Posted by SuperWooper on 12 February 2019 with categories: Finished Series: Romance, Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai

This was the first episode of Kaguya-sama that did anything less than thrill me, probably because it retread so much ground that previous episodes had already covered. The laugh-out-loud moments and generally heartwarming atmosphere were still present, but they weren’t as fresh as in previous outings. We went back to the ‘three chapters’ format this week, but after spending the last couple episodes branching out from Shuchiin Academy, all three of these new stories took place on campus. They all closely echoed previous chapters, as well, especially Kaguya’s love advice segment (which is a direct follow-up to Shirogane’s bluff-fest from several weeks ago). I’ve written before that Kaguya-sama’s power lies in its reliability, but after watching the series’ formula undergo these slight tweaks, it’s a small disappointment to receive an installment that doesn’t mix things up in the least. The show is still my biggest hope for the winter 2019 season, however – its positivity and sense of fun are undeniable.

Though the episode felt too familiar, it did surprise me in one way, and that was in its choice of the next student to seek romantic advice. Episode 2 pointed us in the direction of Kashiwagi’s friend, whose obvious consternation pointed to her crush on the (still nameless) male inquirer. Instead, it was Kashiwagi herself who came to Kaguya with feelings of ambivalence, which the inexperienced Kaguya is ill-equipped to handle. She does a better job of it than Shirogane, but it’s actually Fujiwara who saves the day, deerstalker cap and pipe in hand. After expressing a desire to be involved in love talk during last week’s banned word game, she simply barges into the room upon hearing what the other girls are talking about, and inadvertently causes Kaguya to realize her feelings for the president a little more clearly. Though she often foils Kaguya’s romantic schemes by accident (as seen during the umbrella segment in this episode), here she helps her friend to equate jealousy with attraction. Coupled with her bizarre “resist society” advice to Kashiwagi, her previous lack of involvement in others’ love lives was probably a blessing, but things seem to work out for everyone in this segment. Well, everyone except Kashiwagi’s friend, who is still lurking tearfully in the background at the very end. Hopefully her distress doesn’t become a running gag.

Fujiwara’s curiosity about others’ romantic situations extends briefly into the volleyball chapter, when she suspects that Shirogane’s athletic training is to impress a girl. This was probably my least favorite of the three stories this week, because it didn’t take us anywhere new. We already knew that the president is a hard worker and a bit of a klutz (though perhaps not on this level), so devising a plot where he works hard to compensate for his lack of hand-eye coordination feels too safe. Fujiwara’s ponytail look and bandaged bow near the end were cute, but her trainee’s eventual success wasn’t much of a payoff for me. Better was the traditional game of wits surrounding the umbrellas, where Kaguya proved once again that her preparation is second to none. Even putting aside her aborted victory over Shirogane, she claimed a win against every girl in school who had designs for summer vacation involving the president. Though Kaguya inwardly claims not to care about sharing an umbrella with Shirogane so much as everyone witnessing them sharing an umbrella, she does get swept up in their resulting closeness when all is said and done. I say it every week, but that contrast between her rational and emotional minds is my favorite thing about both her character and the show. Even when it falls back on familiar material, Kaguya-sama has a weapon that can always put a smile on my face.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Mentar says:

    It will take a bit longer than one season, I’m afraid.

    The good news for you: We’re about to enter the chapters 30-60 now, which slowly introduce arcs, and – towards the 50es – drama.

    The story gets so much better when _all_ characters including the secondary lineup are fully introduced. So far, it was all Kaguya/Shirogane/Fujiwara. Next ep we’ll get Ishigami, and some more info on Hayasaka. And this is the only romcom show where I love every new character introduced to the story, because they flesh out the main pairing so well instead of distracting focus away from them in an annoying way.

    You’ll see ;)

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