“Kaguya-sama: Love is War” sets the standard for anime rom-coms

What happens if two people who like each other are struggling to admit their feelings? “Kaguya-sama: Love is War” raises and answers this question in an anime that is one of the funniest I’ve ever seen.

This show is centered around two people at a prestigious school. Kaguya Shinomiya is the vice president of the student council at Shuchiin Academy, and the daughter of a business mogul. Miyuki Shirogane comes from a poor family, but is regarded as one of the top students in the entire country of Japan. He is also the president of the student council. These two are immediately recognized as a fantastic potential couple by their peers and become the envy of the entire student body.

Kaguya and Miyuki are aware of their compatibility, and they have both developed feelings for one another. However, both fear being looked down on if they confess, even though they both want the other person to confess. This leads to an all-out battle between the two to see who can convince the other to confess their feelings first.

This show wouldn’t be complete without the supporting cast. Chika Fujiwara is another member of the student council and constantly serves as a catalyst for the “battles” between Kaguya and Miyuki. Unbeknownst to Chika, sometimes she incites battles of wit and other times she stops them before they can come to their natural conclusion. It makes for an amusing dynamic. For example, Chika prompts a discussion about where the student council should go for a summer vacation. This doesn’t sound like something that could be used as an incentive to make Kaguya or Miyuki confess, but somehow it gets there.

Yuu Ishigami is the other member of the student council, and he is utterly terrified of Kaguya. He works alone in silence and doesn’t make his debut until episode six, but his role in the show is definitely apparent. He’s totally oblivious to his surroundings and thinks Kaguya wants to kill him. His jokes are far less related to the plot of the show, but are still hilarious in their own right. Most memorably in one of the “battles” he’s dragged into, he leaves with the line, “I think I’ve developed Stockholm Syndrome, so I’m going home.” It’s unconventional and kind of dark at times, but it remains funny.

Each episode is broken down into three segments, each depicting a new battle ranging from all sorts of topics: from sharing lunches, to love advice and even volleyball training. Each segment is given a name and then a winner is declared. Often times, there is no winner and someone might just lose the battle outright.

There are honestly few words to describe how great this anime is, especially if you’re the type to watch romantic comedies, or even just comedies in general. It features four people who are outrageously unaware of the emotions of others. It’s charming, funny, and kind of dark or even childish at times. Neither protagonist wants to be seen as emotionally weak, no is there any telling of if they will get together in the end at all. It is definitely worth the watch, no matter what you enjoy.