I Can’t Stand it Anymore, Love, Love
Nothing lasts forever and at some point, one needs to take the bold step before it’s too late. That seems to be the theme of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Ultra Romantic. After two seasons of watching Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya attempt to get a confession out of the other, time is no longer on their side.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Ultra Romantic once again pits Shirogane against Shinomiya in a battle of wits. The season also attempts to shake things up with new characters and more adventures outside the Student Council Chambers. It succeeds at keeping the audience hooked till the last moment of the final episode.
It should be noted that I’m anime only regarding the series. Hence this review will not be comparing Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Ultra Romantic with the manga but will rate it based on its own merit.
Burn out the Lie and Make it a Dream
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War overall as a series is a rom-com with the “will they or won’t they?” trope being the main plot. It’s also a trope that could only last for so long before it becomes falls victim to the Chris Carter effect. Ultra Romantic understands this and thus wants to finally give Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya the confession they have wanted.
For two seasons, we have watched Shinomiya and Shirogane try to get a confession of love out of the other to no avail. This time the stakes are high as time is no longer on either side. Shirogane has been accepted to Leland Stanford Junior University and plans to leave Shuchiin Academy a year early. That means they have a short window to confess their love and a limited amount of time to be together.
Thus it’s no longer about “will they or won’t they?” but a race against time to confess their love for each other before it’s too late. All this takes place in the build-up to and during the Culture Festival.
The focus is not just on Shinomiya and Shirogane as other members of the Student Council have their own stories. Yu Ishigami is struggling to confess his love for Tsubame Koyasu. Miko Ino is trying to not be so strict while also slowly developing feelings for Ishigami. Chika Fujiwara spends most of the Culture Festival trying to catch the person who stole all the heart shaped balloons.
Playing With Each Other About Fate
Ultra Romantic avoids the pitfalls that come with the “will they or won’t they?” trope. The obvious is the realization that at some point it’s time to move on to a stage. Thus it works to give the highly anticipated moment fans have been waiting for. To do this it elegantly builds the right amount of tension while throwing several curveballs to distract you from what is happening. It ends with an unforgettable conclusion that leaves no doubts or half-ass attempts at a cliff-hanger.
Plus, I can’t forget the last moment in the final episode before the credits. This is when Shinomiya is explaining everything to Ai Hayasaka and it’s adorable plus hilarious. I probably went back and rewatched that moment three times during my first viewing of the episode. Overall, the series knows how to end on a high note.
I Want to Mess Around
As with Season 2, the attention is not 100% focused on Shinomiya and Shirogane tug of war. Other characters get the chance to shine and grow this season. Most notably is the relationship between Ishigami and Ino who share the most unusual bond. On the surface, they can’t stand each other but behind the scenes, they work to do what is best for them. Over time they become less hostile while setting the foundation for a more significant relationship. Even minor characters get the moment to grow during this season such as Kobachi Osaragi and Un’yo Shinomiya.
There is also more to Ultra Romantic than rom-com humor with character development. The season also has several callbacks to previous seasons. This is best demonstrated during the “Kaguya Wants to Distract Him” story of Ep. 2 (regarding Ai Hayasaka’s seductive persona) and “Kaguya’s Culture Festival” story of Ep. 9 (regarding the Ramen connoisseurs from Season 1). The callbacks are obvious but also well written into the story so that it doesn’t feel like pandering.
Enchant Your Dreams
I have to confess, I got into Kaguya-sama: Love Is War because of the memes and the OP of Season 1 (“Love Dramatic” by Masayuki Suzuki). Regarding Season 2, I also found “Daddy! Daddy! Do!” to be a catchy opening. However, it took me some time to start enjoying “Giri Giri”. This is not to say it was a weak OP but that it took some time to start appreciating it. It was starting with Ep. 4 that I began to actually enjoy it and now I have it saved on iTunes.
I Want to Dance More
The season successfully avoids the pitfalls of the genre with a worthwhile ending. At the same time, it allows other characters to develop while also tossing in some callbacks to past seasons. All this makes this an unforgettable season on par with previous ones.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Ultra Romantic builds up to the ending fans have been waiting for while allowing others to grow in their own right. After two seasons of tension and a season of building up, the final moment was worth the wait. Making it an unforgettable season.
Disclaimer: I watched the entire season on Crunchyroll, which I pay for myself.
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Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Ultra Romantic
- Avoids the pitfalls of the genre and tropes with the anticipated conclusion.
- Other characters get the chance to shine and grow.
- A few good callbacks to previous seasons.
- Shinomiya explaining everything to Hayasaka at the end is both adorable and hilarious.
- It takes some time to appreciating the new OP.