「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.