Kamisama Kiss 2
Episode 8

by Amy McNulty,

This week's installment of Kamisama Kiss managed to get almost everything perfect. The last two episodes served primarily to build up the Mount Kurama storyline, and now the arc has entered its final phase.

It feels like it's been a while—perhaps even a full season—since the series has showcased the formula it excels in. There's a supernatural setting, a secondary character we care about in the spotlight, and plenty of screen time for Nanami and Tomoe too. Nanami shines in this episode, standing up for herself, coming up with brilliant ideas, and still managing to entertain as her bubbly and airheaded self.

Even with so much going on, the episode fits in some effective romantic tension between Tomoe and Nanami. Tomoe's once again in Edward Cullen mode as he spends a lot of time brooding over how lovely Nanami is in her sleep—even overstepping boundaries of propriety when he caresses her for a moment. The scene doesn't linger too long or feel too creepy, but the exchange afterward over what happens is the low point of the episode.

The abusive tengu acting-chief Jiro is back, and he does indeed seem enamored with Nanami, but his screen presence is limited this week. We learn that women are forbidden on Mount Kurama, and his threat to break Nanami's arm makes him less of a romantic rival and more of a chilling threat; he's a "beast"-type character learning to love, but too vile to be easily forgiven. When Nanami runs from him, we feel her terror as she embraces Tomoe. It will be a treat to see how Nanami, Tomoe, Kurama and Botanmaru will manage to outfox him next week. (No pun intended, Tomoe.)

The humorous bit with SUIRO ignoring Nanami is sadly cut short here, although it's still good for a few laughs before SUIRO explains that he's uncomfortable around women because he so rarely sees one. It's a less compelling reason than I'd hoped for, but the bit might have outstayed its welcome had it gone much longer regardless. There are still plenty of laughs throughout, and the super-deformed comedic reactions are on-point as always.

Episode 8 is the kind of fare that fans of the first season have been waiting for, despite the fact that Nanami and Tomoe are practically back to square one in their relationship. With the climax of the arc still around the corner, the show is sure to continue in a more positive and focused direction.

Rating: A

Kamisama Kiss 2 is currently streaming on Funimation.

Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for two decades.

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