Sunday, October 11, 2020

REVIEW: Kaguya-sama: Love Is War (manga, vol. 1) by Aka Akasaka, translated by Emi Louie-Nishikawa

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is a romantic comedy series licensed by VIZ. I bought my copy brand new.


Kaguya Shinomiya is elite Shuchiin Academy's student council vice president. Her family is wealthy and influential, and Kaguya is a highly intelligent girl who is used to viewing every interaction as a potential power struggle. Miyuki Shirogane is the student council president. His family is neither wealthy nor influential, but he's dedicated to his studies and still manages to earn everyone's respect.

There is a rumor going around that Kaguya and Miyuki are going out. In reality, although they're both secretly interested in each other, neither one is willing to admit it. Kaguya views love as a battle in which the first one to confess is the loser, and Miyuki is keenly aware of the difference in their classes and thinks Kaguya is constantly looking down on him. Neither of them wants to lose by being the first to confess to the other.

The art has some issues, and Kaguya and Miyuki were occasionally more frustrating than amusing, but overall I enjoyed this. Kaguya and Miyuki's stubborn refusal to say how they felt made me laugh several times. My favorite part was probably the movie ticket storyline. They both got free tickets and wanted to go together, but that was date-like and neither one of them wanted to look too interested in that. They were both intelligent, but their minds worked differently, so their efforts to outmaneuver each other didn't always work the way they intended. 

There were times when I wanted to shout at Kaguya and Miyuki to just talk to each other like normal people, but they weren't horrible people. Kaguya had vulnerable moments and could be very sweet, and I enjoyed the part where another student asked Miyuki how he felt about Kaguya. They were just really bad at being honest and potentially vulnerable with each other.

So far this works more for me as a comedy than as a romance. I'm looking forward to reading more of this. I just hope that the slight frustration factor doesn't start to overshadow the comedy.


The first few pages are in full-color. Also, most chapters end with character profiles or extra illustrations. One of them ends with the solutions to several brain-teasers Chika (the student council secretary) challenged Kaguya and Miyuki with. There's also a two-page comic at the end that was originally under the book jacket of the Japanese edition.

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