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''Love is war...and the one who falls in love loses!"

Shuchi'in Academy is one of the most prestigious schools in Japan, attended by only the wealthiest families. Our protagonists are the student council of this school. The vice president, Kaguya Shinomiya, is the heiress of one of the largest companies in Japan, mastering multiple forms of artistic and intellectual subjects. The president, Miyuki Shirogane, while of common birth, is a Teen Genius with one of the highest grades in the country.

These two geniuses slowly fell for each other, yet their gigantic prides would not let them be the one to confess. So, they secretly began a battle. That is, the battle to make the other side confess first!

Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen~, or Kaguya Wants to be Confessed to ~The Geniuses' War of Love and Brains~) is a manga by Akasaka Aka. It started publication as a monthly series in Miracle Jump, but was later moved to Shuukan Young Jump as a weekly series. By 2018, the series also gained two spinoffs; a Hotter and Sexier "Doujin Edition", a lower deck series focusing on two Shuuchin students looking at the plot from the outside, and a Yonkoma spinoff up that covered miscellaneous topics with the characters, called K-agukoku!. In March 2018, Viz Media began its release of the English translation.

On June 1, 2018 an anime adaptation was announced, coinciding with the release of chapter 100.note 

Please place character tropes on the character page.


This work contains examples of:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Kaguya and Shirogane are this. They are the top students of their year and very popular. But they both look down on the rest of the students, mentally calling them animals.
  • Affectionate Parody:
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Miyuki does this to force Ishigami not to leave the student council.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe. When Shirogane and Kaguya talk about "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter", Shirogane thinks about the tragedy of Kaguya's lover burning the immortality elixir she gave him. Rather than the cutter being upset that he'd be living forever in a world without his lover, Shirogane thinks him to be mistaken; the elixir was given to him with the intent that she'd come back, but because he didn't understand her intent, he burns the elixir.
  • All Elections Are Serious Business: The election arc, of course, has everyone take their positions a little too seriously (up to and including acts of industrial espionage). Shirogane ends up looking like a giant and threatening obstacle in the race, while Kaguya strong-arms and intimidates any potential threat to Shirogane's victory.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: In what may be the single most meta example of this trope, the inside cover for volume 3 depicts the inside covers for the previous two volumes as schoolgirls (complete with Sailor Fuku) in a Love Triangle. And then the inside back cover does the same thing, only with itself.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • For all the mind battles they engage in, Kaguya and Shirogane are shown to actually like each other. This bcomes way more obvious as the story goes on, to the point where it's subverted.
    • For a played straight version, look no further than Ishigami and Miko. They both constantly get on each other's nerves, argue at every turn, an hate how similar they are to each other. However, they've both been secretly helping each other behind their backs but just won't admit it because they believe it wouldn't be truly altruistic to hold good deeds over people's heads.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Shirogane boasts that he has second highest grade in the entire country, passed very high level tests, is a certified hazardous material engineer...and an appraiser of chickens. Even the illustrations show this, with various professional certificates drawn along a cartoon-style chicken.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: During Chapter 56, Shirogane describes the star Vega when he's talking about Deneb. It's possible this was just an energy fueled mistake on Shirogane's part, since Akasaka usually points out his mistakes after a chapter's been released.
  • Art Shift: Sometimes the art will change to better suit a joke from scary to more shoujo-esque. Up to Eleven in Chapter 74.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Does it twice for "I Can't Hear the Fireworks" (Chapters 44 and 45). At first, it looks like, thanks to Hayasaka taking her place at home, she'll be able to watch the fireworks with the student council, but she makes it just in time fore the festivities to be over. Disheartened, she goes to cry under a stairway, where Shirogane finds her regardless and gets her on a taxi to watch the fireworks from Chiba with the student council.
    • When Hayasaka gets stuck at a mixer, she's able to successfully get Shirogane alone. Based on her frustration with Kaguya's disregard for her feelings, and her remembering her mission from last time she was with Shirogane, she looks like she's going to either steal him away or force a confession out of him... but all that happens is she goes down to Shirogane's horrible singing.
  • Batman Gambit: The premise of the series is two geniuses playing mind tricks to make the other confess first.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Kashiwagi and her boyfriend are this. While they have their issues and come to the Student Council for help; they are dating and openly communicate with each other. While Kaguya and Shirogane refused to admit their feelings and are stuck in a constant war to make the other confess. Chapter 48 even implies that they did something intimate over summer break, which if Chapter 76 is any indication, is entirely plausible.
    • Among the student Council, Ishigami and Miko Iino serve as the heavily teased foil to Shirogane/Shinomiya. They are equally as stubborn to each other as Shinomiya and Shirogane were in the beginning, but where the latter two tried to hide their feelings through little tricks, the former two are always unknowingly helping each other out.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • Miko brings this up in regards to Kaguya and Shirogane in chapter 66, though it's actually averted. Every time a quality that one of them likes about the other is brought up, it's always something that they themselves lack.
    • Maki ends up striking a sort of kinship with Shirogane and Ishigami, due to their shared experience in being too shy and insecure to confess to their crushes first.
  • Bleached Underpants: The mangaka of Doujin Edition, Shinta Sakayama, was an h-doujin artist before this project. He even did some doujins of Kaguya-sama as well!
