Author: Julietta Suzuki
Artist: Julietta Suzuki
Genre: Comedy Fantasy Romance School Life Shoujo Supernatural
Nanami Momozono is alone and homeless after her dad skips town to evade his gambling debts and the debt collectors kick her out of her apartment. So when a man she’s just saved from a dog offers her his home, she jumps at the opportunity. But it turns out that his place is a shrine, and Nanami has unwittingly taken over his job as a local deity!
Read the sypnosis? Reminds you of something? Yes, there are certainly quite a number of plots that begin with the protagonist been kicked out of their homes and parents running away – how very convenient to start off an adventure. A fantastic formula I say; you get rid of the parents and the relatives, then you’ll have nothing to bind the main character down. They’re free to do whatever they want – such as living with a youkai. Now that’s pretty normal.
The strength of the story lies in its theme & setting; a world full of Youkai and other mystical beings. I loved it in Natsume Yuujinchou & XxxHolic but Kamisama Kiss’ spirit world has yet to really take-off with its mystical qualities the same way its counterparts has. The setting also allows Suzuki-sensei to explore her character types further since we’ve all already met them before; forget high school, let’s kick the leading lady into the spiritual world. It’s a bit like putting ants in different circumstances and watching how they react to the new surroundings(I’m thinking of Akuma to Dolce).
If you’re looking for romance there certainly is a winning couple as soon as you read it – heck, Kamisama Kiss gives it away. This is an ongoing series so there’s not much so far – it is, of course, reserved for the later parts of the story. I’m quite interested in how the romance between a human and a familiar will develop since I haven’t read that many of these.
Let’s establish that you’ve most likely seen these character types already. I will not make snide comments or moan about how common the hero and heroine’s personalities are here – instead, I’ll praise them – especially the male lead, Tomoe – whose identity as a fox familiar is perfect. He’s cheeky, but his softer interior is quite prevalent and I liked how Suzuki-sensei has already started feeding the reader his background development which makes up for the fact that he’s a common character. I rarely use the term bishounen but in Tomoe’s case, never has that word been more applicable.
The heroine is one we’ve all encountered before as well. She’s not completely useless and I think that is all I need to say. I remember a good period in time when everyone was crying about how the heroines in shoujo manga were weak and pathetic – it seems that these cries for change have been addressed in a lot of shoujo manga recently. I guess another thing to point out about the heroine is that she’s quite plain and normal, one of Suzuki-sensei’s motifs. I recall reading an interview where she mentioned she finds drawing girls really hard to draw – interesting point isn’t it?
There are also two wonderful characters, the will-o-wisps who stick alongside the two protagonists and I find that they’re rather underrated. I don’t think they’re like props; they make the whole story a whole lot more lively although they look slightly odd, and I do like their designs. I’m a fan of Suzuki Julietta’s artwork, particularly her male characters as their designs really reflect their personality and there’s something cheeky about all of them that you can see in their eyes.
I thoroughly enjoyed Kamisama Kiss. It’s something I would read and continue to follow – but to start a cult? I don’t think I’ll go that far. There’s just something that Kamisama Kiss lacks that I can’t quite pin out -but at the same time, I don’t think it’s that important either. The overall story reminds me a lot about Akuma to Dolce like I mentioned before – but while this is more of a crowd pleaser, Akuma to Dolce is more reserved and personal.
It’s more of a people’s story – you might not love it but it’s pretty hard not to like it. There’s quite a bit of good humour in the manga and it’s sure to light up a smile on your face. It’s a quite an interesting story by it’s own right and it’ll be a lovely journey to see how the heroine takes the role of a shrine god(dess). I’m sure Kamisama Kiss has a big fan base which will continue to grow bigger.
Overall rating & any comments: 3.8/5
P.S I don’t get why Kamisama Hajimemashita was switched to Kamisama Kiss. I think the original title is fine as it was, it sounds so much more fun than ‘kiss’. If you’ve read the manga and you still struggle to understand why they dragged out Hajimemashita and added Kiss instead it’s because of one particular incident that I already forgotten about since I continued reading. I think Viz is trying to sell Kamisama Hajimemashita as some hawt supernatural romance filled with godly studs even when it doesn’t focus entirely on romance, it’s really more than a love story I think.