All of the little games we play with each other, do they amount to much in the end? The truth will be revealed (or not). 10 yen for your thoughts…
Art/Story: Aka Akasaka
Translation: Tomoko Kimura
English Adaptation/Editor: Annette Roman
Touch-Up Art & Lettering: Stephen Dutro
Cover & Interior Design: Alice Lewis
What They Say:
Will Ai prove to Kaguya that she can win Miyuki’s heart after all…while singing karaoke? Then the student council engages in some competitive cooking. Yu tries to spare Miko the embarrassment of the others discovering that she likes to listen to sexy voice actors whisper sweet nothings. And Kaguya declines to participate in a group date involving Miyuki—with a predictable impact on her mental stability.
At some point, you’ve got to upgrade your phone.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While Kaguya-sama can seem somewhat episodic at times, since the status of the relationship between Miyuki and Kagaya basically appears to reset at the end of every volume, that does not mean that the passage of time and prior events play no role in this story. A good example of that is when Miyuki is approached by his friends to go on a group date at a karaoke place—and Kaguya is not coming along. Worried about the boy-she-desires-but-cannot-confess-to being scooped up by some other, less prideful and more adventurous female, Kaguya dispatches Ai to watch what happens. Under her usual alias of “Haski,” Ai joins the group date and keeps close to Miyuki. While she has some loyalty to her employer, Kaguya’s imperiousness and obliviousness to what Ai has to go through results in Ai getting a bit upset…and that is where the past comes into play. For readers might recall several volumes back, Kaguya commanded Ai to seduce Miyuki, which she failed at because, as we know, he really does love Kaguya. Ai attributed her failure to a lack of strategy and preparation. Now, she feels confident of success.
Things work out to give her a chance as Miyuki bails on the group date, but on his way out, seeing “Haski” being harassed by another one of the boys in the group, rescues her. They then go to another room and it is here that “Haski” plans to seduce Miyuki. Kaguya, being told of Ai’s plan (they were communicating this whole time), goes into panic mode, but happens upon her own idea to break up Ai’s seduction, by inviting Chika to the same karaoke place and intending to burst into the room.
Kaguya need not have worried of course. Since being at karaoke, it is natural to sing. And Miyuki Shirogane… Well, he might be able to sing decently enough, but his rapping apparently can cause psychological damage. Kaguya winds up saving Ai.
This is but one of the many vignettes that continue to show us the strange, but humorous, dynamics at work with our now established cast. And it is the entire cast that continues to fill out the volume, from Miko Ino’s…interesting…choice of relaxation “music” to Kaguya’s loyalty to her flip phone and even the appearance of a cooking battle, complete with rapturous soliloquies about exotic gourmet ingredients used in innovative cuisine (it’s just fried rice, really). What continues to make this series work is that Aka Akasaka knows how to deploy the cast deftly and combine both old elements and new ones so that the characters continue to remain relatively fresh, even if certain gags are recycled on a regular basis.
In addition to the humor, Akasaka knows when it’s important to throw in some moments of heartwarming cheer, so that the characters are not just sock puppets to be laughed with (or at). You can feel a little bit of their inner struggles (such that high school students have). The final chapters of this volume play up that part well.
All in all, another volume of enjoyable time spent with these oddballs.
Group dates. Competitive cooking battles. Relaxation music. All the usual sorts of things that high school kids at an elite prep school get involved with……okay, maybe not all of those things. But this is Kaguya-sama: Love is War so expect all of these things to be flavored with weirdness of an endearing variety. Just be sure to take a photo of the best times of your life.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A-
Package Rating: A-
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019