This recap contains spoilers for Kaguya-sama: Love Is WarSeason 2, Episode 10

As Love Is War!‘s second season nears its home stretch, it’s begun to play with its formula a bit. This episode consists of four segments, not just three, and three are closely interconnected. “Kei Shirogane Can’t Speak”, “Miyuki Shirogane Wants To Dance”, and “Miyuki Shirogane’s Dad Wants To Find Out” all revolve around the Shirogane family. That and Miyuki’s role in the sports festival, which we actually see in “Dad Wants To Find Out”. (Bit of an awkward segment title, that. Ah, the sacrifices we must make for SEO!)

Teenage Rebel

We begin with a segment about Kei, Miyuki’s sister and occasional B-character. Kei hasn’t had a major role in the series in some eight episodes. It’s nice, consequently, to see her return here. Miyuki as it turns out is still broken up about Kaguya’s recent avoidance of him. Kei, being a loving sister, can intuit that Girl Problems are on Miyuki’s mind. However, Kei, also being a teenager, doesn’t want to seem like she cares too much.

Kei and Miyuki (Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! Season 2 Episode 10)

The two have something of a rocky relationship, as we’ve known for a while now. The visual style here channels the thin-line, no-shadows look of some of the series’ more serious moments. Though, to counterbalance that, there’s also, say, this splash screen.

Kei and Miyuki (Kaguya-sama Season 2 Episode 10)

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Advice From The Makeup Stand

There’s a third element to all this, too. Miyuki’s father. (The titular dad of “Dad Wants To Find Out”.) Miyuki’s dad is an odd character, in that he has the same sharp mind as his son but wrapped in an outward “loser” shell. This is a man whose wife left him, whose family business went other, and who struggles with intermittent unemployment. He probably should scan as quite a sad figure. Instead, he seems rather blase` about the whole thing. He’s also the one who eventually pulls the source of his son’s woes out of him, though not entirely intentionally.

Kei finishes the segment off by offering Miyuki some advice and reassurance. She says that girls (and really, it’s teenagers in general, but we’ll forgive her for that here) sometimes avoid the people they love because they’re embarrassed. It’s solid advice, and really this whole segment shows that despite their sometimes up and down relationship, the Shirogane family help each other out when it counts. (A thing we’ll be again seeing, in a very different way, in “Dad Wants To Find Out”.) We close on a visual of Kaguya, the next day, embarrassed, but asking Miyuki if he’d like to walk to the student council room together.

Heave Ho

The second segment here is pure fun, though it is tied into the sports festival sub-plot here that gets resolved in “Dad Wants To Find Out”. This is the now third in a line of recurring “Chika tries to teach Miyuki something that he’s horrible at” sketches. This time it’s soran dancing. A traditional Japanese folk dance done to heavy drum rhythms and a folk song about fishing. Its role here is as a performance in the sports festival’s opening ceremony. Miyuki assures the student council that soran dancing is easy and he’ll ace it. Chika, who apparently has “soran drummer” as another notch in her quite lengthy musical background, is suspicious and drills him. The results are about what one would expect from one of these segments. In particular, Miyuki’s general idea of “dancing” seems quite loose.

Miyuki "dancing" (Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! Season 2 Episode 10)

With visuals like this, it’s really no shock that Chika says she “felt like an exorcist” while watching him dance. 

Chika complaining that she feels like an exorcist (Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! Season 2 Episode 10)

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She does initially try to correct him, but here, Chika actually loses her patience rather quickly. (Advising Miyuki to capture the feelings of fishermen wishing for a good catch and fish not wanting to be caught turns out to not be terribly helpful.) In a rare moment of the student council treasurer just totally breaking down, she runs screaming out of the student council room. It’s only when Kaguya offers to coach him that she returns. Obviously rather unimpressed with Kaguya’s form-over-feeling philosophy on soran dancing. Which then sparks a huge argument. The two tug Miyuki back and forth like a tug-of-war rope and the narrator amusingly draws a comparison to a Japanese folktale.

a folk tale about a child being turned into a tug-of-war rope, shown in an aside (Kaguya-sama Season 2 Episode 10)

At this, Miyuki feels inspired, saying he now knows “what a rope feels like”. His soran dancing improves markedly and immediately. End segment.

Spectacle Noise

The third Love is War! segment sticks out compared to the other three. It’s the shortest, most serious, and the only one not about Miyuki or his family. Instead, it picks up the Ishigami plotline from last week. It opens on Miko and Kobachi enforcing some school rules on various random students. (Including Chika and her friends in the board game club.) Miko catches Ishigami playing on his PS Vita-or-whatever-it-is on the school grounds and confiscates it.

This leads Kobachi to ponder Ishigami’s history, which she knows, but we, until now, did not. She tells us that, as far as she knows, Ishigami’s social ostracism began in middle school when he stalked a girl he had a crush on, eventually culminating in a fight with her boyfriend and the girl transferring to another school. Kobachi herself wonders if this is the whole story, as Ishigami’s never made an attempt to defend himself, as far as the opinion of the student body.

Ishigami's past (Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! Season 2 Episode 10)

We in fact see some of this in action, as Ishigami’s cheer practice (recall he joined the cheer squad last episode), is intercut with him being grilled by an as-yet unnamed blonde girl. He offers nothing explicit in his own defense, but it’s clear there’s more going on here than Kobachi (and most of the student body) knows. This entire arc in the manga occasionally had the stink of a “good guy wronged” story to it. That’s not entirely gone in the anime, but it is much diminished by the anime’s more frantic pacing and structure. This patches one of the Love Is War! manga’s few notable writing flaws. The segment ends with Ishigami’s sincere participation in cheer practice, as the still-unidentified ponytailed girl who helped him last episode looks on. 

Dad Time

The final Love is War! segment, “Miyuki Shirogane’s Dad Wants To Find Out”, returns to a more comedic sensibility, although it’s not a segment without stakes. This covers the sports festival itself. Miyuki’s intent to simply do his best has a monkey wrench thrown into it when his father unexpectedly shows up to spectate. (Because he, quote: “Had nothing better to do.”) He doesn’t directly cheer Miyuki on for long. Instead, he wanders off, and eventually stumbles upon Kaguya, who’s watching the prez from a distance.

This is the core interaction of “Dad Wants To Find Out”. Miyuki’s father knows who Kaguya is, but Kaguya, obviously, doesn’t know him. Miyuki’s old man can’t exactly directly engage a teenage girl in conversation, so he pulls off a sly trick. He insults Miyuki. Kaguya, of course, does not take this lying down. She leaps to the president’s defense. Pointing out his grades, his position, his “cool eyes”, and so on. Finally, she brings up his good nature. In a revealing sentence, she says she used to not believe there were good people in the world, something that changed when she met Miyuki.

Then when, inevitably, Miyuki himself happens upon the scene we get “Dad Wants To Find Out”‘s overall punchline. His father reveals his true identity. We get a by-now-familiar guitar lick from the soundtrack and one very flustered Kaguya.

Kaguya, flustered (Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! Season 2 Episode 10)

“Dad Wants To Find Out”, and the episode, basically end here. Kaguya, comically mortified, tells Miyuki he has a “delightfully mischievous father”. Miyuki screams, end scene, end episode.

How will this impact their relationship? That’s a question for next week. So until then, Love Is War! fans!

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Jane Auman
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