This is review number two hundred and eighty six. This anime is part of the Spring 2014 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Kamigami no Asobi. It’s a twelve episode otome anime about hot guys being half naked and they’re also gods or something. It has hot guys in it. I don’t need to say more. Let’s just read on.
Yui Kusanagi is an ordinary high school girl that got transported in a world she is not familiar with. In this world, she meets eight people who turn out to be gods from Norse, Japanese and Greek mythology gods. Zeus has apparently brought them all in one place because the gods has long been out of touch with the humans that serve them. To fix this, they must reconnect with humans by learning stuff about them. Yui is tasked to teach them about human stuff like love among other things. After one year, when Zeus realizes they have met the goal, he will release them from the place they are trapped in. If they fail after one year passes, then they’ll all be stuck there forever.
Taking the Pants Off
The review poll actually had two otome anime next to each other but I don’t have much will power to see two of these damn things consecutively. I opted to watch Date A Live last week then give a deep sigh for this one. The last otome anime I reviewed had a promising structure and strong visual appeal to delight otome fans. It’s safe to say that Kamigami no Asobi will be even better. It had a more composed story structure and the visual appeal is more pleasant. In fact, this show is pretty in your face with the hot guys and I was caught a bit off-guard. The first episode is really the only indicator you need to tell if the anime is good or bad. It had a lot of otome fan service in it that I bet someone drooled on their keyboard when they streamed it. I was mostly shocked out of my mind because of this:
Oh my sweet Pikachu, what in the holy hell am I watching? As a guy, I wholeheartedly wanted to just sleep and forget I even saw this. As an impartial reviewer, I can’t help but be impressed. Yes, gawd damn it, this IS otome anime. This is how you do an otome anime. Load it up with fan service and just go nuts. Of course, the story structure and fan service might be good but the anime is still overall bad. Really, is there really a good otome anime out there? I’d watch it now if there is. Otome anime are adapted from visual novels which usually have bad adaptations as a standard. To capture the amount of story in the game is just impossible so an adaptation is just there to entice people to grab a copy of the visual novel. The anime is just a big “this is what you could be playing right now” ploy that works pretty splendidly. I’ll be fair. I honestly wanted a copy of this game just to see our main character suck face with more than half of the characters in this anime. It’s a good enticing piece but a pretty bad anime. Hey, after tons of reviewing otome anime, you kind of just accept the good with the bad. If you’re not yet convinced, have another GIF.
Seriously, what in the flaming Pikachu have we unleashed in this world?
Anyways, this show is about a girl named Yui who was suddenly transported into a different world after touching a magical sword. In this world, she discovers eight handsome dudes that turns out to be gods. It turns out that Zeus brought them all here. Zeus decided that the eight gods have fallen out of touch with the humans that worship them so they’re going to have a crash course on how to be human. They’ll attend an academy designed to help them learn more about humans. The most effective way to learn is to obviously go directly to the source so Zeus also brought in Yui to help the eight gods. Yes, an almighty being like Zeus thought that one human to teach eight gods is good enough for all of them to learn. He also thought that a reverse harem would sound awesome. I personally would’ve gotten six or eight girls to make the teaching go more smoothly but what do I know? If Zeus said go learn in a reverse harem then by gawd they’ll learn in a reverse harem. Yui now find herself surround with three Greek gods, three Norse gods, two Japanese gods and two unlockable Egyptian gods. The game sounds pretty interesting. I like the setup a lot and the main concept is pretty exciting. It’s your different kind of otome anime with all the god business making sure every interaction is colorful. Storywise, the concept’s novelty doesn’t last long and, soon, the boring and pathetic storytelling engulfs the show making it so hard to finish. I literally fell asleep at various episode of the show because they are boring. I marathoned Katanagari for five episodes straight before I said f*ck it. For me to find the story progression so boring that I sleep means that it just wasn’t that interesting. It was simple. It’s the worst kind of simple. I’d say the story is pathetically simple. So be warned that the narrative of Kamigami no Asobi isn’t as good as its initial premise. The visuals and the fan service is really the only thing making the whole experience worthwhile. Yknow, like any decent otome anime out there.
