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Kamisama Kiss (aka Kamisama Hajimemashita) is the quite charming tale of an ordinary[1] high school girl turned earth deity[2] and her initially reluctant fox spirit familiar. All up it is quite entertaining, and even the equal opportunity use of one the most problematic tropes in anime is put to good use.

Some triggering concepts will be mentioned ahead.

The Setup

Nanami Momozono is rendered homeless by her deadbeat dad skipping out on his gambling debts. Nanami is in a park when she rescues a man[3] trapped in a tree by a dog. Mikage gives Nanami his house and kisses her on the forehead.

Nanami goes to the address and discovers an abandoned shrine, two yokai attendants, and a fox spirit named Tomoe. Oh, and by the way Nanami is now the earth deity of the Mikage Shrine.

Slice of Life Ensues

Kamisama Kiss is for the most part a fairly light hearted series. There is some development of Nanami’s character and abilities as a still mostly human god, but it’s mostly episodic fluff with a nice gimmick. I will give Kamisama Kiss credit for making good use of the new characters introduced along the way, these tend to recur in interesting ways.

There’s very little fanservice, and surprisingly it is the beach episode that is critical to some of the most important plot elements in the series[4].

The romance between Nanami and Tomoe has been surprisingly well handled. It is more or less out in the open but that doesn’t mean it is going well. Or even at all[5].

There’s a reason the second season just started running. 🙂

The Stolen Kiss. Again. And Again. In Both Directions.

My biggest issue with Kamisama Kiss is that it seems everything in the supernatural world runs on kisses. Mikage, the former earth deity of the Mikage Shrine, bestows his title and home on Nanami by kissing her on the forehead.

The contract between a deity and her familiar is made with a kiss on the lips.

For at least the first couple of times these are stolen kisses.

As I’ve discussed previously with Say “I Love You” this is a very problematic, and recurring, trope in shoujo anime. To be blunt it is at least on the edge of rape culture, and I usually find it jarring to some extent.

It turns out that I’m uncomfortable with it in both directions and I think the honours are about even in Kamisama Kiss in terms of who is kissing who.

The Shrine Attendants

One more nice touch in Kamisama Kiss is that all of the deities have a pair of attendants. This reminded me of the heralds of Gingitsune, and I suspect that both are drawn from the same symbology of the Japanese shrines.

The Verdict

Kamisama Kiss is a pleasant enough show to pass the time with. I certainly enjoyed it, and even the slightly creepy[6] OP grew on me over the course of the show. Charming, and certainly worth watching at least once.

[1] Not really.

[2] Really.

[3] Not really.

[4] Really. With bonus points for shifting from sun to snowstorm in a single scene.

[5] Much to Nanami’s frustration.

[6] I can’t pin down exactly why it felt creepy to begin with but it really does grow on you.