The Spring 2023 Anime Preview Guide
KamiKatsu: Working for God in a Godless World
How would you rate episode 1 of
KamiKatsu: Working for God in a Godless World ?
Community score: 3.6
How would you rate episode 2 of
KamiKatsu: Working for God in a Godless World ?
Community score: 3.1
What is this?
As heir to a cult leader, Yukito centers his life around the mysterious goddess Mitama. But everything changes after he's killed during a ritual gone wrong. To his surprise, Yukito is reborn into a world with no concept of god! And in this world, life and death are decided by the Imperial State. As Yukito fights to protect his new village, someone from his past life lends a helping hand.
KamiKatsu: Working for God in a Godless World is based on Aoi Akashiro and Sonshō Hangetsuban's Kaminaki Sekai no Kamisama Katsudō manga and streams on Crunchyroll on Wednesdays.
How was the first episode?
I appreciate a good first episode bait and switch—you know, where the episode spends most of its runtime pretending to be one thing before revealing itself as something completely different? KamiKatsu does this trick better than most. At first, this episode sets itself up as an anti-isekai comedy. Yukito, son of a cult leader, is killed in a ritual and awakens in a fantasy world. However, he quickly learns that none of the magic or adventure he was expecting exist. That said, he is able to use his real-world knowledge to create wine—but that only succeeds in letting everyone get drunk night after night. It all seems to be a light-hearted take down of your standard isekai tale.
However, even in this part of the story, there are hints about what is really going on. There are no elderly people and no children in the town. And despite harvesting a luxury such as grapes, the tools and wagons are old and in need of repair. Then comes the big reveal: this is an interment camp for those outcast by society—a camp where they are all awaiting their execution dates.
Rather than being a commentary on the isekai genre, this show is actually a commentary on society—about the cult-like groups we make even when religion isn't involved. And it's hard not to see the point. We are all natural zealots—be that to ideologies, political parties, or even sports teams. Even in a world without the concept of gods or religion, we'd still find a way to persecute one another. Yukito managed to escape his family's cult but he can't escape human nature.
And lastly, the episode ends with one final twist. While ours is a world where many worship gods but they do not manifest, this world without gods is the opposite. Simply by praying to his god, Mitama, in his moment of greatest need, she appears. Now we are forced to ask the question: “What happens now in this world without religion when a literal god walks among them?” I don't know, but I'll sure be back next week to find out.
Rating: God is Dead, and This Anime Has Killed Him
I am only going to say this once, because the act of typing these words has caused me such irrevocable psychic damage that I do not know if I can ever hope to recover: KamiKatsu is worse than The Fruit of Evolution. I hate The Fruit of Evolution more than most anything else on this Earth, but I can give that show credit for knowing that it was insipid, soul-destroying trash. It wore its hatefulness on its sleeve, like the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange, so you at least never had to suffer through its spiritual violence under any false pretense of hope for a better world. This KamiKatsu show, though? It has the gall to be just as ugly, annoying, crass, and juvenile as The Fruit of Evolution, with the added bonus of somehow being even more incoherent with its nonsensical writing and editing.
Worse yet, KamiKatsu seems to be under the deeply depressing delusion of being a Real Anime™, with characters that we should legitimately care about and some kind of “story” that has, like, dark themes and mysteries to uncover and whatnot. Dear viewer, if you for some reason decide to ignore my warnings and actually watch this awful premiere, you will discover just how ridiculous it is that KamiKatsu would ever ask to be taken seriously for even the micro-est of microseconds. This is the show that has its protagonist killed by his egomaniacal cult leader father as a joke, only to be awoken moments later in a fantasy isekai world by a strange woman who decides that best way to revive this poor, unconscious traveler is to furiously masturbate his unconscious body. This is the show that plays that same lady's chronic horniness and proclivity for sexual assault as a joke again within mere minutes of the scenes where all of the hero's new villager friends die horrifically due to their status as local pariahs in the weird, godless hierarchy of this isekai land.
