Posted by SuperWooper on 20 January 2019 with categories: Finished Series: Romance, Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai

WARNING: This review of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai has been authored by a non-manga reader. His ignorance of future characters and plot points may limit his perspective on the series as it unfolds. Proceed with caution!

Boy, is this show a treat. I know we’re only two weeks into the winter season, but Kaguya-sama is my favorite new anime so far by a landslide. Even this episode’s repetition of last week’s establishing narration (before and after the OP) didn’t bring me down. The show leans into its “Geniuses’ War of Love and Brains” premise so heavily, after all, that reminders of their financial and academic superiority only heighten the comedy of their social ineptitude. Despite using bits of recycled animation during these introductions, this episode did move the opening venue from one of Shuchiin Academy’s many hallways to its auditorium, so I hope these changes in setting continue from week to week. It might be nice to omit these scenes altogether once we have a better sense of the characters and setting, but right now they’re important for establishing just how revered (and how gossiped about) Kaguya and Shirogane are by the student body they govern.

Speaking of the student body, this episode introduced several of its less glamorous members, marking a departure from the premiere’s tight focus on its three main characters. The third and final segment of this episode brings a nameless advice-seeker into the council room in search of romantic wisdom from the class president. The only problem? Shirogane is hardly the Casanova everyone envisions him to be, never having been on a date in his life. This chapter is great for a bunch of reasons, chief among them being Aoi Koga’s performance as an eavesdropping Kaguya. Her exasperated and disbelieving reactions to both boys’ stupidity are so good that I’m sure even the staunchest manga purists were pleased. What interested me even more than this segment’s technical merits, though, was the potential it created for the series to further populate its cast of characters. Thanks to our nameless inquirer, we now know that his crush is a girl named Kashiwagi, that they’ve begun dating (despite Shirogane’s spectacularly bad advice), and that her three friends are likely to recur. One of them is singled out in a pre-ED card as “the next person seeking advice,” and given her distraught expression, it’s likely that she had a thing for her friend’s new man. If I had to guess, she’ll probably ask Kaguya for help in next week’s episode, where her romantic ignorance will be measured against the president’s.

This kind of situational repetition is working in Kaguya-sama’s favor so far (the show, not the character), creating a pattern that’s fun to confirm, rather than tiresome to watch. Take this episode’s first chapter, for example, where Shirogane purchases a new smartphone in the hopes that Kaguya will ask for his contact info. He’s quite self-satisfied with his decision, but a flashback reveals that Kaguya had planted a number of her family’s employees on the street to subconsciously entice him to upgrade his phone. This echoes her manipulations from last week, where she secretly delivered movie tickets to Fujiwara as a prize in a fake contest, all in the hopes that she’d give them to Shirogane so he could ask her out. Seeing it confirmed once again that Kaguya’s approach to love involves espionage and deceit charms me to no end, but the president’s tactic of gaining her interest with a profile photo of himself as a child is just as brilliant. These two are a perfect match for one another, given their shared pride and intelligence, which makes it fun to watch them butt heads, even while a part of you is pulling for them to be together. I’m still in the earliest stage of my Kaguya-sama fandom, but whatever route the series ultimately takes, I can’t imagine being unhappy with the outcome.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Mentar says:

    If you like it now, it’s safe to predict that you’ll love it when the weaker earlier chapters are worked through and the meat of the story starts. Should happen around ep 5-6.

    • Avatar SuperWooper says:

      It makes me a bit nervous to learn that there’s a part of the story that could be considered “meat,” as its simple format is one of the most attractive things about the show. If there’s better stuff to come, though, I’ll happily watch on.

  2. Avatar Animosh says:

    I read that the reason why the introduction was repeated is that this episode adapted a chapter that restarted the manga in another magazine, and therefore had to reintroduce the characters. In principle they could have just left that part of the chapter out, of course, but the relevant chapter was shorter than usual because of the reintroduction, so if they had left it out they possibly wouldn’t have had enough material to cover. Long story short: the lengthy introduction was probably needed just for this episode, so it probably won’t be included anymore in future episodes.

    By the way, someone on reddit linked to the manga’s website, which offers a list of skipped chapters you can read without being spoiled. Here it is: https://tonarinoyj.jp/episode/10834108156641776122. I read through them myself, and for skipped chapters they’re pretty fun. They also include some nice background info about the characters and their personalities.

    • Avatar SuperWooper says:

      This is a great post, but I think I’m going to stay anime-only until the series is finished. I’ll be less qualified to judge it as an adaptation, but more level in judging it as a piece of art.

      Hopefully that didn’t sound too pretentious.

      • Avatar Animosh says:

        No, I get it. Even they’re just skipped chapters, they might still put ideas in your head of what the characters should be like etc. On the other hand, if you just stick to the anime, you’ll be able to judge it on its own merits, without any preconceived notions about what the series should be like.

