「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)
“Miyuki Shirogane Still Hasn’t Done It / Kaguya Wants to Be Figured Out / Kaguya Wants to Walk”
I’ve been down this road before. When there’s a series I feel like I should like, I have a hard time letting it go. My experience tells me that I usually wait too long before facing the truth, and end up regretting it. That’s starting to feel like the case with Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai, not least because Hatakeyama Mamoru is directing it. But three episodes is a pretty decent window in which to formulate an opinion, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I’m not done, but I’m starting to feel like it’s time to warm up the car.
I talk about the whole horses for courses concept here sometimes, and I think it applies more to comedies than it does to any other genre. A shoe can be perfectly well-made, but if it doesn’t fit it’s not going to be very comfortable to walk around in. This whole Shaft thing that Hatakeyama has going on here, the incessant narration (though that did back off some this week, at least), the self-aware snarkiness – it’s just not my cup of tea. There’s certainly a market for whom it is, and that’s great – but my growing suspicion is that I’m not a part of it.
That’s not to say there weren’t things I liked this week. At this point it’s no longer theoretical – my enjoyment level of these chapters is inversely related to the omnipresence of the narrator. The first chapter was thus a trial for me, as he just never shut up. OK, I know it’s a gag manga, but the gag wasn’t really that funny and that’s the problem with gag manga anime – if the joke doesn’t make you laugh, the whole segment is a loss. The next two were better though, if for no other reason than the relative paucity of narration. Even without it I still have the sense of push-button laugh lines you sometimes get with gag manga (everything but the rimshot, pretty much) but with the narrator effectively telling you “laugh now” it’s definitely worse.
A couple of other nice touches: the speeded-up intro segment (which I take as an acknowledgement of how dumb last week’s full-length groundhog day was) Hatakeyama inserting an actual yeti into the third chapter, and the ED. The ED was easily the funniest part of the episode for me in fact, which is great – except that if the ED is the funniest part of a comedy, that’s not a great reflection on the rest of the episode. Also, while it seems not to cause major problems in RL and the chapter itself was pretty standard moe-pandering and ojou-sama tropes, I did feel for the girl walking to school. Kids make their own way to school – on foot, by bus, by train – at an astonishingly young age here (from first grade) and it never fails to make me nervous when I see them soloing.
Author’s Note: Just for the record, I picked up Kaguya-sama in the genuine hope that I would be able to blog the entire series, but also because it was otherwise unclaimed and I felt that it should get coverage at RC if possible. If indeed I do decide to drop it we’ll do everything we can to continue coverage, but no guarantees at this point.
It’s quite instructive how different the perception is for different viewers. So, if you really simply don’t feel the humor, then that’s how it is, no point in lamenting it. Just want to point out that for example on Myanimelist, this episode had 88,9% (445 votes) on 5/5 and 9,5% (49 votes) on 4/5, which is extremely rare. It has a big splash on Youtube, and it’s the love child of reddit and 2/4chan. At the same time, some people simply have no access to it.
Part of me finds it difficult to let “mere gag manga” stand, because I know that it isn’t. I do understand however how people unfamiliar with the manga may get this impression. With the next episode (chapters 17-20) we’ll get close to the third volume, and in the fourth things kick off. But if you seriously haven’t warmed up by now, it’s unlikely that you ever will in any near future.
I’ll probably keep watching it, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the understated charm from the manga. I think the main thing that’s keeping me liking from the adaptation is that having that narrator punch you in the face doesn’t feel like they are going through their daily lives in high school. It just feels like their world is smaller somehow than in the manga and very much boxed in. The manga feels like, they are in high school, and these things are happening. The anime feels like a paint by number gag manga. Not sure how to put it into words, it just doesn’t work well for me personally.
btw, you know you’ve been watching anime too long when you watch the ED and all you think is “man, they did a great job animating that skirt.”
I’m a rabid fan of the manga, and I am more than happy with the conversion. In fact, I find several details which the anime adds which are not part of the manga, and which help flesh things out some more. Example: In the confession story in the anime, you can see Shirogane reach out to stop Kaguya, but then silently retract his hand when Chika grabbed Kaguya. In the manga, this detail is missing. It’s stuff like this which I enjoy.
The VAs are fantastic. I think I can listen to Koga Aoi for 2 hours straight without being bored. And contrary to you and Enzo, I have no qualms with the narrator whatsoever. He’s an intrinsic part of the show.
And finally: The EDs so far – especially the one from ep3 – are so utterly fantastic. What I feel is that the entire Kaguya anime crew is having so much fun. This little dance was spectacular (and done by an ex-KyoAni guy).
The casual appearance of the random yeti in the 3rd segment was a hilarious addition too lol.
Ditto too on this episode’s ending dance. What makes it better is how several of the dance moves and lyrics are a neat touch of meta humor with references to certain parts from the manga.
