Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 3 is one of the most exciting 2022 anime releases. For the past few years, the manga and anime have won over many fans with their romantic drama, hilarious school antiques and quirky narrator. But what is the best way to describe the show? Some viewers are surprised to see the school romance classified as seinen. So, is Kaguya-sama: Love Is War seinen?
About Seinen Anime
Seinen anime are works that have adult viewers, particularly men, as their target demographic. A seinen work can, and often will be more mature than a shonen anime; for instance, at times featuring violence and nudity as is the case with works like Elfen Lied and Berserk.
This, however, doesn't always have to be the case. After all, 'seinen' is not a genre. Rather, the word describes the demographic a manga or anime is marketed towards. Of course, that, too, isn't set in stone, as many women enjoy seinen, while shonen and shojo also have adult fans.
As such, a seiner anime can be a fantasy, action, or mystery work, but it's very likely to be a comedy or romance too!
Is Kaguya-sama: Love is War Seinen?
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is marketed as a seinen manga and anime, even though the story's setting and themes aren't the first that come to mind when thinking of seinen works. If anything, the description and the main characters' ages, would tempt a newcomer to classify Kaguya-sama as a shojo anime.
So, let's break this down a bit; as we've mentioned above, 'seinen' and 'shojo' are demographics, rather than genres; though, of course, it has become traditional for anime targeted at speciportrayingfic groups of people to have a particular set of aesthetics and characteristics.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War might have traditional shojo elements, being a high school anime with a female protagonist, but, while Kaguya and Miyuki's romance is a central element of the plot, it doesn't take the traditional shoujo route. Rather than realistically portraying two young people's first love in a way teenage audiences might relate to, Kaguya-sama focuses much more on mind games and meta-criticism by the show's quirky narrator - almost a character in his own right.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War's references, moreover, make it a more demanding work than you might initially suspect. It is absolutely fine to enjoy it without knowing The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter given how fun and digestible the show is, but the rich subtext is likely to make the show more appealing to adults who would otherwise dismiss the show as another school romance.
And, of course, as the story progresses, especially in the manga, darker and more mature elements are introduced, making Kaguya-sama less of a light-hearted romance. Kaguya Shinomiyia might initially seem like a spoiled upper-class teenager, but we later find out that she is seriously struggling, as her family is abusive and controlling, and refuses to accept her own choices about her future. Ultimately, her struggle to break free is as important as her relationship with Miyuki, if not more so.
Once again, the above elements aren't limited to seinen works, nor do they mean that overlap is not possible. Moreover, Kaguya-sama might still be appealing to viewers who are closer in age to the main characters, since the show is mostly light-hearted and not particularly explicit. However, its subtext and occasionally dark themes mean that it's just as likely to appeal to older viewers, hence its classification as seinen.