Back during the depths of the pandemic, we were all filled with stress and anxiety. We were ordered to stay home and avoid social interaction, and start wearing masks on our faces, something totally alien to people not living in Asia where it was already semi-common. Anime fans didn’t know what to expect, either, as reports of series getting canceled or delayed due to the crisis made their way across industry blogs. Then, just when we needed it most, we got a dose of normalcy in the form of season 2 of Kaguya-sama: Love is War, which brought smiles to our faces during the darkest of times. Now season 3 of the fan-favorite series is here, which promises to be “Ultra Romantic”!
The Return of Kaguya-sama: Love is War!
I consider Kaguya-sama: Love is War to be nothing less than the best romantic comedy anime ever made. Between its likable characters, cleverly written segments and shout-outs to TV dramas and music from the 1980s, every episode is a real treat. I’ve never been more invested in the journey a group of young people on to discover themselves and find love.
This is the best scene from Kaguya-sama.
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) March 28, 2019
It’s also the most hilarious anime I’ve ever seen. So much so that I’m banned from watching it while Mrs. J-List is asleep on the sofa, because I’ll wake her up 100% of the time laughing. In fact, the only problem with this great series is…
Yes, the only frustration with the Kaguya-sama is that while fans want nothing more than to see the Kaguya and Miyuki get “ultra romantic,” the show is so popular that it feels we may never see the story resolved.
On the other hand, in the immortal words of Bart Simpson spoken 31 years ago, “If I had a TV show, I’d run that baby into the ground!” Wouldn’t you?
The Challenges of Japanese Group Dynamics
One of the most touching moments from the last season was when Kaguya broke her ancient flip phone, known as a Gara-kei or “Galapagos style” phone, because people still use those outdated devices in the smartphone era are technophobes, like archaic iguanas living on the Galapagos Islands. Finally forced to upgrade to a modern phone, Kaguya is finally able to use a magical app called LINE, which is the default for group messaging in Japan. She learned that all the other members of the student council were using the app, but had held off on making a group only for their members because it would have made Kaguya feel even more like an outsider. Having this kind of omoi-yari, or thoughtful concern to ensure that every member of the group feels properly included, struck me as the most Japanese thing ever.
Now Kaguya is using her shiny new smartphone and is able to chat with her beloved Class President Shirogane and other the other members of the student council. But she’s about to learn a valuable lesson about LINE read receipts, which let the sender see when his message was read by the other party. This allows Miyuki to realize that Kaguya has been fawning over his latest message for the past two hours, giving him ammunition in his “love war” with her.
But LINE can cause stress, too, because of the expectation that everyone will be involved in every conversation 24 hours a day, almost as if everyone were required to sign up for Discord and keep notifications on all the time. The LINE app is everywhere in Japanese life, and parents of students are expected to get connected with other parents in order to share school-related information. This causes Mrs. J-List to proclaim loudly about how glad she is that we had our kids in the 90s, back before the era of smartphones and LINE, because she would not be able to keep up with everyone else.
Thanks for reading this post about the third season of Kaguya-sama: Love is War, Ultra Romantic! Got any topics for blog or chat with us on Twitter!
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