A goofy romantic comedy show about a couple of Student Council members at an elite High School. They’re popular and admired school-wide, and competent at almost every activity they set their minds to… except finding normal ways to simply admit they like each other.
Before the main characters are introduced, the general idea driving the show and its drama is explained. The viewer is informed that young love isn’t as simple as it seems. The usually innocent and tender rituals of early romance, and the relationship that follows, are actually a sweet looking facade for the harsh reality beneath it. According to the narrator, the truth is that a power dynamic exists in romantic relationships, and whoever breaks and admits their feelings first has surrendered, and thus is the weaker party in the pairing.
Within a high school for the children elite, the war between Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane plays out, with the objectives of getting the other’s feelings out.
Kaguya Shinomiya is the Vice President of the Student Council. Her family’s immense wealth and clout comes from their ownership of electronics manufacturing companies. Her dark hair and red eyes cause her to be seen as rather intimidating to her fellow students, and she publicly presents herself as poised and composed, with an air of nobility about her. Kaguya matches her outward bearings and her upper class background with a record of nigh-perfection in grades, school arts, and some other extracurricular courses.
Miyuki Shirogane is the President of the Student Council. He doesn’t come from a wealthy or powerful family. Yet, he gains recognition at the High School due to his focus on studies and his hard working nature, which enabled him to rise to his student council position. Miyuki’s confident and firm demeanor, along with his fierce-looking blue eyes and blond hair, has the added effect of making him appear to be a good mascot for the school, as well as the impression of being a smooth operator when it comes to women.
Because of their shared popularity and complementary personalities, it was rumored around the school that they were an item. And although they both apparently dismissed this idea out of their own senses of pride, it caused them to start thinking, “But what if the other one admitted it first?”
The general pattern of the show, and the campaign of psychological warfare between Kaguya and Miyuki establishes itself early and quickly:
-First, a situation arises in which either one realizes they could maneuver the other into making some confession of love.
-After that, they both get to scheming on how they could make it happen. Kaguya plays up an appearance of girlish innocence and naivete. Miyuki bluffs a posture of masculinity, either about using his powers as president or about his actual thoughts about Kaguya.
-And Then their well laid plans are totally derailed by Chika Fujiwara —
— their bubbly and energetic secretary, Kaguya’s longtime childhood friend, and the wild card who appears just when the other two are confident their strategies were going as intended, or find themselves at an impasse.
If love is truly war, then Chika is clearly the sudden discovery of the presence of landmines.
Now that all the players and pieces are on the field, and the tactics are revealed, the comedy of the show revolves around seeing which of those two will lose hardest (or cutest) in this courtship-based cold war analogy. Of course, whoever had gotten more and better outcomes out of any given scenario is said by the narrator to have “won the battle”. But the war rages on.
Theme or Analysis
The show’s framing of Kaguya and Miyuki’s interactions and psychological games against each other as battles, and the ridiculous and dramatic idea behind this show, thinly disguises a simple fact about the two. Much like the dignified public face they both put on, and even keep on to some degree for each other, its just covering the fact that these two are socially awkward dorks. Sure, in every other area of human interaction and socializing they’re pretty skilled and nimble. After all, being good communicators and personable or charming figures has plenty to do with why they are President and Vice President to start with. However, its the possibility of romantic affection between them that causes them to become rather abnormal. Though, as the show has it, whereas the main couple of the usual romance story would display their awkwardness by becoming physically clumsy, uncontrollably stammering, fidgeting, and blushing whenever they’re nearby their crush, those two apparent prodigies get to calculating their next move. Basically, they’re over-thinking this, except with coherent and determined results.
Although its not given much focus, throughout the anime, its shown that aspects of both of their family lives helped make them awkward about affection with the opposite sex.
Another element that fuels the barely hidden awkwardness, and a recurring theme between Kaguya and Miyuki’s relations and unnatural interactons, is their pride. While it drives them both to perfection and excellence in their activities and roles, and encourages them to keep up their appearance of maturity, it comes at the cost of their ability to be vulnerable with each other, be open with their feelings, and brings them to view their interactions as contests to begin with. This winds up creating a feedback loop. In which their pride leads to them being awkward, which leads to them generating some complex scheme to extract a love confession from the other, bouncing them back into more awkwardness, bringing them to cling harder to their pride, which leads to being totally derailed by Chika Fujiwara obliviously tripping into the situation again. Perhaps mercifully.
TL;DR: Two elite students in love with each other, use mental games to play each other into simply stating the painfully obvioius.
Oh, yeah, sure, You can attempt to analyze the show from a “Class Perspective”. But what sort of monster would want to, though?