Kamisama Kiss

Alt title: Kamisama Hajimemashita

TV (13 eps)
Fall 2012
4.369 out of 5 from 24,320 votes
Rank #308

Nanami used to live in a ramshackle apartment with her father - a man who spent half his time gambling and the other half hiding from debt collectors - until one day the scoundrel ran away, leaving his daughter hungry and homeless. That is, until she meets a mysterious stranger in the park who deems her the new goddess of a local shrine! Unfortunately, Nanami’s new home is occupied by Tomoe, a fox familiar who objects to the presence of a mere mortal and immediately begins to bicker with the girl. If she can manage to form a contract with the troublesome man, he’ll be obligated to accept and help her perform her duties. But there’s a catch: Nanami has to kiss him first, and who’d want to lock lips with that awful guy?!

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I myself am surprised that I enjoyed this series as much as I did. Can't make any promises that I would like anything else in the same vein, but the reasons why I did like it will be discussed so here we go! STORY: Right off the bat we are greeted with an old lady narrator detailing how a high schooler named Nanami Momozono is evicted from her own house due to her father's gambling problems and consequential "disappearance". She helps a man being harrassed by a dog in the park and he gives her a map to his 'house' out of gratitude. It turns out that this house is in fact a decrepit shrine housed by the fox yokai Tomoe, who is less than pleased that his former master is now being replaced by a human high school girl. So begins Nanami's new life as a living god of the Mikage shrine and the duties it entails while meeting other gods and yokai, of whom range from friendly to bloodthirsty. Eventually, their closeness and Tomoe's devotion to Nanami as her familiar turns into something more tangible, something more like...love. SOUND: The opening theme is sweet, playful, and a touch wistful without ending up barf-worthy in its sugariness. What I looked forward to the most was the ending theme as it is not dark inofitself but it has a haunting echo coupled with a faraway synthetic beat that would be great to play during any time of the day without seeming out of place. It is also amusing to hear what appears to be Visual Kei/J-Pop playing in the background whenever Kurama's name is mentioned in passing or referred to when not present, or even when talking about himself. There is also battle music during the very short confrontations between the yokai which somehow fit without being overbearing on an anime that is obviously not centered around fights and combat. Overall the soundtrack is not extensive but it does its job to make the anime come to life with the few songs that it has at its disposal. ANIMATION: The characters are, for the most part, gracefully drawn. Frequently, there are very colorful backdrops the highlight a particular moment or character, and while this may be good in small doses, it did at times break my immersion of the scene with its out-of-place colors. Another overused effect was that of camera sunspots, which cluttered up some scenes unnecessarily, but luckily the animators retracted them just as quickly as they put them in. CHARACTERS: Nanami, the female lead, is not particularly special but she is determined, stubborn, and a typical teenage girl. Tomoe is at first glance a stereotypical tsundere (a character trope I have come to hate) but thankfully he is saved from One-Dimensional Hell by being genuinely concerned for Nanami despite his irritation at her dumbest of flubs. Kurama and Mizuki are two potential love interests that do not try to necessarily interfere with Tomoe and Nanami's "relationship". They serve as comedic relief which usually works out well. Kurama's "bad boy" fallen angel schtick is pretty embarrassing and hilarious to watch crumbling down when one reminds him that he is in fact a crow demon, which is totally not as glamorous as an angel. Mizuki is a white snake who acts more like a mischievous fox than Tomoe himself.  The chibis that appeared did make me laugh, as did the background shenanigans whilst two or more characters were talking. Some running gags like the soft-shelled turtle hanging around during one episode also made me giggle. Other times the characters were drawn so adorably (like Mizuki in his snake form, complete with human-like expressions) that I actually squealed with delight over the cuteness. Even despite Tomoe's impatience and discinclination to follow through with Nanami's whims until he's all but kicking and screaming (or simply too tired to say "no"), they have multitudes of special moments together which are very, very sweet and endearing. The "master-servant" relationship is in fact almost equal in their regards for each other and Michael J. Tatum's voice as Tomoe for the English dub is simply divine and absolutely tender. Oh man he nails the nuanced guy that the fox is! (*3*) .... Overall, I really liked this anime. There's something about the charm of it, I don't really know. If you like supernatural anime, especially with Japanese spirits and that whole ideology along with a male tsundere who is NOT infuriating, as well as some comedy and pretty animation, I recommend this. It's super fun and probably the only one of its type that I'll love as much as I do.


Although I only give this 6.5/10, I really did enjoy watching Kamisama Hajimemashita and would love to see a sequel that goes into more detail about the previous shrine owner and what his motivations are. Story: Nanami loses the house she lives in after her father disappears. While contemplating her situation in the park, she saves a treed man from a dog. He gives her his home as a thank-you gift, but that home turns out to be an abandoned shrine. Nanami must work to gain the trust of Tomoe, the shrine's pretty main familiar with a tragic past, and you have the beginnings of a supernatural love comedy. Love comedies require a tricky balance between comedy and romantic development, and I think this one does a good job. It's not mopey or melodramatic, nor is it sappy. In fact, Tomoe and Nanami spend most of the show comically arguing with each other. The climax of the last 2 episodes is a fairly predictable "love conquers all," though, so don't expect to get anything new or revolutionary out of this show. Animation: Big shoujo eyes and skinny bishounen everywhere. Typically, the characters get more attention than the backgrounds, but there's really not much to complain about here. Sound: I liked the voice actors, and the light Jpop theme songs. They fit the mood and setting of the show. Characters: Did I mention bishounen everywhere? There are two main and a handful of side characters, but the only one who showed any kind of character development was Tomoe, and even then it was really only him begrudgingly accepting that he loves Nanami. The main character herself was similarly disappointing: too boring, too weakly characterized, with not enough of her own personality, hopes and dreams. I think anyone with a taste for shoujo will eat this show up along with its bishounen. Other than the fairly weak characters, it doesn't contain any major flaws, but I would not recommend it to anyone who dislikes shoujo.

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