A (human) index that likes to code
Also drinks way too much coffee
Published Jul 26, 2020
Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2 (かぐや様は告らせたい？～天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦～)
Kaguya-sama Season 2 cranks up the romance found in its prequel by a notch, and retains the humorous delivery found in Season 1. In other words, this was the perfect sequel for Kaguya-sama: Love is War, and has even achieved the same level of meme-ability as its predecessor:
Silence this spoiler girl! | Source: YouTube Thumbnail
Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War Season 2 is the sequel to Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War, a romance anime in a high-school setting, where the two main characters wit out one another to confess their love, often inducing hilarious misunderstandings for the entertainment of the viewer.
In the previous review, I mentioned a few bad points:
I’m happy to announce that these problems have been mostly eliminated in the sequel, all while still maintaining the anime’s good points mentioned in my previous review. I would like to specifically point out character development, especially in Kaguya and Hayasaka, as they represent the two main ways a character can develop throughout the anime. Be wary some of the following content might be considered spoilers for Season 1, so if you haven’t watched Season 1 already, then skip to the conclusion. Also, come onnnnnnn!
Hayasaka Ai | Source: Wikia
Hayasaka is Kaguya’s most trusted maid, butler, helper, and assistant. In Season 1, we observed a close relationship between Hayasaka and Kaguya, the particular set of skills Hayaska possess, and some insights to her core character.
In Season 2, though, the first section of the first episode was dedicated to her - her troubles as she helps out Kaguya, some sick AF demonstration of her awesome abilities that could have landed her a job in the CIA, and the verbalization of some worries she has for her master. As a supporting character, her airtime is truly enviable - but Hayasaka’s personality and motives are what the anime is trying to establish with its first section. She then frequently appears in other episodes to support Kaguya, and even gets another section of airtime for herself, during a conflict with Kaguya.
Throughout the whole series thus far, what we’ve been doing is understanding who Hayasaka is as a person, rather than watching her grow or regress in terms of character development. This is supported by her consistent demeanour, and having the expected responses to Kaguya’s development. This is one of the two ways a character can develop in an anime: a mysterious character slowly being understood by the viewer. Hayasaka is hence, a well-executed character in her own regard.
Kaguya Shinomiya | Source: Wikia
The title character was mostly well-defined in Season 1 - viewers were able to piece together how Kaguya was like based on the earlier years of her Student Council life through flashbacks, which is a big contrast to the present. She then remains within the “present” for the majority of Season 1 with not much growth. However, the events at the end of Season 1 laid ground for a big change in her character for Season 2.
In Season 2, Kaguya, who is a logic machine in her earlier days of her Student Council life, starts to develop conflicting illogical emotions within herself, and find herself unable to construct logical thoughts under the effects of the hilariously oblivious actions of her love interest. This particular development in Kaguya was perhaps one of the greatest turning points for the anime, generating more misunderstandings and conflicts that ultimately resulted in the entertaining episodes we see in Season 2.
These two are most definitely not the only two characters we see “develop” over the series. Almost all the cast has some kind of character development, where my favourites are:
I would say, if you love seeing characters change over time, or you would like to slowly understand the mysteries of a character as you watch the series, give Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2 a go.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War has a narrator, which is actually quite a common story-enhancing element employed by some Comedy + Romance anime. An example would be Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, where the narrator is explicitly involved in delivering the joke, be it giving the punchline, or adding a sarcastic remark.
The narrator in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War has a proper routine: (i) the scene at the end of every section, where he declares the outcome of the battle, and (ii) declaring an internal monologue by the main characters true or false. While rarely used as a plot-progressing method, it has been used in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War to ease the viewers into a flashback. Though the narrator, viewers can not only confirm their suspicions, but also feel a sense of contrast between the narrator’s logical response and the character’s irrational and misled thoughts, serving as a comedic straight man throughout the series.
All in all, I would say that the narrator enhances the viewing experience of the anime - if you’re a sucker for good narrators, give Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2 a go.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2’s main conflict lies in the Student Council re-election. This conflict acts as a crucial plot driver and the introduction of a new main character, Lino Miko.
Without getting into too much details, a good chunk of events in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2 only happens thanks to the Student Council re-election process - which introduces a breath of fresh air to balance the “Love Is War” weight of the anime. One of my negative points in my review of Season 1 was that the story gets bland over time - “there was a distinct lack of plot thrill that would otherwise capture the attention of a viewer”.
Introducing a main conflict effectively transformed Kaguya-sama: Love Is War from a “slice of life” (note: the series is not in this genre, but it felt like a slice-of-life during Season 1) to an engaging story of the main cast working towards something while still having their own intrapersonal conflicts with one another.
Throughout the anime, the main person providing the mini-conflicts, which I temporarily define as conflicts solved within the same section of the episode, was Chika. This is good for a while before boredom kicks in again, as it seems like the only person actually providing “content” is Chika.
In Season 2, there are more mini-conflict providers: Hayasaka, the principal, Shirogane, Shirogane’s father, and the “normies” in the Cheerleading Squad (are they really normies? I’m scared). I found myself forced to binge-watch the entire season to 3am in the morning, instead of partitioning my time like a good responsible adult.
Moreover, some routine parts of the anime, like Chika training Shirogane on a particular skill, or the battle of wits between Kaguya and Shirogane are executed in such a way that they won’t get boring - for example, one section of Chika training Shirogane skips the entire portion where Shirogane miserably displays his competency in those skills.
If you thought Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 1 was boring, give Season 2 a try. It has enough elements to stay interesting and keep you engaged as you watch the anime.
Some noteworthy mentions of things done well in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2:
These didn’t warrant their own section, as they weren’t particularly noteworthy. I would say though, the plot pacing was tight: it was not too overwhelming and underwhelming, and had a good balance between fast scenes (battle of wits) and slow scenes (emotional buildup).
Great anime! There is not much I can fault Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2, although admittedly, I wasn’t actively looking for faults. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2 is meant to be taken in a light-hearted manner, for your amusement. It’s also really easy for me to pick my favourites within the cast, which incidentally, are Ishigami and Lino.
In conclusion, the anime takes home a solid 9/10 from me. To get a 10 from me, I would have liked to see some development between Ishigami and Lino (not biased here), or Lino with the rest of the cast (definitely not biased here). Watch the anime, it’s great!