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S03E01, specifically Chapter 117


We see that both Kaguya and Miyuki (Shirogane) appear to be equally matched:

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But they're actually just pulling punches:

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Kaguya of course wins and then is known as 'muscle queen(/monarch)'. But from what I understand, Kaguya should've already been known as 'muscle queen(/monarch)' a long time ago. If anything Kaguya should've been excluded from this tournament because it's obvious Kaguya would win. Here's why I think so:

  1. Kaguya knows martial arts and has even easily flipped Miyuki in S02E09 (the routine episode), where it's also said that Kaguya is 1st dan aikido and 2nd dan judo.

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  1. Kaguya does archery (as even pointed out in the episode [besides of course in the s2 intro]).

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  1. Kaguya is even given the left hand/arm 'handicap'. (I'm assuming everyone else here is right-handed or ambidextrous, at least for arm wrestling.)

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Question 1:

Why is no one wondering why Kaguya does not immediately beat Miyuki? Or is Miyuki actually capable of taking on Kaguya?


Question 2:

In particular, why doesn't Chika (Fujiwara) wonder (assuming Miyuki indeed isn't capable)?

Actually, Chika knows that Miyuki, while not unfit, isn't necessarily the most athletic/coordinated such as in the volleyball episode (S01E05) and the Sōran Bushi dance episode (S02E10). From S01E05:

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Now, we've seen in the pilot/premiere that the narrator has described Chika as unaware to mutual attraction of Kaguya and Miyuki...

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...but we've seen in the post-birthday part of S02E02 that Chika is smart enough to make reasonable conjectures/deductions about that either could be attracted to the other.

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This makes me think Chika of all (the 3 other) people (in the room) would've thought something's up.

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    I'm not sure of the question, you are asking if people should think Kaguya > Shirogane based on the facts you mention?
    – sundowner
    Apr 11 at 3:15
  • @sundowner Not just > but >>, like landslide. Arguably you might say my question is wrong and that I should ask why they even have this contest or why Kaguya is even included. Anyway, I edited post to hopefully be clearer. Thanks for asking.
    – BCLC
    Apr 11 at 18:50
  • This is likely being downvoted for being unclear. The parenthetical part in the question title is not very helpful, and I would just remove it. This question really doesn't have much to do with Yu, since he did in fact lose quite handily, and putting that in there just makes it confusing. I think the title is okay other than that (it could perhaps be improved, but it isn't necessary). All the pictures in your question are kind of overwhelming to be honest, and they hide your question. If you feel they're necessary and don't want to change that, that's fine. I'm just letting you know. Apr 12 at 18:35

1 Answer 1

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Suspension of Disbelief

First off, it sounds like this episode broke your suspension of disbelief. In this case, characters behaved in a manner so contrary to how you view them, you couldn't help but view it as some kind of author error. Frankly, there's no getting your suspension of disbelief back, as it's something that has to be maintained during viewing of a work. As I have to answer objectively based on how the characters did behave and not on how you expected them to behave, I can only answer this question by being an apologist for the episode, using the best reasoning I can put forth. However, know that I very much sympathize, as I too have encountered such situations as my suspension of disbelief has been shattered.

Answer

The outcome in a match between Kaguya and Shirogane is not as obvious as you'd think, particularly to these spectators. It's true that Kaguya has built up a good deal of strength from archery and martial art, but Shirogane is by no means unfit, as you've shown. He rides his bike to school each day, and he can be good at sports, if he puts in the Herculean effort necessary. Arm wrestling also appears to not be a competition where his lack of coordination comes into play.

Add into this that human males are naturally stronger than females, and the spectators would have trouble guessing who'd win. A belief in this is displayed by Fujiwara, Ishigami,and Shirogane in this episode. First when Fujiwara asks Ishigami what kind of man he is when he's struggling to carry a bunch of stuff, and second when Ishigami and Shirogane separately state they wouldn't lose to girls in bouts of strength. Fujiwara's belief that males are stronger is only shown implicitly, but Ishigami and Shirogane's proclamations are fairly explicit. We can infer then, that these three will use this belief when calculating who will win a match. Fujiwara will, of course, also take other things into consideration, while Shirogane and Ishigami probably won't since they're fairly confident in this belief.

Next to consider, is when Kaguya and Shirogane are battling it out, they appear to be evenly matched. Of course, we know they were both simply stalling so they could hold each other's hands longer, but the spectators don't know this and are awed by their apparently epic match. Thus, whatever their preconceived notions, Ishigami and Fujiwara truly do believe Kaguya and Shirogane are evenly matched here, because that's what they're seeing.

