What They Say:
Nanami the Land God is back with the handsome fox familiar Tomoe at her side! After a rough start as a newly ordained god, she’s finally finding her land legs in the world of gods, demons, and spirits. However, not everything is going magically well. Nanami’s feelings for Tomoe are growing stronger, but Tomoe goes from hot to cold faster than a weather god! And he’s not the only moody demon. The flowers in Kurama’s mountain home are dying, and the person behind the wilting wildlife is none other than his brother Jiro! Nanami’s got a lot on her plate. When the going gets tough, will this green goddess have what it takes to save the day?
The audio presentation for this show is pretty good overall as it uses a fairly standard design to it as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo and the English language adaptation in 5.1, both of which are encoded using the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec. While there are some action parts to it, a lot of it is the usual kind of dialogue/comedy piece where it’s the interactions, which get frantic at times, that dominates the soundstage. There’s a lot of fun to this since the frantic aspect of it plays across the stage well and the mix of characters that comes into it works nicely. The bigger action pieces aren’t exactly audio busters when you get down to it, but they play well with the overall surrounds and it makes for some definite impact with the supernatural aspects of things. With some good music to be had, beyond just the opening and closing sequences, that area has some solid warmth to it which makes for a pretty engaging mix all around. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this twelve episode series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with nine episodes on the first and three on the second. Animated by TMS Entertainment, the show has a very good look to it here but doesn’t go above and beyond. There’s a softer color palette being used here but it avoids looking washed out but also sticks to looking solid and clean. The show has some good detail to it with the backgrounds and with some of the character designs but it also has some really fluid moments when it gets all supernatural. It’s the kind of show that handles the balance well of action and comedy and the quieter dialogue pieces and the transfer definitely lets it shine through in a good way. I like the look of the show and the kind of atmosphere it creates and that definitely comes through here and it works nicely in terms of consistency with the first season, something you don’t always get when there’s a bit of time between season.
While we had a big overstuffed Goddess Edition for the first season, this one goes a little more basic but works well as we get a slightly thicker than usual Blu-ray case with an o-card that holds the set together. The o-card replicates the case artwork on both sides, just with more pop and color, as we get a good full cast shot on the front with some nice detail and a soothing background that fits the tone of the show well. There’s a good layout to this and I like the character artwork and placement for it as well. The back cover goes for some deeper purples across it that work nicely and it blends the artwork of Tomoe and Nanami really well so that it gives things a bit more serious feeling. The premise is easy to read and covers the show well and the extras are laid out clearly too, The strip of shots from the show are decent for their size, mostly adding some real pop of color here, while the remainder is given over to the standard technical grid that breaks down both formats in a very clean and clear way so you know exactly what you’re getting. The reverse side of the case has a breakdown of episodes by number and title on the left panel as well as the extras while the right side has a very cute shot of Nanami and Tomoe together side by side with the same background as the main cover, giving you the option for two covers if you keep the o-card. No other show related inserts are included.
The menu design for the release follows the usual pattern from FUNimation in that we get a few clips playing throughout it and it definitely fits into the larger theme of what the set is doing. While the first season went all sparkly and the like, this one works a bit softer in general and a little more downbeat, which sort of fits the season overall. The navigation is kept to the lower left with a big widget that has quick and easy menu navigation which also doubles as the pop-up menu. The navigation itself is pretty smooth overall though I do find myself more and more preferring a pop-up menu that directly shows the episode navigation when you select it. Language selection is a breeze and the tracks and subtitles are not locked.
This season of the series has a familiar but welcome slate of extras across it that should please most fans. For the English language crowd we get a pair of commentary tracks from the production side of it that talks about the show and has some fun with it. The other extras we get are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences as there are a couple of those for this season.
The first season of Kamisama Kiss was something that I enjoyed a fair bit as we had a lot of fun in watching the cast come together and Nanami dealing with becoming the Land God for the duration as the previous one has up and left for a while. The concept is a familiar one and most of the setup as well with the character types and the situations, but the execution and humor hit the right kind of flow that made it a whole lot of fun. Nanami is that kind of lead character that can go very badly in some hands but ended up being all the right kind of good here. The show has done well in pushing manga sales, which is the point of most anime adaptations, and this second season hit – alongside a number of OVAs that are a whole separate license we hope to see brought out once they’re all done.
