremely enjoyable from start to finish, with only a few misses throughout the entire series. What will become of Shirogane and Kaguya? What will happen once they have graduated? Will we learn more about Fujiwara and the others? Hopefully these questions and more will be answers by “Kaguya-sama’s” eventual return.


How do you guys feel about the show’s second season? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!