Destiny of the Shrine Maiden

Alt title: Kannazuki no Miko

TV (12 eps)
TNK
2004
Fall 2004
3.182 out of 5 from 4,528 votes
Rank #4,700

Gentle Himeko and reserved Chikane were born into very different backgrounds, but still became the best of friends. Their fates, they would soon come to discover, are intertwined in a fashion that they can't possibly imagine -- they are the reincarnations of two priestesses who once sealed the god of darkness Orochi in their past lives. Set to revive again, his giant robot-riding agents have set out to destroy the girls, one of whom is Himeko's friend who is in love with her. Riddled with memories of their past lives, the two try to survive long enough to cast the seal on Orochi again...

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DistMan
9

StoryThe story revolves mainly around two girls: one is Himeko, a quiet insecure crybaby, and the other is Chikane, a graceful confident and capable, albeit quiet, person. These two share the same destiny, for they are the Sun and Moon priestesses who have the role of protecting humanity against the evil Orochi and his eight henchmen (who want nothing more than to drown the earth in darkness). The story is quite simple, but also complicated. Here we have two priestesses, and they are to protect the world from evil persons who have some sort of mecha that they can call on during fights. What they are or how they work isn’t explained at all and the mechas end up feeling out of place in this show. Something more along the lines of spiritual power or magic would’ve been more suited in this show. The complicated part is the relationships. It appears that there is a lot more than meets the eye regarding this theme and it isn’t just about two priestesses protecting the world. Chikane, who holds Himeko more dear than anything in the world has developed feelings of genuine love for her -- yes, this show has its piece of shoujo-ai. This brings us to the third main-character, Oogami, who is the male version of Chikane when it comes to handsomeness and capabilities. He has feelings for Himeko as well and this brings up quite an interesting love triangle: what does Himeko feel? "The most dangerous man is the one who has nothing left to lose". Take away a person’s most valued things, rip apart dreams and fantasies, induce a little bit of "what-if" reality and give the person in question a little bit of power and you have created a merciless monster. This is taken to its limit in this show and I loved every moment of it. It’s not that I like senseless violence, but rathe,r how a character can change if all hope is lost. I liked this show from episode one. I’m, frankly speaking, a sucker for these kind of shows and I didn’t think I’d find something which resembled "Yami to boushi to hon no tabibito" even remotely in a while. The elements of this show are not original by themselves. We have seen priestess shows, shoujo-ai, strange mechas, love triangles & Co before, but I have certainly not seen all of these brought together into one show. It works unexpectedly well and the story is fairly unpredictable with twists and turns. BUT, 12 episodes were too short to explain the bits and pieces in this show. They had a lot of things going, but only a couple of things were thoroughly explained. The show is fairly well executed with an even tempo and story build up. The ending section was one of the greatest things with this show; it spans over three episodes, which is a lot for a 12 episode series. I’m not complaining -- I liked it immensely and it left me with a feeling of satisfaction once the show was over. This doesn’t, however, remove the fact that the show should’ve been longer. AnimationThe visuals are clear and crisp and the character designs are fairly generic, and look like most other modern shows within this genre. There is a bit of CG in this show that was integrated nicely into the 2D animation. The character designs fit the character roles really well.SoundThe OP and ED themes were amongst the best I’ve heard in a while. Kotoko performs a couple of catchy J-pop/techno like tunes with lots of ambient sound going. I ended up basically watching every OP and ED sequence of this show; I simply couldn’t get enough of these tunes. The in-show song, also by Kotoko, which is played once is of a more progressive techno character and certainly fits the scene well. The general background music in the show is of a more quieter character and is composed of classical music. The choice of music is good and fits the mood – scene – set mood. The voice actors are good and perform well and really make these characters come alive. CharactersThis section is definitely a mixed bag. Chikane and Himeko’s relationship is well explained and at times we see flashbacks that explain their backgrounds. None of the characters have their background individually explained, except for Oogami whom we get to know a little bit about. The relationship between Chikane and Oogami isn’t explained either which makes it hard to fully understand the way they act towards each other. This is the weak point. Backgrounds aside, the strong point of this show is the character interactions during the time the show plays out. The main character cast of this show certainly evolves throughout the show. The interaction between Chikane and Himeko (and Oogami) is the strong point and is handled superbly. I felt a lot of empathy towards these characters. I’d love to give more than 7.5 here, but the lack of character backgrounds take away a bit of the overall viewing experience. OverallThis is a love or hate show, and I loved every single moment of it. A lot of things happen throughout the show and it goes from a lighthearted romance to a very dark emotionally cruel piece. I will probably rewatch this show in the future, and if nothing else I’ll rewatch the final part of the show which is one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while, even more so when I think of how emotional it got – and I like emotional shows, especially when I feel empathic towards the characters. This show has gotten itself a special place on my favorite list. It’s got its weaknesses, and at times the plot gets downright silly, but I like it as a whole.