  • Board Games: Chapter 57 centers around the student council playing a Game of Life/Sugoroku mashup that Fujiwara's group had made.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Chapter 73 has Shirogane try to recommend a shoujo manga to Kaguya, in the hopes that she gets the urge to fall in love like in a manga book and confess to him. Chapter 74 has his plan succeed, in the weirdest way possible.
    • In chapter 83, Shirogane's father tries to give him love advice by claiming that ladies love a fast sprinter (which Shirogane brushes off as only working in elementary school). Jump forward 3 chapters to the sports festival, and Kaguya is indeed love struck when Shirogane wins one of the running events.
    • In Chapter 91, Kaguya offers Fujiwara tangerines so that the limonene in the peel would pop the balloon in front of her, but the latter girl passes up the offer. After the balloon gets to its breaking point, and Kaguya and Shirogane are fighting over the pump, then and only then does Fujiwara decide to get a tangerine, with the juice from the peel flying across the room and popping the balloon while the former two are in its blast range.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Ishigami. By god, he can't seem to go one chapter without worsening his reputation with Kaguya, which he admits he's seriously afraid of. Even when he's not there, people generally don't have a good opinion of him.
    • Iino becomes an even bigger one when she joins the student council with nearly every one of her chapters ending with her a shaking mess.
  • Call-Back:
    • Chapter 56 has a sequence where Shirogane is stargazing with Kaguya during the moon viewing. It hearkens back to an Imagine Spot from an earlier chapter, where Shirogane pictured a camping trip ending with stargazing and a confession. However, in Chapter 56, he's barely even paying attention to Kaguya (even though he's romantically and unknowingly blowing her socks off) because he's so fascinated by astronomy.
    • In Chapter 74, Ishigami asks to take Kaguya to the aquarium as thanks for her help in tutoring him, chapters and chapters ago.
    • Chapter 80's first and second pages have Iino introduced with the same paneling of one of Ishigami's introductory chapter.
    • The principal and a few students are still playing Pokémon GO during the sports festival.
    • Almost every face that Maki makes in chapter 98 is one that Kaguya has previous made (like so). It's rather appropriate, considering that they're cousins.
    • Chapter 100 shows all the pictures that Kaguya has saved on her phone. Every single one of them is taken from a previous chapter.
    • The sequence where Fujiwara notices Shinomiya's new smartphone and Shirogane's musings about the subject is almost beat for beat the same sequence from Shirogane's own smartphone chapter, with some of the same panels even. Touched on when Ishigami randomly muses about how "people don't learn from their mistakes"' right after the Chapter 101 sequence.
    • Chapter 105 contains several references to chapter 31, such as the "That was a lie!" running gag, the mention of frustration to the point of Tears of Blood, and Shirogane shadowboxing.
    • Chapter 109 has Ishigami explain to Maki the birds and the bees, much like her cousin Kaguya had to learn it from Fujiwara.
    • Miko texts to Osaragi that Shirogane a manwhore in chapter 114 after he seems to confess to both her and Fujiwara in rapid succession, in reference to when she walked in on him and Kaguya back in chapter 70. Osaragi's response references when she tried to talk down Miko's overactive imagination in chapter 80.
  • Cat/Dog Dichotomy: Kaguya is the Cat with her aloof nature, and Shirogane is the Dog with his tireless work ethic. Interestingly, both of them like the opposite animal, and describe their positive traits in a way that also describes what they like in the other person. Dips into Female Feline, Male Mutt as well.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Kaguya phone didn't work when she tried to call the rest of the student council during the fireworks arc. She briefly wonders if it's due to her phone being out of date.
  • Character Check: As the manga continued, the "Genius' War of Love and Brains" effectively ended and the two leads become a little more honest about their feelings. However, every once in a while there will be a moment where they act like their old prideful selves. Chapter 54 in particular was a whole throwback to how they used to act.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Kaguya and Shirogane would originally refuse to express even the slightest implication of interest for each other. As the series progresses, they become gradually more honest about their feelings and even forget to read the meaning behind their actions when caught up in the moment. This leads to some obvious flirting moments and both are shown to be completely fine with it.
    • Fujiwara is introduced as the only normal high schooler in the student council who would refrain to acting as an oblivious Spanner in the Works but her friendship with the other members, as well as her Hidden Depths, have made her character more complex to the point fans theorize that she might be the smartest member of the student council, even better than Kaguya and Shirogane.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Kaguya's Twitter account ends up playing an important role as a cry for help in chapter 44.
  • Clip Show: Chapter 59 has the student council disbanded, and in true clipshow style, going through items that reminded them of previous chapters and taking a walk down memory lane. It even does the Stock Sitcom Grand Finale ending of turning off the lights and leaving the room in a bittersweet fashion.
  • Close on Title: Used in Chapter 45 (I Can't Hear The Fireworks pt. 2). Given the circumstances, it doubles as a Title Drop.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Chapter 70 starts with Fujiwara and Kaguya walking in on Ishigami getting changed in the Student Council room (though the narration and camera angles initially make it look like one of the girls is getting changed).
  • Continuity Cavalcade: In chapter 100, Kaguya thinks back to all the photos that were lost when her phone is destroyed. Every single one of them had been previously seen by the reader. And when the rest of the student council forms a group album so she has photos to put on her new smart phone in the following chapter, every single one of them is new, but they can all be identified at a glance for which chapter they came from and who took them.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • After the events of Chapter 20, Shirogane can occasionally be seen studying French.
    • Chapter 57 has Fujiwara saying that Ishigami is a man that beats women with logic, referring to the many times that Ishigami has made her cry when he points out the flaws in her logic.
