Be careful – this is a series that will crawl inside your consciousness and build a nest before you realize it.
If I’d done a second “Honorable Mention” post for 2012 this show would have been it. In my psyche it fills a very similar role to the one Nekogami Yaoyarozu did in 2011 – a show that was totally lovable and easy to watch, but also easy to take for granted and hard to blog. As befits a show directed by Daichi Akitaro, it has a very old-school feel to it, like a shoujo of a decade ago. It’s just simply really good – flawlessly directed, beautifully paced, on-character and on-point pretty much all the time.
It appears as if the anime is going to end with a transition rather than an ending, probably the best option for a one-cour anime of a long-running manga. Up to this point Nanami has been mostly a Kami in name only, effectively living out the life of a high-school girl who happens to live at a Shrine and occasionally has adventures in the world of the Gods and youkai. The crisis of confidence she’s facing now – courtesy of fab-ulous Wind God Otohiko – seems to be the trigger for the apotheosis Nanami will undergo in the final episode, becoming a Land God in a much more practical sense. If so, that seems like a good place for the series to leave things.
I’m still not really sure just why Otohiko seems so intent on making Nanami’s life hell – is it simply mischief (which would be in character for a Kaze no Kami) or something more personal, given his clear attachment to Mikage? In any event as an unapologetic and unrepentant Shrine geek – Torii gates and ablution platforms and Kagura dances and Miko fascinate me utterly – this episode pretty much had me at “Hello”. It seems only natural that Nanami would take the townsfolk’s dismissal of the Mikage Shrine as “that beat-up, abandoned Shrine on the mountain” personally, and the idea of a matsuri seems like a perfect way to try and change things up. So what if the Mikoshi is a little beat-up and the familiar can’t play the flute? Hey Kids – let’s put on a show!
That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger – and Otohiko’s challenge (not even Nanami’s “God Beam” has any effect on his miasma) will surely be a good thing in the long run. I can’t help but wonder just what escaped from that chest that Nanami broke the seal of, though – I’m sure it will play a prominent role in the finale. I’m really going to miss this bunch – Nanami, Tomoe, Mizuki, Kurama, even the little Shrine attendants, all are great characters – and the overriding sense of wit that imbues everything in Kamisama Hajimemashita is something I really look forward to every week. It’s far from the flashiest series of the season, but it’s certainly one of the easiest to like.