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Kamisama Kiss PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 20 March 2013 00:00
Fans of Fruits Basket may want to take particular note of this one, and Kamisama Kiss has more than a little in common with it. But it's at this point that I should point out just how hard it is for lightning to strike twice...

Abandoned by her father, Nanami Momozono finds herself homeless - but fortunately soon meets a man who offers his own home to her. His home turns out to be a shrine where his supernatural household awaits the return of their lord and master after a 20-year absence - and while their master, Mikage, may have been happy to assign his rights to Nanami, the youkai left looking akter the place in Mikage's absence, Tomoe, isn't happy to just accept that. And so begins the long process of Nanami trying to prove her worth as a god - which doesn't go entirely smoothly.

So, take a homeless girl who's lost her family, and give her a new home with some people who are more than a little tained with the supernatural. Give the directing job to Akitaro Daichi, and you have.... a certain amount of deja vu, as that carefully-tailored description could apply to both Fruits Basket or Kamisama Kiss. The differences? Rather than cursed humans, this time we're dealing with genuine gods and their familiars; and there isn't quite the same shift into the dark and moody here, either.

And I'll stop with the comparisons there. Our lead character is Nanami, who on the surface is a generally cheery girl, but holds within her a fair dose of doubts and insecurity - as you'd expect of someone in her position. She's a likeable girl, though, easy to watch and to empathise with and the sort of person you could easily make friends with. Mikage is the errant god who recruits her - he'd gone AWOL from his temple many years previously (leaving his familiar, Tomoe, to look after the place), and spots in Nanami someone who a) needed a home, and where better than the temple; and b) has within her a certain 'something' that he wants to nuture - through some rather dangerous tests that he and his friends keep springing on her throughout the series.

Set against them is Tomoe, a wolf in almost-human form with a prickly personality to match. He's also very distrusting of others, which mainly comes from the way that Mikage abandoned him years earlier. When Nanami turns up at the shrine, he's initially ready to kick her straight back out on the street again, but over time distrust fades, to be replaced by affection and possible something more and the two spend more and more time with each other. He definitely mellows as we go.

Add in a strong mix of other characters, both human and spiritual, and each with their own issues to bring to the party, and you have all the ingredients for what should be an enjoyable little romp. But it doesn't quite come off as well as it should. Diachi's signature comic style is here, but feels a little restrained and mis-timed throughout a lot of the series. Perhaps he was distracted, finishing off Poyopoyo... Either way, the usual magic just isn't here. A lot of the spirit-world characters didn't quite sit right with me either, in the ways that they got on and how Nanami was treated by them.

Put it all together, and while I hate to say it, watching each new episode was becoming a bit of a chore by the end of the series. Now, it's possible that the series playing mainly to female interests might have had a part to play in that - bishounen gods & familiars do nothing for me - but I do think the show's failings are at a more basic level than that, and that it's not just me. Based on the idea and the people behind it, I had good expectations for Kamisama Kiss, but sadly it failed to live up to them. Must try harder.

Rating - ***