    • Chapter 80 has Osaragi mentioning that she's heard Miko's flower story 10 times before. Then she mentions having heard it 11 times when Miko brings it up again in chapter 103.
    • The end of chapter 112 references the fact that cat ear headbands were banned.
  • Cringe Comedy: Chapter 79 is this in its entirety, as Kaguya is baffled as to why love sickness caused her to faint in school and pretty much professes her love of Shirogane to her doctors (in denial of course) while Hayasaka gets embarrassed on her own behalf.
  • Crossover: Has a couple of short comic encounters with other manga in Young Jump. Shirogane and Kaguya briefly met with the leads of Tejima-senpai in order to manage their club's funds, and encounters the cast of Kishuku Gakkou No Juliet in one one-shot.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: What Ishigami's plan to take down Iino's campaign boils down to. He wants an overwhelming victory in Shirogane's favor to take her down a peg, but the blow be so devastating that all the bullying she had been suffering from before, during, and after the election is turned to pity—that she didn't lose just because she was inept, she lost because her opponent outclassed her in every way. However, Shirogane making her focus on him and letting her get her points out softened the blow and turned her into a formidable opponent, ending the election with dignity and newfound respect.
  • Cute and Psycho: Moeka, Fujiwara's little sister, shows some signs of this in chapter 52 when she says that she would like to lock Kei up and torture her when she thinks of how pure she is.
  • Cuteness Overload:
    • The sight of Kaguya wearing cat ears caused this reaction to Shirogane, enough to make his speech get reduced to nonsense. Kaguya later made him wear one, too...and experienced the exact same reaction.
    • Kaguya also ends up frozen in place for an entire chapter when a sleeping Shirogane ends up leaning on her shoulder.
    • Shirogane ends up passing out after seeing Kaguya cosplay as a Cat Girl maid in chapter 112.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Chapter 30 revolves around Hayasaka, and her efforts to keep everyone away from the student council room after one of Kaguya's plans goes awry.
    • Chapter 76 actually has the Once a Season Kashiwagi and/or Boyfriend consultation go to her boyfriend for once. It also gives another glimpse into the pair's relationship problems.
    • Shirogane's sister Kei has 2 chapters devoted to her.
    • Osaragi has Chapter 85 from her perspective, shedding some light on Ishigami and Iino during middle school and giving off more of Osaragi's own personality.
    • The Chapter 98 has Maki come in for advice instead. In truth, all she wanted to do was vent. Interestingly a case of using a "Day in the Limelight" to upgrade into a real recurring character.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In Chapter 48, Kashiwagi and her boyfriend see the Student Council for some more love advice, and because of their demeanor around each other and how they talk about their vacation together, it sounds like they've gotten more intimate. By the end of the chapter, neither one of them gives a straight answer, even though they both tricked the Council into thinking they were going to be a couple of Makeout Kids when they got alone time in the Student Council room.
  • Downer Ending: Chapter 41 ends with the couple too nervous to text each other and just missing each other when they both decide to visit the school during summer vacation.
  • Dramatic Irony: Both Ishigami and Iino helped each other back in middle school, and neither is aware that the other did so. Ishigami sent Iino an anonymous letter of encouragement that continues to inspire her in the present, and Iino protesting Ishigami's continued suspension is what allowed him to graduate.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In the English translation, Kaguya refers to Shirogane by his last name instead of "President". This will cause a huge problem come the election arc, since the entire reason she asked him to run for reelection was because she didn't feel comfortable calling him by name.
  • Duel of Seduction: Kaguya and Shirogane are in love with each other, but a combination of pride and shyness keeps both of them from confessing. So they both try to force the other into a situation where they'd be forced to admit they're in love. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: You can see Ishigami in one spread page in chapter 11. He doesn't appear until chapter 24.
  • Elevator School: Shuchin Academy goes from Kindergarten to university-level schooling, so pretty much everyone in the school is acquainted with each other. The sole exception, of course, is Shirogane.
  • Everyone Can See It: Kaguya and Shirogane are so obvious about their feelings that are many rumors flying around that they're dating.
    • Chapter 50 shows the audience just what everyone else can see; in the eyes of a neutral party (in this case, Kashiwagi), all of the serious, mind-wracking battles that Shirogane and Kaguya go through and their extreme efforts to deny their feelings to themselves and each other end up looking like awkward flirting and thinly veiled confessions.
  • The Faceless: Happens every now and again, but with Ishigami most frequently. There's a reason for this— he "closed his eyes" to people after the middle school incident, only perceiving people not close to him as faceless.
  • Fanservice:
    • Played for Laughs in chapter 64.5, but it's averted the rest of the time.
    • The Doujin Edition spin-off serves as a different version of the trope; yes, the characters are a little more sexy than usual, but the main draw comes from plots common to the series' fanfics and fancomics.
  • First Love: The narrator stated that Kaguya and Shirogane are each other's first love.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In chapter 14, Kaguya mentioned that her first kiss was with a baby cousin, and the accompanying photo in The Stinger shows that she was already at least middle school age. This is the first clue that she suffers from Parental Neglect, since one would have expected her to say that her first kiss came from her mother or father if she meant it in a platonic sense.
