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Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2 Episode #03 Anime Review

4 min read
Another episode blends comedy, romance, and drama beautifully
© Aka Akasaka / Shueisha · Kaguya-sama Production Committee

They’re over the moon.

What They Say:
“Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Gaze at the Moon / The 67th Student Council / Kaguya Doesn’t Want to Say It”

On their final day as the 67th Student Council at Shuchiin Academy, the four members clean out the Student Council Room where they find many memorable items, one after the other. From the banner used at the French exchange student welcome party, the deck of cards that was used to cheat during Concentration, the cards from the forbidden word game, the cosplay cat ears, the inappropriate magazine that was confiscated from a student, and the movie tickets for Mr. Birdson of Birdville, each of these items bring back fond memories and they can’t stop talking about their time together. And so, the four leave the empty Student Council Room behind…

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After several connected stories, this episode starts off with one that’s more standalone than most of what we’ve gotten lately, but it more than makes up for its apparent lack of importance by being a brilliantly hilarious exploration of just how much Shirogane can embarrass Kaguya (and ultimately himself) when too preoccupied by his own nerdy passions to remember to be on his guard for his psychological battles of love with Kaguya. The best thing about this is that it proves that these battles are not only completely absurd (which has been obvious all along), but could be easily won by either side, or at least by Shirogane, if he just didn’t care about getting embarrassed himself. If he removes that element entirely, Kaguya is far too smitten to fight back and acknowledge how much he’s acting like he’s in love with her. But that just serves to further drive home the basics of the series, and the fact that Kaguya has evolved to this state is evidence that incremental progress is constantly being made in their relationship, especially after the season finale of the first season, which is directly referenced here. It reaches a similar tone to that as it goes on, and for much of its later parts, Shirogane is more or less confessing his love to Kaguya, but again, she’s too overwhelmed to take that as her own victory in the moment.

To further the theme of things changing far more than it seems like they might’ve throughout this show’s comedic vignettes, the rest of the episode, and at least one to come, focuses on the end of the school year and ostensibly the end of the current student council on which the series has centered. It’s fairly obvious that this is going to actually happen, since we’re only in episode 3 of another season that clearly still stars the same protagonists in the same context, but what matters here is the characters’ reflection upon the scenario that seems inevitable in the moment, and because it depicts that so deftly, it’s still fully effective. The first of these segments looks back on the previous season for the most part, reflecting upon the good times the cast has had together, with the thought that it will never be the same again. There’s some good comedy in here, like Ishigami feeling left out for the parts that were in the show before he appeared and Chika reminiscing on the events of the past couple of episodes, but it’s largely a study in powerful nostalgia. These moments get to me and remind me of my own finales of sorts at college and the like, and taking it to the extent of the girls breaking down in tears proves once again that the series is getting into heavy material even this early in the season.

The final segment continues on this theme, spending a good amount of time on Kaguya trying to figure out what to call Shirogane, but ultimately more about the sense of change that she desperately wants to avoid. Again, there is comedy here; in fact, some of the best of the episode comes again from the supporting characters as Ishigami reflects upon his lack of popularity and Chika is comically indignant over the universal hilarity of her trying to become president. But the meat of it is at the very end, with Kaguya again doing something that proves how much more comfortable she’s become around Shirogane; it’s more important to keep their relationship intact than for her to keep her pride. It’s a beautiful moment made all the more effective by the series refraining from falling back to its roots and letting Shirogane gloat too much to spoil the romance of it.

In Summary:
Another episode blends comedy, romance, and drama beautifully on a level that I previously wouldn’t have expected until a season finale. The sense of change is powerful and poignant, forcing the characters to break from their usual antics and reflect on what’s important with tender seriousness. This series is truly a delight to have.

Grade: A

Streamed By: Funimation

Review Equipment:
LG Electronics OLED65C7P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick

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