This is review number one hundred and twenty six. It’s another part of the Fall 2012 lineup and this time I’ll be reviewing a Shoujo anime. I don’t review a lot of these so I’m pretty excited reviewing one after countless of Ecchi anime. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Kamisama Hajimemashita or Kamisama Kiss. It’s a thirteen episode anime about a girl who became a god and suddenly had a bishie fox demon as her guardian. That sounds pretty nice, isn’t? Let’s read on.
The anime is about a girl named Nanami Momozono who was kicked out of her home after her dad bailed on her because of gambling debts. Nanami is now homeless and down on her luck. She then met a guy asking to be saved from a barking dog. The guy was grateful for Nanami and listened to her woes. He decided to help Nanami by telling her to go to his address. Nanami, with little options, decide to take up the offer even though it could be a prank by the guy who climbed up a tree after a dog barked at him. Nanami was led to a shrine and its guardian spirits suddenly began welcoming her. She was confused until she realized she is now the new land god of the shrine. This doesn’t sit well with Tomoe, the former land god’s guardian, and walked out in protest. Nanami needs Tomoe to help around the shrine though so she is willing to make Tomoe accept her even if it means dragging him by his scuff.
Taking the Pants Off
Kamisama Hajimemashita is a Shoujo anime. I don’t review a lot of those since I started this blog. The Fall 2012 lineup had three of them though and it got me excited. I reviewed three seasons of 2011 and I did not encounter a Shoujo in it (unless you count Kimi to Boku but….meh). So it was exciting to see one of the major genres making a comeback. This anime had me worried though because it’s Romance and Supernatural. I’ve reviewed another anime like that called InuXBoku SS and it wasn’t really good. The two genres don’t blend well. Here’s another shot at the blending though and well, the result IS a bit better, I guess.
The premise of the anime isn’t anything new but it’s still pretty intriguing. Nanami is a normal high school girl who suddenly became a god of a shrine. She also has this extremely handsome fox demon as her guardian who doesn’t seem to accept her as his new master. Nanami is a hard headed and determined girl though and Tomoe has a soft spot for her. She is his master now and he must get used to it. The anime is mostly about the two characters as they go about their normal lives and slowly becoming closer as the anime progresses. It’s very Shoujo and the setup is really exciting. The two characters really go along together so the slow buildup of their relationship is something I am very excited to see.
This anime screams Shoujo and I really miss the genre. If you’ve seen some Shoujo anime then you know what to expect from this anime. We have this girl who at first glance looks like a normal girl but she possesses a very special personality that makes the boy interested in her. The boy is often the handsome type. He is the super bishoujo who acts cold towards the girl but he actually cares for her deeply and he would through extra means to make her happy. You add another guy or girl to stir up the relationship and cause some tension between the characters, some alone time between the characters and the monumental first kiss then it’s not hard not fall in love with the anime. I love a nicely executed Shoujo anime. Even if it ends abruptly (like Kare Kano or Bokura Ga Ita) if it can churn out some emotionally charged moments then I am happy. This anime does not disappoint on the Shoujo side. It’s all here and the anime just needs to execute them nicely. This is where the anime trips up though and I’ll explain that in a bit.
The other genre of the anime is Supernatural. Nanami is a normal human girl who suddenly became a land god overnight and a lot of supernatural beings doesn’t approve of it. The biggest reason is that she is human and the former land god was someone spectacular. During the first half, there are a lot of episodes dedicated to the supernatural aspect of the anime. It’s mostly about Nanami granting wishes or being caught up in a supernatural beings ploy. The nice thing about the supernatural aspect of the anime is that it helps strengthen the bond between the two main characters. Most of the supernatural occurrence in the anime is a bit lighthearted because of the genre it’s paired with. It often starts out serious but then it mellows out toward the ends and becomes a bit light hearted. Like I said before, it’s only to get the two main characters closer.
The second half of the anime featured the romance more heavily. It dived deeper on the relationship of the characters and what happens to them from here on out. There was a decent development of the characters but I personally think it wasn’t enough. The biggest problem of the anime is the pacing and the execution of the story. I slowly lost interest mid-way through the anime because nothing big really happened in the story. Even with the addition of new characters, I felt like the anime was stalling. It already came to a point where the characters are slowly noticing each other yet the anime had time to present Tomoe’s convoluted past which doesn’t really add much but only to slowly move the anime away from the developing romance. It was a big cop out and I was very disappointed. I wasn’t expecting something big but at least follow through. The status quo was something the anime was afraid to break and it kept going on circles during the later parts of the anime. At that point, I lost interest a lot more. If the characters aren’t going to do something to top the moments of the first half then why bother watching the same boring trend in the second half?
