Kamisama Kiss was a title that intrigued me. The idea of being kissed by a god and what that could lead to was definitely something I wanted to see. Then I realised it was a rom-com and was still in. I mean, who doesn’t want a supernatural bit of fluffiness in their life?
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So what is Kamisama Kiss about? Nanami is an ordinary girl down on her luck who has a dead beat dad who has run away and left her to be evicted from her house. While sitting in a park and contemplating what she would do next she has aided a stranger who was being harassed(?) by a very small dog. Turns out the stranger is a god and he gives Nanami his power and sends her to his home (shrine) before disappearing.
Nanami, not knowing about the whole god thing, follows his directions and arrives at a run down shrine where she’s greeted by some spirits and meets Tomoe. Anyway, from that point on the story follows Nanami learning how to become a god and her relationship with Tomoe, who has been reluctantly made her familiar.
Kamisama Kiss balances romance, comedy, and supernatural world building.
There’s two seasons of this anime out though the first one is definitely the superior offering. Still, season two fills in some much needed gaps and honestly, this show needs a continuation because there’s still so much that these characters have to offer.
Basically Kamisama Kiss is a romantic, coming of age, supernatural comedy featuring a host of colourful yokai characters. And yes it can be all of these at once. It’s kind of hard to define. Mostly it is a romantic comedy but some episodes focus more on the supernatural elements and others focus on Nanami developing as a person/god so it isn’t all about high school girl drooling over cute fox spirit – not that there’s anything wrong with that as a plot.
And just look at Tomoe. So worth it.
I loved this anime even while noting some of it’s sillier aspects. Basically, the best way to explain this show is to look at both its positive and negative attributes, noting that realistically, it is just fun to watch despite its short comings. It even manages to make a beach episode fairly palatable and feel mostly meaningful to the plot.
I mean, Nanami and Tomoe are an adorable couple, even when they aren’t actually a couple. While season one sees Nanami the damsel in distress quite regularly, it isn’t for want of trying. She isn’t lying around waiting to be rescued, she’s just out of her depth with her sudden plunge into god-hood.
Second season Nanami proves that she’s been working hard and she is learning fast. This means Nanami and Tomoe’s relationship is constantly evolving as their roles change. Even without the other elements, this show works beautiful as a romance.
However, for all the great yokai characters and Nanami herself, the other humans in the story are definitely a hit against it. Seriously, there are only two other human characters in the story worth paying attention to. For all the time and effort spent on giving the spirits, yokai and gods personality and presence, the humans are all shallow and undeveloped shells of characters.
This is especially true of Nanami’s classmates. And even if this wasn’t the focus of the anime, do they really have to be that irritating.
But at least the supernatural support cast are awesome (and no, they aren’t all hot guys although a lot of the early characters introduced are).
These characters come with vibrant personalities and complex relationships. Their problems feel very human and the recurring characters grow and change through their interactions with Nanami. There’s a lot to appreciate in the attention to detail in the interactions between these characters and their past relationships. Honestly, the supernatural cast are a lot of the reason I’d like this story to continue so that we can continue to learn more about them.
But, given the comedic elements, even when the story turns dark you know the conflict isn’t really going to get too dramatic.
Almost every problem in the show ends up being neatly wrapped up. Nanami is sweet and wants to help people and spirits and everything else and somehow she just makes things work out. We could argue that this is a by-product of her being a land god and coincidences occur because of that power, but that doesn’t stop it being any less a cheap plot device to get a happy resolution.
And on that note, the opening theme to season 1 is fantastic. You will be bouncing a long and singing this in no time. Just hearing it makes you smile and relax and puts you in the right frame of mind to soak up the story that follows.
Which makes the opening theme to season 2 all the more disappointing. While not dreadful, it just couldn’t hold up to season 1. I found myself skipping over it more often than not.
So what we have in Kamisama Kiss is a sweet show with some great characters (and a few not so great ones) with a predictable but adorable story, all told with some nice music, vibrant artwork and reasonable voice acting.
I completely recommend this anime to anyone who likes romantic comedies and even just people that don’t mind the coming of age story with a bit of supernatural silliness thrown in. While the comedy doesn’t always hit the mark, the moments that do will have you laughing aloud. A scene that I always remember is when Tomoe transforms Kurama into an ostrich and then chases him through the school building with a fox fire. Utterly ridiculous and yet totally funny.
What are your thoughts on Kamisama Kiss? Do you have a favourite moment or character? I’d love to know.
Images from: Kamisama Kiss. Dir. A Daichi. TMS Entertainment. 2012.
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