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REVIEW: Kamisama Kiss GN 3




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eyesopen0791



Joined: 01 Aug 2007
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Location: A Sleepy Town in California

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:05 pm Reply with quote
Ah, I’m a fan of this manga and Himemiko is the spirit of a goldfish, not a catfish. Small quibble, because she still looks like a fish when she’s in human form, but different fishy.

I love this line in the review “Tomoe is unbearable elegant.” Anime hyper Because he so is. I want to see him badly wearing scuffy clothes and looking outraged and horrified about it. Maybe it will happen in a later story.

I like Kanako Sakurakoji, but more for her art and romantic overtones, because yeah, her female leads seem to be disappointing in the inner strength category. I’ve read up to volume 4 of Black Bird and by then I was tiring of the weepy Misao. -_- Her female lead in Backstage Prince gave me a hint of what the female lead in the longer Black Bird could be like.

On the paragraph commenting about Nanami’s fragileness despite her being a tochigami, I think being that she is human she doesn’t have existing supernatural powers like supernatural beings would already have. So she has to start from square one with developing her powers that she has now been given as a tochigami. She’s very weak compared to a supernatural being having powers already and whose powers would be enhanced if they became a tochigami.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:47 pm Reply with quote
Thanks for such a thoughtful response!

She's a goldfish?! Crap. Sorry, I really should have caught that. Embarassed

I agree with you about Kanako Sakurakoji. I actually thought the heroine of Backstage Prince was a bit stronger than Misao, but I certainly wouldn't hand one of her books to a girl with self-confidence issues. I didn't start out thinking of Kamisama Kiss in relation to Black Bird, but this volume really did remind me of it. If it had been Misao spoiler[captured by the snake] she would have given up. One of my favorite things about Nanami is that she never does. But then, neither did Odette, so I suppose it does boil down to authorial differences in how they write their heroines.

I like your explanation about Nanami's seeming fragility. Do you suppose she'll attain immortality if she keeps the tochigami position? (Could she even get out of it? I mean, other than the way her predecessor did.)

Scruffy Tomoe? With an outraged expression? *terrible fangirl squeal* Oh man, I'd love to see that too!

(Ahem. Regaining my professorial dignity now. Ah hell, it's summer. Screw it.)
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eyesopen0791



Joined: 01 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:31 pm Reply with quote
Oh thank you. *blushes* You're welcome. Anime smallmouth

Yeah, I'm pretty sure. When Himemiko entered the story, her being the spirit of a goldfish was such a striking detail that I remembered it when I read your review.

Yeah, there are a handful of scenes where the Backstage Prince heroine showed some backbone in just speaking her mind in a group of people and not being cowered by the scary hero. That said, Sakurakoji's heroines generally seem to have a very strong flavor of Oh woe is me, someone rescue me, preferably my hot hunky boyfriend. -_-

Nanami annoys me for a different reason, however. When she first meets Tomoe, he is extremely rude, condescending and mean to her. She immediately gives him lip for that bad treatment. Yet IIRC, he never really apologizes to her and she seems to forget it right away, implying she forgives him for that behavior. And he still acts that way from time to time, but Nanami doesn't call him out for it. Worse, she thinks of him and his well being, and you can pretty clearly that she's developing romantic feelings for him. Despite him putting her down at times. Mad

I've seen this many times before in other shoujo mangas, where a girl is verbally abused by a guy and yet she ends up minimizing his abusive talk and worse, starts to like him romantically. It's so...disappointing and annoying. Mad It implies to me that Japanese women don't have a lot of self worth to not to bother with guys that treat them badly.

I think Nanami could become immortal. IIRC, but vaguely, sorry about that, that the previous tochigami was gone for some time and that is really some time because later on, Tomoe was blasting Nanami when he first thought she was that tochigami that he was left to take care of the shrine alone for maybe 80 years? So the previous tochigami appears to not have aged much the past 80 years.

Oh, I think Tomoe gave her a chance to not be the tochigami anymore, but Nanami decided to stay. I don't remember why anymore, it may be because she wanted to make a difference on the people that were coming to the shrine to pray or possibly those two shrine spirits whose company she was begun to like.

Yep, yep, I can't wait to see an outraged Tomoe. It'll be priceless! Anime hyper
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:53 pm Reply with quote
Very Happy You're welcome. You can give me feedback on my reviews anytime! I'm quite enjoying this.