    • Kaguya becomes uncharacteristically defensive of Ishigami in chapter 55 when the subject of his middle school fiasco comes up, stating to two girls who were badmouthing him that she judges people based on what she's personally seen rather than rumors. 34 chapters later, it's revealed that she already knew the full details of what happened to him in middle school (with the most important detail being that he was innocent) before he even joined the Student Council, and was the one who had the rest of the council look into the story in the first place.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Kaguya is the Cynic, Shirogane is the Realist, Fujiwara is the Optimist, and Ishigami is the Apathetic. Miko joins later on as the Conflicted.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: While most combinations of the student council members have had focus chapters, Fujiwara has never been shown to have any major interactions with Ishigami or Miko.
  • Gambit Roulette: The series: romcom version.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: One Doujin Edition chapter has Miko go around town trying to prevent students from performing indecent behavior. For most of them, the situations were non issues or taken care of appropriately, but the last one (with Kashiwagi and Tsubasa) is the only real incriminating incident since the former had a hickey on her neck. Unfortunately Miko was too tired and spent from guessing wrong the whole time that she took their words at face value and called it a day.
  • The Ghost: The General Affairs Officer and original Auditing Officer are never seen at any point in the series. According to the volume 4 extras, they're both third year students that don't get along well with the rest of the council.
  • Glurge: In universe example with Today Will Be Sweet, a tear jerking manga the cast has read. According to the brief plot summary, the male lead is an Ill Boy with a terminal disease while the heroine lives in an abusive household and suffered from isolation and anorexia before the male lead breaks her out of her shell. She also hasn't eaten decent food in a while, and the one decent meal she gets is a curry dish made by her love interestnote  before he kicks the bucket.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Fujiwara invokes this on Kashiwagi in chapter 16. She asks for Kashiwagi to image her boyfriend with another girl and if she feels bad or annoyed then that means she loves him. The hilarious part is that Kaguya also imagined Shirogane with Fujiwara and was furious. She didn't take implication that it meant she cared for Shirogane well.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Kaguya regards Fujiwara as her best friend. Also as her biggest rival for Shirogane's affection.
  • Gone Horribly Right: One of Kaguya's plans involved tricking Shirogane into using tips from "Textbook of Love" from a girls magazine so she'd have plausible cause to claim that he read it to get her to fall for him. All three steps end up working on her perfectly (she even ends up having a Heroic B.S.O.D. when he gets to the "say you hate them" step) despite the fact that she knew he was faking it.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Kaguya's father. He drags her a quarter of the way across Japan (causing her to miss out on a chance to hang out with her friends), and barely even acknowledges her presence when she shows up. This is immediately followed by the reveal that he has never given her even the most basic form of parental affection. Then he forbids her from attending the fireworks festival, sending her into a Heroic B.S.O.D.. And all of this is in his first appearance.
    • Ogino. He was cheating on his girlfriend, and tried to buy Ishigami's silence when he found out (by offering to let him sleep with said girlfriend). Then he pulled a Deliberate Injury Gambit, making it look like Ishigami was a Stalker with a Crush.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Referenced in Chapter 109. While Maki finds the idea of teenagers having sex before marriage incredilous, Ishigami points out the "1 in 3 teens have had sex before" statistic and surmises that Kashiwagi and Tsubasa are deeply entrenched in this trope.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • After Shirogane has one good night of rest, Kaguya muses to herself that the student body would throw themselves at him simply because he looks more attractive. Not only failing to realize that her love for Shirogane also extends to her major preference for his exhausted look, and that she was just as unresponsive when he tried to coax her into confessing while he still had his well-rested eyes.
    • Any time Kaguya criticizes Kashiwagi's extreme clinginess and insecurities whatever her boyfriend troubles come up.
      • In Chapter 76 when Kashiwagi talk to Kaguya about her relationship problems, Kaguya finds it annoying how Kashiwagi can obsess over things so trivial, when Hayasaka has to deal with the exact same headaches from the girl herself on a daily basis. The art even lampshades it by giving Kaguya Hayasaka's expressionless face.
      • Chapter 97 has her think to herself that she'd never be as paranoid or distrustful as Kashiwagi was. And then proceeds to agree with every insane action and thought that Kashiwagi had to prove that her boyfriend wasn't cheating on her. Keep telling yourself that, Kaguya.
    • In Chapter 110, Fujiwara criticizes invokedMoe characters for being cutesy and childish but well endowed and high pitched, while exhibiting all of the traits herself.
  • I Have This Friend...: When Kaguya goes to Kashiwagi for love advice, she tries this to skirt around the fact that she's talking about her and Shirogane. Kashiwagi is so used to this by now that she sees right through her lame excuse.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: A platonic variant in Chapter 77. After Fujiwara finally spits out how much Kaguya means to her (even using the word love during this), Kaguya merely responds that she tends to keep the things close to her around her.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The chapters usually starts with "[Character] Wants to XXX".
  • Indirect Kiss:
    • One chapter has Kaguya switching her and Shirogane's cups to watch him squirm over this. She didn't realize that means she's also having an indirect kiss, causing her to squirm.
    • Played for Laughs. Kaguya considers sharing earbuds to qualify as this.
  • Innocent Innuendo:
    • Chapter 14 is built on these. Due to thinking that "first time" means kissing, Kaguya ends up implying that she had sex with her newborn nephew on camera (among other things).
    • Chapter 22 is sort of a continuation to that. Due to her inexperience, she started seeing every word and action as an innuendo. In particular, she described the act of sharing earbuds as "penetrating a membrane with a foreign object".
