The one trend I’ve noticed which differentiates season 1 of Kaguya-Sama from season 2, a trend which is very much apparent in episode 5 of the series this week, is the way in which the series seeks to enhance and develop the relationship between Kaguya and Shirogane much more than the first season ever attempted to until the final episodes.
While the series has always had a connective tissue connecting each skit involving our cast of characters, an escalation of the tensions between these characters has left this new series with a much greater sense of forward momentum. Except for last week, each episode feels like we see the student council develop and grow and change. This week, with the student council elections now in full effect, we see this emphasis on change felt throughout the various skits found in this week’s episode, providing viewers with both an enjoyable and satisfying experience in the process.
Relationships Undergoing Challenges
The running theme throughout these skits is electability. With the student council election now underway, and with this story arc being the central conflict of season 2, Kaguya-Sama episode 5 has bent its relationship comedy around the hustle and bustle of election season. The dynamics of all of our main character’s relationships have changed as a result of the new school year now being underway, which has also helped to keep the humor fresh. Kaguya and Shirogane now see each other less often following the council’s closure after their star-crossed final night which only serves to their interactions more intense and their advances bolder in the days since, while Chika’s oblivious nature continues to add sparks to both the election and the relationship with her unintentionally-pointed comments.
You see this all comes together particularly in the first half of the episode, as the new school schedule as a result of the student council not being in operation allows for Shirogane to sleep for longer. Without being trapped by the long hours that job brings, he now has time to sleep for longer, removing the scowl he usually possesses and making him look noticeably healthier in the process. Fueled by the confidence of the compliments he receives due to this, he tries to make advances on Kaguya to make her blush, which leaves him shocked to see it does not affect her.
Whereas most comedies would leave things there, the series’ deft ability at mixing comedy and humor shines through here, as a follow-up skit sees Kaguya confide in Kashiwagi about this emotional numbness. Surely, if she truly loved Shirogane, she wouldn’t feel so cold after little more than a minor change in appearance, right? It’s a relatable moment of vulnerability for the innocent Kaguya as she opens up about her insecurities on their relationship. Hearing these words from Kaguya enhances the core relationship.
The balance between allowing for emotional depth without invalidating these emotions in the more comedic and light-hearted moments is a difficult one to hold, yet the series succeeds. Seeing Chika throw a spanner into the conversation only to have the insecurities washed away with Kaguya going weak at the knees at Shirogane’s zombie-like state of decay not much later not only reaffirms their love but serves for a moment of true hilarity in the process.
Furthering the forward development of the election and their relationship is found in the episode’s final moments, as Kaguya confronts first-year rival Miko to try and ensure Shirogane’s victory. The loyalties are brought into question by the possibility that a victory could work out in her ultimate goal of being with Shirogane, which helps to instill fear into their abilities as we head into the election itself next week. Their character brings a self-righteous dynamic the show has mostly lacked until now, as well, which makes this scene fresh, and I can only hope she becomes a regular in the series once the election is over.
Kaguya-Sama Season 2 Episode 5: The Stage is Set
Ever skit in Kaguya-Sama episode 5 places it as another strong episode in season 2 which is thoroughly delivering on audience expectations. Even the skit I mostly ignored to mention, which sees Chika teaching Shirogane to sing due to his tone-deaf talents and need to impress, is great on both a comedic and emotional level, with some strong emotive animation giving off perhaps the most satisfying punchline of the episode as Chika breaks down in tears at how proud she is that Shirogane was able to do it.
After the build-up so far, I can’t help but feel we’re in for a treat next week when the election itself gets underway. The series has once again been able to constantly deliver humorous yet emotional episodes on a consistent basis, and I can’t wait to see how things develop from here.