Posted by psgels on 27 December 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


With a title as “Crazy Shrine Maidens”, the first thing you’d expect is a highly energetic silly slapstick comedy involving shrine maidens, but Kannagi is a bit different from that, and it’s actually more slice of life than slapstick. This series basically tells about a group of high school kids, one of which is some sort of tree spirit or god turned into a human. I kept watching it because I hoped that there would be some potential in its second half, but in the end I can’t really say that I’m glad to have watched it, or that it’s been a great series, but there have been a few interesting episodes.

What mostly turned me off about this series wasn’t the speed at which it developed into a harem, but rather that the show has an identity crisis. It felt to me that the creators never really knew what they wanted to do with this series. They’d go: “let’s have a simple slice of life series with a quirky man couple”, to “now let’s insert a complex back-story”, and soon enough “I want a harem”, “it’s been too serious, more comedy”, “Yaoi! We need Yaoi!”, “How about karaoke?” to eventually “crap, we still have an unsolved storyline! We need more drama!”.

Through the series, the series jumps from one theme to the other like an indecisive grasshopper. It makes the series varied, but also inconsistent, and the different segments don’t really feel complete and don’t flow well into each other. The whole back-story of the series gets completely ignored after only a few episodes, and in the end the drama that makes up the finale of the series may feel well developed as a standalone story, but within the series it feels forced and out of place.

There are however a number of standalone episodes that are quite a bit of fun to watch. It often involves episodes that are completely dedicated to one single subject, like the lead characters going to a karaoke-place, or like in the first episode of Lucky Star, where the characters kept talking about food. Because these episodes are so centred around one topic, they’re really able to get the best out of them, rather than feeling like an uninspired attempt to fill up an episode.

Another reason to check out this series: the godly animation of the first two episodes. In those, the creators really tried to animate EVERYTHING, and the result looks really gorgeous. Unfortunately, this disappears and doesn’t return for the rest of the series at all, so those who are watching this series for the eye candy might as well drop it after episode 2.

But in the end, the series wasn’t enjoyable enough to make me really recommend it to others. There’s so much better stuff out there, and Kannagi simply feels like a decent series. Above average, but not much more. It’s good for those moments where you have half an hour to burn, but you shouldn’t go out of your way to watch it. The creators simply wanted to do too much in only 13 episodes.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10

10 Responses

  1. Avatar Westlo says:

    12 and especially 13 returned the animation to the level of the first two, please get your eyes checked or stop watching crappy streams. The rest of your post is opinion based so I won’t bother touching that and Casshern is more haremish than this :p

  2. psgels psgels says:

    I admit that the animation of the final two episodes was a step up when compared to the previous episodes, yeah. But to me it still felt nowhere near the huge animation quality of the first two episodes. I especially watched the final episode raw in HD, and it just didn’t look as detailed as episode 2.

  3. Avatar Westlo says:

    The first episode animation was good to great with some stunning pieces throughout which is how I would describe the last two. The second had a lot of movement (more than 1 cour of a Bee Train show), if anything too much and is unfair standard to hold anything too really.

    I also didn’t see the detail difference from episode 2 compared to 13 you’re mentioning and even if there was that has nothing to do with animation period. Animation =! character art.

    “The creators simply wanted to do too much in only 13 episodes.”

    Last scene of episode 13 ended with the last scene of Volume 3 of the manga, manga is currently up to Volume 6. just a FYI it does get a lot more focused on what it wants to do, provides some backstory on Zange and Nagi and still throw in the occasional lolz (BL chapter is lolz… poor Akibas mum….)

  4. Avatar choco says:

    “It felt to me that the creators never really knew what they wanted to do with this series.”

    ahaha… I figured that out fifteen minutes into the first episode… I felt like that the introduction of characters, plot, conflict, setting, etc… (the most important part of storytelling) has already brought lacking factors into the exposition of the story: no substance, no originality, just… crap that sugarcoats itself with karaoke.

  5. Avatar Kurisu says:

    Godly animation? If anything it was above average for a series like this and the few fluid scenes were just gimmicks to fool the viewers as this is what most of them are going to remember. It’s completely normal to use a larger part of the budget for the first episode to hook the viewer. Here they kept it up for 2-3 episodes which I find rather questionable because it will only piss of viewers half-way through – except for fanbois which even applaud use of stick figures, speed-lines and scanning over manga stills.

    Kannagi went really downhill with the appearence of Zange, a quite unnecessary character. I just wonder whether you’re sarcastic when you’re praising the karaoke episode, especially as it used such heavy-handed references to this other anime which you’re a fan of. If this episode isn’t the very definition of a filler, despite not featuring a beach, the point of it probably went way over my head. For what it’s worth, I don’t give a gundam whether they pulled it from the manga or the bible. I’m watching anime for the sake of enjoying anime not as a overlong advertizement for a manga or some CDs.

    Overall, there’s nothing exceptionally bad about it, if you ignore the lack of focus. It’s just your average harem-esque slice of life comedy resolving around school kids. What I’m sour about is that it promised to be much more during the first two to three episodes.

  6. Avatar Kekeke says:

    The events happened on vol. 4 onwards answers your questions about Zange’s existence, and Nagi’s search for her identity with Jin. Oh yeah, also about Nagi’s strange actions as if like she’s been possessed (in ep. 2 and 8), too.

  7. Avatar bob says:

    If the anime wasn’t that great why did it still get a 75%. By the way you were talking about it, I’d figure a 50 or 60 max.

  8. Avatar DuhMightyBeanz says:

    I quite agree with the review…It actually summed out everything there is.Actually the starting of the series was reasonable with comedy relief in between which was nice…until they decided to add more characters into the mix.It initially had to potential to do so much more with the storyline but the creators screwed it up.Decent anime,not the best,not the worst either.Just a time killer I guess.

  9. Avatar Solaris says:

    I totally agree with PSGels here.
    This shows doens’t even know what genre it’s about. It starts as a Magical Girl anime, then turns into harem, then to school commedy, then back to harem and continues spinning around aimlessy.
    The show mostly fails attempting to develp a subplot that yet doesn’t even exist even in the manga in the first place.
    Maybe it was better to mak an anime out of this manga whenever the story was developed enough.
    On the other hand the show shines bright and fun in some random commedic episodes.
    Neverthless the chars were quite nice and fleshed out good enough to sustain a decent commedy. It shows in several episode like the karaoke or the closet one, where there isn’t any story development but only nice commedy. And those are the most fun episode to watch.
    I’d rate this show quite insufficient, like 55/100

  10. Avatar C says:

    The anime develops and closely follows the manga — which is even more indecisive. (: The manga will add something that should be important, then… doesn’t do anything with it.

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