I've noticed that trend in shoujo romances too. In fact, my sister says that she and her fiance have a whole list of shoujo manga that they don't plan on letting any future children read until age 17 for just that reason. (Mind you, they both have a slight tendency towards overreaction.) We had a big discussion about rape vs romance in shoujo awhile back in the manga forum, with a lot of Sho-Comi titles being prime offenders. But what you described is just as serious. When I teach romance novel classes, I always have to at least mention the whole "rape romance" subgenre (Thanks, Kathleen Woodiweiss! Mad ), and traditionally in those, it starts with the female no longer berating the male for his condescending/disrespectful behavior. So I guess this could be the gateway relationship that paves the road for readers to accept something like Black Bird or Love Celeb. (Though hopefully never Hao Airen!) Sumi in Stepping on Roses is certainly an example of it. That series is sort of in between Kamisama Kiss and Black Bird, I think.

I don't know if it has to do with self-esteem for Japanese women or just general misogyny. I mean, we still live in a society where radio ads end with "women and minorities are encouraged to apply," which pretty strongly implies that women don't feel they can apply in the first place. A recent study (I didn't read it online, so I don't have a link) suggested that social networking is reinforcing sexism as well. A lot of young adult fiction also presents negative stereotypes for girls too, particularly series books like Gossip Girl or even Twilight.

Okay, totally got all teachery on you there. I guess you can tell it's one of my pet subjects. Embarassed

Yes, you're right, I DO remember the choice Tomoe gave her! The immortality does seem a very real possibility, given the age of the previous tochigami.
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eyesopen0791



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:55 pm Reply with quote
If it’s a shoujo manga review, it’ll highly likely. Anime catgrin I read about 95% shoujo. I’m addicted to the journey of a romance stories.

Heh. Whoa. I guess that’s a good thing. For a 17 or 18 year old that may have been possibly banged up a bit by the lessons of life and love, it’s probably ok to read most shoujo because they might read a type of behavior in those stories and reject it as just wrong, but for an impressionable 13-15 year old girl, not really a good idea. I need to read that discussion about rape vs. romance shoujo because I definitely would be interested in reading why some people think that rape is romance. And that rape theme was prevalent in American romance novels, too. D:

With regards to shoujo manga, as you have guessed, Mayu Shinjo is probably the top worst offender. When I started reading manga, and became very comfortable with reading shoujo because, before, I read mostly romance novels Anime smallmouth + sweatdrop, I read some summaries of Shinjo’s mangas and was horrified. Today still, I wouldn’t touch one of her mangas with a ten foot pole. And yet I see on the internet she’s a very popular author back then and now. Just because some young people want to read sex in a romance manga doesn’t mean that they have to read mature romances where the girl falls in love with a guy that is scornful of her and belittles her.

Oh, thank you, that’s the word I couldn’t put my finger on: misogyny. I was wondering if there was a word to describe this behavior in shoujo mangas. But what’s terrible about that then is if shoujo mangas is misogynistic, what does that say about most shoujo mangas artists, who happen to be women? Mad It implies to me then that Japanese women are brought up to mistrust and hate their own gender in comparison to the all mighty, superior male.

I haven’t read Twilight, yeah, I can make the choice not to read a hugely popular book series, plus I’m somewhere way past the age of a 16 year old girl, but anyway, from what little I’ve read of Twilight, it’s about a teenage girl that fascinates a vampire that physically looks a teenager. And so he stalks her, trying to make her his. So of course, she has to fall in love with him. Because that’s what all good girls should do, fall in love with their stalkers, reward him for his stalking, obsessive behavior by falling in love with him.

Oh, it’s fine if you got teachery. Anime smallmouth Romance stories seems to most people like such a lightweight type of fiction, but really, it’s actually interesting to examine it and explore it in discussions of aspects of human nature as they are revealed by relationships between women and men.
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Tortoiseshell Tabby Girl



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:24 am Reply with quote
In the first volume of VIZ's English translation of Kamisama Kiss (Kamisama Hajimemashita), Tomoe tells Nanami that Himemiko is an "incarnation of a catfish." That is the same phrase used in her character description at the front of volume three.

As for the onibi-warashi of Mizuki's shrine, I believe that they are actually modeled after the Amefurikozō (Rain Child), a weather spirit with the form of a child wearing an old umbrella on its head, rather than a Kasa Obake, which is a type of Tsukumogami (an inanimate object that gains a spirit after 100 years of existence). The fact that they are modeled after Amefurikozō makes a lot of sense, since the kami of Mizuki's shrine was a water kami.

