Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kamisama Hajimemashita – 13 (End) and Series Review

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That was an ending that matched the character of the series perfectly.


Two series by Akitarou Daichi ended this week, and that’s a sad thing.  I’ve argued here on many occasions that the director is an absolutely critical part of an anime’s success or failure, and probably the least understood and most underestimated by anime fans.  Akitarou-sensei is a master, especially when it comes to shoujo.  He did as much with Poyopoyo as it’s possible to do in a three-minute series, and here he gave us a light but not inconsequential blend of romance and fantasy that ended up being one of the most pleasant series of the season to watch.  Both series were simple pleasures, and they reflect the easy brilliance with which Akitarou handles a project.

Kamisama Kiss is certainly one of the funniest series of the Fall season, but it also has a way of being just serious enough when it’s funny and just funny enough when it’s serious – the balance is perfect, and it rides like a luxury car as a result.  This being the final episode of an ongoing manga adaptation it was obvious we were going to have a conflict drive the ending, and it was obvious from last week’s episode what the basic premise would be – but the result was predictably low-key even so.  Maybe it’s a fault and maybe it’s a virtue, but there’s a safe and warm feeling watching this show that makes it seem as if nothing ever really bad could ever happen.

Where we left off, Nanami had completely lost confidence and bailed on the shrine, and Otohiko’s miasma was wreaking havoc as Mizuki and the shrine spirits tried desperately to hold it at bay with sake and Tomoe searched for her with increasing desperation.  I can’t imagine anything that happened after that was much of a surprise.  Nanami realized that what she was doing was selfish (and of course that she has no other place to live) and rushed home just as that old chest that we saw last week had its payoff – it contained the miasma from the Earth Spider, a powerful Naraku-like beast that Mikage (as a butterfly Kami, he must surely hate spiders) sealed away centuries ago.  This was a little too hot for Otohiko to handle, so rather than help clean up the mess he started he bolted, and Nanami arrived just in the nick of time – as Kotetsu was being turned to stone by the Earth Spider’s miasma.

Really, this is pretty much all pretext for the big payoff – which is to see Nanami do her Kagura dance in full kimono, first in fighting off the spider and then later at the Matsuri.  At the height of battle we got two of the funniest moments of the ep – Nanami tripping on her hem at the climactic moment of the fight, and Mizuki’s ever-incompetent flute playing.  And even that was preamble to Tomoe’s reaction to seeing Nanami dance like that – a declaration of love (or close enough) that sets aside for now the question of whether Nanami might be the reincarnation of the human woman he loved all those centuries ago.  And as for Mikage, things seem to have been following the plan he’s had all along

There’s not much else to say about Kamisama Hajimemashita, really – it’s just a charming, sweet and adorable series that’s really hard not to like.  The very good supporting cast all had roles to play in the finale, including reappearances (strictly for show, mostly) from old favorites like Himemiko and the Dragon Lord and an appearance by this fellow, who was obviously played by Suwabe Junichi and is apparently named Kirihito – a strange thing to happen, since he’s obviously an important character.  Perhaps this is meant to tease a possible second season, though I haven’t seen anything to indicate this series is a prime candidate to get one.

Every year needs anime like Kamisama Hajmemashita – shows that don’t reinvent anything or especially challenge the audience, but entertain in an undemanding way without insulting the viewers’ intelligence. They’re not easy to blog about – this show certainly isn’t – but they’re very easy to enjoy.  The cast is terrific, the visuals – while not lavish – are consistently clever and amusing, and Akitarou’s direction is a thing of beauty.  Last year we had Nekogami Yaoyorazu, this year Kamisama Hajimemashita, and hopefully next year will offer a few more gems like them.  Who knows, maybe even a second season of this one.

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12 comments:

  1. Ugh, the anime is cruel. ;_; Teasing us with an appearance by Kirihito in the very last episode. He's an incredibly important character, but of course, with only 13 episodes, there's no way to fit him in.

    While the anime was enjoyable, the one thing that bothers me is the length, mostly because I'm a manga reader. There's so much that didn't get explained and so many arcs that I wanted to see animated. Ah, I have my fingers crossed for a second season, though I doubt it will get one.

    Nonetheless, I really loved seeing one of my favorite manga animated. I'll certainly miss it.

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    1. I really want to see the arc with a convention of all the various gods. There is plenty of material for a 2nd season and I hope this series gets one.

      Also she looked so beautiful and elegant when she danced (except for tripping that one time). I'm gonna miss this series (I still continue to read the manga tho as they get translated).

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  2. I actually would love to see a second season coming...Kamisama Hajimemashita is a soothing, charming and heart-warming series that has helped calm me from my daily stress.

    In fact, I actually want to have shows by Akitarou Daichi every season -- a dose a day by Akitarou Daichi will be healthy to our body. Second thought...Urobuchi Gen will be best matched by Akitarou Daichi -- take a Kamisame Hajimemashita after Psycho-Pass will help balance your mind, soul and body...

    p.s. Sorry for the crap above...feeling a bit bubbly today. I have enjoyed this show a lot and would definitely recommend. Thanks Enzo for blogging it and giving it such a nice closure with this post.

    ~Ronbb

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    1. Unfortunately the way they have ended this the the anime original ending makes it almost impossible for there to be a second season as Tomoe falling in love triggers certain events. Still, I really enjoyed the show.

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  3. I'd started reading the manga and enjoyed it so much that I got to the latest updated chapters! I think I can understand why some people say the anime does not do it justice; so many things were rushed. Indeed they could have fit in a lot for 20+ eps, but seeing as they seem to be getting cautious, I guess I can only hope another season will come.

    The anime, I think, made the manga look like a no-brainer. Although it's just an adaptation after all, disappointment from the manga readers was reasonable; the character developments were lacking. Characters became OOC, and etc.