This show has two plot points though. Both have their own certain charm and they offer their own downside to the anime as well. The first plot point would be the various individual story routes scattered all throughout the show. The whole concept of gods attending school gives the anime direction and I’ll discuss that plot point later on. For now, I think it is right to start with the story routes. Again, otome anime have a lot of stories in it. With eight gods, that’s eight individual stories with one having three or four different endings in it. It’s impossible to cover the stories so otome anime just gives up beyond the introductory portion of each route. We get a “gist” of what the route is about. We are given an idea of what the story entails to entice you to play the game. Most of the individual stories in this anime are pretty plain though. It’s badly cliché and horribly plain. The show just runs on its own in an unremarkable way so it’s hard to focus on the story. You’re watching this for all the steamy guy on girl interaction and I think that’s good enough. Like the initial concept of the anime though, I think each individual route presented looks pretty good. I have read a review of the game complaining about the ending but I think a chunk of the story is as promising as the way the anime presented it. Add the fact that the story mixed in a few of the character’s mythology background and a few personal conflicts to stir the pot gives me an idea that the story in the game is pretty enjoyable. I haven’t played the game but I see potential and I like potential. Unfortunately, not all the eight characters had their route presented. Some were left out so they can just be comedic fixture for the show. Some were used as supporting characters in another’s route and the ones featured were heavily presented to the point where you get sick of their personality. It’s easy to forgive the show because the second plot point balances things out but I feel a bit cheated that not all the eight gods are presented. Did they do it to preserve the integrity of the story? That’s funny because the story really sucked hard. I didn’t care for most of them because I was wondering why the god of wine hasn’t had a chance to flirt with Yui. Maybe the show just got the best guys to flirt with Yui. That makes sense but still, an otome game shouldn’t skimp out on guy on girl flirting.
The Japanese gods are composed of Susanoo (god of the sea), and Tsukiyomi (god of the moon). The two of them had their routes decently presented. Tsukiyomi is presented as the air headed handsome guy of the group and he often write things down because he is serious about learning. When learning about love though, this clueless pretty face would resort to reading adult magazines for answers. He will then apply all the things he learned to Yui which does sound like a lot of fun when you think about it. Susanoo has a more serious story. He is the tsundere of the group and Yui had to convince him to join a club. After a few persistent approaches, Susanoo finally give Yui a chance to convince her. The process made him slowly fall in love with Yui though and it triggers something ugly inside him. It was presented vaguely but I do love the seriousness of the story. Also, seeing Susanoo shirtless is always a plus. Both gods only had one episode to themselves though so things progressed rather abruptly so realizing that does suck a bit. There was no shortage of cute guys blushing and pretty faces coming onto Yui though so the Japanese gods had a few moments to shine in this show.
The Greek gods are composed of Hades (God of the underworld), Dionysus (God of wine and merrymaking) and Apollo (God of the sun). Dionysus is sadly one of the comedic fixtures in this anime. You see, the second plot point gathers all the eight gods and he most function in that. He does nothing but act happy go lucky and be drunk. I would’ve loved to see a drunken Dionysus come onto Yui but I guess it’s just one of those what ifs for me now. Hades is also appointed the role of a comedic piece because he looks like a miserable loser. I think the most underwhelming version of Hades ever. He has bad things happen to him and he doesn’t want others affected by it. His episode is about Yui convincing him to join a club as well but his desire conflicts with the misfortune he is burdened with. Yui was persistent though and she was able to do something good to make Hades happy. I personally like Hades because his timid personality stands out despite the show pushing him in the background. Apollo is the appointed class president and he is one of the most prominent characters in the show. He has a white unicorn to ride and I just think it’s gay. I wanted to let that out. His unicorn looks gay. Apollo is also the most clingy character on the show and he practically wants Yui all to himself. He had one episode about his serious past. Much like Susanoo, falling in love stirred something ugly in Apollo’s heart but his feelings for Yui persists. It’s so strong that he is ready to take on his dark past.
