Kannagi has its ups and downs. The story iteslef is good, but it feels like so many other harem anime. The childhood friend who loves him secretly, and all these other girls around fall for him as she watches, but never does anything about her feelings. Toward the end the story takes a dive, imo. like they had to come up with something quick to end the series, which is what happens way to much in anime
I'd heard about Kannagi thanks to Sankaku Complex. It piqued my interest since it had something to do with Japanese myth and being a big fan of any sort of mythology, I went to go take a look and see.
What I found was a fanservice anime that wins my award for OVERHYPED SERIES OF THE YEAR.
Kannagi is supposedly about a goddess who appears in the human world because a human carved a statue out of the sacred tree. Now she has to live with said human. Think a far shallower version of Aa Megami-sama.
None of the characters are memorable and neither is the plot. As I write this review, I'm scrambling for any Kannagi related memory at all. The entire plot seemed pasted on and the entire thing about Nagi battling these shadow... things seemed to happen just when the writers remembered she had to do these things. if you came looking for a slice of life anime with a sprinkling of supernatural qualities, prepare to be disappointed.
You'll learn more about the characters in the extra karaoke episode than the entire series combined. It's almost as if they hired a different writer than the rest of the series.
Don't recommend this to your friends unless they're raging perverts... or if you don't wanna be friends anymore.
Contrary to what some may think from reading the synopsis, there is actually less plot involved in Kannagi than you think. While there is a loose underlying theme and storyline, the bulk of the series focuses on comedy and humor, with just a touch of drama added in here and there. This is by no means a negative aspect of Kannagi, as it still finds its niche as your standard comedy flick with characters that you can attach to; they're developed sufficiently, though perhaps not to the extent seen in many drama animes out there. And while there are a few moments in the anime that can mislead the viewer's expectations of what is to come next, namely the beginning, the story eventually balances out and becomes focused mostly on a variety of forms of humor.
On the other hand, Kannagi does feature a bit of dramatic development at the beginning and towards the end of the series, and viewers who latch onto those aspects of the storyline may interpret the anime as a drama with a bunch of comedy filler in-between. It really depends on the viewer's interpretation of the anime as whether it's primarily a comedy or a drama. In my case, I find the anime's blend of the two genres balanced and enjoyable.
STORY & CHARACTERS
Kannagi is a little deceptive kind of series: it may look like fantasy at first yet soon it turns out a harem/moe comedy with insignificant fantasy elements, and well, it isn't nearly as good as some people make it out to be:
- first, the major part of the "plot" is something K-On-like: endless dialogues about nothing at the pace of a crippled snail. I don't know about you but I consider it a boring waste of time;
- second, the "story" at the core is a generic harem with your cookie-cutter boy-protagonist who allows a girl to live at his place because he (SURPRISE!) lives alone, and how that girl and two other girls compete for his attention. That's the base, and the authors apparently try to add some other aspects to make the "story" less typical yet that eventually turns the "plot" into a total illogical mess. First, it starts as fantasy with the heroine taking on a duty to destroy some shadow creatures because it's supposed to be a purpose of a goddess - to protect the land from the negative energy those creatures are made of; then this mission suddenly gets abandoned and she starts rivaling another goddess for popularity, making the show a parody on pop-idols; then this plotline also gets abandoned with no conclusion and the anime shows several comedy fillers; and then out of nowhere it becomes a serious drama. None of those parts are logically connected, and nothing gets solved by the end. Overall, it looks as if the scriptwriter was drunk and mixed scripts for 5 different series;
- third, the only outstanding character is Nagi - the female lead who greatly reminds me of Holo from Spice & Wolf: she's cute, very likeable and lots of fun to follow. The other characters aren't nearly as interesting and memorable since they are only some shallow otaku stereotypes.
All in all, my experience with this "story" & characters might be described as boredom with occasional sparks of entertainment when Nagi comes into play with her tricks & shenanigans. Basically, she's the main attraction of the show and the only aspect I really enjoyed about it.
ANIMATION & SOUND
The animation utilizes fitting color palette and shows nice fluency of motion. In general, it's good but not really something to brag about. As for the sound department, the voice-acting is quite remarkable, especially when it comes to Nagi who speaks in some old dialect: not only it sounds rather amusing but it also might be interesting to Japanese speakers. Sadly, the musical score doesn't match the voice-acting: it's bland and absolutely forgettable except for the ending song.
The series might be enjoyable if you're ok with the extremely slow pace and the numerous plot issues it has (in other words: if you don't care whether your anime is exciting and makes any common sense). As for me, I personally like the comedy fillers, e.g. the one where Nagi locks herself up in the closet is very funny indeed. However, the rest of the show is pretty boring and nonsensical.