Shirogane is done messing around as Kaguya-sama: Love Is War gets its first almost-official date between its dueling lovebirds.
The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 11 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, now streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll.
Things are looking up in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War after Shirogane and Shinomiya had the closest thing they’ve ever had to an official date while the universe rearranged itself to keep any distractions out of their way. Shirogane outmaneuvered Shinomiya by behaving like a reasonable person who’d like to spend time with his crush, leaving the flustered vice president with no choice but to enjoy their date rather than scheme. Elsewhere, Tsubame was reconsidering rejecting Ishigami, which means either the show is gearing up for a happy ending to Season 3 or this is just the calm before the storm.
Love Is War has essentially abandoned its original premise, as Shirogane and Shinomiya no longer try to out-manipulate one another with daily winners and/or losers declared. Instead, the series has leaned into a more traditional slice-of-life story — a welcome change of pace after nearly three full seasons of little to no progress in the titular war. The culture festival has been built up as the turning point of the series, as both Shirogane and Shinomiya have resolved for a confession to occur, and the ending of Season 3, Episode 11 has made that confession all but inevitable.
Shirogane is seriously looking like the balloon thief after mentioning he has the crook to thank after Shinomiya found herself being served by him in the balloon art booth. Kashiwagi the GOAT ran interference for the besotted pair by suggesting that Shirogane make a heart for Shinomiya and then preventing Shijo from telling Shirogane his shift was over while he was making said heart. Though Shinomiya believed she’d outsmarted him by forcing him to present her with a balloon heart, Shirogane jumped back in front when he pointed out that the balloon art booklet clearly stated that a balloon heart can only be paid for with another heart — and that the customer must pay with their heart first.
This duel of the fates was as close as the series has been in a long time to a classic Love Is War showdown, but the difference now is that their unspoken crush has become rather obvious. Kashiwagi, the Michael Jordan of matchmaking, appeared rather invested in this balloon battle, telling Shijo that it was “getting juicy.” Ultimately, Shinomiya’s bashfulness got the better of her as she ran away without giving or receiving a heart. As Shirogane’s and Shinomiya’s feelings for one another become more of an open secret, they’re going to run out of time and options for many more battles — but this brief return to the series’ original M.O. was a fun moment nonetheless.
Ishigami was still blissfully unaware he’d publicly confessed to Tsubame, so the gloomy Treasurer didn’t understand why she parkour’d away from him when he approached her. When a dejected Shinomiya bumped into an equally downtrodden Tsubame, the girls traded notes on how to reject someone, as Tsubame wanted to find a way to turn down Ishigami without hurting him. Shinomiya proved why she’s the worst possible person to ask for love advice because she assumed the person who’d confessed to Tsubame was not the same person she’d been pushing to do so (Ishigami), deciding to destroy Ishigami’s “romantic rival” by telling Tsubame to be vicious in her rejection.
After realizing Ishigami was the one who’d confessed, Shinomiya tried to salvage the situation by advising Tsubame to give her answer more thought. After they witnessed Fujiwara reject someone by cryptically quizzing him and then running away — leaving the boy delighted for some reason — the girls saw Ishigami angrily smack Iino on the head with a rolled-up pamphlet for falling for some insincere sweet talk from two creepy guys who’d cornered her. Having never seen this side of Ishigami, Tsubame admitted that she didn’t know him well enough to decide whether she’d want to go out with him and decided to hold off on responding.
Shirogane removed the kid gloves in his plan to either confess or be confessed to by Shinomiya. Refusing to be baited by her taunts, Shirogane asked Shinomiya to walk the culture festival with him even though people would think they were on a date. From asking questions to a fortune teller about marrying Shinomiya to buying her a cookie and wiping the crumbs from her face, Shirogane made it clear he’s playing to win. Fujiwara was too distracted by the balloon thief to love-block, Ishigami’s despair turned around when Tsubame cheerfully asked him to meet her somewhere, and a starving-to-death Iino was lured into an eating contest before she could bother Shirogane and Shinomiya. Either the stars aligned or Shirogane’s plan worked, as the pair had a happy date exploring the festival.
Shinomiya was at her happiest when Shirogane dropped a bombshell by showing her the letter he’d received just before tracking her down — an acceptance letter to Stanford. Shirogane told Shinomiya that he’ll be skipping a grade and studying abroad, meaning this is his last culture festival and his final year at Shuchiin. The episode ended before Shinomiya’s reaction was shown, setting up a sure-to-be-explosive Season 3 finale. If ever there was a time for someone to confess, this is it now that they both know their burgeoning love for one another is on a deadline. Things had been going so well on their first official date — and chaos is the name of the game in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War — so one can rest assured that things are only going to get messy from here.
Ryan is an enthusiastic fan of the film and television industry, particularly interested in the creative process. Some people need a white noise machine to relax at night, but Ryan needs an audio commentary. Making a living by talking about the movies and shows he loves is his dream. You can find him complaining about Rise of Skywalker on Twitter as @RickeySpanish because even his Twitter handle is an American Dad reference.