KAGUYA-SAMA: LOVE IS WAR – Anime Preview
Synopsis: From a good family? Check! A good personality? Check! Shuchiin Academy is where all these elite students with bright futures flock to. As the two leaders of the student council, Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane have supposedly fallen in love… But after almost half a year, nothing has happened!? They both have too much pride and can’t be honest. Things have gotten troublesome, and they are now caught in a war of “How to get the other to confess their love first.” This is a whole new romantic comedy, following an outbreak of cunning warfare between two elite students in love. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Kaguyasama mixes horror like imagery with comedy to produce a brand of humour that stands out and offers the viewers a really unique take on teenage romance. Whereas most other shows make it an outright comedy or treat it with sugary sweetness or awkward drama, Kaguya-sama portrays it as a shrewd and conniving battle of wits between its two leads. Watching the two of them constantly trying to outwit or ensnare each other into declaring their true romantic feelings for the other, resorting to some extremely desperate or strange devices that reveal their own naivety makes for an amusing fast paced and clever comedy.
Tom: Kaguya-sama’s adaptation is pretty solid, accurately capturing the feel of the manga and adding just a little bit extra through the audio and animation of the original content.The comedic timing is also on point, ensuring to sell the gags as well as they played on the page. That said, Kaguya-sama just isn’t terribly funny, at least early on anyway. As someone who’s read around four volumes of the series, things don’t pick up until the manga becomes looser with its premise, gravitating away from the hard focus on mental gymnastics and mind games, allowing its characters to breath and flourish. The content becomes less laser focused and allows for more variety, making the times when the series goes back to the well of “Love is War” feel more interesting. Even if you give Kaguya-sama a try and find it merely amusing, I’m vouching that the series is worth sticking with for a few more episodes, until the series finds its footing and really delves into its cast, which is brimming with potential.
Linny: As someone who first experienced this series through its manga, I feel compelled to agree that yes, the story and gags get even better as the series continues. I’d actually argue that the series reaches new heights of insanity and plotting as the mental battle between Shinomiya and Kaguya rages on in later chapters. Based off this first episode, while the anime adaptation may not be elevating manga material, it does enough to be considered a competent adaptation that should likely win over new fans for the series and be a worthwhile way to experience it for anyone who prefers watching over reading.