Manga name: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen
Chapters read: 83
Weirdly enough, it seems that my affinity with manga that have long names are quite high(see Yuusha ga Shinda & Yuuna-san). That aside though, pulling away from the more ecchi picks, on the third edition of Magnificent Manga, I shall be featuring the Death Note/Liar Game of rom-com manga: Kaguya-sama.
Now, don’t be mistaken: just because Kaguya-sama is a rom-com doesn’t mean it will have bad plot, as well as draggy chapters and many fillers. In fact, it is far from it. With that said, it’s time to dive into this manga.
The good: Mind games coupled with genuine romance and many fun and humorous moments
- Love is a battle between two people to get them to like each other, but what happens when two people both vie for the dominant position in a relationship? That’s exactly what happens in Kaguya-sama, whereby our female protagonist Kaguya and our male protagonist Shirogane both have mutual feelings for each other, but both decided on one goal: to make the other confess first so that they can become the dominant partner. Well, the problem here is that they are both geniuses and thats how this manga came about. It is a brilliant mix of rom-com and intellectual mind-games which manages to entertain to no end.
- The first thing you would take notice of in this manga is the art. The art style of this manga is very nice to look at and the character designs are very refreshing and unique. Coupled with some great attention to details and neatly drawn panels, Kaguya-sama is quite a feast for the eyes. If you are not convinced, here is one of the covers for the manga:
- The next thing that really makes Kaguya-sama stand out from the horde of rom-coms is its unique premise and plot. In most rom-coms you would have a braindead protagonist who can’t make up his mind about who he really loves in his harem, sometimes bound by things such as promises to childhood friends, life threatening situations and such. The plot in those type of manga is driven by the conflicts between the huge casts of characters and the situations they are thrown in. In Kaguya-sama however, the conflict is not about choosing which girl the male protagonist really likes, but rather between a pair of lovebirds who just can’t give up their pride and desperately want the other to confess first. To achieve this goal, both Kaguya and Shirogane battle time and time again in terms of wits and use whatever means at their disposal to try to make the other confess first. It is a very well thought out premise and the plot in each chapter is dictated but what schemes they have planned for the other this time, and I have to say, this really makes it sound just like the battle of wits between Light and L in Death Note, or between Yakoya and Akiyama in Liar Game, no?(Which was why I said Kaguya-sama was the Death Note/Liar Game of rom-coms) However, instead of relatively more serious situations, these two are butting heads over love, and that’s where the romance factor comes in.
- When all the mind games is done and over with, in the end, these two are still in love with each other. Therefore, it is unavoidable that they sometimes slip up and do things that are much more lovey-dovey and expose their weaknesses. It’s these more romantic moments that are really nice to read every now and then and serve as an advancement for the plot, as Kaguya and Shirogane fall deeper into the love spiral. The romance is definitely real here, and not just in tidbits, but they don’t really shove it in your face either, so you would be able to slowly enjoy each chapter.
- Another big thing in Kaguya-sama is of course, the comedy. In the end, it is still a rom-com and the comedy this time come from their hilarious clashes with each other along with other people’s reactions. What’s even more funny is when one of their plans fail and they get all flustered trying to figure out their next move. Being able to see all their thoughts because this is a manga helps greatly here and just enhances the humour even more. I’ve had many great laughs reading the manga and I’m sure most people can enjoy this kind of “rated e for everyone” type of humour.
- Lastly, although the manga really only revolve around Kaguya and Shirogane, the side characters that have appeared throughout have all left their marks and impacts, and they are definitely not the type of characters that you see once and forget, and the mangaka does not use them as plot devices and proceed to throw them away after either. In short, I enjoyed seeing the other characters as well, as they all have uniquely defined personalities and goals that make them feel more alive than your standard rom-com mob character.
Those are the good points of Kaguya-sama as a manga, but what are its bad points?
EXTRA POINT: This manga does not feature ecchi of any kind(excluding the covers) unlike most other rom-coms, and it is indeed a seinen, not a shounen.
The bad: Story tend to be chapter by chapter and slow progression
Like I’ve mentioned before, Kaguya-sama is a rom-com. As such, there are still certain boundaries in the genre that it doesn’t break, which is the episodic nature of rom-com manga and the slow progression of the plot. Like other rom-coms, the chapters are pretty stand-alone by themselves and tend to not really relate to each other too much, and the plot in the big picture only moves little by little in each chapter. It doesn’t exactly make the manga any less enjoyable, but some people might be annoyed by how slow the romance for the two of them progresses, which is a problem that plagues most rom-coms in general.
Magnificent rating: 9/10
Recommendation: Despite being a rom-com, Kaguya-sama is still plenty different from the others and manages to be entertaining while not relying on tropes. I would heavily recommend this for everyone as the humour is really general and the romance can be enjoyed by most, as well as a lack of ecchi elements making this manga a great read anywhere, without the worry of stares. If you are looking for some battle of wits over love, Kaguya-sama is your best choice!
What, you won’t try out the manga because it doesn’t contain your ecchi trash?