This was the same problem I had with InuXBoku SS. The relationship of the characters kept going on circles for the most part of the anime then kind of had an anti-climactic ending. Since we’re nitpicking at the anime too, I also had one massive complaint with the anime. It’s this:
It’s those moments where the characters are in awe or in love where the background turns all colorful and there are frilly light effects to signify something awesome just happened. It’s something a lot of Shoujo anime do but the anime really overdid it. I marathoned this bastard and I got fed up with it after the seventh episode. I’m like, enough. No more. Do that with kissing scenes and other high moments but not with every single moment where Nanami is going googly eyes. I did ask my friend if it was a bother to her but she said she didn’t mind because she squeals every time such a scene happens. So it’s an effective Shoujo element, I guess, but something I got tired of easily (maybe because I’m a guy. Boobs.)
The characters are OK. They aren’t really that unique but they make the anime a bit more special. I like Nanami because she’s this determined girl who faces adversities head on, cries when she stumbles, but always gets back up and never gives up. It’s the personality that Tomoe really adored. He is the handsome fox demon who is very fond of Nanami. He is the serious type who doesn’t smile a lot, he takes his job as her guardian very seriously and he is always there when Nanami needs him. He also has a very mysterious past that made him the uptight bishoujo that he is today. Their personality clashes a lot especially when Nanami wants to be a normal girl but Tomoe insists she acts like a land god. They get into arguments easily but they care deeply for each other. I also love this hot and cold relationship the two characters have. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the reason why nothing exciting happened in the second half and it sucks, but it’s also something fairly new. One keeps insisting while the other one keeps pushing away and it keeps you wondering what will happen next between them. It’s a bittersweet experience for sure.
The rest of the characters are one dimensional at best. Most of them are bishies though so it’s not really a surprise. They had some respectable introductions in the anime but then they slowly fade into the background. I do like the interaction between the characters but the side characters doesn’t really add much. They do have some things unique to them to make them stand out but seriously, one dimensional bishies isn’t that big of a fault.
This was a nice anime. It doesn’t have enough intrigue to make every episode interesting but the two main characters had a very interesting relationship that made me keep tuning in. This anime had a lot of potential and it was greatly squandered though. There was a lot more the anime could’ve done like make a better blending of the Shoujo and the Supernatural, develop the characters a bit more and execute the story a bit clearer but it’s already done. What can you do? Take a good stare at Tomoe’s face and maybe decide if you want to try this anime or not.
Sight and Sound
The character design is very nostalgic. The big bright eyes and the cute face of Nanami remind me of Tohru from Fruits Basket. In fact, my first impression of the anime is like Fruits Basket judging from the character design. Nanami is the typical high school with nothing flashy done to her. She has a simple body frame, simple length of hair and she dresses simple. I smiled ear to ear when I was smacked with nostalgia when I saw Tomoe though as it reminds me of another Fruits Basket character named Yuki Soma. The white hair and the fierce eye coupled by the feminine aura of the character really got me excited. The character design is very Shoujo through and through. Most bishies had similar body types with handsome faces and nicely detailed eyes. There is some stand out in the outfits though because some of the characters are a bit visual kei-esque in the way they dress. Trsut me, any hyper active teen balls deep in Shoujo knows how appealing Visual Kei is. (I am scarred by An Café though. Fishnet stocking *shudders*)
The animation is very simple. There aren’t a lot of movements in the anime. Yeah, there are some fight scenes but they don’t really stand out. The characters just move their body around. The anime doesn’t really focus much on it. I guess the kissing scenes are the biggest stand out in terms of animation. It f it can make you squeal like a fan girl then the animation did its job for sure.
The anime’s OP is “Kamisama Hajimemashita” by Hanae. This is really special song because it had a catchy beat to it and Hanae’s voice is really girly. The song gives off a very Shoujo appeal to it and it’s really very flirty that you can’t help but smile as you listen to the lyrics (and read the subs of course). The line “God, I’d like to be a naughty girl” gets me every time. The OP sequence features Nanami being all cut and girly. The one thing nice about the sequence is that certain scenes fit along the lyrics of the song.
The ED song is “Kamisama Onegai” by Hanae. It has the same vibe as the OP song. It’s girly and a bit flirty and Hanae’s voice once again stands out. Again, the lyrics are pretty nice to listen to. The ED sequence features the credits rolling along and still poses of different characters of the anime set in a dark background. It’s nice, I guess.
7/10 “It’s a nice story about a girl in love with a fox demon but it could’ve been done better.”
There are certainly enough elements of the anime to keep you intrigue but the way it mishandles its story is pretty heartbreaking. If you love romance and hot handsome dudes then this anime is for you. No one goes shirtless but the anime is still pretty decent.