Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Episodes 1 - 7 Streaming
Nanami Momozono is a girl down on her luck – her deadbeat dad has just abandoned her as he flees his creditors, leaving his high school aged daughter on her own. Stopping in a park as she tries to figure out where to go from here, Nanami encounters a strange man named Mikage who kisses her on the forehead and offers her his house. She takes him up on it only to discover that the house is a shrine and that Mikage has transferred his land god powers to Nanami, making her the new god. Now Nanami has to contend with godhood, high school, and her newfound ability to interact with members of the spirit world, which most definitely includes fox yokai Tomoe, her not-entirely-willing shinshi. He used to be a wild (untamed) fox, so others warn her that he may not be as helpful as he seems, but a girl-turned-god needs all the help she can get!
Based on the manga of the same name by Julietta Suzuki, Kamisama Kiss (or Kamisama Hajimemashita) follows the fortunes of high school girl Nanami Momozono, who has been abandoned by her father. A chance encounter with a bespectacled man does land her a house, but much to her surprise, that home comes with some extras, perhaps the most shocking being that it is a shrine and she is now, thanks to the titular kiss, its new land god. Fortunately Nanami is not alone in the her new life – two spirits named Onikiri and Kotetsu serve the shrine and keep it neat and clear, and as a god, Nanami is entitled to a spirit servant, also known as a shinshi. The previous god employed a fox spirit named Tomoe, but he is somewhat less than thrilled to switch his allegiances to a human girl, and with the realization that she has to kiss him to forge a contract, Nanami isn't sure she's up for this either. Things resolve within the first episode, however, and the pair's tumultuous relationship begins.
The reason for the tumult is largely based on the fact that for all of her fledgling powers, Nanami is still a human. She must learn how to be a god from the ground up, and Tomoe finds this immensely frustrating. He doesn't understand how Mikage, the former god, could have given the responsibility to a human in the first place, and her insistence on continuing to attend school and be otherwise human, not to mention the slow rate of her godly progress, makes him less than happy. And yet he is capable of moments of great kindness and willingness to do nearly anything to protect her, which not only opens the possibility of him being labeled as a male tsundere but also gives the series its romantic subplot. By episode seven that is in full swing, and while it is not the focus of the show, its inclusion does appear to have some significant repercussions, particularly as relates to Tomoe's past, something which is touched on in episode six.
The romantic aspect is further filled out by some of the other male characters. Kurama, a tengu with pop star ambitions, seems to have a thing for Nanami, although the reasons behind it are suspect, and he plays the part of “school heartthrob,” inadvertently helping Nanami to make one of her first real friends, the adorable Ami, who has a crush on him. Also adding to the bishounen factor of the show is Mizuki, a snake spirit Nanami encounters who seems unwilling to remove himself from her life. Add in the fact that her new position is as god of matchmaking (and a visit from a lovelorn goddess), and you can see the potential for this to devolve into a supernatural shoujo romance. However despite this, Kamisama Kiss is not a reverse harem show, and at least within these first seven episodes, romance is ancillary to Nanami's living situation and introduction to the spirit world.
This is one of those series where the voice work outshines the artwork, although the latter is by no means shabby. Suzuki's art has translated well into an animated form, retaining her distinct style and even the amazing abilities of skirts to plaster themselves to the backs of thighs when girls are sitting, preventing panty shots. The color palate is strictly pastel, which can blur a bit when watching more than two episodes in a row, and the art is almost devoid of background details. Fortunately everyone moves with relative fluidity and supernatural details are very well done, particularly Tomoe's fox fire and Himemiko's clothes. Voices really pick up where the art leaves off, with Shinnosuke Tachibana's Tomoe retaining the frustrated elegance of the character and Daisuke Kishio bringing out the best (and funniest) in Kurama. Vanilla Yamazaki narrates as if she had just walked off the set of Okami-san and Her Seven Companions (she hasn't; that was Satomi Arai), and while the narration does not add to the show, it also doesn't detract and her old lady voice is enjoyable. Both theme songs are performed by Hanae in a very breathy voice, which works better for the ending theme, “Kamisama Onegai.”
Overall a charming confection and a lot of good clean shoujo fun, Kamisama Kiss is a nice way to spend half an hour each week. With likeable characters well-voiced and pleasant artwork, not to mention a plot that doesn't entirely revolve around romance and brings in a fun supernatural element, shoujo fans should be assured of a enjoyable time. Nanami still has a lot to learn about being a god, and happily there are six more episodes about it for us to watch.
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B-
Art : B-
Music : B-
+ Good voices, nice supernatural details in the artwork. Fun story with an interesting plot.
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