  • Internal Homage: In chapter 11 Shirogane buys a new smartphone, and in chapter 101 Kaguya buys one. Many of the panels are changed only slightly to fit the new events, and the composition is exactly the same in some cases. Dialogue is reflected by the different circumstances, but in some cases almost the same.
  • Intimate Artistry: This is used as the subject for one of Kaguya and Shirogane's many Battle of Wits when they're paired up in art class. Kaguya ends up producing a photo-realistic drawing with roses on the side without even thinking about it, then deliberately tries to make it less appealing in order to hide her feelings for him (but keeps on finding the end result attractive no matter what she does). Shirogane, meanwhile, becomes engrossed in his work and accepts nothing but perfection, repeatedly tearing up his work until he manages to produce something that he feels captures her beauty.
  • Language Barrier: In chapter 20 Shuchi'in Academy hosts a party for their sister school in Paris. It's only after the party starts that Shirogane realizes he's the only one there that doesn't speak French, forcing him to try and hide it with what little he memorized from a phrasebook. This actually ends up helping him when a French girl gives him a Breaking Speech as part of a Secret Test of Character, since he has no idea that she's even insulting him, let alone what she's saying.
  • Large Ham: The narrator. He will happily describe whatever the current scheme is with full force.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In chapter 3 of Doujin, Fujiwara uses a hypnosis app on her phone to make Shirogane and Kaguya more honest with each other. After finding them both freaking out in the nurse's office, she uses it to wipe their memories of the chapter.
  • Laser Hallway: Chapter 30 opens with Hayasaka dodging lasers to break into the student council room in the middle of the night and swap out Shirogane's personal supply of coffee beans for decaf. Why a high school of all places would have laser security isn't really specified (even if it is a school for rich kids), so it can probably be chalked up to Rule of Funny.
  • Last-Name Basis: Everyone is referred to by their last name. The only exception being Fujiwara, who is on a one-sided First-Name Basis with Kaguya (mutual First-Name Basis in the English translation).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The special chapter has Ishigami read a romcom seinen manga Momo-chan Doesn't Think, and comment that it's an oddball in the magazine because it's completely devoid of Fanservice. Sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it?
    • In the Young Jump 100th chapter, Shirogane and Ishigami celebrate the anime adaptation announcement of Momo-chan, and has the chapter end with Shirogane instructing the Student Council to say "Anime Adaptation banzai!" repeatedly, just to drive the point home. Shortly before this chapter was published, Kaguya-sama announced that it was getting its own animated adaptation.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narration in this series takes itself way too seriously at times, and other times it's directly responding to what the characters say in a snarky fashion.
    Shirogane: What am I, some lovestruck teen in a third-rate romcom?!
    Narration: Yes.
  • Logging onto the Fourth Wall: In chapter 101, Kaguya shows a QR code on her phone so she and Shirogame can exchange LINE IDs. Scanning it will pull up a link for purchasing the series' official LINE stickers.
  • Loophole Abuse: Subverted in chapter 85. When Iino threatens to confiscate Ishigami's game console, he points out that he's currently underneath the student council room (which is treated as being outside of the school grounds and therefore exempt from the rules). Rather than leave him be, she just drags him several feet so that he is on school grounds and confiscates the game.
  • Loser Protagonist: Inverted and and then subverted. Kaguya and Shirogane are both brilliant individuals who can expertly debate highly complicated and intricate subjects like philosophy without blinking an eye and are adored by the school the go to as model students by both the faculty and the staff. Despite this, both of them are repeatedly mocked by the narration for their simplistic views of romantic relationships and their inability to confess to one another, which turns them from intelligent chessmasters into bumbling idiots.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Chapter 89 made it seem like Ogino was able to get away with turning Ishigami into a pariah 'til chapter 90 revealed that Kaguya told the truth of the situation to the Shuuchiin VIPs that forced Ogino to transfer.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chapter 87 is mostly just a collection of short looks into certain sports festival activities with a lighthearted tone. Ishigami rounds out the last couple of pages, noting that he's been having fun this time around and that he's glad he joined the cheer team, just as the girl who helped get him ostracized shows up and calls to him.
  • Moment Killer:
    • Just as Kaguya and Shirogane finally got to feed each other after fighting about who gets the last strawberry shortcake, Fujiwara comes out of nowhere, simply eats their pieces and the rest of the cake (from their forks, no less) and scolds them for fighting. This is just one of many moments that Fujiwara interrupts.
    • A big one at the end of Chapter 78, where Shinomiya and Shirogane are trapped in the gym utility closet and looking at each other while Shinomiya's pinned to the floor when Iino comes in.
  • Miss Fanservice: Fujiwara's older sister in chapter 87. She comes to the sports festival wearing a deep neck line with her huge breasts, midriff and hot pants.
  • No Name Given: An odd example for Kashiwagi's boyfriend as not only is he a Recurring Character but he even appeared before Kashiwagi. But we haven't gotten his name at all, the extras only list him as Kashiwagi's boyfriend and nothing else. This changes in chapter 109, when Maki finally reveals his name (with the Narrator stating that after 109 chapters, we finally learn his name). Shirogane and Ishigami lose focus of the conversation due to this fact.
  • Noodle Implements: One of Kaguya's plans involved a tape measurer. We never find out what she was going to measure since Shirogane leaning on her caused a Cuteness Overload.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Ishigami basically tells Maki that her crush will go nowhere if she doesn't act and expects the other party to come confess to her first, and she has even less chances of realizing her love if her crush felt the same way. Shirogane was right behind him as he said all of this, and suddenly felt terrible.
