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Kamisama Kiss Vol. #16 Manga Review

4 min read

Kamisama Kiss Volume 16 CoverThe romance gears up, but it doesn’t involve the people Nanami expected.

Creative Staff:
Story/Art: Julietta Suzuki
Translation/Adaptation: Tomo Kimura
Editor: Pancha Diaz

What They Say:
Back in feudal Japan, Akura-oh is getting frustrated with his best friend and rampage companion Tomoe. He correctly guesses that Tomoe is lovesick, and decides the best way to deal with it is to kill the object of his affection–Yukiji! And to make matters worse, when Nanami wears historical clothes, she looks an awful lot like Yukiji! Can she manage to preserve the past, save Tomoe, protect Yukiji and keep from getting killed?!

Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
After running from Akura-oh, Nanami reencounters Yukiji. Though Nanami is determined to find the kami Kuromaro this time, she returns to the mansion with Yukiji when it becomes clear she doesn’t know where to start looking. Meanwhile, Akura-oh decides to finally deal with his friend’s problem and kill the human he has begun to fall in love with, Yukiji, when she is on her way to be married. Nanami and the others catch wind of this, and Nanami offers to play a double after extracting a promise that Yukiji’s father will help her find Kuromaro’s mountain. The plan begins to seem less sound when Akura-oh’s lackey nearly kills her, but just as she’s used up all of her resources protecting herself, Tomoe — who had feigned indifference to Akura-oh’s plan — comes to the rescue.

Tomoe’s reluctant feelings for Nanami finally overwhelm him in this volume, as he not only interferes with Akura-oh’s plans by saving her, and also does what she asks (don’t kill humans) so she won’t hate him. Much of it is pretty usual for shojo romance, but it definitely blossoms enough of the warm fuzzies to make it purely delightful for fans. The only problem, at least as far as Nanami is concerned, is that Tomoe isn’t supposed to fall in love with her–he’s supposed to love Yukiji, who Tomoe mistakenly things she is. This runs the risk of complicating things in the future if Nanami winds up changing the past — or, it could answer some questions if it turns out that things aren’t working quite as out of line as Nanami believes.

Akura-oh’s truly scary nature was exemplified in the last volume, when he murders the thugs in the city. His capacity for cruelty comes back stronger not just in his lack of regard for the lives of the humans and Kami he sends one of his lackeys to murder, but also in how he treats his supposed friend Tomoe, basically torturing him by stating his plan to kill the human he’s fallen in love with. Knowing that his personality doesn’t even begin to change until the present day story line many hundreds of years later, it’s a little unnerving to worry about what he may attempt before this story arch is done.

Nanami was a bit disappointing in this volume, despite her initiative with her plan to stand in for Yukiji when they hear of Akura-oh’s plan and the way she yanks herself out of her own time travel in order to speak with the Kami that cursed Tomoe. But her actions are at times too self sacrificing, and her defiance to past Tomoe when she’s angry with him (“I’ll manage somehow!”) feels empty when she actually can’t manage, and requires repeated rescues from him. Luckily, she’s still plucky and upbeat enough to keep her from sliding too far into the realm of annoying heroine.

In Summary
As the romance plays out, the question of how much Nanami is changing in the past, and how much is turning out the way it’s supposed to, becomes more interesting. Suzuki has some original moments with the romance, though for the most part she hits the usual notes — not that that is a bad thing, as this is what shojo fans seek out, and likely have been waiting for. A sidebar from the author promises a conclusion to the arc in the following volume, and fans will be particularly anxious to see what turn the series takes from there.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 13+
Released by: Viz Media
Release Date: October 7, 2014
MSRP: $9.99