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IN BRIEF: Shuchiin Academy is for the richest and the brightest. Shinomiya Kaguya and Shirogane Miyuki have worked on the Student Council for over a year together, and have been nursing crushes for almost that long. However, since they are both extremely competitive and inexperienced with love, they've told themselves that they need the other person to confess first. Add two other council members as flies in the ointment, and watch the miscommunications and failures ensue.
OPINION: While romance stories that rely on constant misunderstandings aren't really my thing, I make exceptions for those done well, those who keep it as a side-plot only, and for those that aren't hurtful. Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War generally straddles those lines successfully. Much of the story is about funny sideplots and about how the two leads are being foolish and should just Spit It Out (a welcome message). Also, the presence of Chika, one of the best characters of the Winter 2019 season, helps immeasurably.
1) The fourth council member, a dude whose name I can't be bothered with, strikes a few sour notes. He's the most likely character to bring up women as sex objects, even though he is a died-in-the-wool introvert. He really needed more fleshing out, and maybe he got it in the manga, but here he doesn't have the screen-time.
2) One of the scenes focuses on creating a situation where Kaguya is unable to give consent or prevent Miyuki from doing whatever he wants with her (she's sick and heavily medicated). I hated that her servant, who is otherwise depicted as a great friend, let him into her room and encouraged him to take advantage. At least two episodes cover this event and the fallout, and the only saving grace is that Miyuki ultimately didn't fool around with a sick Kaguya. I would understand anyone who wanted to give the series a miss for that alone.
3) Since there's only twelve episodes, there's no resolution. I understand the manga lets them get together, but the anime runs more on the perpetual chase.
1-6: If I started watching, I stopped once it clearly fell below 7. I would never watch or recommend. [Further clarification: 1-3 is pure excrement, and I would rather be getting un-anesthetized surgery for the entire running time. 4-6 is the kind of thing where I would sincerely rather be doing chores, but could survive sitting through it if a friend begged me to.]
7: I watched at least part of it, and may have stopped due to not liking the plot twists, character derailment, etc. I may have watched the whole show, but recognize deal-breaker tropes in it, and I'm unlikely to rewatch; thus, huge caveats to any recommendation.
8: Not my thing, but usually I at least respect it. Generally, I didn't like it enough to rewatch it, but also didn't see huge problems in the plot, characterizations, etc. and thought it was worth finishing. I'd consider it mostly harmless to view, with the occasional caveat; it's possible that over time I would upgrade it to a 9 if I liked it more on reflection. I would recommend it to the right audience.
9: I enjoyed very much. It may have had one or two issues, but not enough to diminish enjoyment. It's possible that over time I would downgrade it to an 8 (changing tastes) or upgrade to a 10 (realize it's never left my mind). I'm likely to rewatch, and might decide to buy the DVDs. I'd recommend it to most audiences.
10: Virtually flawless. I'd definitely rewatch, and am likely to buy DVDs. I would shill to anyone.
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