  • Off-Model:
    • Hayasaka is shown with darker hair in chapter 12.
    • Ishigami has six fingers when acting like a villain in chapter 65.
  • Once a Season: The closest manga approximation would be once per volume. Every volume, about 10 chapters, we have a chapter of Kashiwagi and her boyfriend asking the student council for relationship advice. Later chapters have the reverse situation, with Kaguya coming to Kashiwagi for advice instead.
    • Beginning in Chapter 98, Maki has joined the fray, but coming to Shirogane and Ishigami instead.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Chapter 74 for the student council (save Fujiwara), as they all start acting like Shoujo romance characters after reading a sappy shoujo manga. In particular, they note that Ishigami is much more forward with Kaguya even though he can't so much as make eye contact with her in a normal setting.
  • Painting the Medium: Chapter 74's Art Shift accompanied by obnoxiously large ads for other series, as if it was printed in a Shoujo magazine.
  • Parental Neglect: Kaguya's father doesn't show her any sign of affection, while Shirogane's mother left the family when he was young.
  • Pet the Dog: In Chapter 54, Kaguya gives Ishigami her genuine thanks and an IOU after he unknowingly stopped Shirogane's mental assault. As expected, Ishigami is horrified and confused.
  • Popularity Food Chain: Shuchi'in Academy actually has two separate ones, the first being the standard one and the other being determined by the parents' social standing. This means that Shirogane is simultaneously at the very top and the very bottom of the food chain.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Conversed. Chapter 75 has Iino getting the group to do some actual onscreen work after noticing the trend of them not performing their duties while in the council room. They actually do work, but Shirogane points out that she's never around when they work.
  • Playing Hard to Get: The Series. At least the early and middle parts of it; they've since become more honest with themselves, but they're still too stubborn to confess outright.
  • Playing Sick: Meta example with the author feigning sickness to avoid having to draw any gags for the inside cover of Volume 5.
  • Product Placement: The 110th chapter takes a little time out of its day to promote the Young Jump digital app, justifying this with Shirogane being too poor to afford buying anthology manga every week.
  • Power Is Sexy: Discussed by Kaguya. No matter what kind of power a person comes across (wealth, physical, mental, etc.) ultimately she argues that it's the main attraction factor for men. Since they're secure in their field, a woman would feel safe under their care, and feel like they can depend upon them for whatever comes next in their relationship.
  • Pride:
    • Why Kaguya and Shirogane don't confess. They're both so arrogant, they refuse to accept the idea that someone has any form of power over them even something as simple as a crush. Their ideal of dating is the other begging to date them. Later chapters, however, show that this is mostly just an excuse and they're just two awkward teenagers too shy to confess.
    • Also why Ishigami and Miko won't just tell each other what they've done for each other. They have their own version of justice they uphold, and they wouldn't consider their actions selfless if they just hold it over each other's heads.
  • Punny Name: One of the members of the Tabletop Games club is named Gigako. It used to be Terako, but she was demoted.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Some "victories" end up with the winner being in worse condition than the loser. For example, chapter 15 is labelled as Kaguya's loss, despite Shirogane suffering more the entire chapter and ended up fainting. All Kaguya suffered was accidentally getting her breast groped.
  • Reality Ensues: Ishigami's plan to win over Tsubame is essentially to get such a good score on the final exams that everyone notices how intelligent he is, leading into her getting interested in his powerful mind. After weeks of genuine studying and hellish coaching from Kaguya, he finishes twenty places higher than he did on his last exam (which genuinely is impressive for him)...but he still failed, and he's nowhere on the roster for top scores. Remember, this is a boy who wasn't accustomed to studying because he just didn't feel like doing it. This is the best he could do in such a short amount of time.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Kaguya and Shirogane have one on separate occasions from, of all things, a horoscope website. It tells them (based on their birthdays) what their problems and faults exactly are, and that they'd probably never get together if they don't set aside their pride and just ask each other out. On Kaguya's part she just doesn't believe the negative qualities in herself exist, while in Shirogane's case he's just insecure.
    • Hayasaka gives her one in Chapter 64, shutting down her Tsundere "I don't like him at all" line with noting that she probably doesn't considering that if his physical appearance is enough to sway her heart, she's probably very fickle with love. Fujiwara (indirectly) gives her another one, saying that true love is unconditional, regardless of looks.
    • Iino gives one to the whole student body, bringing up their lack of morals and their terrible reputation despite their fantastic grades.
  • Recap Episode: The first half of chapter 11 is basically reiterating what chapter 1 said. It's because the series moved magazines, so the concept needed to be explained again to potential new readers.
  • Running Gag:
    • A shot of Kaguya with a sarcastic smile, looking down and muttering "How cute". They're all also in Shirogane's imaginations and we never see her actually do it. One chapter had the situation reversed, with Kaguya having the condescending delusion instead.
    • Ishigami getting terrified of Kaguya or just being depressed and coming up with excuses to go home for the day.
    • Chapters focusing on end of semester exams will have each character claim something before the next page has the narration claiming "That was a lie!". There will always be one person telling the truth instead.
    • Maki stalking Kashiwagi and her boyfriend.
    • Characters making overly generalized statements, accompanied by a caption box that says "Individual opinions may vary."
    • People refusing Kaguya's offers of cake.
    • Miko walking into the Student Council room at the worst possible time.
