I have mentioned it a few times on this blog before, but Kaguya-Sama has turned out to be one of the best comedies of recent memory. From its premise to the way it sets up its jokes, and especially the way it uses its animation to enhance punchlines, everything about it is incredibly funny. Mother’s Basement also did a pretty good video breaking down the show’s two Openings and how they are both representative of their respective seasons.
Still, as much as the comedy has always been the series’ focal point, one thing that has interested me is the show’s seemingly innocuous premise. For those who are unaware, the series focuses mainly on Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, the president and vice president of Suchiin Academy.
Before the start of the series the two were fairly serious, straightforward people, with Kaguya even being known as the “ice queen.” However, as the series begins, it is revealed that the two have a lot of feelings for one another. Despite this, the two find themselves in a competition to get the other to confess.
The main reason for this, as they both admit is pride. For Shirogane, growing up in a fairly poor household has meant that he has had to work for basically everything that he wants. The show even emphasizes during its first season that he spends most of his summer vacation either working or studying and rarely takes any time for himself. Shirogane, at least for most of the series, believes Kaguya is looking down on him.
Kaguya, meanwhile, has the exact opposite point of view. Kaguya comes from an extremely wealthy family, according to the story one of the wealthiest in Japan. Because of this, and because of her natural talent, Kaguya has been handed most things throughout her life and has rarely struggled. She sees no reason to confess to Shirogane and almost sees it as an insult.
The show’s setting also emphasizes this point as well. Shuchiin Academy is largely a place for the students of elite families. Its elaborate architecture and wide hallways clearly reflect that fact. Due to Shirogane’s incredibly high scores, he managed to make it in but is still often looked down upon by other students.
Kaguya and Shirogane’s relationship is seen by both them and the audience through the lens of class, and while the show’s second season does not emphasize this nearly as much, with Kaguya even questioning whether or not it is worth keeping up the game, it still serves as a backdrop both to humorous moments and their legitimate romance.
Kaguya’s story functions not in spite of its setting, but rather within it. Part of what makes it so interesting, and also incredibly funny, is the way its jokes not only serve to make people laugh but also to break apart the idea that people should be divided along class lines bit by bit.