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Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2 Episode #04 Anime Review

5 min read
Hayasaka continues to be one of the most hilarious characters
© Aka Akasaka / Shueisha · Kaguya-sama Production Committee

A challenger appears.

What They Say:
“Ai Hayasaka Wants Him to Fall for Her / Kaguya Wants to Be Confessed To / Miko Iino Wants to Set Things Right”

Shirogane is at the top of the race for the student council elections according to the latest predictions, but he is concerned about Miko Iino, a first-year who is trailing close behind him in the race. His competitive streak flares up when he has a conversation with Miko during her election campaign and finds out that she has been at the top of her class as well as an eloquent speaker. Fujiwara plays the role of the peacemaker while tensions mount between the two rivals, but she is caught off guard when Miko asks, “Will you be my vice president if I’m elected as the student council president?”

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The student council has supposedly disbanded, but it’s fairly obvious that we’ll be back to more or less the status quo before long, and in the meantime, the same characters still get together in mostly the same context anyway. It’s not as if every story revolved around the student council proper, just the characters that happened to initially come together because of it. Still, it’s a significant enough plot event in a series that was largely beyond episodic, to the point of many standalone installments taking place within a single episode, for most of its first season, and could conceivably still follow that formula.

The first follow-up to that disbandment is technically the least important – in fact, its placement in this period after the previous council disbanded but before the next has formed is pretty much entirely irrelevant – but it’s easily the comedic highlight of the episode. Hayasaka is always a joy, which is why starting the season with a showcase of her impossibly versatile capabilities was such a wise move. To further cement her position as the apparent master of all trades, a disagreement with a tantrum-throwing-but-still-adorable Kaguya sets her on a challenge to show Kaguya how it’s done by conquering Shirogane’s heart herself. As we’ve come to expect from Hayasaka, she appears with another drastic transformation complete with a personality that couldn’t be further from the one she usually displays. This sequence is essentially a series of Hayasaka effortlessly pulling off every trick in the book to get Shirogane to fall for her, with Kaguya observing and playing tsukkomi to the situation by reacting to Shirogane’s reactions and berating him for being so uncharacteristically gullible in the face of Hayasaka’s manipulative tactics. On paper, this seems like a tired trope repeated enough to lose all effect, but the direction in this series pulls it off so effectively that it works as a parallel to the situation on screen: Hayasaka is using the tropes of her own trade, but achieving them with deft mastery. Therefore, Hayasaka is the actual director of this series. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. Anyway, once this wraps up, we see a side of Hayasaka that potentially deepens her character with a previously unseen sense of human vulnerability. Given her skill at acting, it’s hard to see which one is the true Hayasaka, but given the lack of a benefit to this being a performance, it seems fascinatingly sincere.

As we move on to campaigning for reelection, Shirogane and Hayasaka meet once again, causing the latter to play yet another character that has to be different enough to be unrecognizable to the guy she essentially just went on a multi-hour date with. This one is all about the central dynamic of the series, though, and to the rest of the student body, it appears to be the big event that everyone has been waiting for. Only Shirogane, Chika, and the audience knows it’s nothing so grand, but seeing how invested the students are in this prospective romance, to the point of having a media frenzy over it that somehow never makes its way to any of the main characters, is a great source of humor. Of course, even when Shirogane considers making the big leap, that’s far too substantial an event to occur at a time like this, but Kaguya’s reaction still continues on the recent trend of her accepting her feelings far more than she would’ve at the beginning of the series.

The promotional material, OP, and ED for this season have made it clear that we’d be getting some new characters in the main cast, with one in a particularly prominent role. Once the thread of the student council’s term ending was introduced, it was apparent that this would be the avenue for these new faces to join the fray. And so, while Shirogane is hilariously surprised by his own lasting popularity, we finally meet his main competition, the determined but naïve Miko Iino. So far, her character doesn’t feel like it has as much to offer as the established cast, but it probably felt the same for each character at first, so I don’t doubt that she’ll fit right in, filling a new niche brilliantly. Her relationship with an easily swayed Chika is already a highlight to her character, especially since Chika has become little more than the butt of jokes recently. At least someone can recognize her position as the best girl.

In Summary:
A new main character is introduced as the campaigning for the new student council begins and the students are up in arms about a potential major confession. Still, this is more or less business as usual, and that’s perfectly fine. Hayasaka continues to be one of the most hilarious characters, and the main relationship strengthens little by little.

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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