The Norse gods are composed of Thor (God of Thunder), Loki (God of Fire) and Baldur (God of Light, he looks like Apollo as well so that’s clever). Thor has the same role as Dionysus. He was barely present and he mostly just stands there. He takes up the role of the quiet but caring guy. He’s like a least impressive version of Doumeki from xxxholic (damn old reference, just google him). I like Thor though. His unresponsive face stands out especially after Apollo and Baldur gets annoying after being featured heavily. Loki is the loud type of character and he is mostly protective of Baldur. It appears that his story intertwines with Baldurs and he hates Yui getting all fuzzy with him. Baldur is the god of light and people are naturally drawn by his presence. He has since gained interest over Yui because the girl isn’t like the rest of the people in the academy. She is not affected by the powers of the god of light. She sees Baldur as the sexy young thing he is and she doesn’t care. This makes Baldur wants her more, and rather aggressively as well. Loki is out there making sure it doesn’t happen though. This story about Loki and Baldur is actually one of the main focuses of the anime. Towards the later parts of the show, to give the anime a somewhat of an ending, this story was given a climax and a resolution. It’s pretty complicated though. Loki’s overprotective nature and Baldur’s aggressive side does have a deep story behind it. It was slowly revealed at the later parts of the show. I hate Baldur though. I slept through most of his episodes. It just all felt plain to me. Loki is interesting but only when he’s making mischief. All this forced seriousness just didn’t look interesting.
The second plot point is about the gods having a colorful campus life. There are moments in the show where the gods aren’t eyeing to bang Yui. They also spend time together experiencing human school life. It’s as ordinary as it gets though. Think of slice of life but with really hot guys giggling and enjoying the activities their doing. It’s simple and, quite honestly, a bit infectious to watch. From having a school festival to doing a play on stage and even going as far as having summer fun in the beach, the gods are living out the typical school life. They even experience midterms and attending a school assembly, I think it’s a fundamental aspect of the game but it’s just pretty fluff for the anime. Some of the individual stories tie in from the group activities they do so it does have some direction. Most of the time though, it’s just pretty guys being cute and providing some good dose of otome fan service. The ultimate goal Zeus planned was to have them connect with humans so I guess going to the beach in their speedos does have purpose in the end. I personally like it because it doesn’t look plain. Any attempt at a story by the anime bores me so seeing some mindless fan service is really one of the best highlights of this show. Otome anime doesn’t have to be deep or even smart. I learn from regrettable experience that the best otome anime provides satisfying fan service. It’s the only reason UtaPri got a second season and I like how Kamigami no Asobi is sticking to that proven approach.
