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Kamisama Kiss 2
Episode 9

by Amy McNulty,

Nanami is the shining star this week. Separated from Tomoe and Kurama for the entirety of the episode, she dons a bespectacled tengu boy disguise and sets out with Botanmaru and Mamoru to cure Mount Kurama's former chief. Meanwhile, Kurama and Tomoe distract Jiro with a ruse, pretending that Kurama is a land god who wishes to pay his respects to Jiro.

While Kurama's façade is disappointingly short-lived, Tomoe manages to make Jiro squirm by transforming into a confident, alluring version of Nanami and claiming to be the "celestial nymph" Jiro met at the tree. Tomoe even manages to make some impressive observations about his own difficulties in admitting his feelings for Nanami as he watches Jiro fumble to avoid doing the same.

It seems Jiro is a "jerk with a tragic-ish past," with the potential to learn from his mistakes and become a "jerk with a heart of gold." Nanami gets him to question his policy of banishing anyone who isn't strong and self-reliant by pointing out that no one can make it alone. Mere moments later, he finally notices that he's been causing the young tengu to tremble at the prospect of his wrath. With only a few episodes to convey Jiro's growth as a character, this rushed change in his demeanor isn't too surprising. At the very least, he hasn't entirely repented yet.

Even so, if Nanami forgives Jiro, as she probably will, the viewers (and Tomoe) likely never will, at least not entirely. This isn't some sullen, brooding anti-hero who moans about how life treated him poorly. This is a grown man who values strength above everything and has no qualms about hitting young boys and threatening women. His cruel streak served to make him an effective red herring concerning the previous chief's fate, but we aren't left to wonder what's really going on for long. As soon as Nanami realizes that Jiro is unaware of the chief's lost soul, Yatori reveals what he's done.

Episode 9 has some of the best action scenes this series has to offer. Granted, this isn't a series characterized by heavy action. Although we don't see any epic brawls, Nanami demonstrates how well she can do battle as a land god. She doesn't stop at expelling Yatori, either. To find the former chief's lost soul, she comes up with a brilliant scheme to reveal her presence to all the tengu on Mount Kurama. She's so confident, her power literally sparkles, and this is another episode that gives Nanami a chance to show how powerful she can be without Tomoe in her corner.

The episode, while humorous, is lighter on comedy than last week's, which contained a better balance of humor, intrigue and character drama. Although Tomoe and Kurama manage to amuse with their trademark bickering, the episode suffers slightly because Nanami never touches base with them. Her interactions with other characters besides Yatori this week are either decidedly brief or uneventful. In this regard, the episode is missing the core character interaction that's such an important part of the show.

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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