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Month: May 2021

Film Friday- Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Film Friday- Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is a Japanese romantic comedy manga series by Aka Akasaka. It began serialization in Shueisha’s seinen manga magazine Miracle Jump in May 2015 and was transferred to Weekly Young Jump in March 2016. In North America, the manga is licensed in English by Viz Media. A 12-episode anime television series adaptation by A-1 Pictures aired in Japan between January and March 2019, and a 12-episode second season premiered between April and June 2020. An OVA episode will be released in 2021, and a third season has been announced. It was also adapted into a live-action film directed by Hayato Kawai, which was released in Japan in September 2019. The anime series is licensed in North America by Aniplex of America. As of April 2021, the manga had over 15 million copies in circulation. In 2020, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War won the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award in the general category.

Media

Anime

An anime television series adaptation was announced by Shueisha on June 1, 2018. The series is directed by Shinichi Omata under the pseudonym Mamoru Hatakeyama and written by Yasuhiro Nakanishi, with animation by A-1 Pictures. Yuuko Yahiro is providing the character designs, while Jin Aketagawa is the sound director. Kei Haneoka is composing the series’ music. The series aired from January 12 to March 30, 2019, broadcasting on MBS, Tokyo MX, BS11, Gunma TV, Tochigi TV, Chukyo TV, and TV Niigata. The series ran for 12 episodes. Masayuki Suzuki, Rikka Ihara, and Yoshiki Mizuno performs the series’ opening song “Love Dramatic feat. Ihara Rikka”, while Halca performs the series’ ending theme song “Sentimental Crisis”. Aniplex of America have acquired the series in North America, and streamed the series on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and FunimationNow. In Australia and New Zealand, AnimeLab simulcasted the series within the region. The series is licensed by Muse Communication and released on Netflix in Southeast Asia. A second season titled Kaguya-sama: Love Is War? was announced on October 19, 2019. The staff and cast returned to reprise their roles. It aired from April 11 to June 27, 2020 on the Tokyo MX, Gunma TV, Tochigi TV, BS11, Abema TV service, MBS and TV Niigata. The second season will feature Kaguya’s character song “Kotae Awase” and a key visual with the new characters Miko and Osaragi as they join the returning main characters of the series. Suzuki returned to perform the season’s opening theme “Daddy! Daddy Do!” with Airi Suzuki, while Haruka Fukuhara’s “Kaze ni Fukarete” (“Blown by the Wind”) was used as the ending. The season received its world premiere prior to Japanese broadcast at Anime Festival Sydney on March 8, 2020. Funimation acquired exclusive streaming rights for the season in late March; the company began airing an English dub for the second season on July 25, with the first season dub streaming on March 9, 2021. In Southeast Asia, Muse Communication released the season on Netflix. On October 25, 2020, an original video animation episode and a third season were concurrently announced for production during the “Kaguya-sama Wants To Tell You On Stage” special event. There will be three episodes in the OVA bundled with the manga’s twenty-second volume, which ships on May 19, 2021.

Live-action film

The film premiered in Japan on September 6, 2019. Sho Hirano was announced for the role of Miyuki Shirogane, and Kanna Hashimoto was announced for the role of Kaguya Shinomiya. Hayato Kawai directed the film, Yūichi Tokunaga wrote the screenplay, and principal photography was conducted in March to April 2019. A sequel to the film was announced on January 6, 2021. It will be shown in Japanese cinemas on August 20, 2021. Hirano, Hasimoto, Nana Asakawa, and Hayato Sano, actors of Chika Fujiwara and Yu Ishigami respectively, are confirmed to return to reprise their roles.

