Kaguya-sama: Love Is War ~ Ultra Romantic Episode 1 [First Impressions]

Shadow’s Impressions:

Every season of Kaguya-sama, I’m always skeptical on whether this series can make me laugh as hard as the first. First few minutes in, I’m going in believing I’ll be disappointed. But once I finish it, I always come out with having laughed a whole bunch and feeling satisfied with what I watch. This season’s first ep was no different. I went in, not really liking the first skit all that much, but before I know it, I’m laughing hysterically at the other skits. Kaguya-sama never lets me down in the laughter department. Especially with how they started the episode with just bringing the school back after the “explosion” in the last episode of last season. I absolutely love how chaotic and crazy this series can get. 10/10.

As I said before, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first skit, mostly because I don’t like the Ishigami and Iino dynamic. The series seems to be hinting towards an Ishigami and Iino pairing and I’m not here for it. With the season opening up with them together, I couldn’t help but inwardly groan. Even dismissing the pair, I still don’t care much for Iino as a character so with the first welcome back to the series with her as the one of the main focuses, I was already worrying about whether I’d enjoy the first episode for this season. Thankfully after a first few minutes, it more or less just became Ishigami trying to be a gentleman but ultimately failing lol. Poor dude just cannot catch a break.

Not realizing that your earphones aren’t plugged in all the way, letting everyone know what you’re listening to is EMBARRASSING. Especially if you’re in a library or somewhere quiet. The things Iino was listening progressively got more and more weird and I absolutely lost it when I heard Umehara’s voice. Considering he voices one of my favorite characters in Ensemble Stars, hearing him say those things was like mildly embarrassing for me lol. But I love how Ishigami just goes from accepting all her weird “soothing noises” to just being like wtf as soon as he hears lines from freaking “Moral Support from Heartthrobs.” I CANNOT with that title lol. And despite Ishigami’s problems with Iino, he still wanted to save her from the embarrassment of listening to weird things without realizing her headphones were not plugged in all the way. Thus, him trying to send a roundabout message to her by making the same “mistake.” I did burst out laughing at the sacrifice he made by leaving his cord out a little to distract everyone XD. Him acting all epic to this cutesy song just kills me. Not to mention in the back of my mind I’m like: Oh boy… you are being set up to fail. And boy what a fail it was lol. There was no way Iino was going to pick up on Ishigami’s subtle attempts and alas, embarrassment ensued.

But the embarrassment doesn’t end there. I do like the continuations in what happens in the series always pops back up throughout the series. Like how last episode had Kaguya get a new phone since her old one got destroyed. And because she had such an old phone, she doesn’t understand the concept for READ after looking at a message. The whole thing just had me rolling and just feeling bad for Hayasaka since she realized what was happening and just like Ishigami, was trying so hard to not have her mistress get embarrassed. Unfortunately, just like Ishigami, her efforts were in vain and Kaguya got called out for having been staring at his messages. Just the way the dramatic music was playing over such a mundane thing with characters dramatically overreacting has always just been the pinnacle of this series that just leaves me giggling over how dumb it is. Also the animation just adds to the entire gag. When Kaguya finally texted back and Shirogane immediately grabbed his phone to check, I don’t know why the quickness of it all tickled me so much.

Can we just talk about Shirogane slamming his hand down, but missing his desk and hitting his finger on accident? That part had me cackling because it was such a realistic accident. This series just goes above and beyond what is expected and I love it.

If it weren’t for Hayasaka, Kaguya would definitely be cornered in her feelings as she was far too technologically inept to talk her way out of it. Which is relatable because I too don’t understand technology like 95% of the time without help whoops. Though I suppose it is partially Hayasaka’s fault for not correcting her or telling her what READ was on messages. So the least she could do in that situation is handle it lol. And thus the embarrassment got passed off to Shirogane since he was lied to about Kaguya’s messages being screened. Though it seems like the real losers ended up being Iino, Chika and Ishigami since all three of them were left on read. Also HAH at Ishigami watching a V-tuber because of course he would lol.

Though my favorite skit had to be the third one with the arm wrestling. Just the concept of it sounded like chaos was sure to ensue. When Kaguya went against Ishigami, I just knew she was going to obliterate him. He was talking all sorts of crap at the start and I knew this man was about to get humbled immediately. The shots that accompanied this first match left me cackling. When he just moves all the way to the left of the screen because that’s where his expectations were only to find himself held in place by Kaguya. The timing and shot compositions were just too good. Also the re-use of footage from the last opening to explain why Kaguya’s strength far exceeded that of a normal girl all the while replaying the bit of music when they kept showing the motion over and over had me DEAD.

When it was Shirogane and Chika’s turn to face off, I totally thought Chika was going to destroy him. However, call me a fool because of course Chika was caught cheating… again. And of course Ishigami was all too happy to rub it in her face as he should. Ishigami and Chika’s dynamic is so much more funny and entertaining for me to watch as both of them call out the other when the other is spouting crap all the while sharing the same birthday. They just seem to have so much fun taking pot shots at each other and it’s hilarious how giddy they were for awarding the other being the loser. When the episode ended with them about to face off to see who was weakest, I was so disappointed because that was the match I wanted to see the most since they were the ones to start this whole mess. But then they came back after the credits on the same frame it left off on to show Ishigami win in the most spectacular fashion. Just the suddenness of Ishigami slamming Chika’s hand down and both of them screeching just had me laughing so hard that I replayed that scene multiple times. What a perfect way to end the episode~

And then there was Shirogane vs Kaguya, which was probably the least interesting match. Finding out that they were just pretending to go all out to have an excuse to hold hands just made me roll my eyes. Though I did start laughing after realizing that she was swiftly holding her cheek a couple times during the match to keep herself calm. Fantastic detail of a recurring thing from past episodes. And the match is won by Kaguya when she realizes that she was starting to sweet and promptly slams Shirogane’s hand down so they could end it. And thus, winning her the title of Princess Muscle.

This series is so charmingly dumb and never fails to get a laugh out of me. I’m glad that this first episode didn’t disappoint and gives me hope that we are in for another hilarious with a dash of emotional ride. This episode was just characters trying and failing to protect someone from embarrassment. And while that concept seems rather boring on paper, the way the scenes were shot and composed along with the animation, the dramatic music and voice acting just brings what should be such a stupid mishap to a hilarious series of unfortunate events. The production of this series makes it hit so much harder than it should and I love it for that. I’m so glad this series is back and still as strong as ever. It’s been a while since I’ve read the manga, so it’ll definitely be fun to revisit what goes on in this chaotic series.

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Shadow

A passionate yet somewhat awkward individual who just wants to talk about anime

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