Kaguya-sama: What You Need to Know Before the First Kiss That Never Ends

Kaguya-sama: What You Need to Know Before the First Kiss That Never Ends ...

"Kaguya-sama: Love Is War," both from Aka Akasaka's manga series and its animated series adaptation, is one of the greatest romantic comedy of the 21st century. Which is why a special Valentine's Day theatrical platform for its first feature film, "The First Kiss That Never Ends," which follows the storyline from the first three seasons of the series, makes so much sense.

President Miyuki Shirogane and vice president Kaguya Shinomiya butt heads constantly, with each chapter serving as a bite-sized attack on one or the other's emotional state, with a mountain of friends dragged in as tools and victims to (and sometimes even outright foiling) their elaborate plans.

"Love Is War" is at its finest potential not only in print, but when animated. A-1 Pictures' anime adaptation of the story, which is now available in theaters across the United States, which will premiere on Valentine's Day this year, isn't just a fantastic adaptation, it's also a great example of the kind of level-up that any work of art translating from page to screen deserves.

Nearly every episode splits up its runtime into vignettes, alternating between unrelated sketches and larger arc developments, all of which become a series of unfolding events, a tennis game that bounces back and forth. Each interaction increases not only the resistant couple's romantic tension for the audience.

"Kaguya-sama: Love is a war, and love is never the end."

The way Shinomiya and Shirogane's romance has spanned three seasons is beyond enthralling. These traits are just masks for their own insecurity and ineptitude.

Every bit of world-building and anticipation for "Ultra Romantic" comes to an end with a simple but desperately necessary act. Season 1, its most innocuous, was about establishing their will-they-will-they-they-they-they and the way they are a fixture among everyone around them. The second starts to rather deviously poke problems in their relationship when their student council tenure comes to an end.

"Love Is War" never feels like it's dragging out its narrative for too long, thanks to the creative team behind the show, and to the way that Akasaka's original manga has paced itself rather nicely. (Simple questions about dating taken too far when listening through an open door) that indicate exactly where the pair is at in their relationship.

The series chooses not to let their relationship be the focus of their entire work, lovingly expanding on the background and emotionally strengthening the supporting cast all around (the exception being Fujiwara, as an agent of pure chaos and comic relief), but its true crowning glory is its humor: a delirious marriage of visual gags and terrifying comic relief, delivered by the skilled voice acting team (Aoi Koga, who plays Shinomiya, has some of the greatest riveting line movements and vocal shifts of all).

The film itself and all of the mundane activities it captures is constantly interrupted, broken, and reformed, in a way that mimics the internal monologues (rife with teenage anxiety, and idiocy) in which these characters often find themselves lost. If anything, seeing the film for its three opening themes — "Love Dramatic," "DADDY!" and "GIRI GIRI," performed by Masayuki Suzuki, Japan's King of Love Songs — is the finest way to appreciate the

”Love Is War” remains fresh, funny, moving, and romantic over three seasons of television. It’s the sort of romantic comedy we’ve been desperately missing these days. With ”The First Kiss That Never Ends” (set over a hilariously tense Christmas) in theaters for two days only, now is the time to dive into this ultra-romantic drama.

"Kaguya-sama: Love Is War — The First Kiss That Never Ends," as released by Aniplex of America and Crunchyroll, is in cinemas February 14 and 15.