Updated: Oct 15, 2022
By Owen Glancy
“Kaguya-sama: Love is War” began its third season April 9, two years after the second season’s bombastic conclusion.
The third season covers the student council’s antics as the new school year begins, particularly with a school festival needing to be planned and executed.
The show’s greatest element is the central relationship between Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane. Both the comedic and romantic portions rely on these two characters being too prideful to confess their feelings to each other.
This makes the series hilarious, but slow, showing little in the ways of romantic development. But, this season speeds things up significantly.
Their dynamic gets even better when it is revealed that Shirogane is going to be studying abroad at Stanford University in California, far away from Kaguya and the rest of the main cast. This is a huge revelation as it puts a time limit on the previously slow, yet entertaining story.
With both of our protagonists entering their senior year of high school, the topic of their future is an especially prevalent one. This anxiety forcibly moves the story forward as both Kaguya and Shirogane’s mind games increase in both scale and absurdity.
An excellent example of the duo’s romantic hijinks is in the first episode where the student council hosts an arm-wrestling competition among themselves. The two finalists are Kaguya and Miyuki, who each have the same goal in their match. They both want to purposefully lose to hold each other’s hands as long as possible.
The other characters interpret this as a brutal battle between two equally strong competitors, when they are simply enjoying the hand holding that arm wrestling requires.
This is only one example of the many excellent segments from this season. However, the show can’t rely entirely on its main duo. Thankfully, there are a plethora of entertaining and complex side characters.
Ishigami was a major focus of the previous season and only got more screen-time throughout this season. Tsubame is introduced as the girl he has a crush on. His attempts to be honest about his feelings, so he doesn’t end up in the same situation as our protagonists, is a hilarious and meta gag that really sticks with the audience.
Chika Fujiwara is a far more polarizing character than Ishigami, who despite being a fan-favorite, has a distinct lack of screen time in this season. As the rest of the cast improve their stories and fall in love, Chika remains a static character with little plot relevance aside from a minor inconvenience.
The down-to-earth Ai Hayasaka becomes a major focus of the early portion of this season. Her attempts to separate from the Shinomiya family, combined with her feelings for Miyuki, give her some much needed character development.
Of the new characters introduced this season, Maki Shijo is a hilarious stand-out. Her chaotic mood swings and jealous outbursts bring a fresh comedic element to the story and offer new creative uses of the main cast.
Her friendship with Ishigami is particularly interesting. Seeing him take on a mentor role in Maki’s failing romantic pursuits is refreshing and hysterical.
Even with all the incredible and memorable characters, the finale is still by far the greatest part of this new season. After nearly three seasons of build-up, Miyuki and Kaguya’s confession scene is executed so well that it blows any prior expectations out of the water.
This one scene has four episodes worth of build up as Miyuki’s plan is executed. While it may sound excessive on paper, in practice, it is extremely engaging and funny to watch.
“Kaguya-sama: Love is War Ultra Romantic” takes the solid foundation that the previous seasons established and builds upon it. The production values continue to be above average, and the characters remain consistently funny and memorable. The occasional unfunny joke or plot-irrelevant character doesn’t stop this show from being a great time.
A+: A nearly flawless romance anime