Interestingly enough, the onibi-warashi of Nanami's shrine are the perfect fit for her shrine, too, since it is dedicated to love and relationships. The masks that the onibi-warashi wear are of a couple known as Hyottoko and Okame, a foolish and enthusiastic peasant and peasant woman, who together represent human fertility and fertility of the land. When two people wear these masks during springtime matsuri (festivals), the partners parody sexual acts in order to encourage fertility in the land and the people. This has roots in Japan's rice-planting culture.

I chose not to read Black Bird, despite my interest in Tengu, precisely because of my being turned off by the obvious fanservice elements (luckily, there's Kurama in KK). However, Kamisama Kiss has reminded me of two other manga--Inuyasha and Her Majesty's Dog. I was particularly struck by the common themes between Her Majesty's Dog, by Mick Takeuchi, and Kamisama Kiss upon reading this third volume because of Mizuki's story. spoiler[In Her Majesty's Dog there are similar relationships between masters and servants, although in HMD the masters are human instead of kami. There was a similar exploration of what emotionally and mentally happens to the servant when the master dies, though perhaps it was a bit more acute in HMD because the masters were humans, and therefore did not live as long as kami.]

Kamisama Kiss, Inuyasha, Her Majesty's Dog, and Black Bird all employ Japanese mythology and folktales, but most especially the global, age-old phenomenon of animal bride/bridegroom tales, of which Beauty and the Beast, The White Cat, The Lady and the Lion, The Crane Maiden, Swan Lake, and the tales of selkies (seal maidens) are examples of. Having read little about Black Bird, I find that Her Majesty's Dog and Kamisama Kiss really shine at exploring the concept of a relationship between a human being and a supernatural "other" who posesses animal characteristics. As I love tales such as Beauty and the Beast and have a strong interest in Japanese myth and tales, as will as Shinto, Kamisama Kiss feels like it was made for me (which is a weird and wondrous feeling), and I think anyone else interested in those subjects will find something to like, even if they don't fall deeply in love with the series like I have.

With regard to Nanami and Tomoe's relationship, I feel that Nanami shows strength by having the skill to discern how Tomoe truly feels, even when he speaks harshly to her. She knows he's been hurt and betrayed and probably has trust issues, but more importantly, she is fully aware that he's a Kitsune and that, sometimes, Kitsune are like that. spoiler[Present-day Tomoe is way more preferable to past-Tomoe, after all. I can't wait to learn how Tomoe changed from his past-self to his present-self, and to find out who this Yukiji woman was and what she meant to Tomoe (considering the fact that she's been briefly mentioned in all three volumes so far). I was quite intrigued that Nanami ended up in Yukiji's body when her spirit traveled to the past.] As for Nanami and her kami abilities...she's definitely a level-one kamisama right now. I hope we get to see her building up her kami powers again, like when she was working on them before in the first volume. When I love a story this much, though, plot holes don't really bother me. At the beginning of a story, a reader usually decides whether or not they trust an author to answer the unanswered. What I trust--what matters most to me--is that Julietta Suzuki cares about her characters and will take care of them, because I found myself caring about them from the very beginning.
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Princess_Irene



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:28 am Reply with quote
Tortoiseshell Tabby Girl wrote:


Kamisama Kiss, Inuyasha, Her Majesty's Dog, and Black Bird all employ Japanese mythology and folktales, but most especially the global, age-old phenomenon of animal bride/bridegroom tales, of which Beauty and the Beast, The White Cat, The Lady and the Lion, The Crane Maiden, Swan Lake, and the tales of selkies (seal maidens) are examples of. Having read little about Black Bird, I find that Her Majesty's Dog and Kamisama Kiss really shine at exploring the concept of a relationship between a human being and a supernatural "other" who posesses animal characteristics.


I absolutely agree with you here. All of those fit Aarne-Thompson Tale Types 425C, 402, and 433, which have to do with marrying the supernatural "Other." The flip side are the Bluebeard stories (AT 312) - actually the theory is that "Beauty and the Beast" stories were intended as comfort to girls forced to marry an older, unknown man while "Bluebeard" was a warning against marrying someone untrustworthy. It's interesting how the stories have evolved to the point of straight romance.

Thank you for the onibi-warashi information! I'm (clearly) better with Western folklore, and that makes a lot of sense.

eyesopen0791 wrote:
Oh, thank you, that’s the word I couldn’t put my finger on: misogyny. I was wondering if there was a word to describe this behavior in shoujo mangas. But what’s terrible about that then is if shoujo mangas is misogynistic, what does that say about most shoujo mangas artists, who happen to be women? Mad It implies to me then that Japanese women are brought up to mistrust and hate their own gender in comparison to the all mighty, superior male.