With all that being said, Kaguya easily defeats Shirogane when she panics about her hands being sweaty. Whether this is from a burst of adrenaline helping her or because she truly did have vastly superior strength all along is unclear.

Also consider that arm wrestling is not entirely about strength. The show even acknowledges this by how Fujiwara tries to cheat by changing her hand position when battling Shirogane. Strategy can come into play, which is something Shirogane and Kaguya are both good at, and thus the outcome is not obvious. See for example: https://www.coachmag.co.uk/exercises/sport-workouts/1552/win-armwrestling

Addendum

To address what you said in the comments about whether Kaguya should even be included:

This battle is very much framed as boys versus girls, thus Fujiwara would have no problem whatsoever including Kaguya despite her apparent edge, because that's advantageous to her side. And Shirogane and Ishigami have overestimated themselves because their opponents are girls, so they wouldn't object either. In fact, it would be rather shameful for them to object. Due to their masculine pride (that might be a strong phrase for these two, but you get the point), they could never say Kaguya is stronger than them and thus shouldn't be allowed to participate.

Manga Version

The manga version does not offer much differences in terms of what happens, but it does offer something helpful at the end: a list of the character's power levels in MP (muscle points).

Men's Average: 60 MP

Women's Average : 40 MP

Shirogane : 64 MP

Kaguya: 62 MP

Ishigami: 55 MP

Fujiwara: 54 MP

Iino: 21 MP

As we can see, the manga actually states that Shirogane is stronger than Kaguya. Thus, while Kaguya did overcome the average male strength level, the work Shirogane put in and his natural strength put him over her by two MP. This means their match actually would be pretty evenly matched.

Some other parts in the manga also support my points.

  1. Adrenaline may have been involved. While Shirogane and Kaguya are struggling, Fujiwara states, "They're oversecreting adrenaline... their muscle powers have surpassed human limitations!" Note that this does not prove Kaguya won because she got a burst of adrenaline, because that's not what Fujiwara is referring to here. I only point it out because it shows the author was thinking about adrenaline, so it could be the case then. Kaguya's final push does get an additional detail in the manga though: A note stating "A surprise attack!" is there. This might suggest the reason Shirogane lost was because he wasn't expecting Kaguya to get serious so suddenly.
  2. The spectators truly believe the two are evenly matched. In the manga, it seems to me their reactions to the incredible bout are even more exaggerated. In addition to her above comment, Fujiwara also states all of this:

This is bad... Look at their cheeks! They're so flushed! They're oversecreting adrenaline... their muscle powers have surpassed human limitations! If they continue to wrestle, they might seriously do permanent damage to their arms! Their careers will be cut short... the longer they arm wrestle!

Miko Iino believes Fujiwara, asking the competitors,

There's so much work left to do for the culture festival! Why are you competing so hard?!

Even Ishigami says,

Neither of them is budging an inch. This is a battle of pride!

None of them seems to suspect anything is up with Kaguya and Shirogane, and they don't get anywhere close to suspecting the two are deliberately stalling. Instead, they're all taking this battle with deadly seriousness, to comical effect.

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  • Wait, before I address the other points. What do you mean with 'particularly to these spectators', 'A belief in this is displayed by Fujiwara, Ishigami,and Shirogane in this episode', and 'Ishigami and Fujiwara truly do believe' ? That's exactly what I'm asking about. I'm saying that I think those spectators are wrong to think such. Do you get what I mean?
    – BCLC
    Apr 12 at 0:42
  • @BCLC Perhaps I explained poorly. Fujiwara asks Ishigami, "Aren't you ashamed to call yourself a man?" This implicitly displays a belief that males are stronger than females, and that Ishigami isn't living up to this belief. Thus in her mind, Kaguya's strength training might balance out with Shirogane's natural strength, and she wouldn't necessarily believe Shirogane is massively outmatched. Shirogane's problem with sports is his lack of coordination. That doesn't come into play here, since arm wrestling is so simple. Apr 12 at 15:00
  • @BCLC Additionally, what Fujiwara witnesses is a close match. At that point, it doesn't matter what she believed beforehand, because she has to believe what she's seeing. It simply doesn't cross her mind that Kaguya and Shirogane are deliberately stalling. Apr 12 at 15:01

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