  • Sanity Ball: The sanest person in the room varies from chapter to chapter. Usually, it will be whoever is impressed upon during the chapter.
  • Serious Business: Kaguya and Shirogane turns pretty much everything into mind battles, from Old Maid, discussing where to go on vacation, to exchanging LINE ids.
  • School Festival: The sports festival is a big arc for both Ishigami and Iino, since it elaborates on the reason why Ishigami is treated with disdain in school and looks at Iino's middle school years.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Averted with most of the characters, on their days off they wear normal clothes. The only exception is Shirogane which has been lampshaded before.
  • Second Year Protagonist: Kaguya, Shirogane, and Fujiwara are in their second year by the time the series starts. Only Ishigami and Miko are younger than them on the Student Council.
  • Serious Business: One chapter has Kaguya faint and go to the doctor's for examination. Why, you ask? She's come down with a case of lovesickness, much to Hayasaka's complete surprise and embarrassment.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Many chapters end with their mutual defeat, usually thanks to Fujiwara or Kaguya's lack of common sense.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: A lot of readers were uncomfortable by how nice the cheer team was to Ishigami and were worried that their plan to have everyone cross dress for the sports festival was an attempt to embarrass him (not helped by the fact that they all have Hidden Eyes). But by the time the sports festival actually came around, it turned out that they really are that nice and their lack of eyes was a visual representation of how Ishigami reflexively shut everyone out (leading to a heartwarming moment when he finally sees their faces after the relay race).
  • Shipper on Deck: Given the sheer number of people who gathered when a rumor spread that there was going to be a confession, it wouldn't be that much of an exaggeration to say that the entire student body of Shuchi'in Academy ships Shirogane/Kaguya.
    • The principal of Shuuchin tells Kaguya straight to her face that she and Shirogane should be together, and pushes Ishigami and Miko together for one photo.
  • Sibling Triangle: In chapter 39, it's revealed that the president's younger sister also has a crush on Kaguya. Subverted once we learn via Kei's focus chapters that she simply admires Kaguya as a person and as a future sister-in-law.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Chapter 73 is a zigzagged one for Ishigami/Fujiwara. When Shirogane asked about various girls Ishigami likes, he brings up Iino and Kaguya, both of which Ishigami doesn't care for romantically. Then Shirogane brings up Fujiwara, and we're treated to two panels of Ishigami's non-response, with a subtle blush in the second one. He then reacts in horror that he could fall in love with her and refuses to.
    • Another zigzagged case in Chapter 114; while Fujiwara says she wouldn't date Shirogane because she finds him childish, she does blush when she realizes that he hits all her criteria for a good man (i.e. someone who will build himself up and determined enough to not give up on himself).
    • The "Shoujo mindset" affliction on the main cast (sans Fujiwara) in Chapter 74 had Kaguya actually considering Ishigami as not only surprisingly attractive but also as a romantic rival for Shirogane. It also made Ishigami himself get over his usual fear of Kaguya enough to offer to eat a dessert with her actually ask her out to the aquarium.
    • In one of the extra chapters, Ishigami finds himself very fascinated with the girl who looks like Fujiwara in the fanservice manga chapter he's reading, but skips over the Kaguya-lookalike entirely (while Shirogane tried to sneak a peek at her).
    • Shirogane's father tells the kids that running is a guaranteed way into a woman's heart. When Ishigami runs in his team's relay race, the manga puts specific focus on Iino cheering him on.
    • On their character profiles, Ishigami and Iino are labeled the "secret protagonist" and "secret heroine" respectively.
    • The game Aka comes up with gives Iino the ability of "Childish Justice". When Ishigami's ability is used in tandem with hers, it becomes "True Justice"— showing that they bring out the best in each other.
    • The chapter where Iino reveals that she keeps and treasures a mysterious letter she got in middle school has Ishigami as the chapter's title character. Ishigami is barely mentioned and doesn't even appear that chapter, all but stating outright that Iino's Mysterious Benefactor (and the one she holds so dear) is none other than him.
    • When Miko is asked to describe what type of person she's attracted to, she says Sho Hirano, who just so happens to resemble a certain black haired treasurer. She also says the type of man she wants would always look after her, understand her, and come to her rescue when she's in distress, which perfectly sums up her relationship with him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Chapter 15, the cockroach that shows up makes a "JOHJ" sound in reference to the language of the Hyper-Evolved cockroaches from TerraforMARS.
    • Kaguya is holding Umaru's hamster hood at the beginning of chapter 17.
    • Fujiwara was playing Settlers of Catan in the beginning of chapter 29.
    • Fujiwara is playing Pokémon GO in chapter 30. The narration later in the chapter also references the lyrics of Mezase Pokémon Master.
    Hayasaka: STOP PLAYING POKEMON GO!
    • In chapter 58, Kaguya mentions that Hayasaka watches videos of things being crushed in a hydraulic press.
    • Kaguya's gift to Shirogane references the story of Sang Weihan.
    • The saying that "the one who falls in love loses" seems to be a reference to the heroine of Special A, who said the same thing.
    • Miko's Catch-Phrase during the Election Arc was "Make Shuchi'in Great Again".
    • Shirogane and Ishigami are playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in chapter 72.
    • Fujiwara's "Love Detective" hat is the same one that Sera wore in ib: Instant Bullet.
    • The introduction of Kaguya's doctor plays similar to Team Medical Dragon's "Daimyo Procession".