With the second season of the show, we move the the remainder of Nanami’s first year of being the Land God and it takes a few different turns than the first season. While a lot of that was focused on introducing the concepts and characters, this one shifts gears a bit. A big part of that is the move is that we have less earthbound adventures this time. Nanami is doing her best to handle being the Land God and with her main power being that of talismans that she can write up, she’s expending a good bit of energy on it that diminishes what they’re capable of. Tomoe’s pleasantly critical of it all but things take a different turn with the arrival of Otohiko as he begins to talk about the coming Divine Assembly where the various gods go to meet and hang out. This tugs right at who Nanami is as she wants to know everything and be involved in it – even though Tomoe keeps telling her it’s a bad idea since she’s not a normal god in most senses.
Her desire to do this gives her a test to see if she’s able to handle going which involves the hatching and nurturing of a new familiar, a cute little monkey that she names Mamoru. Mamoru has some uses throughout the season at different times to get her out of certain fixes, but mostly he’s there to be cute and occasionally frustrate Tomoe. The first half of the season largely focuses on the attending of the Divine Assembly and the hurdles to get there. This has its interesting moments as there’s a twelve torii passage they have to go through individually which shows different things from their past. For Nanami, this reduces her down to preschool level and gives us some great quality time with her at this age and with her parents. Tomoe ends up going to try and nudge her out of this reverie that she’s stuck in and he ends up caught up in it as well because of his love for her. Seeing her in this way that he hasn’t before just makes him love her all the more, though the adorable factor is the big driving point here.
The dynamic between the two throughout the season is one of the main points of interest and it’s done well because it’s not forced. We know that Tomoe loves her in his own way, something that won’t feel “normal” because of the type of being he is and view on time and involvement with shorter-lived people. At the same time, we also know quite plainly how Nanami feels about him because she wears it on her face regularly enough in very adorable ways. Thankfully, it’s not something that’s really made a big thing of each episode but instead are small nods and glances made here and there while building the relationship more through other avenues. Each character largely remains true to who they are and there aren’t moments of them trying to change each other. And you know Tomoe would want to do that a bit considering how much trouble she gets into by getting involved in everything.
The second main arc of the season isn’t a bad one but it kind of got a little overdrawn as it progressed. With Nanami getting involved with a tengu named Botanmaru that’s looking for another tengu named Shinjuro. Shinjuro is in the normal plane under the identity of Kurama, a popular singer with some crazy special effects that aren’t effects as he uses his wings to fly and dazzle the audience. Botanmaru wants to bring Kurama back to the Mountain because the Sojobo of the mountain, the heart and soul, is fading away and he’s the one that should be taking over even though he left ages ago. Nanami can’t not get involved and that has her joining in convincing Kurama to go back with her and Tomoe accompanying them there.
This arc has some good bits to it as we explore the locale and the way that the elder brother of Jiro is revealed to be like where he’s the strictest of the strict and views weakness as the enemy of all things. It takes up most of the second half of the season and it explores the dynamic of the three men that live here while waiting to see who will take over should/when the current Sojobo passes on to the next world. There are a lot of little moments in the interactions that are certainly nice but it’s hard to become too invested in it because it becomes more about Kurama and Jiro and less about our primary characters. Again, they have their moments and Nanami is instrumental in finding out the truth of why the Sojobo is as weak as he is, but it’s more like they’re minor players for the most part. I really liked the way it worked the Mountain itself and how sad and oppressed the place had largely become and the shift that we see come from it.
With two main arcs and some smaller material mixed in, Kamisama Kiss gives us a good look at the growth Nanami has gone through as she finishes out her first year as the Land God. She’s the right kind of curious about everything and it plays well against Tomoe, someone who has settled down for the most part when it comes to her at least. This season has its good moments and it largely extends the feeling and tone of the first season but it doesn’t really add a whole lot. There are small pieces of progress when it comes to the relationship side between the two main characters as they deal with the problem of Nanami’s being human, but it’s not making any serious progress yet. There’s plenty to like here but I didn’t find it quite as engaging as the first season, making it more of a mild sophomore slump for me.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Select Episode Commentaries, Textless Songs
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 26th, 206
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78;1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.