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Manga

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  • The names of several characters are references to the Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.
  • In Chapter 15, the cockroach that shows up makes a "JOHJ" sound in reference to the language of the Hyper-Evolved cockroaches from TerraforMARS.
  • The same chapter features Shirogane using what he calls the "Karma Akabane technique" of biting his tongue til it bleeds. In this case, it's used so he doesn't pass out when he sees an cockroach, rather than the pain not allowing him to be stunned like how Karma used it.
  • 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!
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  • The Fanservice-spoofing bonus chapters 64.5 and 84.5 are titled Kaguya-sama: Love is War Darkness.
  • The student who runs against Shirogane and Miko in the Student Council elections is named Hayato Hongo, a reference to the original Kamen Riders Takeshi Hongo and Hayato Ichimonji (his name even uses the same kanji as theirs).
  • 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.
  • Shirogane and Ishigami are playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in Chapter 72, with Shirogane playing as Link.
  • Fujiwara's "Love Detective" hat is the same one that Sera wore in ib: Instant Bullet.
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  • The introduction of Kaguya's doctor plays similar to Team Medical Dragon's "Daimyo Procession".
  • At the end of Chapter 86, Mr. Shirogane 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 Epic-esque vibe.
  • In Chapter 109, Ishigami references the #MeToo movement.
  • In Chapter 110, Ishigami explains to Shirogane why a mangaka sometimes takes a break. Shirogane then praises Ishigami for his knowledge:
    Shirogane: You know everything when it comes to manga, huh?
    Ishigami: I don't know everything about manga. I just know what I know.
  • 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?"
  • Gigako wears a Spetsnaz Helmet in Chapter 116.
  • Two of the girls in the cosplay cafe dress as Hatsune Miku and IA. Other cosplays during the event included Marisa Kirasame and Haruhi Suzumiya.
  • The Phantom Thief who stole all the heart-shaped balloons in Chapter 129 left a calling card referring to themselves as Arsene. Of course, the name wasn't chosen because of the reference, but rather what it translated to.
  • In Chapter 131, the fortune teller Yume is a direct reference to The Witch from ib: Instant Bullet.
  • In Chapter 149, the cast is shown playing Scotland Yard.
  • When Osaragi is discussing different types of female otakus in Chapter 158, furries are represented by Renamon. The Harry Potter franchise is also mentioned by name.
  • When Ishigami begins to exercise regularly, Fujiwara, in her shock, asks him if he got the idea from watching an anime. How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?'s adaptation aired just before the time of that chapter's release, which equally got a lot of otaku exercising.
  • The Tabletop Gaming Club's winter vacation chapter has Erika (in Japanese) simultaneously saying that they're a trio of psychopaths while also commenting that their imagined crime ring feels more like Psycho-Pass.
  • In Chapter 174, Ishigami takes out Ring Fit Adventure to play and Iino mentions that she watched Tsukino Mito and Otogibara Era play it.
  • In Chapter 191, when the topic of Virtual YouTubers is brought up again, one of the example pictures shows Kiryu Coco hosting "HiruCoco" and talking about Inugami Korone.
  • Ishigami is shown playing Apex Legends in Chapter 198.
  • Fujiwara mentions playing Among Us in Chapters 218-219.
  • In Chapter 225 Hikaru Oobayashi is playing Shadowverse while talking to Kaguya. The chapter was released while there was a Kaguya-sama collaboration event in the game.
  • Chapter 228 is pretty much all about the Discord App, and brings up Apex Legends again.
  • Chapter 229 continues the Apex Legends references by having Iino give it a try with Papa Shirogane. GoldenEye is also mentioned.

Doujin Edition

  • In Chapter 1, Ishigami uses hand signals to tell Fujiwara "Pantsu maru mieru" (I can see your panties), just like Jean Pierre Polnareff.
  • Fujiwara and her little sister get into a Turf War with some young kids in Chapter 2, complete with being drawn in a way that clearly resembles Inklings.
  • Chapter 13, being about a "Freaky Friday" Flip, naturally references Your Name, and even implies that Miko ended up swapping bodies with Mitsuha.
  • In Chapter 27, Nagatoro can be seen offering her senpai some Valentine's Day chocolate.

Anime

Season 1

  • The anime adaptation of Chapter 28 references, of all things, a Trivago ad.
  • When the narrator is talking about summer vacation plans in episode 10, a shot of some boys playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the Student Council as playable characters can be seen. An earlier scene also has a classic Batman (1966) scene transition, but with Fujiwara's head on a sunflower instead of the bat signal.
  • Episode 2 of the anime changes Shirogane's dialogue ever so slightly from the manga to sneak in a line from Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari.
  • Episode 8 adds in a reference to Joe's death scene from Tomorrow's Joe while Kaguya is helping Ishigami study.

Season 2

  • The scene of Fujiwara, Ishigami, Iino, and Osaragi walking in the opening was inspired by the band Music/Madness 's Nutty Train, specifically from their an 80s Honda commercials
  • The cover for the CD of the opening theme has the student council all wearing mouse ear headbands. Kaguya in particular has Mickey Mouse ears.
  • Episode 13:
    • There is a scene where the members of the student council are depicted as trains. Ishigami is represented by a blue steam engine.
    • Hayasaka parodies the fuse-lighting sequence from Mission: Impossible.
  • Episode 14:
    • When Kei is describing how her brother is at home, he's depicted as looking like Umaru.
    • Kaguya's mental court battle naturally includes several iconic Ace Attorney poses, including the finger pointing.
  • Episode 16:
  • Since Season 2 was released in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, the English subtitles for Episode 17 add in a couple of references to Social Distancing (though fan backlash resulted in them removing it).
  • When Kaguya and Shirogane are thinking about the suspension bridge effect in Episode 20, there's a visual reference to the Ashes of Ariandel DLC from Dark Souls III.
  • Episode 21:
  • At the end of the Soran Bushi sketch in Episode 22, Fujiwara is seen imitating Stevie Wonder.
  • The Imagine Spot of Ishigami being chased by the balloon in Episode 24 is a reference to Rover from The Prisoner (1967).
  • The booklet for Season 2's Blu-ray disc contains a 4-koma where Iino and Osaragi discuss Osaragi's Opaque Nerd Glasses. Osaragi uses them to deliberately appear uglier and repel unwanted suitors, which is why she calls them "Mystic Eye Killers".

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