Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Ep. 1: Thrust and parry

Pardon me, pardon me — I just wanna take a quick peek at this show’s Wiki page. Don’t worry, I won’t glance at the mountain of spoilers. I just wanna confirm one thing. Ah, there it is: “Manga. Original run: May 19, 2015 – present.” That tells me exactly what to expect, which is that I won’t get a substantive ending — one where the canon couple gets together — from the adaptation. Sigh. It’s just as well, anyways. If the first episode is anything to go by, Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai is more silly than romantic. It’s more of a comedy than it is drama. Longtime readers of this blog probably already know that I’d rather have drama any day of the week, but at the same time, comedy might be the only way to make this premise seem palatable. Humor is probably the only reason I would even tolerate our two haughty, arrogant jackasses. Y’see, Kaguya and Miyuki like each other, but they can’t just confess their love. No, that would be terrible. They are both too prideful to prostrate themselves to such a degree. Well, that’s silly. Love shouldn’t be a war. Love should be about trust. Being able to be vulnerable around the person you love is a privilege.

There’s a saying that goes, “The person who cares less in the relationship has all the power.” So instead of putting themselves in a vulnerable position, Kaguya and Miyuki would rather engage in a battle of wits. The first person to give in is the loser. For instance, Kaguya gets a love letter. She obviously wouldn’t go out with some random person, but in front of Miyuki, she acts as though the ardent confession of love has set her heart afire. She has no choice but to go out on a date with this guy! Obviously, Miyuki is against this. Who would want to see their crush hang out with some other dude? But at the same time, he can’t just be like, “No, don’t go with him!” This would be tantamount to a confession. So instead, he threatens to be a tattletale; the threat of expulsion might get Kaguya to reconsider, thus preventing the date from happening. Thrust and parry, thrust and parry. The two kids are locked into an eternal dance because their egos are too large for their own good. Luckily, their clueless friend Chika always manages to inadvertently defuse any situation before it gets out of hand.

Miyuki thinks that if he confesses first, Kaguya will look down on him. That’s a terrible assumption to make of someone you like. On the other hand, Kaguya can’t bear the thought of chasing after a commoner. The show introduces her by droning on and on about the wealth, influence, and status of her family. Sure, she’ll marry a commoner… just one, though. Just Miyuki. It doesn’t appear as though any other dude is on her radar. But even with Miyuki, it sounds like they can only truly become a couple after she gets the chance to build him up to her level. On the surface, that sounds objectively terrible. But as a comedy, I guess we can just turn our brains off and laugh. And admittedly, the show is pretty witty at times. In an actual drama, these two would be far too annoying to deal with, but the combination of their hare-brained schemes and Chika’s subsequent detonation of them is not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. I just don’t expect to get a fulfilling love story out of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai, and that thought bums me out a bit.

4 thoughts on “Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Ep. 1: Thrust and parry

  1. Mentaromega

    Careful with preconceptions with this show. Akasaka-sensei is having a ball playing to expectations, and then turning everything on its head. What turns Kaguya-sama into the best Romcom manga on my personal list (after >20 years of anime/manga fandom, so I have a wide range) is how diverse the show is.

    So, without spoiling, just some statements, since you clearly don’t know the show (how I envy you)

    1) By general fan consensus, the first chapters of the show are actually the weakest ones. Once all characters are fully introduced and fleshed out, the show starts firing on all cylinders.

    2) You will get a strong romance element, don’t worry. Since the anime clearly does not animate all manga chapters, we will definitely reach the middle parts when things heat up.

    3) The show is shifting between various genres very skillfully. Mostly comedy, good romance, some horror(!), and when the drama parts arrive, they hit hard. Don’t know any other show with multi-chapter arcs which make me tear up on the 10th reread.

    You’re in for a treat.

    1. Sean Post author

      Careful with preconceptions with this show.

      Am I going to die or something? If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. If the cover purposefully aims to mislead the reader from the true contents of the book, so be it.

  2. Leivinia Birdway

    On the other hand, look at how the girls immediately forged a close friendship quite quickly, the boys are fools.


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