「かぐや様は交換したい/藤原ちゃんは出かけたい/白銀御行は隠したい」 (Kagu ya-sama wa Koukan Shitai/ Fujiwara-chan wa Dekaketai/ Shirogane Onkou wa Kakushitai)
“Kaguya Wants to Trade / Chika Wants to Go Somewhere / Miyuki Wants to Hide His Ignorance”

We’re only two eps in, but I can already tell Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai is going to be a vexing series for me. Some shows are slam-dunks one way or the other, some you feel indifferent about, but this is one of those that pulls you in two different directions. It’s a matter of whether you’re willing to take the bad (as you define it) with the good – whether the toll to cross the bridge is worth paying or not. Or you hope that things improve enough that it becomes a moot point.

A few things strike me after watching the second episode:

  • The first 4:15 of the episode was almost entirely narration and EP, and if that weren’t enough it was pretty all recycled from the first episode. That’s certainly easy on the production budget, but I sincerely hope it’s not going to be the case every week (apparently this was content from the first chapter after the series changed publications – though choosing to leave it in was a fairly bogus move by the anime staff).
  • This is basically a gag comedy, and it seems to fall into the bucket many gag manga adaptations do – some of the gags work a lot better than others. I haven’t hated any of the chapters so far, but it’s two weeks in a row where only one of them really made me laugh hard. Still, any comedy that can make me LOL is unusual. But that’s the nature of comedies that take the volume approach – throw a ton of jokes out there and some of them are bound to hit the target (unless the writing is incompetent, which is not the case here).
  • Last week it was the bento chapter that really made me laugh, this week the love advice chapter. Commonalities:
    1. Very little narration. Is that a coincidence? Surely not.
    2. Major focus on non-protagonist characters. Coincidence? Almost surely not.
    3. Third and final chapter of the episode. Probably a coincidence (but that’s not as obvious as it might seem).

One thing is clear, this is certainly a change of pace for Hatakeyama Mamoru after Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. Very much a return to his roots in fact, which is not entirely a boon for me but will surely please fans of Shaft, because for all intents and purposes Kaguya-sama is a 100% Shaft series in terms of style, just with a better director and less corner-cutting on production. That is what it is, and it seems very unlikely that it’s going to change. That means it really comes down to how funny the gags are, and how one feels about the two protagonists.

That’s a complicated question, in point of fact. In using Miyuki and Kaguya as leads, is this series committing itself to basically using them as objects of ridicule – on other words, is the humor here effectively at their expense? Or is a matter of them becoming more likeable as the series progresses? They’re both pretty pathetic to be certain, but that’s surely part of the joke if not all of it – these elites held up as paragons of grace and maturity by their classmates, but in point of fact both clueless and petty when it comes to romance and totally unmade by their feelings for each other.

That last part would be another reason why the “Confession” chapter worked so well – it perfectly epitomizes the disconnect between the perception of Miyuki (and by extension Kaguya) and the reality. The first two parts are more or less just two petty children trying to outdo the other at making their rival uncomfortable, with Chika being cute and silly in the background. What worries is that might be the meat of what Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai is, for the most part – and anything above and beyond that an occasional exception.

*Note: The irritating subbing decision were Miyuki and Kaguya addressed each other by their names rather than titles was fixed – and apparently retroactively for the first episode too. A good response to be sure.


ED Sequence

ED: 「Sentimental Crisis」 (センチメンタルクライシス) by (halca)


  1. Again, fully understandable points 😉

    1) The copy of the first 4 minutes was kind of an insider joke. Kaguya-sama got moved from monthly to weekly serialization, and upon start in the new weekly, they had to repeat the setup exposition there. I would be very surprised if they did it every time (then I’d be annoyed, as well)

    2) It’s a gag show _now_. Things will change come chapter ~20.

    3) Keep in mind that most fans of the show dearly love the leads by now (chapter 134). Unconditionally. In fact, I’ll go one step further: By then, you’ll have ~20 supporting characters, and what makes this show special to me is that with a single nonrecurring characters’ exception, I like every single one of them. Some may be annoying at times, but I feel that all of them enrich the story. This is very unlike other shows where I tend not to care beyond the lead characters and maybe 1-2 select others.

    You’ll have to be patient with the current formula for 3-4 more episodes, I’m afraid. And yes, I’m very sad that this means that half of the episodes will be gone by then. I’m hoping for good BD sales to make sure we get followup seasons for the glorious parts, too (which subsequently catapulted Kaguya-sama to its current high ranking)

    1. Third point so much. I usually get annoyed whenever a new character is introduced in a romcom, or when a chapter is focused on them, but in Kaguya I found myself liking them all. The author does an excellent job in deciding which kind of character would be a good introduction to the cast, and how often side characters should get spotlight without getting annoying (many romcoms make a character annoying by just overusing them when they are not wanted).

  2. Considering Kaguya’s mangaka did an endcard for Boarding School Juliet’s anime, I’m rather disappointed Kaguya’s anime doesn’t have a similar “weekly endcard” setup so Kaneda Yousuke can return the favour.

  3. This was a good episode for Kaguya-sama.
    I want to point out a few things (and little spoilers):

    1. Few of the scene in this episode is a foreshadow for the couple of stories later. Heck, even the ED sequence can be consider foreshadow regardless of obvious reference to ghibli music video.

    2. The twintail girl is Show Spoiler ▼

    3. This show isn’t really a run-of-mill-gag show like D-frag or something. This is an example of romcom done right. More comedy less drama. Without some harem element or some bull like that. Oh, do i say this story has a drama? Yes, this has drama on it’s own and it’s incredible.

    4. You realize there is a blurry person in Shirogane’s imagination about mountain vacation? That is one of the best character in the entire story. He will show up in later episode sooner or later. The character show up will complete the circle of main cast in this story.

    Baki Sandro
  4. I preferred this to the first episode. I love the narration in the manga but it does get a little overbearing here. Not that I think it should be dull – I think it fits to have it exaggerated, just perhaps less so we can pay attention to the rest of the stuff rather than get caught up with it. There was less narration this time I felt, and we got actual characters interacting with each other which is really important since it allows us to begin to see the characters as people rather than just “male mc” and “female mc”.

    Definitely the two main characters here have currently very much the wrong idea of how to start a relationship, with how they’re just trying to work the other into giving in with questionable methods. But this is just the start of the series – the thing I like most about the series is how while it’s on their mind always, it’s not just about forcing confessions – our characters just want to receive some affection from the other and do cute couple-y stuff. Like how Kaguya innocently just wants to eat some of his bento in episode 1, or how they both just want to be able to have fun line conversations with each other. They just have to make things complicated in their own heads because they’re total idiots.

    It takes time to get to know the characters and learn a little about them over time, but it worked out nicely for me since rather than knowing all about a character’s personality from the start, learning of their good points over time made it more enjoyable to me. Pity for a short anime series, it might not work out that well. How the character interactions and ability to be open change over the course of the series as the MCs get more in touch with their baka over time is truly what I want to see from a romance series, and much to look forward to for me. Also as mentioned in above comments, the other main characters will become very much present and central to the story and a joy to see in the near future, which is another thing to look forward to.

  5. This is going to be one of my favorites this season for sure. It’s been a while since a comedy got such consistent reaction from me. I couldn’t stop laughing. I needed this with saiki kusuo ended


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