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Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series

FUNimation // Unrated // February 11, 2014
List Price: $54.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kyle Mills | posted February 4, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Kamisama Kiss tells the story of a teenage girl whose life is going in the wrong direction. One night while wandering around she meets a stranger who ends up kissing her, due to this the next day she ends up becoming a god and her whole world is spun upside down. To add to her problems, she falls in love with her servant, who is forbidden to love her back. If you're a fan of shojo titles that lack almost any real substance (Romeo X Juliet, Inu X Boku, Vampire Knight), then Kamisama Kiss is for you!

Kamisama Kiss starts out on a somber note as we find out teenage girl, Nanami, is being kicked out of her house. Nanami explains that her father abandoned her and that she collected all of his gambling debts. As she looks for a place to sleep she happens upon a young man named Mikage, who has been traveling around for the better part of 20 years. Nanami helps him out of a predicament he's in and they strike up a conversation, at the end of it he gives Nanami his house as a thank you for saving him, to which she accepts because of now being homeless, Mikage kisses her on the forehead and abruptly leaves.

When Nanami arrives at Mikage's home, she is shocked to see that it is not a normal home but a shrine for worship. It's here that we meet Tomoe, a mysterious fox who served Mikage as his "familiar" (basically his shadow.) It is explained that when Mikage kissed Nanami, that he transferred his powers of being a god over to her and that she now is owner of the shrine and Tomoe now serves her every purpose (much to his dismay.)

The whole "being a god" story is primarily kept in the background and instead Kamisama Kiss focuses on the budding relationship of Nanami and Tomoe, who throughout the series struggles with his feelings for her since loving a human is taboo. Outside of the Nanami/Tomoe relationship, there was a pretty nice storyline that started in episode 8 when someone named "The Dragon King" comes from the sea to take revenge on Tomoe for something that happened over 5 centuries previous to the events of the series. I thought this storyline would carry into the end of the show but alas it was not to be. The episodes delved a bit into Tomoe's past, but in the end, little light is shone and it's hastily wrapped up in the very next episode, so it kind of just ends up feeling like filler. Despite this, these episodes show some of the better moments of Kamisama Kiss. The biggest problem I had with Kamisama Kiss was that it wasn't particularly interesting. It had a decent concept with the lead female being bamboozled into becoming a god, but it sort of fizzles out when it clearly starts to lead to becoming a cliched anime "girl falls in love with a fox who is constantly a douche bag to her" story, but why am I surprised? I would have loved to see more of the god angle, which was brushed aside for the most part after episode 2.

- Positives:

- Great Dub. Particular mention goes to J. Michael Tatum who plays Tomoe, and Tia Ballard who plays Nanami. Tatum is currently one of the best anime dub actors out there and is always terrific, not shockingly, he does his normal great work here. Ballard continues to impress me with her voice work, the past year she's played Happy in Fairy Tail, Rea in Sankarea, Inaho in Maken-Ki!, and now this. In each role she's been pretty damn good, it is no different as Nanami, she nails the role. She's quickly becoming one of the better FUNi workers.

- A solid, albeit cliche and expected ending.

- The chemistry between the two leads was OK.

- Negatives:

- Unused potential. The whole storyline about her becoming a god was actually kind of pointless, they brush it aside to go the typical "fall in love" route.

- Uninteresting characters for the most part.

Video and Audio:
The animation quality for Kamisama Kiss is quite good. The animation throughout the series really uses a bright color palette and the beautiful surroundings to their advantage. The character animations are unique for the most part (although some characters look familiar to others) and whereas most don't, a lot of detail goes into the faraway shots.

For Audio we have a English 5.1 TrueHD track and a 5.1 TrueHD Japanese track, per usual I watched the English dub and it was a great effort. The dialogue throughout the series was crisp and clear through it's entirety and I didn't notice any audio distortions or dropouts at all.

Extras: - Episode 01 commentary with Jerry Jewell, who is the ADR director, and Tia Ballard, who plays the lead female role, Nanami.

- Episode 06 video commentary with Jerry Jewell, the ADR director for the series. Tia Ballard and J. Michael Tatum who portray the two leads, Nanami and Tomoe, and Sean O'Conner, a new voice actor in the industry, he takes the role of Kurama.

- Episode 12 commentary with Jerry Jewell, the ADR director for the series, and J. Michael Tatum, who plays Tomoe, the male lead of the series.

- Textless Opening theme.

- Textless Closing themes for every episode.

- U.S. trailer. - FUNimation trailers.

Kamisama Kiss doesn't really break any new ground, or for that matter is even that good particularly. The characters aren't interesting in the slightest outside of the two leads, and even they are just average. The series seems to appeal primarily to the shojo (something that appeals almost exclusively to female fans) demographic, so if you liked stuff like Inu X Boku then this is the PERFECT series for you. It's pretty much the exact same show. If you're a Shojo fan, Kamisama Kiss comes recommended, to the average fan, Rent It.

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