The enduring love of Kaguya-sama: Love is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends

Love is in the air, and not just because it’s so close to Valentine’s Day. Kaguya-sama: Love is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends has finally made its way to UK cinemas, much to the delight of fans of romantic comedies. There was something wonderful about experiencing the manic energy of Love is War on the big screen, surrounded by other fans, even if it doesn’t hold up against other anime films from recent years.

It is impossible to talk about the plot of this movie without sharing some spoilers for the anime series, so if you’re not up to date with it you might want to hold off on reading this one.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends gives wonderfully grounded teen romance

Kaguya-sama: Love is War Little Kaguya

The third season of Kaguya-sama: Love is War finished with the Culture Festival arc, culminating with one of the best kisses in anime history. It would be easy to end the story there, with the Ultra Romantic gesture serving as the capstone to the journey between Miyuki and Kaguya. However, that’s not how real love stories play out. The confession of love is the beginning of the story, not the end, and that’s where Kaguya-sama: Love is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends picks up.

There is no plot recap on offer, so I imagine viewers who try to jump into the series here will be mightily confused. However, manga fans will recognise this as the Ice Princess arc, where Kaguya struggles to identify which side of her Miyuki has fallen for or even which side of her is the most truthful. This part of the manga is full of painful introspection and soul-searching for both characters, but it brings the harsh upbringing that Kaguya has endured to the forefront, all of which is translated very well to the anime here.

This is probably the most dramatic arc in the manga and certainly is the most revealing about the characters in Kaguya-sama: Love is War. We learn what drives Miyuki to strive for perfection in everything he does and, importantly, the results of that constant pressure on him. Sure, there are plenty of funny moments in this film, particularly the “Little Kaguya” sequence early on, but much of the runtime is spent asking the question of what it takes to be loved.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Watching Miyuki over-analyse every encounter with Kaguya after their fateful kiss is a delight because it is one of the most honest portrayals of teen romance you’ll ever see. Despite their impressive academic achievements, both these characters are absolute idiots in the way that teenagers often are. They miss obvious hints, are too scared to say what they really mean, and skirt around issues that are resolved the moment they have an honest conversation with each other.

The message of this film, which comes across beautifully in the final sequences, is that no relationship can survive if it doesn’t embrace the ordinary moments in life. Big sweeping gestures are fine but building a whole relationship out of them is exhausting and unrealistic. Find the chance to inject love into everyday situations. Despite the title of this film, the first kiss does eventually end, and it leads to something, hopefully, even more magical – life.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

The only downside to Kaguya-sama: Love is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends is how closely it adheres to the format of the anime series. It looks and feels like a long episode of the show, which would be fine for watching at home on my own TV. However, it fails to take advantage of a bigger budget or the endless possibilities of the big screen. There are great visuals on display, but they aren’t more spectacular than what we’ve seen from the show before. It feels like a missed opportunity and the only real disappointment I have from travelling to see it.

While a lack of ambition holds the movie back from greatness, fans of the show should see it while they can. All the characters that make the show so spectacular are here and the focus on what comes after the first kiss is a welcome change from how most romantic comedies end. Kaguya-sama: Love is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends brings a touch of realism to the over-the-top antics of the show in the best possible way.

Join The Discussion

Rice Digital Discord
Rice Digital Twitter
Rice Digital Facebook

Or write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page by clicking here!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!

Follow Trent
Spread the love!

Related post

This will close in 0 seconds