Kaguya Shinomiya

The titular character of the series, Kaguya is the vice president of Shuchiin Academy’s student council. She is known for her beauty, intelligence and wealth, her family owning one of the largest business conglomerates in Japan. Due to being born into a high-class family, the manner Kaguya was raised caused her to be prideful, cold and calculating; but underneath her personality traits, she is really an innocent, kind and fair-minded teenage girl at heart. Her social status and upbringing also causes her emotional suffering due to loneliness and isolation. In spite of her intelligence and resources, she is surprisingly inept at utilizing social media and digital technology (although she excels at older, analog methods of input such as typewriter). She is also quite naïve when it comes to romance and sexuality, and had to be taught how to utilize fashion and femininity to her advantage. To make Miyuki confess his love directly or indirectly, she usually plans ahead to tilt the circumstances in her favour. Apart from engaging in student council work, she is in the Archery club.
Akasaka said that he modeled Kaguya to be like Kaguya-hime in that both are princesses at the start, but have something deeper about their character later. He made both Kaguya and Miyuki to have similar personalities at first, both proud and intellectual but later revealing to be more like “goofy idiots” on the inside. He would later have the two diverge in tendencies, with Kaguya being more like a “bad girl”. Akasaka also said that while Kaguya has a dark side to her, he didn’t want people to hate her so he tries to keep the positive and negative emotions balanced.

Miyuki Shirogane

is the student council president of Shuchiin Academy. He is famed for being the top student of the school who has also placed second overall in national mock exams, attributed to his studying all the time, hence his messy hair, dark circles around his eyes, and glaring look. Like Kaguya, he is inexperienced with romance and relationships. Miyuki struggles with physical sports involving skills and has a paralyzing fear of bugs, especially cockroaches. Because his father, formerly a factory owner, is unemployed and his mother – who left the family when he was a child – does not support them, he and his younger sister Kei often take part-time jobs. A running gag in the series is how he always imagines Kaguya looking down on him and saying “How cute.”, and refrains to confess his feelings for her in fear of being rejected in such way.
Akasaka said that he initially thought about naming him Mikado, after the Emperor in the Kaguya-hime story, but found that he liked Otomo no Miyuki better. He developed Miyuki to begin like a twin in personality and character to Kaguya, and would later diverge to a “good boy”. He likes that he can portray him as calm and composed on the outside, but his mind would be racing on the inside.
Manga Monday- Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Manga Monday- Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is a Japanese romantic comedy manga series by Aka Akasaka. It began serialization in Shueisha’s seinen manga magazine Miracle Jump in May 2015 and was transferred to Weekly Young Jump in March 2016. In North America, the manga is licensed in English by Viz Media.

A 12-episode anime television series adaptation by A-1 Pictures aired in Japan between January and March 2019, and a 12-episode second season premiered between April and June 2020. An OVA episode will be released in 2021, and a third season has been announced. It was also adapted into a live-action film directed by Hayato Kawai, which was released in Japan in September 2019. The anime series is licensed in North America by Aniplex of America.

As of April 2021, the manga had over 15 million copies in circulation. In 2020, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War won the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award in the general category.

Plot

In the senior high school division of Shuchiin Academy, the student council president and vice president, Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, appear to be the perfect couple. Kaguya is the daughter of a wealthy conglomerate family, and Miyuki is the top student at the school and well-known across the prefecture. Although they like each other, they are too proud to confess their love, coming up with many schemes to make the other confess.

Halfway through their senior high life, Kaguya and Miyuki finally admit their feelings for each other and start dating. The story then shifts to cover their budding relationship, while also dealing with their own personal issues and those of their schoolmates.

Media

Manga

Aka Akasaka launched the series in the June issue of Shueisha’s Miracle Jump magazine on May 19, 2015. The series last chapter in Miracle Jump was published in its February 2016 issue on January 19, 2016. The manga was then switched to the publisher’s seinen manga magazine Weekly Young Jump on March 24, 2016. A special chapter ran in the debut issue of Young Jump Gold on May 18, 2017.

North American publisher Viz Media announced their license to the series during their panel at San Diego Comic-Con International on July 20, 2017.

