Kaguya-sama: Love is War
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Kaguya-sama: Love is War ?
The elusive fourth member of Shuchiin Academy's student council makes his grand entrance in one of Kaguya-sama's funniest outings yet. While student council treasurer Yu Ishigami has made a couple of quick cameos and been mentioned in passing in previous episodes, episode 6 sees him officially join the show's relatively small roster of regular characters. Neurotic, hyperaware, and brilliant in his own right, Ishigami makes a welcome addition to Kaguya-sama's cast of overachieving oddballs.
Ishigami kicks off this week's first story by attempting to tender his resignation to Shirogane. Having inadvertently thwarted Kaguya's plan to invite Miyuki out for coffee, Yu is convinced that she intends to murder him in retaliation. Based on the menacing looks Kaguya frequently shoots him and Chika, Ishigami believes that she possesses the soul of a serial killer and the skills of a trained assassin. Kaguya, having overheard the entire exchange, requests that Ishigami continue to serve on the student council, and since he's too petrified to refuse, the young man resigns himself to his fate.
In addition to serving as a solid introduction to Ishigami's personality and eccentricities, this segment helps shed some light on why he's made himself so scarce up to now. Since he truly believes that Kaguya is out for blood, it makes sense that he'd seek to limit his interactions with her and those in her immediate orbit. Although Kaguya probably isn't capable of murder, Yu's comically overblown reactions to her behavior are at least somewhat understandable, and his abject fear of Kaguya serves as the perfect juxtaposition to Chika's cheerful ignorance of her friend's more devious qualities.
In the second segment, Chika regales her student council colleagues with psychological tests from a new book she got from the school's library. Realizing that the answers to these questions connote deeper meanings and can even reveal romantic feelings, Kaguya thoroughly researched the book's contents beforehand in an attempt to gain the upper hand over Shirogane. However, Miyuki quickly grows wise to her game and is able to shut down her efforts at coaxing a roundabout love confession out of him. Another wrench is thrown in the works when Chika decides to start asking questions from the web—questions Kaguya was unable to research. In the end, Miyuki provides an answer that gives Kaguya her victory, although this is never revealed to him.
As the first segment to prominently feature all four principal characters, this story gives us a good idea of how these teens function as a unit. Kaguya and Shirogane remain as dedicated to outwitting one another as ever, Chika continues to be an (unwitting?) agent of chaos, and the newly-introduced Ishigami's fear of Kaguya adds a whole new layer of comedy to what was already a winning formula. Some of the biggest laughs stem from Yu believing that's he's developed Stockholm syndrome and fallen in love with Kaguya as the latter recognizes these “feelings” and refuses to even entertain the notion of reciprocation. Like in the previous segment, viewers are treated to Ishigami's personal visions of Kaguya, which are equal parts hilarious and bloodcurdling. We also get to see both Kaguya and Miyuki at their sharpest. As is often the case, Kaguya puts more prep work into her schemes than Shirogane, but despite her best efforts, it doesn't take her beloved long to realize what's really going on.
In this week's final segment, Hayasaka (who looks and acts markedly different in her student attire) convinces Kaguya to allow her to paint her nails. Hoping that Shirogane will take notice, Kaguya makes a point of flashing her newly-painted nails at every opportunity—but to no avail. Although Miyuki does, in fact, notice Kaguya's nail work, he's unclear on how to compliment her—or if complimenting her is even appropriate. However, just as Kaguya is about to write the whole thing off as another failure, Miyuki comes incredibly close to calling her nails cute before speeding off on his bike. Despite not forcing the operative word all the way out, Miyuki gives Kaguya one of her biggest victories yet.
While far from the most complex game the central duo has engaged in, this segment trades in the usual sniping and meanness for a dose of sweetness and good intentions. Kaguya isn't trying to trick a love confession out of Miyuki—she just wants him to notice her new nails. Similarly, Miyuki wants to oblige—he simply doesn't know how. In the end, both parties enjoy a minor victory, which is always satisfying to see. Once again, the segment's biggest laugh comes courtesy of Ishigami, who notices that Chika changed her conditioner and compliments her on it before realizing how creepy this sounds. Just like in the previous story, he then awkwardly exits the room as he reflects on his error.
With an eccentric new character entering the fray, Kaguya-sama: Love is War continues to fire on all cylinders. Ishigami's introduction changes things just enough to keep the proceedings feeling fresh without dramatically altering the show's usual formula. Whether you're a fan of the series' trademark dark comedy or its seldom-explored softer side, episode 6 should leave you thoroughly entertained.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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