What’s the show? Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Episode 1.
So how’s this episode? Why does it seem like this season all the really popular shows I’m having trouble connecting with or finding lots of faults with? Like ‘Rising of the Shield Hero’, ‘The Promised Neverland’, ‘Domestic Girlfriend’ and now ‘Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War’ all these super popular shows and I’m just left picking at faults.
Maybe you’re an anime hipster and are just picking on what’s popular? I knew you were going to say that, but no. I think it’s more the louder I hear resounding praise for something en-masse, the more I’m likely to think critically about the faults I find in something. Whereas something that’s being ignored or overlooked or derided I tend to sell the positives more (assuming it’s a show that has positives of course).
Right, and so I take it by that little introduction of yours that you had issues with this show? Kind of, and it’s going to be one of those annoying posts where I can’t help but refer to the manga, because I actually read–and reviewed–the manga source material (well 3 volumes so far) and it’s left me with an issue that I simply can’t overlook.
Care to elaborate on what it’s about first? Oh right, sure. So it’s about Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane, high school vice president and president respectively. They are both extremely intelligent, strong-willed and determined individuals. Who also happen to be secretly crushing on one another. What’s more they’re both under the delusion that admitting one’s feelings first or “confessing” is a sign of weakness that’s completely unacceptable and so neither wants to be the first to confess. What this means is that they’re constantly playing mind games with each other in an attempt to get the other person to trip up and admit their feelings first.
Well that sounds like it could be a lot of fun. And it is! Except the narrator in this show… I found him really overbearing to the point that I felt like some of the charm of the exchanges between the two leads was lost. Maybe it was because as a reader I tend to put less emphasis on narration and more on dialogue as I’m reading manga in my head. So the fact this anime had such a commanding and attention grabbing voice do the narration kind of felt like I was watching something drastically different to what I was had heard in my head.
Maybe this is exactly how the author intended it to be read? Maybe. Probably, even. I’m sure the mangaka told them exactly how it was supposed to be. And I respect that, I also respect the notion that a manga and anime can be different and exist together after all sometimes the adaptive process makes things more interesting or allows for a different spin on the original story. But not only do I think the narration is overbearing and a little obnoxious, but I think it dumbs down what is an otherwise smartly written series. And I don’t know, maybe this is ~exactly~ how it was in the manga, I have a terrible memory and can’t be bothered walking to the other room to do a side-by-side comparison of the two but it almost felt like the narrator was over-explaining things that were abundantly obvious in the scene.
So it sounds like that’s a pretty big hurdle for you to clear. What does this mean for you going forward and watching the show? It hasn’t ~ruined~ the show by any means, it’s just… an adjustment. Had I not read the manga I dare say I would have enjoyed this style of narration as it’s very Japanese and reminded me of some programs I’d watch on TV while on holidays in Japan. And unless it dials it back in future episodes I might simply have to force myself to separate the manga version and the anime version so I can enjoy myself without making this blog into a weekly bitch-fest.
Right so other than the narrator you enjoyed yourself? Yep! It’s a good-looking show that aesthetically evokes the look I was hoping it would. Kaguya is the adorable Wednesday Addams type of girl I always crushed on as a teenager and I want to marry her and the show is funny and smart and entertaining! My complaints shouldn’t really factor into an overall recommendation of this first episode and if you aren’t already watching it, you probably should because you’ll likely enjoy the experience!
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