The drama in this final episode is rather predictable. Kaguya is excited to finally see her friends again after a long and uneventful summer, but she will be prevented from doing so. Nevertheless, the girl will try her best to reunite with her friends. She will then fail only to be saved by Miyuki at the last second. That’s how these things always play out. But I suppose the devil is in the details…
— Sure enough, the first thing we see is Kaguya getting all dolled up for the festival. As for Miyuki, he’s going to go in his school uniform. Dude, I know you have casual clothes.
— But as soon as our heroine tries to leave, she is told by one of the butlers (bodyguards?) that she can’t leave. It’s too dangerous, something about how her recent behavior has been unacceptable (huh?), so on and so forth.
— And just like that, our girl just gives up. She just gives up! She throws herself onto her bed and cries. Well, not after tweeting her despair at the world, which Miyuki happens to see. For probably the first time all summer, he becomes proactive.
— Ai, of course, goes to cheer her friend up, and we find out what the real deal is. Yeah, I guess I would be pretty cheesed by that. I dunno, it’s tricky nowadays. It’s the 21st century, so girls should feel free to make the first move. But traditional romance as well as Kaguya’s toxic family motto compels her to sit and wait for Miyuki to take action. What’s ironic is that she doesn’t actually sit still. She schemes and she plans. She pretty much does everything in her power to try and make him confess. So much work for nothing…
— Anyways, Ai eventually manages to lift Kaguya’s spirits. So we go from crying in our bed to Lara Croft in just a matter of seconds. Like I said, she does everything within her power for romance except the one obvious thing: just confess herself. I just feel like she may need to not only because Miyuki is so self-conscious (and a bit of a wimp), but also, it has become increasingly clear that she is the de facto main character. Well duh, she and Miyuki are both main characters, right? Eh, not really. I don’t think he has anywhere near as much depth or pathos as Kaguya. He’s the second most important character in the story, but I feel like our girl is the only one who has undergone any growth in this slow-paced, romcom with a heavy emphasis on the com. Her emotions drive this story.
— As for Ai, she stays behind to help fool everyone. But what about her? She doesn’t have her own plans tonight? She doesn’t have her own friends that she would like to see? One problem with this show’s format is that it leaves the minor characters in the dust. Characters like Ai are a dime a dozen, but few anime ever really explain why these devoted servants go so far for their masters. Why does Ai love Kaguya so much?
— Even Yu springs into action. Even though he showed up much later in the series, I feel as though he has had much more growth than Miyuki. Our president hasn’t really changed. But I guess his golden opportunity is coming right up…
— Again, predictable drama is predictable. Kaguya hops into a cab to try and catch up with her friends. Unfortunately, there is too much traffic on the roads. She quickly decides to make her way there on foot instead. Unfortunately, she and Miyuki have the worst luck.
— As soon as the girl even comes close to the destination, however, the festival is already over. People are on their way home. C’mon, it’s not even 8! Why is the party over already!
— So Kaguya goes to cry in a dark alleyway. I dunno, doesn’t seem safe to me. Then again, Japan is a billion time safer than the US, so shrug.
— Sure enough, just when everything seems bleak and hopeless, Miyuki shows up to save his damsel in distress. Without any shame or hesitation, he finally sounds like someone with a modicum of decisiveness. That’s it. That’s all the character development you’re going to get from Miyuki in this adaptation. Oh, I’m sure he’ll grow as a character later. But for this anime series — for these twelve episodes — this is all that I get. Sigh. The best part is that he’s going to return back to normal as soon as this night is over.
— You must always grab a girl by her wrist. Always.
— At some point, his hand slipped and now their fingers are touching. Lewd.
— This time, everyone’s together. They hop into a cab together, and the driver floors it. There’s apparently a city where the festivities were delayed due to rain, so Kaguya still has a chance to see the fireworks with her friends.
— Thanks to everyone’s efforts (not really sure what Chika did), they make it just in the nick of time. But Kaguya confesses that she isn’t even looking at the fireworks. Instead, she’s fallen even deeper in love with Miyuki… not enough to confess to him or anything, though! Haha, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We still got many more episodes to go (this has to get a sequel, right?).
— Alright, time for the aftermath. Sure enough, when Miyuki reflects on that fateful night, he can’t help but torture himself over his words and actions. Dude, you need to take a chill pill. I don’t see what was so goddamn cringeworthy about what he said. Why is this guy so self-conscious?
— Kaguya isn’t helping either. She wants to thank the guy for that night, but she becomes incredibly shy whenever he gets close. But instead of blushing or whatever, she does her best to look cold and distant instead.
— There’s some bullshit about how they keep walking past each other instead of talking. I’m going to skip over that.
— Eventually, it’s just the two of them, so they get a chance to speak privately. But of course, Miyuki misinterprets her words again and hightails it outta there. And just like that, everything is painfully back to normal. One day, these two will finally admit their feelings for each other. But it is not today. It is not tomorrow. It won’t even be next week!
— So out of curiosity, I took a peek at the manga. I didn’t read it end to end. Nah, nothing like that. Just scanned through the chapter titles until I saw something that caught my eye. So minor spoilers ahead.
— Let’s just say that something major does happen. And it happens like 90 chapters after where we currently are in the adaptation. 90! If every adaptation is only a single cour, that’s like two more adaptations to go! Ain’t nobody got time for that!
— I think these characters will play major roles if we ever get a second adaptation.
— In the ending credits, Kaguya chases after Miyuki, and that’s only fitting. She does most of the work to try and get them together. He only ever pulls through during crunch time. I guess he’s the overpaid star who under-performs during the regular season only to wow everyone in the playoffs.
— Final thoughts on the series? Here’s an unpopular opinion (like everything else on this blog, am I right?!): when it comes to stories like Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai, I prefer to distill the main series down until all we have left are the crucial elements, i.e. the love story. All the comedy bits are amusing, but I feel as though they should be side stories. They should be supplemental. For example, I should get one compact, 12-episode series where these two fall in love, get over themselves, confess, and live happily ever after. Then afterwards, we go back and tack on the non-crucial comedy stuff as a side story. This is just one example, but I don’t need to watch Chika enjoy a bowl of ramen. I just don’t. In addition, I feel like I would have a greater appreciation for the slice-of-life humor once the couple is established. In that same line of thought, I feel like 80% of this adaptation is filler. But like I said, I’m sure that this is an unpopular opinion. I feel like I would honestly love this show if it was an even 50/50 split for its romcom elements. But unfortunately, this series is more like a 10/90 split.
Final grade: C-
Last but not least, a truth bomb that guys need to get through their heads:
Heart necklaces are great! Can’t tell me nothing.
I followed this from beginning to end. There were maybe two episodes that made me genuinely laugh but besides that the rest were just amusing. The romance in this is just terrible. I think the idea of pride and showing what one may think to be too much love for a partner would make for an interesting show. But here it’s just turned up to 11 and used to fuel the mostly ineffective comedy.
I’d have preferred if the comedy was more subdued and the characters got into a relationship or flirted with each other. Whatever, it helps you pass time.