xMaster
9

ADVISORY: Destiny of the Shrine Maiden (Kannazuki no Miko) is a series that features mature subject matter. I would not reccomend the show be watched by anyone under the age of 16. I'd say 17 just to be sure. It is most definetly not for young children. This is a show I should have never enjoyed. A show that had such a weird case of false advertising it wasn't even funny. With a theme song by KOTOKO and mecha, what could have gone wrong? Easy. A lot of things. Destiny of the Shrine Maiden, or Kannazuki no Miko (Preistesses of the Godless Month) is a show based on the manga by the duo Kaishaku. Yes, the same Kaishaku that brought the world things like Steel Angel Kurumi and UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie. I came in expect a Super Robot show with music by KOTOKO and being based on a manga. What I got was more of a love story with loveable characters, incredible music and an all star voice cast on both sides of the Pacific with some mecha (midly awesome mecha designs too!) thrown in on the side. Now; when I say lovable characters, I mean it. Even though the show was only 12 episodes long, over the course of the plot, I saw characters develop, redevelop and develop again.One of the main leads in this show, Chikane Himemiya(CV: Ayako Kawasumi/ VA: Michelle Ruff) is a prime example. Chikane is one of the two main protagnists of the show and it shows. If anyone develops, it's Chikane. She's the every-girl. The girl every guy wants to date, the star athlete, the brainiac. Her relationship with our other main heroine, Himeko Kurusugawa (CV: Noriko Shitaya/ VA: Stephanie Sheh), a unconfident and shy schoolgirl, does show in the later half on our extradonairy levels. Over the course of the show, Chikane begins to like Himeko more and more. Yes, I mean that "kind" of like. This show has a boat load of yuri material. But that's beside the point. Himeko eventually becomes the most important person in Chikane's life. To that point, the girl gets the girl. The complete opposite of what I was expecting. My only complaint of this relationship was the later half of Episode 8. It was excessive. That's all there is to it. From stunning visuals (for a 2004 series) to the astonishing soundtrack by KOTOKO, lovable characters and a plot that explores Japanese mythology to true love, no matter the gender, Destiny of the Shrine Maiden is a show worth watching. Don't take reviews or my word for it. Check it out and see for yourself. Opinions may differ as some people call this show crap and others say it's decent. I found myself midly enjoying myself.   Overall, Destiny of the Shrine Maiden recieves my thumbs up. Well, swords up. Get it? Swords. Shrine. Maiden. Robots. Nevermind.                Boot to the head on anyone's thoughts but my own! V Destiny of the Shrine Maiden is avaliable streaming online from The Anime Network in English or Japanese Audio (Subscriber-only). The DVDs have been released as a box set by Sentai Filmworks.

