This article contains spoilers for episode 5 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War!
If you haven’t checked in on it in a few weeks, you might be wondering what’s up with Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! The series has by now taken its place as the hit comedy of the season. With good reason, too. While Kaguya-sama has not really changed much since its explosive first episode several weeks back, it’s kept up the pace. Each episode has been at least up to par with the last and one or two have stood out. This past week’s episode is interesting for several reasons. The main one though is that rather than keeping the camera on the main couple, it largely focuses on Chika Fujiwara. Chika has proven to be the breakout character from Kaguya-sama. Her odd airheaded demeanor undercutting the mind games that the two leads tend to play with each other. Here though, the show takes it even further off the rails.
There’s three main sketches in this episode (about average) and two revolve around Chika. The first begins with a student coming to Kaguya for advice as to how to break up with her boyfriend. Kaguya bats the question around for a while–she can’t reveal that she has no idea how to do that, after all. Then, Chika shows up, and this happens:
Thus kicking off a rather Chika-centric episode full of her unusual brand of problem-solving. Chika’s kind of a weird character. Being part of the main cast in a romcom but not having any love interest of her own. This works to her benefit, though. As not having any single person to play off of prevents Chika’s character from being too entrenched in any single dynamic. This makes her something of a cast wildcard. While she’s always deeply silly, the how and why varies from sketch to sketch.
Her suggestion to the girl asking about her boyfriend is that she try to see the good in him. But then, when Kaguya cuts in to suggest that romances are stronger when united by a common obstacle, Chika takes it in an outlandish direction. She suggests that the love-troubled girl try to fight society itself. This ends up manifesting as the girl and her boyfriend doing charity work for the school. But Chika’s strange over the top response in the first place is the real punchline.
The second skit similarly involves Chika in a “mentoring” role, if one can call it that. Male lead Shirogane is concerned because he’s bad at volleyball. That is to say, comically bad at volleyball. Unable to even properly spike the ball without fumbling it (and sometimes smacking himself in the face), Miyuki despairs. It turns out of course, that Chika happened to be nearby, watching this happen. She offers to coach Miyuki, and what follows is an amusing sports anime pastiche. Miyuki is put through grueling training to rise to the level of “sort of okay at volleyball”. Something that’s inherently rather ridiculous in of itself. Then, the day of the big game comes, and we get the one-liner that the entire bit was building up to.
Despite its often bombastic presentation. It’s just as much that kind of buildup that makes Kaguya-sama so funny.
There’s a third sketch too. Though it’s a little more in line with the series’ prior episodes and thus not quite as much of a standout. Mostly revolving, as it does, around the politics of umbrella-sharing on a rainy day. The main draw here is how much it highlights that the series is often cut like an action thriller. Something along the lines of Death Note. As opposed to a comedy anime. This, of course, just makes these scenes funnier.
If there doesn’t seem to be quite a lot to say about Kaguya-sama, it’s just because it’s continuing to do what it’s been doing. In the case of a show that’s got such a command of its structure and comedic language, that’s not a bad thing. It’s the most-discussed comedy anime of the current season for a reason.
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