Out of all 3 eps. so far, the 1st one was not a good start with the 2nd one being my favorite.
This 2nd episode’s yes/no game chapter felt a bit cringey to me, considering the over dramatic reactions/assumptions from our president. At least he had it figured out by himself by the end, but a bit less of these obvious misunderstandings would be good. Those get boring after a while.
And yes, the ending was damn impressive and I have to wonder whether there was any CG involved considering how well it was animated.
typo: *This 3rd episode’s*
I’m assuming that was rotoscoped.
Good guess – it was.
I absolutely love the manga and anime. Personally love the snarky narrator. Kinda reminds me of Ninja Nonsense. The gags and tone are right up my alley.
I also appreciate how much care and attention went into this series. This week’s ed is one such example (I’m almost certain the entire scene was rotoscoped, frame by frame).
While I would love to see the series covered on Randomc, I guess it’s different strokes for different folks. If these first episodes haven’t “tokimeki”-ed you yet, it probably never will. Sad, but understandable.
It had moments. The yeti was a nice touch. Chika’s metaphor in the first segment was amusing. The maid cutting Kaguya some slack was neat. The ED was awesome. But the narration is still a blight and the show seems to have to yell to let us know when a punchline is coming (or when it’s delivered). I’m in the camp of not finding much humour in the show, but to each their own. I’ll probably check out the next episode to see if they plan on doing more with the ED but as yet, I don’t feel enough of a connection to any of the characters to warrant grinding it out.
It’s kind of interesting.
This manga is critically acclaimed worldwide and fans of it are loving the hell out of it everywhere I go.
But sometimes something is simply not for you.
And it wouldn’t be the first time RC doesn’t cover one of the big shows, anyway.
In any case, I found the entire episode hilarious.
sometimes even the best Show lacks of Manpower to Blog it. It’s called Life. not any ill meaning to it. we have to accept their private life, too
Thanks for understanding. That’s certainly an element.
I’m going to give it another week, as I really want to see what it is that so many people love about it, and if the arrival of more supporting characters makes a difference. But if I’m honest I’m not too hopeful.
Working behind the scenes to see if it can still be covered either way. Doing our best.
I did not mean to come off as criticizing him. Enzo seemed concerned that no one would cover the show here if he dropped it even though he wasn’t really enjoying it. I was simply pointing out that if he’s not enjoying blogging it he shouldn’t worry about no one covering it, as RC has opted to do that before.
Don’t worry, that’s exactly how I took it – no problem at all.
I’m really enjoying the show as a comedy that takes the over-thinking that comes from cat-and-mouse thriller anime and applying it towards the absurdity behind wealthy people who are ashamed to show emotion trying to save face by acting like they’re not in love with each other.
This episode’s last segment was nice because it was more straight-forward and showed both Shinomiya’s more personable side and Shirogane’s dedication to his role as a representative of the academy.
The first two were funny though in the same way that the last episode was by showing how much of a mind game it became that Shirogane had to test the waters to see if Shinomiya would really confess through 20 questions or how Shinomiya’s obliviousness to sex ed resulting in both Shirogane and Fujiwara being sent through a tail-spin on how to react to what she thought about the “first time” statistics.
I also liked the ED this time around with how fun it was to see Fujiwara goofing off while nobody was in the club room.
Weekends are often busy, but if nobody minds it coming out around this time, I’m looking forward to following Kaguya-sama and seeing where it goes from here.
And thus arrives the hero we need, if not the hero we deserve. 😉
Why not make Random Curiosity just a website for episode screenshots? and throw in some thoughts or even just one liners here and there.
Everyone is sooooo busy and there is no real incentive(apart from having a platform to SHOUT OUT your biases towards a show) for authors to write episodic analysis and whatnot so why not evolve the site?
Zaiden off for a few months, Stills off until further notice, and Gleam…the newbie just seemed to have disappeared off the face the site after first week of January.
I’m loving the show, and the narrator is great, too. The only minor annoyance is having to keep up with the multiple subtitles that can build up when the narrator is speaking.
And as much fun as the series is as a comedy, I think the best part of the series is that it’s a romance — and romance takes time. More importantly, romance can’t take place with the characters as flawed as they are now.
Unfortunately, that’s not as easy to see in the early episodes/chapters if people are only focused on the comedy.
yeah way too much preening self-aware snarkiness for me.
a great concept rather ruined IMO in direction / execution by trying to be too fancy and not just sticking to a solid adaptation of a fantastic source matter.
these unnecessary stylistic devices and flairs are so distracting, so much so that I find it difficult to continue watching personally.
a real shame tbh.
Enzo being Enzo, no wonder this website is dying. Old writers becoming contrarian special snowflakes while the new writers being unnecessarily verbose. Every page used to have at least 40 – 50 comments …
Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Thanks a bunch for your concern. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one leaving this site so better remind them as well.