A spin-off manga by Shinta Sakayama, titled Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Dōjin-ban, was launched on Shueisha’s Tonari no Young Jump website on June 14, 2018, and it was serialized on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. The spin-off finished on June 25, 2020. Shueisha released four tankōbon volumes between December 19, 2018 and July 17, 2020.

A yonkoma spin-off, written by G3 Ida and titled Kaguya-sama o Kataritai, launched in Weekly Young Jump on July 26, 2018. The yonkoma focuses on two newspaper/press club girls who idolize Kaguya and the gang but have no clue what really goes on inside the student council. Shueisha released the first collected tankōbon volume on March 19, 2019. As of February 19, 2021, four volumes have been released.

Reception

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War had over 6.5 million copies in circulation as of April 2019, over 8.5 million copies as of October 2019, over 9 million copies in circulation as of December 2019, over 13 million copies in circulation as of October 2020 and over 15 million copies in circulation as of April 2021. It was the ninth-best-selling manga in 2019, with over 4 million copies sold. The series won the 3rd “Tsugi ni Kuru Manga Awards” in the comics division for manga published in print book format in 2017. In 2020, along with Aoashi, the manga won the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award in the general category. On TV Asahi’s Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll, in which 150.000 people voted for their top 100 manga series, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War ranked #50.

Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network gave the first two volumes of the manga a positive review, calling it “one of the more unique rom-com premises out there”. She noted that the second volume was better than the first, indicating development on the part of the author, and commenting that it boded well for the lastingness of the series. She was more ambivalent about the art, saying that it lacked polish and that faces in particular tended to suffer.

At the 2020 Crunchyroll Anime Awards, the Kaguya-sama: Love Is War anime was selected for Best Comedy, Best Couple, and Best Ending Sequence (“Chikatto Chika Chika”). The character Chika Fujiwara was nominated for Best Girl in the awards. At the 2021 Crunchyroll Anime Awards, the second season of the Kaguya-sama: Love Is War anime was selected for Best Comedy, and the main character of the series, Kaguya Shinomiya, was selected for Best Girl. The anime’s opening “DADDY! DADDY! DO!” by Masayuki Suzuki was nominated for Best Opening Sequence in the awards.

Production

Conception

Akasaka was writing the manga Instant Bullets for Young Jump and wanted to come up with another series. In an interview on Livedoor News, Akasaka said the original plot for Kaguya-sama was more of a fantasy and game of death, but his editor wanted something more mainstream and, at the time, Young Jump did not have a casual romcom series. It was Akasaka’s first manga in the romcom genre.

Akasaka set the series in high school as it was a time when he did not have much experience with dating and romance himself. He was thinking of high school relationships while smoking some food, and came up with the concept of wanting to reclaim some of his emotions of his youth in a fantasy. He envisioned “two tsunderes who like each other having battles of the mind”. He thought that was a very common concept, but was surprised to find that readers were telling him that his premise was innovative. Also at first, he wanted to do more intellectual battles like Death Note but the theme changed more to “clashing of romantic emotions”. He has also cited School Rumble as an influence on his work.

Character design

The characters’ names were from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. He liked princess stories, and Kaguya-hime was one of the most famous princess stories. In developing the characters, he said that Kaguya and Miyuki initially have the same personality and thought process, like twins, which made their exposition to the reader easier to understand. He then developed more divergence between the two. Other characters were developed in the same manner, starting as shallow and template-like, but being filled with realistic feelings and drawn from the experience of the author and of others he knew. He especially liked contrasting characters whose internal personalities differ from their external portrayal.

Development and themes

In developing a chapter or story, Akasaka would think about emotions first and then write about experiencing the emotions, such as what Kaguya would feel if she were jealous. He would then arrange the characters and events around that emotion. When he thinks of some emotion that he hasn’t developed into a story yet, he writes it on a sticky note or notebook to be used later.

Akasaka said that he originally wanted to make a manga that would help office ladies relax, but since he is an otaku, it seems to follow in that. He also believes the manga is more about providing the reader with something exciting and conveying meaningful messages about human relationships rather than to showcase a number of character gags and reactions.

