Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Anime Review)

kaguya-sama love is war anime season one key visual thumbnail

If you love over-the-top high school comedy anime, you’ll find great joy in Kaguya-sama: Love is WarThis slice-of-life anime follows the plots and tactics of two genius student council members at Shuchiin Academy, Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane. The two prideful students refuse to be the first to reveal their feelings, so they constantly engage in battles of wits and massive overthinking to get the other to reveal themselves first.

Kaguya comes from a very well-to-do family in Japan. She lives in a mansion full of servants and chefs and even takes a limo to school. Shirogane, on the other hand, has worked hard for his scholarship at Shuchiin Academy and is at the top of their class, leading the student council as the president. The two are both highly respected by their peers and are the president and vice president of their student council. While they aren’t in a relationship yet during the first season, it’s clear from the first episode that everyone thinks they’d be perfect for each other. And of course, they believe that, too, but you won’t find them admitting it. In fact, the whole first season revolves around their lack of admitting anything to anybody. They don’t want to appear weak or be humiliated in any way. Thus starts a war of wits that lasts beyond the first season (to my dismay).

This review is based solely on the first season of the anime, so any spoilers contained only occurred during that season.

I was really hoping Kaguya and Shirogane would admit their feelings to each other by the end of the first season. Although the anime is very entertaining and I enjoyed watching it, it drove me crazy at times because I wanted Kaguya and Shirogagne to just swallow their pride and admit their feelings to each other. Or do anything even a little bit whatsoever. Every time they got close and I got my hopes up, something happened and things came tumbling down again. Still, the anime gives a fresh spin on the slow-burn, slow-moving romance anime genre.

Each episode of Kaguya-sama: Love is War contains a new series of “battles” the characters internally face off in, trying to outwit each other for little wins in their frustrating love game. There are plenty of comedic moments as well as tender ones that will leave you hoping they admit their feelings soon.

We also have a few other characters who are fun and add even more comedic relief and joy to the series. We have Chika Fujiwara, the student council’s bubbly secretary and friend to Kaguya. We have the treasurer, Yu Ishigami, an introvert who is deeply afraid of the stern and intimidating Kaguya. They have their moment of friendly endearment, though, as Kaguya shows him that she isn’t the scary killer he thinks she is when she stands up for him to their classmates.

And as for the lesser-shown characters that are featured in the first season, we have Kei Shirogane, Miyuki Shirogane’s little sister, and Ai Hayasaka, Kaguya’s maid. Although these two characters don’t get as much screen time as the others, they become more of a key role as the series goes on, and they each bring something unique and a little extra to the show. Hayasaka in particular plays a key role in the continuously budding romance between Miyuki and Kaguya.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War was adapted from the manga of the same title by mangaka Aka Akasaka. The manga series is comprised of 24 volumes, and the anime currently has three seasons and an OVA. There is also a live-action adaptation of the series, which was released in 2019.

Have you watched the first season of Kaguya-sama: Love is War? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!