Anime — Kamisama Kiss

 

Kamisama Kiss (known in Japan as Kamisama Hajimemashita) is one of my favorite anime series. But it doesn’t seem very well known so I try to recommend it to my friends who like shoujo series. Just getting screenshots for this post made me want to watch it again, for the third time.

The series is told from the perspective of Nanami Monozono, a high-school student who is made homeless thanks to her now-absentee gambling-addicted father. But she’s taking things in stride. While sitting in a public park thinking of what to do next about her living situation she happens upon a man stuck up in a tree who is being hassled by a small dog. She shoos off the canine and the man thanks her for rescuing him by offering her his old house.

It turns out his old house is a creepy shrine inhabited by will-o-the-wisps and a fox-demon familiar named Tomoe, and she has now inadvertently inherited the position of Land God.

While visually Kamisama Kiss looks to be taking a lot of cues from Inuyasha, thanks to school-girl Nanami and silver-haired fox-eared Tomoe, its narrative is extremely different. Inuyasha is a shounen fantastical action-adventure with romantic themes, Kamisama Kiss is a more modern shoujo romantic comedy with fantastical themes. The anime is directed by the same person who did Fruits Basket, if that gives you an idea of what kind of show to expect. The Kamisama Kiss anime has a short and sweet single season run (a second season has been announced and will start in early 2015) that is enjoyable to blow through on a weekend.

And it should be stressed that Kamisama Kiss is really funny. Nanami’s take-no-shit attitude when dealing with all these supernatural creatures in the guises of hot men, such as an idol rockstar crow-demon, who keep showing up in her life is very entertaining to watch. But she is also believably characterized as a vulnerable teenager that is working through a lot of stuff and trying her best given the circumstances. I like Nanami a lot. But I have to say, my favorite character is the bumbling yet cunning sacred snake familiar, Mizuki (he shares the same voice actor as Mikorin from Nozaki-kun, so that is a bonus).

The Kamisama Kiss manga is also very good. It extends quite a bit farther than where the first season of the anime ends and, from that the previews show, it also extends farther than what the second season will see, so if you enjoy the anime and want to follow more of the story you can buy up to volume 16 in English thanks to Viz’s Shojo Beat (print only).

All 13 episodes of Kamisama Kiss are currently streaming on Hulu in addition to FUNimation’s site and YouTube channel (first two episodes only), and it also has a domestic Blu Ray/DVD available for purchase.