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Volume 14 of Kaguya-sama: Love is War opens with the beginning of the culture festival! A time for classes to show off their creative side, and for students to mingle and have fun. It’s also a time for students to confess their love to each other! If there was ever a time for Kaguya or Miyuki to make a move, it’s now.
Turns out they’re not alone in making a love confession. Yu has a crush on Tsubame and has no idea how to tell her. On top of that, he has no way of knowing whether or not Tsubame is dating the squad leader. Fortune smiles upon Yu however and Kobashi casually mentions that she is dating the squad leader!
Reinvigorated by this knowledge, Yu vows to work up the courage to ask Tsubame out. The two explore the culture festival before ending up at a shooting game with a giant heart-shaped cookie as the big prize. Tsubame mentions how she’d love a cookie like that, so Yu wins it as his prize and gives it to her.
For those unaware of the tradition, giving someone a heart at a culture festival is a big deal. It’s the most prominent way to confess your love to someone. Unfortunately for Yu, he is totally oblivious to this tradition, and is therefore unaware of the literal love bomb he just dropped on Tsubame. In response to this unintentional, but blatant love confession, Tsubame accepts the cookie and blurts out that she needs to think things over before running away.
Incidentally, Tsubame bumps into Kaguya, and begins telling her how some guy confessed his love to her and she isn’t sure how to respond. Without a name of the guy, Kaguya immediately assumes it is someone other than Yu, because there’s no way he’d confess that fast. Trying to act as Yu’s wingman, Kaguya immediately begins talking down the guy who asked Tsubame out, telling the upperclassman that she needs to reject this guy outright. When Tsubame asks Kaguya if she’ll comfort Yu after she rejects them, Kaguya realizes her fatal error. She quickly backpedals, and convinces Tsubame to wait on giving Yu an answer until she gets to know him better.
Speaking of Kaguya, she is on a mission to give her heart (literally and figuratively) to Miyuki. Of course, with Kaguya there’s no direct way of doing anything. Kaguya calculates every risk, certain of the outcome. Unfortunately for Kaguya, she flusters easily, so every plan she tries goes down in flames.
She tries (unsuccessfully) to sneak a heart to Miyuki in some takoyaki, but the rest of the student council eats the non-heart pieces. Then, she tries to get Miyuki to make her a balloon heart, only to find out she must trade a heart of her own in return. Just when it seems like she’ll shyly hand over her heart, she slams down some yen instead.
All of these instances pale in comparison to the fortune teller they go to. Not only does the fortune teller foresee the two being a perfect match, but the duo have a date with destiny. Literally, that day is the day something magical will happen that will change their relationship forever.
After the session, Miyuki tells Kaguya his mind is made up and whisks her off to the student council office. As Kaguya prepares to hear Miyuki’s love confession, he delivers some devastating news. Miyuki was accepted to Stanford and is going to skip a year to study abroad.
Y’all, I about threw my tablet when I got to that last page. I was tricked, bamboozled even. We were SO close and everything up until that moment was PERFECT! I felt my heart drop when Miyuki said he’d be studying abroad. I mean, good on Aka Akasaka for pulling the rug out from under all our feet, but man, am I bummed.
In terms of the story, volume 13 of Kaguya-sama: Love is War is perfect. The setup for each romantic encounter that Yu, Miyuki, and Kaguya have is perfect. Each storyline flows seemlessly into the next chapter. This flow makes staying immersed in the manga easy.
It also helps that the more serious or romantic moments are offset by hilarious ones. One shining example is when Chika’s younger sister is touring the student council office. Chika’s sister mentions how much she likes Miyuki and how she wants to date him, all for reasons ranging from petty to smutty. This catches both Chika’s and Kaguya’s attention I’m very different ways.
For Chika, she is horrified that her sister would like someone who has made her own life so difficult. For Kaguya, it’s the threat of competition. Kaguya’s feelings of rage are quickly snuffed out when she realizes that she finally has someone to gush about Miyuki with. I guess it’s a win in the end?
We also get to see some awkward and hilarious moments that Kaguya finds herself in during the festival. One such instance occurs with our friend, the Ramen Shop Guy. Seemingly on the search for more of “his people”, the ones who appreciate the work that goes into preparing a good cup of tea, he ends up at Kaguya’s table. She blows him away with her mastery of preparing and the pouring tea, so much so that he loudly declares that her method has been perfected for her true love. He casually mentions the last part as Miyuki walks in. Perfect timing.
There’s also some fun moments between Kaguya and Hayasaka when they’re getting ready for the cafe. Kaguya, seeing Hayasaka in her maid uniform, is surprised that she “isn’t in costume”. Hayasaka quickly reminds Kaguya that she has no idea what Kaguya is talking about, quickly causing Kaguya to backpedal, lest she reveal their connection outside of school. This moment is followed by several deadpan deliveries of snide remarks towards Kaguya. Hayasaka’s blunt responses and monotone delivery, combined with Kaguya’s sputtering really elevates this particular section in terms of comedy.
In case you haven’t figured it out, I loved this manga. I love how complex the relationships are getting, the light and heavy moments the characters find themselves in, and everything in between. I’m eagerly awaiting my chance to check out volume 14, and I highly encourage you check out this volume in the meantime!