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Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2 Episode #05 Anime Review

5 min read
A packed four-part episode offers a great variety of comedy, even if it’s largely not the most important to the ongoing plot.
© Aka Akasaka / Shueisha · Kaguya-sama Production Committee

I raised that boy.

What They Say:
“Miyuki Shirogane Wants Girls to Fall for Him / Nagisa Kashiwagi Wants to Console / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Sing / Kaguya Wants to Kick Them Down”

No one surpasses Shirogane when it comes to academics, but he has never been very confident with his musical skills and always faked it by lip-synching whenever they had to sing the school anthem. Though Shirogane’s secret is soon discovered by Fujiwara, if the other students find out that he can’t carry a tune, his reputation as the perfect former student council president would be ruined. Since Fujiwara was able to help Shirogane overcome his lack of athletic skills in the past, she agrees to help him with singing lessons… However, little does she know that Shirogane’s level of tone deafness may be beyond hope!

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With a few references to social distancing in this episode, the state of the world might also help Shirogane’s newfound free time feel timely, introducing the hilarious revelation that his signature glare and hair flip were in fact a result of too little sleep all along. Chika operates as the audience surrogate in reacting to these points, a somewhat unusual role for her, but it works well. The ultimate punch line, though, is that the intimidating intensity that put off so many others is exactly what attracted Kaguya, resulting in her being externally uninterested in his bold advances and then, in very common fashion lately, the adorable inner Kaguya feels betrayed by this utterly off-putting change. Perhaps the best subtle reference to recent events was that the fantasy Kaguya in Shirogane’s mind compares him to Canis Major, something only a constellation otaku like him would possibly think of.

This leads directly into a role reversal (but much more appropriate configuration) of Kaguya asking the actually experienced Kashiwagi for love advice. The savvy Kashiwagi is the perfect counter to Kaguya’s naïve innocence, immediately translating Kaguya’s awkward silence as a request for advice, her claim that “it’s about a friend” as something about her, and the fact that romance is involved as something about Shirogane. It’s entirely possible that Kashiwagi has a better grip on the interpersonal relationships of the story than anyone else… except maybe Hayasaka. Her reaction to Kaguya’s unabashed use of the term “true love” is also gold as she basically goes moe for Kaguya’s sweet simplicity in a world not made for it. After some visits from other characters, we get the final punch line to this extended gag in Kaguya’s fetishistic thirst for an absolutely mortifyingly unhealthy Shirogane.

Unrelated to absolutely anything of recent relevance to the story, we get the third of four segments, providing something of a year-later (in real time) sequel to the classic volleyball training story from the first season, which is very quickly referenced by a reluctant Chika. For all of Chika’s comical flaws, these vignettes are reminders that she is in fact a remarkably effective teacher, and this one in particular ties back to a prime reason that Miko respected her so much when they met last episode: she’s an incredibly gifted musician. This gap is similar to the one that makes Kaguya so appealing: beneath Kaguya’s proud exterior is a little girl adorably infatuated, while beneath Chika’s extremely goofy exterior is a humble talent. There may not be as many laughs throughout this little training arc as a lot of recent vignettes, nor nearly as much current importance, but it’s still a cute exchange between the two that makes me hopeful for the part three that Chika claims will never happen but will almost certainly accept if the time comes.

It’s not until all of this has passed that we return to the plot proper, finally bringing Miko back into the fold as the prime target for Kaguya’s sinister political machinations. Although it’s played for comedic effect, this does drive home the idea that Kaguya is actually the villain in this relationship, and Miko winning the election would probably be the more just outcome. Despite her best efforts to break Miko down, Kaguya finds herself taken off guard in a way that Miko did not at all intend, which is a great example of the show’s comedy. After Miko turns the tables and offers her own attack, Kaguya again takes it as a positive possibility, this time justifiably so as Miko’s idea of aggression is actually mutually beneficial. We have the big election coming next time, but this possibility does seem like a likely way to have the established cast with Miko included and still mix things up more than would’ve been expected a few episodes ago.

In Summary:
A packed four-part episode offers a great variety of comedy, even if it’s largely not the most important to the ongoing plot. The relationship between Kaguya and Shirogane is explored, including Kaguya’s attraction, we get a valuable reminder that Chika is actually really great at many things, and the final part does give us an interesting new prospect for the future dynamic of the student council. The election is coming soon, and it should be a fun time.

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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