Kamisama Hajimemashita 2 – 02

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Preparations for and the start of Nanami’s trip to Izumo for the Divine Assembly provide plenty of fodder for comedy and intrigue alike, kicking me back into that “Oh yeah, that’s why I liked this show so much!” gear that I wasn’t in last week.

Like Tomoe pretending it’s a chore to help Nanami with her necklace, yet jealously defending the duty when Mamoru takes human form (“grade school size” as Nanami cheerfully puts it) and offers to do it for her. Or Tomoe and Mizuki bickering to the point Nanami gets smacked in the head with some random wooden box.

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She leaves the two to play a game of shogi (a game neither has ever played) to determine who will accompany her to Izumo as she runs errands with Mamoru. She’s jumped by a host of former gods who warn her not to go, but she stands her ground. When a human male in the park gets injured, she uses Mamoru to dispatch the baddies, but the dude is more annoyed at her than anything else, then tries to steal a kiss, forcing Nanami into swift retreat.

That dude turns out to be more than just a random guy, but a god in human form who is scheming to leave it so he can once again rule the world (or something). Someone to watch out for later, to be sure.

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That dude turns out to be more than just a random guy, but a god in human form who is scheming to leave it so he can once again rule the world (or something). Back home, Tomoe beats Mizuki, but Nanami picks Mizuki to go with her anyway, fearful that if the other gods pick on him or her, things could turn ugly.

Tomoe must pose as Nanami while she’s gone, and while her classmates are fooled he’s her, they feel his nasty aura, one of the details I forgot from last season, but now that my memory has been jogged, I remember how much I liked that fact. Body-swaps done right, are the best.

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Of course, we don’t see much of that at all, because the focus here is Nanami. Mizuki promptly drops her on the way to the Grand Shrine, and she wakes up without Mamoru or her bag in front of a huge procession of gods.

The only one who even speaks directly to her is the war god, but when she can’t impress him, he zooms off with the others, warning her not to speak to him, or anyone else. It’s hardly a warm welcome for lil’ Nanami, but to her credit she sounds super-serious when explaining her gift for white talismans.

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With Mizuki stuck at the gate with a by-the-book guardsrabbit, Nanami is alone, and soon gets lost in the strange space between the world of the living and the divine. Even her guiding flame goes out, she seems on the edge of panic, but a glowing butterfly god leads her the right way.

That’s not all he does: Nanami was unable to give the war god a straight answer about her special skill, but the butterfly guy knows what it is: among all the myriad gods, she’s the only one who can see and feel with the eyes and heart of a human. That makes her just as special and valuable as all of them, and it’s something she should carry with pride.

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Buoyed by those kinds words of the nameless butterfly, Nanami enters the assembly hall with her head held high and with big, pretty brown eyes unclouded. Her reception is cool, save the assembly’s host, who “chooses” her on the spot. Nanami wondered what kind of god lived in such a grand shrine; it’s looking like he’s some kind of casanova.

While last week was pleasant and charming enough, it didn’t really enchant me; this episode remedied that by stripping Nanami of her protection and plunging her deeper than ever into the surreal realm of the divine, while reinforcing her worth and right to stand among them. Intolerant gods underestimate this high school girl at their peril!

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Kamisama Hajimemashita 2 – 01 (First Impressions)

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It’s been two years and eight seasons since I last glanced at KamiHaji, so I for one was glad for the quick refresher at the beginning. In fact, much of the rest of the episode that followed felt a bit like the show knew we needed to be eased back into things, and so revisited a common pattern from the first season.

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Tomoe is overprotective; Nanami rebels, gets in over her head, and has to be rescued a couple of times; and then she finds a new wellspring of power (a baby monkey shikigami she names Mamoru) and rescues both Tomoe and the day. Sure, it’s not the most original formula, but it’s one this show has executed entertainingly, to the tune of an 8.08 average rating here and an 8.09 MAL score its first go-round. It’s a really charming, feel-good kind of show, and can be very funny when it wants to.

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Nanami says “Don’t come inside me!” to the yokai. Was that meant to be a double entendre, or is that just my dirty mind?

The question is, can that formula be sustained for an entire second season, and is KamiHaji 2 something I want to review in a Winter season that’s far lighter than Fall but features a lot of promising non-sequels? Looking back on my first season reviews, I didn’t express any particular burning desire for a second.