    • At the end of chapter 86, Mr. Shinomiya is referred to as "Karakai Jouzu no Otou-san".
    • The manga has a cameo of Nusret "Salt Bae" Gökçe during Chapter 96.
    • In Chapter 102, we see a LINE sticker of a bunny with a very Pop Team Epicesque vibe.
    • In chapter 109, Ishigami references the #MeToo movement.
    • Fujiwara and her little sister get into a Turf War with some young kids in chapter 2 of Doujin, complete with being drawn in a way that clearly resembles Inklings.
    • After accidentally turning down Shirogane's offer for a date, Kaguya tells Hayasaka to find a way to turn back time. Hayasaka responds with "Who do think I am, Doraemon?"
  • Sick Episode: Chapter 79 has Kaguya fall ill and get sent to the hospital suddenly. As she's loaded into the ambulance, it's stated that that she has the capacity for heart disease given her mother suffered from it. During a checkup at her doctor's office, it's revealed that it wasn't even clinical heart problems that caused her to faint in school this time; it was love sickness.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Fujiwara and her sisters look pretty much the same, the only difference is the obvious age differences.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: As the narrator explains the entire reason behind this war, accompanied by a blushing Kaguya:
    The war of love and brains. The battle where they put their honors and pride and stake. Naturally, reasons like "It would be too embarassing to confess" or "I might get rejected" obviously have nothing to do with it.
  • Survival Mantra: In chapter 44, Kaguya repeats "It's okay" over and over so she doesn't cry after not being allowed to go to the fireworks with her friends.
  • The Talk: Fujiwara ends up having to do this for Kaguya after a hilarious string of Innocent Innuendos.
  • Tempting Fate: When Kaguya and Shirogane inspect all of the sports equipment, Kaguya mentions that the Tug o' War rope is worn down and old, with Shirogane replying that it can "survive another [year]". The next major arc after that chapter was the Sports Festival, and it's unlikely that that's going to go unnoticed... and it doesn't do anything. The rope stays intact through the whole thing.
  • Theme Naming: Everyone important to the plot has a name referencing The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter:
    • Kaguya, Shirogane, Ishigami, Fujiwara, and Iino all reference Kaguya-hime herself and the princes trying to court her.
    • Osaragi and Tsubame reference the gifts sought by Kaguya-hime as part of her impossible tasks to her suitors. In the latter's case, she becomes part of the ongoing saga of "Kaguya Shinomiya's Impossible Requests", deliberately invoking the theme.
    • Mikado Shijo (Maki's brother whose name is featured on the mock exam results) references the suitor who tries to marry Kaguya-hime, Mikado.
    • Ootomo also references one of the suitors, interestingly the same one as Shirogane's.
  • Title Drop: Kaguya's narration reveals that she "Can't Hear the Fireworks" (title for Chapters 44 and 45) because her heart's pounding loud enough for her not to hear anything else while she's busy staring at Shirogane, awestruck at how much he's done for her to get to to see fireworks. Doubles as Close on Title.
  • Tsundere: Both main characters, but Kaguya displays the trait more. She tries to hide it with her graceful demeanor, but she slips into a maiden-in-love when nobody's looking. Both even said the classical "It's not like I like him/her or something!" tsundere line at some points.
  • Twice Shy: Inverted. Both Kaguya and Shirogane are aware of each other's love and want nothing more than to provoke a Love Confession to be the dominant one in the relationship (in a non-sexual way). However, they are entirely unaware of -and can't admit- their own feelings.
  • Uptown Girl: Kaguya is the heiress to one of the richest families in Japan. Shirogane is, while very intelligent, a commoner and his obsession with saving money implies that his family is not that well off. While nothing has come of their infatuation yet in the school since most students are too afraid of Shirogane to say anything, it remains to be seen what problems will arise, given how Kaguya's family often looks down on common traditions let alone common people.
  • Voodoo Shark: Played for Laughs. The reason that Shirogane is able to be a licensed appraiser of chickens is because the story takes place in an alternate history where the tale of the bamboo cutter is real (among other things).
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 111 reveals that Shirogane plans to study abroad following graduation, giving the pair a very limited deadline to confess their feelings for each other. The story describes this as the real war of love and brains beginning.
  • Wham Line: Shirogane gives one at the end of chapter 111.
    ''The last day of the culture festival. If Shinomiya hasn't confessed by then, I will confess to her.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Shirogane is extremely terrified of insects. Of course, one chapter has him dealing with a cockroach.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Chapter 88 finally tells the full story of why Ishigami was ostracized.
  • Win-Win Ending: Chapter 47 ends in this as Kaguya was successful in her plan to copy Shirogane's elective, so they would be in a class together, which was both their goals.
  • Yakuza Princess: The president of the Astronomy Club. She's given as one of the examples of how dangerous club budget meetings can be for an "Impure" like Shirogane.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Shirogane is blond and Fujiwara has silver hair despite being Japanese. Lampshaded in Shirogane's character profile.
    "His hair color is merely manga artistic expression. He is fully Japanese."
  • You Need to Get Laid: With all of the sexual tension and constant longing for Shirogane, Hayasaka explicitly tells Kaguya this almost word for word in Chapter 71.

Result of today's battle:
(Due to spending too much time on TV Tropes)
TROPER'S LOSS

Alternative Title(s): Kaguya Wants To Be Confessed To, Kaguya Sama Wa Kokurasetai

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