Characters are pretty one dimensional. It’s another great trait of a typical otome anime. As I said as well, most VN adapted anime have badly conceived characters. Fleshing them out is part of the gaming experience so it’s very hard to adapt that in an anime. Yui is your typical otome main character as well. She has that distinct dumb expression I have personally grown fond of after watching so many otome anime. She has an expressive face when the scene calls for it. Most of the time, it’s just a blank expression of either disbelief or shock. When a guy comes onto her, she’ll put that dumb expression on as if she has no idea that this particular hot guy putting his face uncomfortably close to hers isn’t out to conquer her. It’s been part of the whole process though for otome anime because her next reaction often solidifies a moment. When the guy pulls closer, her shocked expression or blushing face seals the deal for that particular flirty scene. Yui doesn’t have any stand out personality though. It’s the typical over caring attitude that you’d expect in an otome anime. Her persistence is also nothing new because it’s all part of that formulaic setup where the persistence penetrates the rather cold guy you are trying to pursue. Other than that, yeah, she doesn’t really do anything interesting. In fact, I think the anime could’ve functioned without her. She just doesn’t have a permanent place in the show and I’m sure no one would mind if this particular anime goes BL. There is something about Yui having a magical sword though but it was barely explained. I didn’t quite understood the importance of the sword and it’s been bugging me ever since. I thought the plot twist was that she was a god as well but it’s not the case. Most guys fall for her as well but I think it’s mostly because she’s the only freaking girl in the show. They academy is packed with people but the side characters are considered nothing more than walking potted plants. So really, it’s Yui or go gay. I do quite like Yui though when she’s the damsel in distress. It’s a bit cliché as well but seeing her drown in a river or fall off a cliff feels a bit satisfying for me. Both of those things happened in the show. Of course, the cute moments aren’t cute if Yui isn’t the one being hugged or teased so I guess she does serve a pretty big purpose when you think about it.
The male casts are one dimensional as well. They often needed to be because the second plot point calls for them to function in a group. One thing I absolutely hate about these characters and one of the reason I find the show boring is the childish personality the hot guys have. The angle of the second plot point was like School/Slice of Life but the characters act like little kids, it’s infuriating at times. Giving each other nicknames, hiding in bushes spying on a hot guy, declaring how much they love each other in an annoyingly delightful manner, all these things just bug the hell out of me. I do get the appeal though. Some people love childish hot guys in their BL shipping and I respect them for that. It’s just really hard to stomach sometimes. Seriously, why not just let them f*ck each other already? Well, anyways, the male characters are interesting but the lack of engagement with the show’s plot does make them pretty weak characters. If the goal was to have overactive pre-teens go swoon then I think the male characters are good the way they are. There are eight gods and two unlockables. All are present in the anime. Apollo is the typical hyperactive guy. He’s the guy giving people nicknames like “loki-loki” and it’s pretty annoying. He is also the student council president so he is in your face almost every episode. I got tired seeing him and Yui together. Being the student council president calls for him to be at every scene. He’s likeable to a degree but the show overexposed him and I blame him for others being shoved to the sidelines. Hades is a cute character. He’s all serious and all that but he slowly become a comedic piece. He has a timid personality that makes it pathetic when he tries to speak out. Bad things happen to him and he often blame himself when bad things happen to other people as well. As I said, the most underwhelming version of Hades ever and I quite like it. Dionysus didn’t have much of a role. He was just a background character being only focused at the later parts where he is presented as a happy go lucky lazy drunk.
Susanoo is the typical tsundere. He loves running and his “I don’t care what you do but I secretly like you so much I wanna crush you” attitude is pretty cute. With a face like that, I’d even want to be treated tsudere-ish by this guy. Tsukiyomi is a great character. He speaks slowly and he seems semi-serious most of the time. I’ll be perfectly honest. His episode with Yui made me go swoon. I am not proud of it but this otome anime is hitting all the right notes for me especially with Tsukiyomi. Sadly though, the show didn’t focus on them much. I put the blame on the heavily featured guy as well like Apollo and Baldur. Thor is sadly a background character as well. He doesn’t speak much but I think he was still in the loop because of how the anime heavily highlighted the Norse gods route in the later parts of the show. Loki is the loud type and I think he’s standout personality is that he really loves Baldur so much. He had a line like “Don’t look at Yui, only look at me” which felt a bit weird. Of course, his obsession with Baldur is slowly revealed as the show progresses. Still, he didn’t really do much in the end expect give us some bromance which I don’t think is that quite good. Baldur is an interesting character. He has a strange attraction to Yui and he’s very in your face with this. I love the whole backstory about him being invincible yet he’s a clumsy pretty face. Again, the anime focused heavily on Baldur on the later parts of the show and I think the story had potential to be good but it just felt forced. Baldur didn’t really do much as well. He just got angry, got disturbingly clingy and bromanced it up with Loki later on. He’s like Apollo, a bit insufferable after being focused on so much despite not being all that intriguing enough for the show to revolve around to.