Akasaka said that Miyuki and Kaguya’s becoming third-year students marks the second half of the story. When asked about the ending, he said he does not know whether he will go with the bad ending as with Kaguya-hime, but wouldn’t mind if it did. He is also considering giving each character a curtain call chapter like they do in the dating sims.

 

Film Friday- Himouto! Umaru-chan

Film Friday- Himouto! Umaru-chan

Himouto! Umaru-chan is a Japanese manga series by Sankaku Head. It began serialization in Shueisha’s seinen manga magazine Weekly Young Jump on March 14, 2013. It has been collected in twelve tankōbon volumes. An alternative version was serialized for two chapters in Shueisha’s monthly magazine Miracle Jump in 2012. An anime television series adaptation aired in 2015. A second season titled Himouto! Umaru-chan R aired from October to December 2017, while a sequel series titled Himouto! Umaru-chan G was released in November 2017.

 

 

Characters

Umaru Doma 
A high school girl with beautiful looks, top grades and excellence in everything. She reverts to a secret lifestyle at home, where she wears a hamster hoodie and is really a die-hard otaku. While indoors, she is drawn in a chibi manner, later calling herself Komaru (Umaru’s sister) when Kirie catches her in the persona. She lives with her brother Taihei. She wears a cap while at the amusement arcade, where she is a well-known gamer who goes by the initials UMR. She wears a mask to hide her identity from Sylphynford.
Taihei Doma
Umaru’s older brother working at the company. He lives in a 1DK apartment. The siblings move in a year before the series. He is described as having a kind and methodical personality. He reprimands Umaru for being lazy.

 

 

Nana Ebina
Umaru’s buxom classmate living in the ground-floor apartment near the siblings. She is very shy, and is originally from Akita Prefecture, occasionally reverting to dialect when she is nervous. Because of her breasts, she has a lack of confidence as people look at her. The first person to look her in the eyes is Taihei, whom she later has a crush on and gets flustered whenever he gives her compliments. Nana’s brother works at a restaurant in Tokyo. Taihei suspects he might have met him on his business trip. She appears in the spin-off manga “Akita Imokko! Ebina-chan”, after having placed first in a Niconico Seiga poll among other characters.
Sylphynford Tachibana
One of Umaru’s classmates. She is very openly competitive and considers Umaru a rival in academics and sports. She becomes friends with Umaru’s persona with hopes of beating her at school, and later gets along with her friends. She is half-Japanese and German.

 

 

Kirie Motoba
A classmate and a petite girl with frightening eyes to scare others. She is shy and has a great admiration for Umaru. She becomes friends with Komaru, thinking she is her sister. She is a servant calling her Master. She considers Ebina a rival for Umaru’s affection. She is a member of the swim club, and is good at other sports like tennis. She aspires to be a picture book author.
Takeshi Motoba
Kirie’s brother with an afro. His nickname is Bomber. He likes to slack off at work. He and Taihei became friends since high school, but he was not as studious. He gets jealous when sees Taihei hanging out with the girls, but when he meets Komaru, he feels she is cute too. He tries to interact with Kirie, but she gets annoyed from him. Later when he meets Umaru in her outdoor persona and Ebina, he becomes very nervous and shy. He thinks Komaru and Umaru are two different people, and cannot recognize his sister during the trip.
Alex Tachibana
Sylphynford’s brother. He works in Taihei’s department. He is part German and has relatives from Europe. He enjoys playing video games. He knows of Umaru’s dual personality. He later reveals that when he was in middle school, he was a shut-in. He later moved to Japan to work with Kanau.

