Final Review: Kamisama Hajimemashita

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Kamisama Hajimemashita (aka Kamisama Kiss) is based off a shoujo, romance, comedy manga of the same name. The manga began its run in 2008 and currently has 13 volumes published. The story follows Nanami Momozono, who is evicted from from her home due to her father running away from gambling debts. As a result, Nanami is now homeless, that is until she meets a Mikage, who asks her to go to a shrine in his place. Little did she know, Mikage had also bestowed upon her a role of being a deity for the shrine in his place. At the shrine, Nanami meets Tomoe, a fox demon who had been waiting at the abandoned temple for Mikage for over 20 years. After a few quarrels here and there, Nanami forces a contract onto Tomoe, making him her familiar. Thus begins the new daily life of Nanami and Tomoe. Kamisama Hajimemashita premiered during the Fall 2012 anime season and was simulcasted by Funimation.

Kamisama Hajimemashita is one of the many shoujo and bishounen titles this season. This change in anime trends from shounen and ecchi titles to shoujo titles may not be a bad thing for the industry but Kamisama Hajimemashita doesn’t really help that much. There are really two things that stand out in this show: the director and the art. The director is Akitarou Daichi, a name that may be familiar to those who have seen Fruits Basket and/or Bokura ga Ita. The story is setup in a manner quite similar to Fruits Basket which gives it a strong nostalgic feel from the get go. Unfortunately, in terms of plot, that’s really as far as it goes. From there, it becomes a traditional shoujo romantic comedy where it becomes a push and pull relationship between Tomoe and Nanami. This isn’t a bad thing, but when this season has multiple titles doing the exact same thing: (Hiiro no Kakera 2, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, and Suki-tte Ii na yo to be specific), it’s near impossible to say that this show really stood out. The story barely moves overall as Nanami neither trains to be real deity nor do we learn about Mikage nor do we learn about the “significance” of these demons that continue to surround Nanami. Conclusion wise? Solid ending and retains its cute approaches but again, 3 other titles this season have had similar approaches.

Art is very nice for this show. Backgrounds are above average and character designs definitely strike the Fruits Basket nostalgia, more so than your average bishounen and shoujo titles. This is especially noticeable in the OP video sequence where every shot of Nanami is drawn wonderfully. Animation, however, can be quite horrendous at times. If I remember correctly, there was one one particular scene early on where the characters went from normal people to suddenly stick figures in the same scene. TMS has the skills to do better than this and this show definitely had some average to above average budget. Unfortunately, it sure didn’t seem to be utilized effectively. While the quality is certainly better than Cardfight!! Vanguard Asia Circuit-hen, it certainly falls short to Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna from earlier this year. Coloring is above average with some scenes clearly showing that they could use more “love” given the overly monotone/pale color choice.

OP is catchy with interesting lyrics but tune is not particularly memorable in the long term. ED is more or less forgettable. Background music and sound effects are mostly below average. Shinnosuke Tachibana as Tomoe isn’t anything special and neither is Suzuko Mimori as Nanmi.

Enjoyment? It started off with a Fruits Basket trend but that quickly fell off a cliff into a snooze fest when no real developments occurred. The obvious recommendation here is to go watch Fruits Basket instead. In fact, this year’s Inu x Boku SS may gave you an equal feel except with an arguably far more likable cast.

Overall, Kamisama Hajimemashita is not a really fun watch. It had too much wasted potential and doesn’t really convince the audience (or me at least) that it’s got some “deeper” story going for it. The relationship between Tomoe and Nanami ends up being quite cute but it’s not something that hasn’t been done better recently (e.g. Inu x Boku SS)

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): Fruits Basket like setup. Little backstory.
  • Character Personalities (0.5/1): Nanami is an interesting character at the start but later becomes annoying to some degree. Tomoe is nothing to really care about.
  • Character Development (1/2): Good development on Tomoe’s past and that’s about it. We don’t know WHO Nanami is. What is Mikage’s and Tomoe’s true relationship.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Small and memorable cast. Mikage simply disappears for the most part after the first episode.
  • Pacing: (0/1): I don’t sense a story or plot continuity despite numerous attempts. Cute romance approach.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1/2):  Some…I guess?
  • Conclusion (1/1): Solid overall. Why wasn’t the rest of the series like this?
  • Total: 5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Above average
  • Character Designs (2/2): Lovely
  • Fluidity (0.5/2): Ups and downs with more downs than ups.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1.5/2): Above average
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (0.5/2): TMS could do much better than this given their works this year. Cardfight!! Vanguard Asia Circuit-hen is bad, but this is nearly as bad.
  • Total: 6/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (0.5/3): OP is catchy with decent lyrics but not memorable. ED is forgettable.
  • Background Music (0.5/2): Below average
  • Sound Effects (0.5/2): Below average
  • Seiyuu (1/3): Weak cast
  • Total: 2.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0.5/2): Nanami can  be amusing at times but more often stereotypical shoujo lead. Mizuki trying to play the flute was hilarious
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0.5/2): Starts strong, less appealing as it moves on
  • Presentation: (1/2): To some extent episodic and yet not. No real hooks from episode to episode to keep viewers engaged.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): No
  • Recommendation (0/2): Fruits Basket, Fushigi Yuugi, Inu x Boku SS by a long shot.
  • Value (0/1): None. The manga supposedly does decently in the US but I presume this is due to lack of “good” shoujo manga brought over.
  • Total: 2/10

Preliminary Score: 6/10

Final Score: 4/10

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