Anime Review Kaguya-sama: Love is War Series

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic ⬢ Ultra Fantastic

More from the Kaguya-sama: Love is War series:

Original Run: April 9, 2022 - June 25, 2022
Number of Episodes: 13
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Based on the Sereis Created By: Aka Akasaka
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

The love battle between Shuchiin Academy’s student council president and vice-president, Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya (voiced respectively by Makoto Furukawa and Aoi Koga) has been raging for a long time. However, their war may soon be coming to an end.

Since they have been working together, Miyuki and Kaguya have only grown closer. Although their prides have prevented them from confessing to each other, there is only so much one can take before cracks start to form.

The two combatants may finally lay down their arms as the school culture festival looms. After all, if Miyuki and Kaguya think being the first to say their feelings would result in their loss, maybe this is a game worth losing.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane symbolicly at war.

Series Positives

When one begins a new series, it is impossible to know what you’ll get. Sometimes things turn out well; other times, they crash and burn. Occasionally, a bad show makes enough of a splash that it manages to squeak out a sequel. And far too often, true gems never make it past their first and only season.

So back in 2019, when Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Kaguya-sama 1) released, it was truly up in the air what direction things would go. Now, as we cover this series’ third installment, it is clear we’ve come across what can feel like a rarity for the anime medium. Not only did a show with hilarious comedy, enduring characters, and out-and-out quality get subsequent follow-ups, that same show has successfully maintained what made the original fantastic.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic (Kaguya-sama 3) became the lynchpin of one of the funniest, most reliable, and most entertaining anime franchises in recent memory.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Kaguya is shocked by Miyuki's words.

This installment wasn’t anything unexpected.

Simply put, I suspect if you’ve already sat through the first two seasons of this series, you’ve most likely decided whether to check out the third. Since season one introduced us to this world and season two expanded the foundation of its predecessor, you’ll be familiar with what season three has to offer.

Thus, if you’ve never been much of a fan of this series, you could probably stop reading this review here. However, if Kaguya-sama has been a highlight of your year – like it has been for mine – season three delivers precisely what you want from it.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War - A horrified Kaguya turns to Ai Hayasaka for help.

We can cleanly split Kaguya-sama into its first and second halves.

In the beginning, the series was business as usual, focusing on the adventures of the Shuchiin Academy student council. Although these segments would eventually revert to the original romantic mind games between Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, the other members of the council would serve as the primary focus.

Since Kaguya-sama has, by this point, firmly established its main cast, season three found itself in a situation to have whatever kind of fun it wanted. Kaguya-sama 3 also took time to explore the personalities of some of the series regulars who haven’t had much chance to grow. For example, this season, Ai Hayasaka (voiced by Yumiri Hanamori) became a much more rounded individual.

But then there was Yu Ishigami (voiced by Ryota Suzuki), who got his own romantic story arc. Although it may not have been at the level of Miyuki’s and Kaguya’s –how could it have been – watching Yu go through this uncharted territory (for him) was a highlight of the season.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Yu Ishigami and Miko Ino are arguing.

As for the Kaguya-sama 3’s second half, that was when this series – as in the entire franchise – came to its ultimate climax.

I don’t want to give anything away. Still, considering the ending of Kaguya-sama 2, the battle between Miyuki and Kaguya needed to come to a head. And throughout this season, the show doesn’t hide that it will lead to a resolution. The details and result of that resolution I will leave for the series to reveal, but I will add two points:

  1. It was the perfect payoff, and
  2. Kaguya-sama 3 is not quite the end.

Following the final episode’s release, the official Twitter account of the franchise announced the production of a fourth anime project. It will be the film, Kaguya-sama: Love is War – The First Kiss Never Ends.

Translation: [Kaguya-sama: Love is War] New animation announcement.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Chika Fujiwara looking terrified.

Aside from its advancements and powerful finale, the familiar elements we have come to expect from the Kaguya-sama series were in full swing:

  • There was high energy.
  • The comedy struck home far more often than not (albeit I have never found rapping funny in anime).
  • The characters were as likable as they have always been.

And, of course, Chika Fujiwara (voiced by Konomi Kohara) was always a treat. But with that said, Chika only succeeded in being my second favorite character this season. In fact, the person who got me laughing the most consistently was Kaguya herself.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Kaguya and Miyuki in an arm wrestling match.

Bear in mind that I have always found Kaguya funny; this wasn’t some revelation. Nevertheless, Kaguay in this season was remarkable, and I can tell you exactly why.

Ms. Aoi Koga, Kaguya’s voice actress, delivered a brilliant performance.

Again, Ms. Koga has done a fantastic job throughout the series. But her reactions, her timing, her inflections, they were all just far more on point than they have ever been. I don’t know what changed, I don’t know what was different, but whatever tweak happened, it was for the better.

Kaguya-sama is one of those series that became a modern staple of the medium. It has a charm and atmosphere that has given it a distinct personality. It is impossible to mistake this show for anything else.

And that was impressive when there was only one season. To do all that and more two more times? What more can you ask for?

Kaguya-sama: Love is War: Kaguya and Mikyuki looking dejected.

Series Negatives

Kaguya-sama has always been energetic. It has always gone the extra mile for an over-the-top reaction. Doing this has done this series a great service more times than not. But whenever it has been “not,” situations could feel cluttered and loud for the sake of being loud.

Kaguya-sama 3 seemed to have more of these instances than its predecessors.

A huge source of this came from the slew of third-level side characters. You know the type. They are the individuals who, no matter how good a series is, tend to fade away the moment a show is over. They don’t add much to anything and are usually around to act as a necessary instigator.

Fortunately, the entirety of the main cast utterly overpowers these lower-tier characters.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Miko being overwhelmed by a conversation.

Well, I say “the entirety of the main cast,” but there is one notable exception. I don’t like Kaguya-sama’s narrator. Granted, I rarely do like it when a show has a narrator. Still, in this series, this element was wholly unnecessary. Not to mention the narrator was the number one source of a style of humor many Japanese anime employ – over-explanation.

There was a scene in the first episode of this season that struck me as odd. Had it not been for the narration, it could have been much funnier than it ended up being.

To set the stage:

Kaguya-sama: Love is War- Chika pouting like a child.

Kaguya has never been good with newer technology; she only just got a smartphone at the end of season two. Thus, she would have no idea that if you look at a message, the sender receives the little “READ” message. This season used Kaguya’s ignorance of this feature to remarkable effect. Kaguya, to her horror, realized Miyuki could easily guess that she had been staring at his message.

However, the narration ruined this by also explaining what the “READ” function is. This was a bit insulting because the narrator wasn’t giving this explanation to a character. They were giving it to us, the audience.

Who the hell is watching Kaguya-sama 3 in 2022 and doesn’t know what the “READ” function is?

I understand the narrator has been with the Kaguya-sama series from season one, but I have never seen it as a positive.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War: Miyuki and Kaguya surrounded by heart-shaped balloons.

Final Thoughts

Although I am happy the film is left to come, I would still be more than satisfied if it wasn’t. Heck, depending on how things go, the movie could actually mess up what would be a perfectly acceptable ending.

But that’s a worry for a later date.

As for this season, it is what we have come to love about this series. This franchise knows how to hold your attention with its humor, characters, and atmosphere. And now it has done that successfully on three occasions.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic has earned a recommendation.

But these are my thoughts; what are yours? Have you seen this show; how would you advise Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic? Leave a comment below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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