I haven’t read Twilight, yeah, I can make the choice not to read a hugely popular book series, plus I’m somewhere way past the age of a 16 year old girl, but anyway, from what little I’ve read of Twilight, it’s about a teenage girl that fascinates a vampire that physically looks a teenager. And so he stalks her, trying to make her his. So of course, she has to fall in love with him. Because that’s what all good girls should do, fall in love with their stalkers, reward him for his stalking, obsessive behavior by falling in love with him.

Oh, it’s fine if you got teachery. Anime smallmouth Romance stories seems to most people like such a lightweight type of fiction, but really, it’s actually interesting to examine it and explore it in discussions of aspects of human nature as they are revealed by relationships between women and men.


I read Twilight so I'd know what my students were on about and was unimpressed. It didn't strike me as something I would want impressionable girls reading, particularly the series' ending. And then there were all those damn essays about how it's the new "Beauty and the Beast..." Sigh.

There's an interesting, although not especially good, book called Dangerous Men, Adventurous Women edited by Jayne Ann Krentz (AKA Amanda Quick), which is a compilation of essays by romance authors defending the genre. The essays are varied in quality, and the one on rape romance is a bit disturbing. The prevalent theory is that rape romance novels allow women to safely fantasize, but I have a difficult time imaging why one would want to fantasize about such things. But that's perhaps my prejudice.

The rape vs romance discussion actually began because of something a Japanese woman said to my sister (the same one I mentioned before): my sister expressed concern about the plot of Haou Airen and the Japanese woman said something along the lines of "But she agreed to date him, so she gave him permission to use her body." That certainly is in line with your theory.

Mayu Shinjo is a top offender, absolutely. I think Kanan Minami (translated in French and Italian, but thankfully not English) and Osakabe Mashin are perhaps worse, although Minami wrote a wonderful story about a girl who is raped and pressured not to report it. Mashin goes into the whole "wife rearing" thing, which is distasteful at best, and most of her sex scenes involve serious tears, and not of joy.

Not all authors love their characters as much as Julietta Suzuki.
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eyesopen0791



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:18 pm Reply with quote
Tortoiseshell Tabby Girl
[Said interesting and cool stuff]

Aw man Himemiko may be a catfish after all. :/ I can’t find my volume 1 to check but I’m sure you’re probably right.

I can’t agree with you about Nanami’s reaction to Tomoe. I’ve only read vols 1-3 published and my memory is fuzzy, so I might be wrong. Has Tomoe been betrayed? Yes, and the only reason I can only think of is because his tochigami abandoned him and the shrine. Has he been hurt and has trust issues because of that? I highly doubt that. More like he has felt very angry/p*ssed/enraged.

As a supernatural being possessing powers and immortality, Tomoe’s too arrogant to feel hurt by humans. I didn’t read your spoilers about kitsunes because I haven’t read the story past the published volumes by scanslations, but if it’s about kitsunes being arrogant and scornful of mere humans, then it’s not unsurprising that Tomoe speaks harshly to Nanami. Even so, I think a person shouldn’t tolerate a condescending, mean mouthed supernatural being just because he is a supernatural being.


Princess_Irene
[Said interesting and cool stuff]

One of the things I like about Kamisama Kiss is that it includes more details of Japanese mythology and folktales than expected in a romance manga.

Thanks for mentioning that book. I’m requesting from my library. I definitely want to read it. I think women may want to fantasize about being in the arms of an assertive, powerful, strong man in those types of fantasies. The problem is there is such a razor thin line between assertive and dangerously overbearing, powerful and strong and physically overpowered into unwilling sex. It is just too easy to go over the edge and I could never trust a man to not go over the edge. Think about it, a man fantasy raping you but decently not hurting you or causing you distress over the force? That’s an oxymoron that doesn’t exist.

Whoa with that statement, these women think that rape by your boyfriend or your husband doesn’t exist. These women probably think the only acceptable rape is stranger rape, which does happen, but isn’t as common as rape by a man you know or even know slightly. Just because you go on a few dates with a guy doesn’t mean he can have your body completely and whenever and just because you talk to a guy in a dance club doesn’t mean he can think he spring upon you later and force himself on you.

Sex involving the girl crying tears? That’s terrible. Evil or Very Mad
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