The unlockable characters are two Egyptian gods. It’s Thoth (God of Knowledge) and Anubis (God of the Dead). Thoth is a main stay in the show. Whenever Yui talks to him, he’ll slam his hand to the wall and get close to her all arrogantly. He did it so much in the show that it slowly became a running gag. It was hot when he did it with Yui but Thoth would even do it with regular students and it just looks stupid. I believe they wanted it to be cute and, to a degree, it is. He is a handsome as the eight gods so I certainly would’ve loved to see him come onto Yui. The girl often comes to her for advice and he’ll just slam his hand on the wall then arrogantly refuse to do anything for the girl. He’s the typical abusive character in an otome anime. The stereotype is slowly becoming a thing because I think a lot of otome gamers like being verbally abused. It’s a bit f*cked up but I do get the appeal. Anubis only showed up in one episode. He doesn’t talk any understandable language. In the game, as you slowly get him to fall for you, you’ll slowly understand his language. The reviewer phrased the experience to “similar to dating a dog”. That must’ve been a weird route to pursue. Another important character is Zeus. He’s the almighty dude that no one can defy. He has built the academy, sealed the god’s power and forced them to reverse harem it with Yui. He’s a massive d*ck but he works in mysterious ways, I guess. He can also shape shift and I love his shota version. He doesn’t do much in the show except antagonize people. It can get pretty stupid sometimes.
As I said, and now whole heartedly believe, Brains Base is a consistent studio. Compared to BroCon, Kamigami no Asobi is a better attempt at an otome anime. I think the original source was much better to work with but they knew what makes an otome anime great and focused on it nicely. I just hope that they don’t stick to doing otome anime from now on. Brains Base has tremendous potential and they seem to be doing great as they keep releasing consistently good shows. We need another Baccano classic from this studio and I would be thrilled if that happened. Still though, from One Week Friends to Kamigami no Asobi, this studio is growing nicely. As a reviewer, I am happy that a studio knows how to make anime good and I now trust that everything else they release would be great as well. Tomoyuki Kawamura has directed a few episodes of some notable anime but I think this is the first one he ever fully handled by himself. You can tell he has experience but he is also pretty green when it comes to consistently delivering a show. Also, starting your first full directorial debut on an otome anime sounds like a bad dream. He made the show watchable but I feel asleep at the story and something should’ve been done to improve the pathetically plain story. I’ll look forward to his next work though. He directed the flashy shounen fight scenes in the anime so I do see potential. Kamigami no Asobi is your standard otome anime. I personally felt enticed to play the game so I think the whole thing works out quite well. Of course, it’s the visuals that made the show meaningful so let’s talk about that next. It’s time to go more in-depth about those GIFs. I’m staring at it while I write this review and I seriously can’t help but be amazed.
Sight and Sound
Yone Kazuki is a master at otome character designs. She also designed the characters for the Hakuoki series and Hiiro no Kakera. This person knows how to make really hot guys and I think that’s a scary talent. Her design stands out really spectacularly. When you watch the first episode, it’ll be the really hot guys in their really sexy costumes that’ll draw you in. Her style is prominent in the way the characters look flashy in both their physical looks and their costume design. The characters themselves are your typical bishie characters. They have slender bodies, manly shoulders and a handsome expression highlighted by the fierce eyes and the strong jawline many girls have swoon over. Yone knows how to make each look sexy with just the way he looks. The way the handsome guys stare in your eyes has this really inviting feel to them. Her design has great range though. Considering she also designed the games then she knows how to capture the stereotypical personality of the characters into their looks. The serious ones are always tall and a bit muscular. The loud ones are often tiny and a bit more slender. The long hair characters always have great shoulders for their hair to land on. It’s these tiny differences that set each character apart. Despite the differences, they still look sexy and handsome. You should see Yone’s artwork in the games. The way she makes the characters look sexy is incredible. She puts great emphasis on muscle tone as well and shading of the abs, for example. The costume design is pretty freaking incredible as well. The fact that most of them are shirtless is already a big victory for all otome fans out there. The way the costumes resemble their mythological counterpart is a nice aspect. Each gods has their domain nicely fused with their design. It’s very flashy like you’d expect from video game characters and all the small details really make the characters ten times more appealing to look at. The school uniforms are also nicely designed. They wear this most of the time and I quite like its simple appeal.