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It’s too early to tell. This is my first taste of Winter 2015, and it was very much a re-introductory episode that part of me appreciated but at which another part simply shrugged. Perhaps the goings-on at the Divine Assembly in Izumo next week will help me form a stronger opinion one way or t’other.

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Kamisama Hajimemashita – 08

Nanami’s friends Ami and Kei suggest they all go to the beach for summer vacation so she can get over Tomoe’s rejection. Tomoe is against it, as he says he cannot enter the sea, but comes along anyway, as does Mizuki. When Ami nearly drowns (due to the intervention of a wind deity who is friends with Mikage), Tomoe goes in after her, alerting the Dragon Lord Sakuna to his presence. Sakuna imprisons him in a giant mollusk. Nanami swims after him but Sakuna rescues her from the deep, telling her he’ll only give up Tomoe if she retrieves the eye he stole from him 526 years ago. Begging Mizuki for aid, they travel to the distant past.

This series is definitely on a roll. Nanami has barely an episode to digest what happened between her and Tomoe last week (and as a result can’t easily digest any food either) before Tomoe is spirited away by another deity. Fortunately for her she knows other deities; this week it’s Mizuki’s turn to help her out again. She insists wanting to rescue Tomoe has nothing to do with her being in love with him, but of course that’s nonsense; she can’t separate that reason from any of the others she may have, no matter how practical they may be. Interestingly, it seems like Mikage is orchestrating this whole thing, pulling the strings from the shadows to get Nanami to save Tomoe. Why exactly is anyone’s guess.

This Dragon Lord guy has the memory of an elephant and is quite the stickler when it comes to debts (he has the date of Tomoe’s transgression down to the second), but we like how he’s also a pretty reasonable guy who not only saves Nanami from her foolhardy dive into the ocean (even deities need gills down there), but also promises to hand Tomoe over to her if his debt is repaid. And the only way to do that is to go to the past and avert Tomoe’s theft in the first place. Now that it’s not just her soul but her body going back, Nanami’s love and resolve will be tested to greater degree than ever, as she’ll once again be confronted with the Tomoe of the past, who isn’t bound to her and may not be as nice as the present Tomoe (and even he’s not that nice…)


Rating: 8 (Great)

Kamisama Hajimemashita – 07

Nanami arranges for her classmate Nekota Ami to thank Kurama one-on-one for saving her from the demon, but Tomoe warns her about trying to tie the fates of a human and a demon together. Nanami’s classmate Yumi asks if she can walk home with Tomoe after school; Nanami agrees but instantly regrets it and hides on the roof, where Tomoe, who rejected Yumi, finds her. Nanami tries to go on an impromptu date with Tomoe, visiting an aquarium and the roof of a skyscraper, where he asks her if she’s falling in love with him. She admits it, and when she asks him if he never considered returning the feelings, he nearly drops her off the building in surprise, saving her at the very last minute.

Nanami’s classmate (lotta classmates this week!) Ke-chan tells her a guy thinks she’s cute, a guy will naturally come to her. That may be true, but Tomoe is not a “guy”; he’s not even human, he just looks human. Human enough for a teenage girl to fall in love with him. This is a possibility he must have known about, but it seems to take drilling into his head by Kurama to bring consideration of it to the surface. Whether in denial or genuinely ignorant of how his words and actions affect Nanami, he is confident Nanami would never fall in love with her familiar. His unbending devotion to serve and protect his master has no inherent romantic intent, but try telling Nanami that.

Nanami can’t contain herself any longer (with jealousy acting as a catalyst of letting another girl potentially take Tomoe away) and starts getting “peppy”, Tomoe must heed Kurama’s words. The result of which is, everything comes out in the open. Nanami is no longer telling herself she’s falling for Tomoe, she’s yelling it, screaming it from the building-tops to Tomoe himself. His attempts to dismiss it fail, and the moment Nanami tries to get a response, he is so flabbergasted he almost accidentally kills her, in a gesture she initially misconstrues as rejection, until he begs her to let him save her. In that moment, falling from a building, Tomoe clearly realized that having a master who is in love with you is better than having no master at all.


Rating: 9 (Superior)