You may have noticed that I have been carefully avoiding the use of any proper nouns throughout this preview. That is because KamiKatsu runs at such a disjointed pace, and it so often had me physically cringing in revulsion with its godawful jokes and hideous visuals, that I genuinely could not tell you what any character's name is in this show. You don't need to know any of these fools' names, anyways. All you need to know is that KamiKatsu will only bring misery to any soul unfortunate to gaze upon it. The land that it has desecrated ought to be salted and walled off, with the only evidence of its profane existence being those warnings that scientists designed to ward off any future explorers to sites of nuclear decay and destruction: “What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. Nothing valued is here. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.”
I think I need a neck brace after that tonal whiplash. This is a show, or at least a first episode, that really doesn't want you know what you're getting. From protagonist Yukito getting murdered by his father's religious cult to getting reborn in the world's most boring isekai experience to suddenly learning it's a horrible dystopia where the state routinely kills people and fearing death is an abomination (that gets you killed) to being saved by his dad's god, this show is insanely off-balance. It's intentional, but it really didn't work for me.
The story does have its moments, though. Yukito's complete and total dissatisfaction with his new world is pretty funny, especially because the buxom Alural gives him the impression that it's going to be a very different sort of isekai. His first major accomplishment is teaching the villagers how to make their own wine so that they can all get hammered every night in a send-up of all of those farming isekai stories that have come out in recent years. Even the arrival of a ghastly CG monster (it's the CG that's ghastly; the monster's just sort of bland) is treated like a joke, because villagers don't fight monsters; they run away from them. The misdirection here is that Alural and Roy both get their guy-reviving and monster-fleeing knowledge from books, which makes it look like this is some sort of manual-based world.
This may still turn out to be true, but the fact that the Imperial Palace looks like it came out of a science fiction show is a big red flag for how the world works. I can't rule out that it's setting up a science versus religion element, because Alural indicates to Yukito that there are no gods, only for Mitama-sama, his dad's god, to show up at the end. Still, I'm not sure what all of this has to do with the random moments of horniness. While parts of this are good, the abrupt shifts in tone really didn't work for me.
I'll give it to KamiKatsu: it's been a long time since I saw something this incompetently constructed. It's not just that this show has the production valuess of a stale ham sandwich and the aesthetic sensibilities of a crashed garbage truck. It's not just that it couldn't pick a consistent tone to save its life. It's not just that it features some of the most embarrassing CG monsters since the first season of Arifureta. It's that all of that is true at once, and is packed into a regular-length episode that speeds through content so quickly I thought my ear infection had spread to my brain. I've occasionally described bad shows as feeling like fever dreams, but this one sincerely felt like a sleep-deprived hallucination.
I genuinely don't have words that could approximate how goddamn disorienting this entire episode is. It ping-pongs wildly between rote meta commentary, dead serious drama, and wacky bullshit at entirely random intervals. In the span of 60 seconds our hero and his love interest are killed, he creates a new god with his dying wish, said god annihilates a regiment of soldiers and revives the good guys, and then caps it all off with a cuckolding joke. If that sounds like random nonsense, it's actually the most cogent the episode ever gets.
It's just...bad. At everything. The fantasy world makes no sense. Our main character is a dead-eyed cipher who makes witless commentary about how this new fantasy world totally sucks because it's not like the ones in other isekai stories. Our supporting cast are loud idiots with no personality outside of “annoying,” and every joke involving them revolves around some of the most obnoxious mugging ever animated. The serious drama is totally at odds with the comedy, to the point where it does not feel like this is a real show. Each disparate part is awful, and they're all wrapped together through breathless, directionless editing that slams tones and styles together without a modicum of consideration for the overall product.
I don't know what to tell you. Part of me is still wondering if I'm delirious after sitting through this. It's as if, at every opportunity, the creators made the wrongest possible choice they could. Nothing works. Nothing lands. No potentially interesting ideas or concepts can break through the sheer badness of this execution.
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