Aka Akasaka’s Kaguya-sama: Love Is War[b] is a Japanese romantic comedy manga series. It first appeared in Shueisha’s seinen manga magazine Miracle Jump in May 2015, and then moved to Weekly Young Jump in March 2016. In North America, the manga is licensed in English by Viz Media.
In Japan, A-1 Pictures aired a 12-episode anime television series adaptation from January to March 2019. From April to June 2020, a second season aired. In 2021, an OVA episode was published, and the third season began in April 2022. It was also made into a live-action picture, directed by Hayato Kawai, and premiered in Japan in September 2019. The anime series is distributed in North America by Aniplex of America.
As of April 2021, the manga had sold over 15 million copies. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War received the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award in the general category in 2020.
Student council president Miyuki Shirogane and vice president Kaguya Shinomiya look to be an ideal combination in Shuchiin Academy’s senior high school division. Miyuki is the top student at the school and well-known throughout the prefecture, while Kaguya is the daughter of a wealthy multinational family. They like one other but are too arrogant to admit their feelings since they fear whoever does so first will lose. The plot revolves around their various efforts to get the other to confess or at least display symptoms of affection.
Akasaka was working on another project while creating the manga Instant Bullets for Young Jump. In an interview with Livedoor News, Akasaka stated that the initial premise for Kaguya-sama was more of a fantasy and game of death, but his editor wanted something more popular, and Young Jump did not have a casual rom-com series at the time. It was Akasaka’s debut in the rom-com genre.
Akasaka set the series in high school since he had little experience with dating and romance at the time. While smoking some food, he was thinking about high school relationships and came up with the idea of trying to regain some of his childhood feelings in a dream. He envisioned “two tsundere who like each other having mental conflicts.” He assumed that was a common notion, but was startled to learn that readers believed his premise was novel. He also planned to have more cerebral confrontations like Death Note, but the focus evolved to “clashing of love feelings.”  He has also stated that School Rumble influenced his job.
The characters’ names were inspired by The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. He liked princess stories, and Kaguya-Hime was one of his favorites. He stated that when creating the characters, Kaguya and Miyuki originally share the same mentality and cognitive process, similar to twins, which made their exposition to the reader easy to follow. He then created a greater separation between the two. Other characters were created in the same way, beginning shallow and template-like but eventually becoming realistic and drawn from the author’s and others’ experiences. He was particularly fond of those whose internal features diverged from their outside appearance.
Themes and development
When writing a chapter or narrative, Akasaka would first consider feelings and then write about them, such as how Kaguya might feel if she was envious. He’d then center the characters and events on that emotion. When he has a feeling that he hasn’t yet developed into a tale, he puts it down on a sticky note or in a notepad to be utilized later.
Akasaka stated that he originally intended to create a comic to assist office ladies unwinding, but because he is an otaku, it appears to continue in that vein. He also feels that the manga is more about entertaining the reader and imparting profound themes about human relationships than it is about displaying a variety of character jokes and reactions.
According to Akasaka, Miyuki and Kaguya becoming third-year students signal the beginning of the second part of the tale.
When questioned about the conclusion, he replied he’s not sure if he’ll go with the awful ending like Kaguya-him, but he wouldn’t mind if it did. He’s also thinking of giving each character a curtain call chapter, similar to how dating sims handle it.
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