    Still, I wish for another season because there is a lot this show could have offered. There are plotholes it could have filled up, and I wanted to see Nanami becoming more of the god she is.

    If you're not busy with work or watching, I recommend you read the manga Enzo. No, it's not so centered in fluff as Sukitte was. Nor is it so centered in questions of "Do I like him? Should I prioritize him? Etc?" It's not "girly" as the anime shows it to be. And Inuyasha is far from the cunning storytelling, plot twists, and foreshadowing Suzuki Julietta can do.

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    1. Yeah, I wish it was 2 cour instead. I read the manga and it was a pretty solid adaptation sure they have to tweek some stuff but it was pretty good far BETTER than some other manga adaptations :p

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  4. Thanks for blogging this series! I got into this series through the anime and then went on to read the 90 chapters available so far; all I can say now is 'Wow.' The manga, especially in the recent chapters, gets really intense and has such a complex, amazing plot that you wouldn't expect just from watching these 13 lighthearted episodes. Especially as the series goes on, it manages such a wonderful blend of romance and character development; I literally love pretty much every character that's been introduced in the manga right now, lol. (Except Yatori. He can burn.)

    So yeah, if you ever get the chance, I'd really *really* recommend reading the manga :)

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    1. The manga is definitely on the bucket list.

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  5. An unambitious ending to an unambitious show. Which is fine, it never pretended to be anything else and these kinds of shows are good in their own relaxing, don't think about it too hard kind of way.

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  6. This show was tremendously consistent throughout, and provided a nice third way for another shoujo romance series compared to the other two this season. I thought the finale was touching and appropriate, although it was pretty much telegraphed what was going to happen in the final 'battle', but that gave everyone a chance to be involved, even Mikage.

    And Nanami's butterfly kimono was really gorgeous. That was some really nice art throughout and the design of that outfit was spectactular.

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  7. I think Kamisama Hajimeshita is too much like InuYasha. Everyone is saying Kamisama is better than Inuyasha because it has more romance in it and that Tomoe is "hotter" than Inuyasha. Inuyasha wasn't meant to be a romance. I watched the first episode of Kamisama, and it was very annoying. They kissed in the first episode. I don't care if it was a contract, it's too fast. I only like Tomoe's voice. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi's Chiaki did a good job of lower his voice to sound more masculine. Kamisama can NEVER compare to Inuyasha. Inuyasha's music, characters, and plot is so original and i think it is one of the best out there. I could never get tired of Inuyasha. But Kamisama doesn't really wow me like Inuyasha does. The scenes and music in Inuyasha gives me goosebumps and can bring me to tears. You honestly cannot hate any character from Inuyasha. Kamisama doesn't give me any of those. And the music isn't good either. The characters are annoying. Nanami is just a loud mouth. Tomoe at first was just a demon with a fan that made him look homosexual, and the other characters are just plain. I wouldn't be able to remember any of the characters 5 years from now. But it's been about 10 years and i still remember Bankotsu and the Band of Seven, Goshinki, and Inuyasha's awesome demon form, Inuyasha's sexy older brother Sesshomaru, and memorable villain Naraku. The death scenes and romance scenes in Inuyasha are sad and adorable. Inuyasha is also hilarious. Who can forget when Sango was drunk and tried to kiss Inuyasha? Or Miroku *spoiler* proposing to Sango. Inuyasha and Kagome's memorable kiss scene in the Second Movie. These brought me to tears.Even Naraku's ****spoiler****death made me feel sorry for him. But anyways...
    Tomoe and Inuyasha both have ears and long white hair.
    Yukiji looks like Sango, with her hair down and in a ponytail.
    Nanami is basically another Kagome.
    Kagome is considered and called a "Miko" or "Shrine Maiden" because of her powers. Nanami is called a "Miko" because of her powers.
    Tomoe and Nanami's contract is like Kagome's "Osuwari".
    Yukiji's personality is like Kikyo's, not afraid to kill a demon and has a cold side, but can be very sweet.
    The Dragon Eye thing is like the Shikon Jewel.
    Nanami is possibly Yukiji's reincarnation like Kagome is Kikyo's reincarnation.
    Yukiji was a human and Tomoe's past lover like Kikyo and Inuyasha.
    Tomoe is a mixture between Shippo, Sesshomaru ,Inuyasha and Miroku because he is cold-hearted like Sesshomaru, he is a fox demon, uses fox magic and can transform like Shippo, he is arrogant like Inuyasha and a lecher and flirts like Miroku.
    Tomoe cried over Yukiji's death and said how much we wanted to be with her, like Inuyasha when Kikyo died in the Final Act.
    Tomoe wanted to become human and live with Yukiji, like Inuyasha and Kikyo.
    Tomoe has to cover his ears with a hat, like Inuyasha does when he's in the Present time.
    Nanami traveled back in time, like Kagome.
    The Dragon eye was inside Nanami like the Shikon Jewel was inside Kagome.
    Tomoe has a human form like Inuyasha.
    Tomoe and Inuyasha both hated the main girl, but then fell in love with them.
    Tomoe flirts like Miroku.
    Nanami gets jealous and gets angry like Sango.
    Kurama is like Koga, trying to steal the main girl.
    Tomoe's memories locked away is like Kohaku's memories and then he gets them back.
    Tomoe's past is like Inuyasha, he used to kill a lot of people.
    Mizuki is kinda like Hojo, since Hojo likes Kagome, but Kagome doesn't like him back.
    Nanami's friends are like Kagome's friends. Yuka, Eri and Ayumi.
    You CANNOT tell me that it's not like Inuyasha.

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  8. Well, it doesn't look like it'll come this year, but second season get!

    Definitely looking forward to more of this show.

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