        I think reading them can increase your enjoyment too, by increasing your understanding of the characters and making you warm up to them more by spending more time with them in their everyday life. But I agree there are downsides too, so sticking to the anime is a perfectly valid choice.

  3. Avatar anu says:

    nice review, judging by the ending song, i guess there is not only comedy but will be the sad drama that can make me cry

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

5 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

One Punch Man S2 – 3 [The Hunt Begins]

Alright OPM, credit where it’s due, you managed to recover a little this week.  Garou gets more screen time, the animation is a little less shit and ONEs writing is starting to shine through. Lets jump in! Starting off, as fun as it would be to rag on OPM for another week, it’s improved. This […]

Dororo – 15 [The story of the scene from hell]

Fuck you Osamu Kobayashi. Your a terrible director and you ruin everything you touch. Welcome to another week of Dororo, where for once OPM isn’t the show I am most disappointed in. Lets dive in. Let’s cut right to the chase, Dororo looked like shit this week. And all the credit goes to Osamu Kobayashi, […]

Sarazanmai – 02 [I Want to Connect, but I Want to Take]

And the wild ride is here. In turn for cardboard zombies last week, our three kappa-who-are-pooped-out-by-someone-else have to fight cat zombies, an acid bee-themed amusement park, a person with a cat face who clearly reference Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lamb, weeds and a (yuri) kiss at the end of the rainbow. It’s […]

Fruits Basket (2019) – 02/03 [They’re All Animals! / Let’s Play Rich Man-Poor Man!]

I believe it’s safe to say that one of the main concern for this adaptation of Fruits Basket isn’t about the source, but more about whether or not the current staffs have what it takes to bring this classic to life (while at the same time pleases the original author, but that’s beside the point), […]

Mix – 02/03

Star Crossed is one of the oldest anime blogs left on the English-speaking internet, so we’re bound to have a few devotees of Mitsuru Adachi, that master of classic storytelling, among our readership. If you fall into that category, you might wonder why someone who has never read or watched Touch, his seminal work, has […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 3 [Sabito and Makomo]

Welcome to Kimetsu no Yaiba, the premier Saturday Morning Cartoon of the season! This time we burn through a training arc, meet some ghosts and learn the arcs end-goal. Lets jump in! Starting off, like always, the production. Yaiba does a great job here, like usual, looking fantastic. Assume you like digital effects that is. […]

Paranoia Agent – 13 [The Final Episode] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome all to the finale of Paranoia Agent! People grow up, Shounen Bat is defeated and absolutely nothing makes any sense. Lets dive in! Starting off, visually, it worked very well as a finale. Lots of awesome shots, action and moments throughout, all blending into just a joy to watch. Really, it just flowed well. […]

One Punch Man S2 – 2 [Human Monsters]

Breathe deep… Siiiiiiiiigh… Guess we are doing this. Strap in folks, because this is going to be a rough season of OPM. Let me start off, with a friendly warning. If your here for my usual attempts at constructive criticism and attempted multifaceted analysis, I apologize. There will be very little of that for these […]

Dororo – 14 [The Story of Sabame]

Another week, another episode of Dororo. This time we learn the mystery of Dororo’s back, meet a new demon and get a lot of parallels to their current overall situation. Lets jump in! Starting off, Dororo once again is a bit disappointing on the production front. There were a number of dull or sliding stills, […]

Latest Reviews

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Anime Review – 87/100

Upon finishing this series, the only question on my mind was how many animators did Bones sacrifice on ONE’s altar to achieve this. Following their prior season, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 continues Bones adaptation of webcomic and manga author ONE’s 4th work, Mob Psycho 100. ONE has also authored the critically acclaimed One Punch […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Review – 84/100

Anime draws on many different media types in its endless search for properties to adapt, but manga is still the king of the bunch. And why not? It’s a distinctly Japanese art form, their main demographics have significant overlap, and manga’s panel-based layout means that some of the anime staff’s work is already done. Plenty […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Anime Review – 93/100

Recently, sports anime have become a bit of a dying breed. Falling into the same hole as Mecha, aside from a passionate base audience, most are overlooked. There are the occasional hits like Haikyuu, Yuri on Ice, or Darling in the Franxx for Mecha, but those are few and far between, often taking years. Even […]

A quick and dirty review of Garo: Vanishing Line

What it claims to be about: A secret order of knights and alchemists, the Makai Knights and Alchemists, fight horrifying creatures called Hollows who prey on human weakness .Part of the media franchise spanning anime and live action shows, this iteration is set in modern metropolis and concerns the attempts of Sword, the strongest Makai […]

Planetes Anime Review – 84/100

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]