The animation is pretty amazing. This makes the whole experience pretty great. There were a lot of fight scenes in the anime and they were all very flashy. As I said, the director has potential and you can tell it from the way the fight scenes are handled. These are minimal scenes though. The thing I like, animation wise, is the way Yui’s facial expression was nicely presented. It’s not much but her dumb expressions to her shocked expressions are all nicely animated. It often makes each scene more visually striking because Yui’s reaction completes it. The way her eyes widen to the way she blushes, it’s all nicely animated that you’re drawn to it despite the boring story the show possesses. There are also those fluff scenes like the characters going to the beach and having a school festival. These things are also nicely animated. The anime employ smart camera angles during certain scenes and make sure each moment was nicely detailed. You can tell the visuals are outstanding from the starry sky the characters look up on. The way the male characters hug each other or just playfully have fun, the animation was able to give each scene justice. Hell, even the gay unicorn was nicely animated.
The anime’s OP is “TILL THE END” by Apollon Agana Belea (Miyu Irino), Hades Aidoneus (Daisuke Ono), Tsukito Totsuka (Yuuto Uemura), Takeru Totsuka (Toshiyuki Toyonaga), Balder Hringhorni (Hiroshi Kamiya), Loki Laevatein (Yoshimasa Hosoya) (eps 2-12). It’s a pretty decent song. The main appeal is that it was sung by some of the gods. It’s your typical OP song though. It doesn’t really standout except for the handsome voices singing the song. The song itself sounds pretty ordinary. I love the intro though but I don’t think it’s enough. The OP sequence features all the characters in the show, a few of the flirting scenes and some handsome poses from our male characters. Again, it’s your standard otome thing. You’ love the visual appeal of the sequence though because of all the handsome faces scattered all throughout the small montage.
The anime’s ED is “REASON FOR…” by Apollon Agana Belea (Miyu Irino), Hades Aidoneus (Daisuke Ono), Tsukito Totsuka (Yuuto Uemura), Takeru Totsuka (Toshiyuki Toyonaga), Balder Hringhorni (Hiroshi Kamiya), Loki Laevatein (Yoshimasa Hosoya). Much like the OP song, the ED isn’t anything special. It’s sung by the same people from the OP. Each one of them has a line in the song though and it does have a colorful chorus. It’s still the voices that makes it worthwhile though and nothing else. The ED sequence features the six gods (Thor and Dionysus aren’t in it *sad face*) holding a golden apple while singing their lines. The lip synch is off though and I find the whole sequence a bit pretentious. Especially with the characters naked in bed at certain scenes, I just think they overdid it with the ED sequence. They should’ve restrained things a bit.
6/10 “It’s a cute otome show with really handsome guys in it but it does have a boring story as well that ruins the good thing the anime had going.”
This is your standard otome anime. It has hot guys. It has a lot of flirting and some BL shipping potential. It also has some bad story as well like any other otome anime. The character development is pathetic and I still call the narrative pathetically plain. If you’re an otome fan then you’ll love this anime. If you’re a fan of simple otome shows like UtaPri then this show will appeal to you. If you’re a fan of a good story then you should always avoid an otome anime. These shows give us visual contentment and really, nothing more. If the GIFs and the screenshots got you going then you should check the show out.