ONE KISS CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING
What They Say
Nanami goes from homeless high school to local god after an accidental kiss grants her godhood! Now she’s learning the ways of a land god with help from the reluctant, yet handsome fox demon Tomoe, while taking up residence in a local shrine. These new responsibilities—and the boys—are a lot to handle, especially when she may be falling in love! Can she handle the ins and outs of godhood and manage to prove herself worthy?
Both the sub and dub for Kamisama Kiss are very well-done. I was impressed not only with how the Japanese voice actors could emote their characters, but also how the English script was rewritten to fit the language and how well the voice actors added their own emotions to the characters. Nanami’s and Tomoe’s voice actors for the dub were particularly noteworthy. I felt the dub was better than the sub for those two, though I would say the Japanese voice actors for the other characters did a better job than their English counterparts. While the dub was good, the music wasn’t anything special.
While the artwork for Kamisama Kiss is fairly simple, it is also cute and works well with the story. The artists use more muted colors that seem fairly typical in shojo anime. While the colors seem muted, the tone is very bright and feels almost like watercolors. Since this is Blu-ray, everything is HD. I didn’t notice any major issues with video quality, though as always, I felt like the Funimation Blu-ray wasn’t too much better than streaming 1080p online.
KamisamaKiss season 1 comes in a standard Blu-ray case. The two main characters—Nanami and Tomoe—are featured near the top right corner. Below them are Mizuki and Kurama—the two men who make up the rest of Nanami’s harem. Featured less prominently are Mikage and Otohike (two gods who don’t really play a strong role in the series). The background uses shades of purple and pink with floral patterns and what appears to be ribbons. It makes me think a little of a kimono, which would work with the overall setting since the series has some basic Shinto inspiration. The back uses darker shades of purple that travel from the top left to bottom right in a gradient. Near the top are Tomoe and Nanami, below that is the anime description, and following the description are screenshots from the series.
With soft music to add ambiance and a scene from the anime playing in the background, the menu offers all the standard selections from playing each disc from the beginning, selecting episodes, changing the settings, and looking up the extras.
Like all anime, this one comes with a textless OP and ED of the theme song, but it also comes with episode commentary on episodes 1, 6, and 10. I enjoy the commentary because the voice actors and director are both very funny and tend to veer onto all kinds of topics during the commentary. The star of the series is Tia Ballard, and you can really feel her emotions during most of these commentary episodes. I think the only one she was mostly quiet in was the episode 6 live-commentary where we get to watch her, J Michael Tatum, O’Connor Sean, and Jerry Jewel.
Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
I’ve always felt Kamisama Kiss was one of the better romance anime. Shojo anime are often inundated with awful but handsome male characters who treat the female protagonist like garbage, have no redeeming qualities, yet still, somehow the female protagonist falls in love with them because… reasons. I guess that is just what’s popular in shojo these days. Kamisama Kiss is a different breed of romance anime from your typical shojo series.
The main story is this: Nanami is evicted out of her apartment because her dad is a complete deadbeat and accumulated a massive amount of debt. He’s a pretty bad parent. We don’t even see him throughout the entire series. In either event, after finding herself homeless, she meets a homely-looking man who is being attacked by a dog. Nanami helps him by chasing off the dog. I do have to wonder about a full-grown man who needs a teenager to chase a dog away for him, but if this didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have much of a story—and I think the man is a god who mythologically has a thing against dogs (I mean the actual Shinto religion). After Nanami helps the man, she explains how she has no home, and the man tells her that she can stay at his shrine, then kisses her on the forehead.
She doesn’t learn until much later that this kiss turned her into a land god.
This is when the story gets good. Upon entering the shrine, she meets her leading love interest, Tomoe. He’s a very surely fox who doesn’t much approve of Nanami’s presence and does his best to get rid of her. One thing leads to another and he somehow ends up becoming her subordinate when she gives him a smooch on the lips.
I rather like Tomoe and Nanami, who aren’t what I would call typical shojo protagonists. Nanami is a very determined girl who doesn’t let life get her down, is usually very upbeat, and has a good heart. She tends to get overly excited and her reactions are often exaggerated. Her super emotional responses are silly and never fail to make me laugh. I liked the dynamics between her and Tomoe. They’re one of the few anime couples I know who are dynamic, constantly changing and redefining their relationship throughout the series. Both characters start off not liking each other. Tomoe thinks Nanami is useless, and Nanami thinks Tomoe is a hot jerk—and just hot.
While Tomoe doesn’t like Nanami in the beginning, after becoming her subordinate, he becomes very dedicated toward helping her. He still doesn’t like her and thinks she is useless. Even so, he cooks, cleans, and even travels to her school when she forgets her lunch. That was an interesting episode. Because this is a shojo anime, when the main love interest shows up at the girl’s school, it always causes a big ruckus because of how attractive he is. This series is no different in that regard.
Aside from Nanami and Tomoe, several other characters show up like Kurama. He’s a tengu—bird demon—who attends high school and poses as a popular male idol that all the girls go crazy over. The addition of him into the series adds more comedy and romance drama—a classic love triangle in other words. Love triangles are the epitome of shojo anime, so of course, there would be one in this. I’d even go so far as to say this series is more of a reverse harem than a pure love triangle since at least one other man ends up falling in love with Nanami: Mizuki—a white snake who watches after the shrine of another land god that disappeared a long time ago.
Each male character that is introduced provides a new dynamic that forces Tomoe to confront his relationship with Nanami. Tomoe is a classic example of a tsundere character. In this day and age, tsunderes are known for being people who switch between two extreme emotions and are known for beating the protagonist when they get embarrassed. Going against the grain, Tomoe is cold and uncaring toward Nanami. Even after he becomes her subordinate, he does not like her, and this creates several amusing moments between the two as they argue. He doesn’t think she can be a land god because she’s a mortal. However, as the story continues and Nanami proves that she actually has what it takes, his feelings slowly shift toward respect.
Given that Nanami lost her home and was given a new one, it could be said that the story is based on discovering that one’s home isn’t necessarily where they were born or where they lived, but where one’s heart is. At the same time, this story weaves the romantic relationship between Nanami and Tomoe, adding new male characters who get in the way and force the pair to constantly confront and/or reassess their relationship. These two themes generally tend to mix and sometimes clash, but I think that is part of the conflict for this story. Sometimes you argue with your family. That doesn’t mean you will hate each other.
Kamisama Kiss is one of the best shojo romance anime I have ever seen. It’s an amusing story about a homeless young girl who ends up inadvertently becoming a land god, handling supernatural problems she was never meant to even know about and dealing with a burgeoning romance between her and her fox demon familiar. I had so much fun watching this series. It’s one of the few anime I can re-watch. I feel like I discover something new about this anime each time I watch it.
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Running Time: 325 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player