Kamisama Kiss vol 1-4 – Julietta Suzuki

Kamisama Kiss, known as Kamisama Hajimemashita in Japan, started publication in 2008 and is currently running in Hana to Yume magazine. Viz licensed it for North America in 2009. This fantasy shoujo series combines elements of the supernatural with high school life to produce a romantic comedy of otherworldly proportions. A fun and entertaining read.

The Gist: Nanami Momozono finds herself homeless when she is evicted from her apartment after her gambling addict father runs off without paying his debts. She “rescues” a man from a barking dog and in return he offers to let her stay at his “home”. He draws her a map to the location, kisses her forehead, and leaves. With no other place to go, Nanami follows the map to arrive at an old shrine. There she is almost destroyed by Tomoe, a fox spirit believing her to be his old master Mikage finally returning after 20 years. The zashiki-warashi spirits Onikiri and Kotetsu greet her as the new land god, or Kami. Disgusted, Tomoe deserts the shrine for the otherworld, and the building reverts back to its run-down state. After following the zashiki warashi into the otherworld, Nanami uses a dangerous situation to save herself and force Tomoe into a contract as her familiar. From that point on Nanami must learn to maneuver the spirit world as well as its intrusion on her school life, all the while fighting her growing feelings for Tomoe.

Tomoe, Nanami, and Kurama

Tomoe, Nanami, and Kurama

The Characters/Romance: Nanami starts out as a character that is easily empathized with, since she is poor and then ends up homeless. Her admirable quality is that she isn’t easily deterred by difficult situations. She works through them in her own way. As the main protagonist however, she comes across as secondary to other elements of the story, namely all the supernatural characters.  Tomoe is the most intriguing figure, as he is not a typical shojo love interest. Their relationship begins as a conflict and Nanami’s approach to Tomoe’s world only irritates him further. While powerful Tomoe looks down on Nanami for being a weak human, Nanami is still able to use her stubborn nature to trick him into helping her. He eventually comes to respect her fighting spirit and unique approach to problems. Suzuki has set up Tomoe to transition from anger to respect and eventually attraction, but he is more hesitant in his affection. Nanami on the other hand, has respected Tomoe for his abilities and dedication from the beginning, makes sacrifices on his accord, and is quickly smitten with him. The romance will eventually happen, but Suzuki will play it out at her own pace.

The other supernatural elements of the series show how Suzuki can have fun with her characters. There is a catfish-like princess, Himemiko, that has fallen for a human, whom Nanami dresses up in her high school uniform for a date. A rock star idol who poses as a fallen angel, Kurama, attends Nanami’s school and turns out to be a tengu. When he gets on Tomoe’s last nerve, he is transformed into an ostrich running around the school dodging fireballs while Tomoe discusses his craving for fowl for dinner. A variety of spiritual creatures allow for Suzuki to create the comedic and dramatic moments that drive the plot of Kasmisama Kiss.

On that note, I must say that there is a learning curve for shinto spiritual terms in this series. I had to refer to the editorial notes in the back of the novel a few times to get a better understanding of the roles of a kami, yokai, and the spirits of the otherworld. I’m glad it was included in the volume, because I  was somewhat lost on the significance of roles for the first chapter or so. That said, I prefer to see the authentic language so I’m fine with having to look it up – it’s one of those teachable moments I like to write about in shojo sensei posts.

Contract Sealed With a Kiss

Contract Sealed With a Kiss

The Art: Definitely an abundance of talent in this department for Julietta Suzuki. Her character designs are superb. I love the expressions of Namami, Tomoe, Himemiko, and Kurama.  The paneling flows smoothly, including the action sequences. Her art includes typical shojo toning that at times is too much. I prefer her simpler line art. The colored pieces I’ve seen are very promising.

The Audience: This series is slowly building up the romance, so it stays at a cuddly level. Simple smooches are the most intimacy you’ll see. It’s appropriate for a tween/teen audience, but can be enjoyed by all ages.

The Media: Kamisama Kiss is available in the states from Viz Media up to volume 4. Volume 5 is scheduled for release on October 4, 2011. I’d love to see this series made into an anime. Already I hear Vic Mignogna in my head when I read Tomoe’s lines. 🙂

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥♥  Enjoyable Read!

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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  • Awww I don’t have a twitter:( I will make one though!!!

    • That’s okay! It’s just quicker to respond that way. 🙂

  • Aww I am glad you enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂 I like shoujo, but sometimes the cliches really annoy me, so Kamisama was a nice break for me! I liked the anime too:)

    What are some of your favorite manga/anime?
    Also, have you watched the Romeo x Juliet anime?

    • If you have a twitter account I’d be glad to chat with you live there. Click my twitter link on the top right corner of my blog.

  • A second anime season is coming out!! 😀 And how much have you read up to? It gets pretty violent and adventure like later on and has a huge plot twist. Definitely a favorite series of mine. I buy every volume:)

    • I’ve read up to vol. 15 – I have 16 on my nightstand. I just finished watching the first season anime a couple months ago on Funimation channel. So glad they’re going to make a second season!! It’s definitely a buy series – it’s comical, dramatic and highly entertaining.

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