 

Manager Kanau
Kanau Kongou  is the boss of Taihei, Bomber and Alex, described in Young Jump magazine as beautiful and excellent. She met Taihei and Bomber at high school ten years ago. She is very fond of Taihei, but gets annoyed by Bomber. Kanau is a single person and living on her own. Umaru becomes upset of her. Taihei reveals that she is the daughter of the president, a year younger than Taihei, and that they attended different schools. She has a younger sister Hikari.
Hikari Kongō
A top student from the Gifted Youth Program with a hairpin and Kanau’s sister. It is hinted that she interacted with Taihei, before knowing the set of constellations that he tried to show Umaru. She refers to Taihei as a big brother.
Kōichirō Ebina
Nana’s older brother and restaurant chef. He left home when the latter was seven.

 

 

 

Manga Monday- Himouto! Umaru-chan

Manga Monday- Himouto! Umaru-chan

Himouto! Umaru-chan is a Japanese manga series by Sankaku Head. It began serialization in Shueisha’s seinen manga magazine Weekly Young Jump on March 14, 2013. It has been collected in twelve tankōbon volumes. An alternative version was serialized for two chapters in Shueisha’s monthly magazine Miracle Jump in 2012. An anime television series adaptation aired in 2015. A second season titled Himouto! Umaru-chan R aired from October to December 2017, while a sequel series titled Himouto! Umaru-chan G was released in November 2017.

Plot

Umaru Doma is a high school girl who lives with her older brother Taihei. At school, Umaru appears to be the ideal student with good looks, top grades and many talents. However, she transforms into a kid-sized layabout and spends time at home feeding her video game and food addiction, much to Taihei’s dismay. Throughout the series, Umaru uses her alternative personality to make friends with others, while at home she throws tantrums about Taihei not buying her things.

Media

Manga

The manga first appeared in Shueisha’s monthly magazine Miracle Jump in 2012 for two chapters: first in the 10th issue on August 16 and again in the 11th issue on October 16. It was serialized in Weekly Young Jump from March 14, 2013. A total of Twelve tankōbon volumes were published. A spin-off focused on Nana Ebina, titled “Akita Imokko! Ebina-chan” that is currently running on Niconico Seiga website and other platforms after ranked first on the website’s popularity poll. Seven Seas Entertainment released the manga in English. The manga ended serialization on November 9, 2017. A sequel manga titled Himōto! Umaru-chan G began serialization on November 30, 2017 and ended on April 19, 2018.

Anime

An anime television series adaptation is produced by Doga Kobo. The series was directed by Masahiko Ohta and written by Takashi Aoshima, with character design by Aya Takano and sound direction by Yasunori Ebina. It was broadcast on the Asahi Broadcasting Corporation in Japan from July 9 to September 24, 2015, and was simulcast worldwide by Crunchyroll. The opening theme is “Kakushin-teki Metamarufōze!” performed by Aimi Tanaka, while the ending theme is “Hidamari Days” performed by Tanaka, Akari Kageyama, Haruka Shiraishi and Yurina Furukawa. The series is licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks. An original video animation was bundled with the manga’s seventh volume on October 19, 2015, with another to be bundled with the tenth volume of the manga in Q2 2017. In the Weekly Young Jump magazine’s 20th issue of 2017, a second season of the anime series titled Himouto! Umaru-chan R was announced for fall 2017 with the same cast. The opening theme is “Nimensei Ura Omote Life!”performed by Tanaka. The ending theme is “Umarun Taisou” performed by Sisters, the voice actresses of the four main girls. The second season was simulcast on Anime Strike in the United States, on Hidive outside of the US, and on AnimeLab in Australia and New Zealand. Sentai Filmworks has announced on September 27, 2017 that they have licensed Himouto! Umaru-chan R. In the UK, MVM Films announced they had licensed Himouto! Umaru-chan R. In the Philippines, Umaru-chan was broadcast in Tagalog on the Hero and Yey! pay TV channels.

Video game

A PlayStation Vita sister-raising simulation game developed by FuRyu, titled Himōto! Umaru-chan: Himōto! Ikusei Keikaku, was released on December 3, 2015.

Reception

The manga had sold 2.2 million copies in November 2015. It had sold 2.7 million copies by March 2017.