ThatAnimeSnob
5.5

Ah, Kannazuki no Miko (KNM), what a ride that was. I am into anime since early 80’s and I got to live through all kinds of fads, even before the internet era. This happens to be a show that created a sort of tsunami when it first aired, because yuri anime were still rare back then and the weird blend of mecha with lesbianism and mysticism made many to believe it was the greatest thing ever conceived. Of course a few years later all the lackluster faded away, and so did the interest in this show. You see, it didn’t need much for the greatest anime era of all times to come along (2006-2007) which offered a mountain of REALLY good shows. Comparing them to KNM was like the Hanging Gardens next to a flower pot. And that is what is was actually, a small flowerpot which instead of one flower sprouting on it, it actually had three (mecha, lesbianism, mysticism). Needless to say, it felt special only because most of the fandom has no idea of good storytelling (as usual), knows no similar (and better) shows, and bites the premise and spits pacing and quality like they are unneeded elements. Sorry to disappoint them but I am not an idiot.Seriously, I never liked this show, neither was ever part of the fan club, even back when everybody wanted to part of a group and this was the hottest title yet. Because I learned to appreciate the finer things in a show and not the superficial exterior, a thing which makes KNM look like a huge coconut with an extremely thick exterior and very little juice inside. But allow me to be more specific. The story of KNM is about two teenage lesbian shrine maidens in need to prevent an eight-headed snake from destroying the world, through the use of magic and huge robots, while battling each head individually, which is practically a huge robot divided into eight machines and respective pilots, all incarnated every X number of generations in an attempt to eat everything (or something). To make things more complicating, one of the heads is a teenager boy in love with one of the lesbians and thus renegades to their side, while at the same time one of the two heroines gets fed up along the way and decides to join the villains. All of which happen within 12 episodes full of mecha battles, mystical training, erotic/romantic moments and funky soundtracks. Yeah, the premise is indeed awesome and on paper it’s a masterpiece. In practice, it leaves much to be desired as all its cool points end up being average at best.-The mecha action is just there for no reason at all. It offers nothing plot-wise and it’s not even good action-wise. You can remove it without a problem and take along with it 20% of the total duration.-The mysticism part is important to place the setting into a pre-existing context, as the story is based on old Shinto myths. Who doesn’t like Shinto with its rich mythology and its philosophy which defines the Japanese mentality? Not to mention, Miko uniforms are in the top 10 most famous sexual fetishes. But again, it’s not as if the story couldn’t be defined with a fictional mythology. It’s not as if you will become less wise without it; it’s loosely using the myths to begin with. -The lesbian part ends out being its most strong point. The core story is after all love and how a heartbrake can lead to despair, destruction and betrayal. But again, it is not as if the exact same thing couldn’t be done with a heterosexual couple. The element of the lesbians is nothing but a bait for those easily swayed by such superficial taboos (and boy is the anime fandom full of those). I bet the show wouldn’t be half as thrilling back then if it had a (plain, boring, typical) normal relationship but at the same time it’s not as if it’s what makes the anime stand the test of time. Because as we can see today, it failed.What I am trying to say here is that the only thing that was somewhat interesting back then was the weird blend of technology with magic and erotic taboos. It’s otherwise not doing a good job at being anything other than the usual fuss. - If you see at the three elements separately, you can easily tell how average it plays out. The mecha battles are performed in the stereotypical way of special attacks and occasional power ups, mysticism is nothing but a vague background element, and the lesbian relationship follows the exact same pattern most similar stories do. They don’t even combine with one another in order to be in need of all three at the same time. You can easily make three separate shows with them.-Add to that all those following mecha shows like Aquarion or Demosbane or Asura Cryin’ which also combined weird elements (and are equally terrible as anime) that took away the uniqueness of the whole deal (in terms of lameness). -Add to that the dozens of yuri titles that the industry is so overflowed with today to take away the interest in KNM’s more than typical couple. But that is not enough, there is even another annoying thing in it. Besides the main couple, all other characters remain nothing but blunt archetypes, with the snake head pilots to be all some lame sexual or shounen stereotypes with a blank character sheet. Yet for the lulz of it, in the final episode we get 3 seconds of each one of them in a flashback, explaining why they have a grudge with the world. By the way, at that time they were all dead and we were seeing that postmortem, in a lame attempt at fleshing them out. Thanks a lot idiots; they are already dead (in fact this famous Hokuto no Ken phrase is quite true to the series, as even there the villains would also be fleshed out in a similar fashion, moments before they kick the bucket). As for the art, well, it looks average today with the attention to the shrines and that funky moon backgrounds to offer a dreamy feeling that make the artwork look better. Otherwise, the action has jerky movements and boring-looking explosions, with all the attention being given only to those tender romantic moments between the two lesbians. Finally the soundtrack is VERY good and practically the best thing in the anime. It has many good funky tunes and songs that contributed a lot to the illusion that the show is more than it appears to be (when it’s not). Bottomline, it is an average anime with bad use of its elements, little reason in rewatching or even remembering it in the longrun.And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 6/10 General Artwork 1/2 (generic) Character Figures 1/2 (generic) Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series) Animation 1/2 (basic) Visual Effects 1/2 (basic) SOUND SECTION: 8/10 Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series) Music Themes 4/4 (very good) Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess) STORY SECTION: 5/10 Premise 2/2 (interesting) Pacing 1/2 (erratic) Complexity 1/2 (not much) Plausibility 0/2 (none) Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy) CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10 Presence 1/2 (generic) Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded) Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there) Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there) Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there) VALUE SECTION: 4/10 Historical Value 2/3 (quite famous as an interesting retro title) Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch it after so many similar titles came out) Memorability 2/4 (the overall themes are interesting but other than that no reason to remember it) ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10 Art 0/1 (looks unimpressive) Sound 2/2 (sounds good) Story 1/3 (interesting themes but handled poorly) Characters 0/4 (all of them are generic) VERDICT: 5.5/10

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