This recap contains spoilers for Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! Season 2, Episode 5
Another week, another three great segments from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! Let’s dive right in.
Part of Love Is War!‘s charm is how it can take a tiny, simple gag and run with it for a whole segment. The “bit” in the first segment of the episode could not be simpler. Miyuki, temporarily relieved of his Student Council duties, has been getting more sleep. His legendary coffee-addict glare, therefore, is gone. Replaced with what I can only describe as a bad case of “shojo eyes”. This results in a very startled Chika, for one thing.
Worse for Miyuki, though, the only person besides Chika who doesn’t find this change of demeanor attractive is Kaguya. She, in fact, seems rather offput by the whole thing.
This then snowballs into Kaguya being worried that her affection for Miyuki might be shallow. She ends up seeking out the advice of recurring bit character Nagisa Kashiwagi, who tries, against her own better judgment, to reassure Kaguya that her feelings are “true love” and not shallow. Love Is War! pulls out a lot of its trademark style shifts here, especially when trying to emphasize how embarrassing the idea of “true love” is to modern high schoolers. (With Kaguya herself, given her upbringing, being a notable exception). Chika also returns, promptly undoing all of Kashiwagi’s advice. The love detective strikes again, as it were. The best advice she gets is actually from Ishigami, of all people.
None of this lasts particularly long, of course. Miyuki ends up missing a night’s sleep because he was working on his campaign speech and Kaguya’s affection for his chronically sleep-deprived self promptly returns. Not without the show poking fun at its heroine of course. Hayasaka worries about how Kaguya reacts when met with Miyuki at his most sleep-deprived.
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
The second act of episode five is essentially an entire miniature “passionate teacher teaches a pupil how to do something” movie. With the notable exception that the teacher is Chika and the student is Miyuki. Chika, the school’s conductor for their anthem, catches Miyuki lip-synching. This turns out to be because he can’t sing. Those with good memories may recall the “volleyball” segment from the first season and, yeah, this basically that again. This segment even explicitly calls back to that one a couple times. We also get a great film grain imagine spot as the show likes to do. (Including our very first “how cute” of the season!)
Also of note is the astounding depths Miyuki’s voice actor (Makoto Furukawa) goes to in order to summon up a “comically bad singing” voice. He sounds downright inhuman in his first few passes, it’s impressive.
This being the rare Love Is War! segment that doesn’t end in a punchline, Miyuki actually does learn to sing. The final scene of the segment where he sings along to the school anthem is genuinely kind of touching! Chika’s quite proud of him (and herself), too.
The third segment is the shortest, but continues the show’s general MO of having it be the one relevant to the over-arching plot. It’s also quite the doozy. After a short lead-in where it’s implied that Kaguya somehow forced one of Miyuki’s opponents in the election to drop out, she takes up the attack against Miko. Love Is War! takes the time to remind usthat in the proper context Kaguya herself can be genuinely ruthless. The first part of this section, where she brings Miko to the student council room for “negotiation”, is actually a little frightening! This also caps another stellar episode for Aoi Koga, who gets to dip into the lower end of her register as “sinister” Kaguya here.
Of course, Love Is War! is not a suspense-laden drama. So while Kaguya does go some way toward cutting Miko down, it A) doesn’t actually work, and B) sets her up to fail. Miko is taken aback by Kaguya’s blatant attempts to get her to drop out of the race, and then tells our heroine that she and Miyuki are so crooked that they’re “made for each other”. Thus, Kaguya’s carefully-laid plans collapse like a house of cards in a wind tunnel.
Miko then proposes that she become the school president and Kaguya and Miyuki serve on her student council so she can “hammer them into shape” morally. That proposal almost actually works, but then Miko doubles down on the “no romance” thing brought up last episode and then that falls apart too. The episode ends here, with Kaguya in a state of frazzled confusion and a title card with a promise that next week’s episode will be a “Super Tuesday” for the school election (likely a translator insertion, but who knows)?
Until next time, Love Is War! fans.