Posted on 3 January 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kamisama Hajimemashita



Romance galore for the past season! Not to mention that there were so many good ones: Sukitte Ii na Yo, Sakurasou, and apparently Chuuninbyou and Tonari are also really good but I did not watch them. Kamisama Hajimemashita for me stands out as the best though. Why? Execution.

For the people who haven’t heard me repeat this over and over yet: the director of this series is Akitarou Daichi. He did Fruits Basket, Kodocha and Bokura ga Ita before so yes, he can direct really good romance, and yes, he can do this incredibly consistently. Kamisama Hajimemashita feels the most like 13 episodes of Kodocha, with a bit of its energy calmed down. Though it’s still a series that is full of energy, especially if you watch its first episode.

The trick with this series is that it has perfected its timing: shots last for the exact right duration. Jokes are timed perfectly. The energy is built up over each episode really well. The show managed to use its camera work to bring out the emotions of the characters really well, and especially the feelings of love and laughter. This show is really good at juggling these around, making you laugh hard one moment and feel sorry the next. No other romance this series was as balanced as this series.

And the thing is, that this is not the most ambitious series: the characters are simple, they don’t try too hard to be likable at all. The storylines are also really quite simple when you boil down to them. The character development too: simple. Yet this series shines in it, and due to this simplicity and polish it is really enjoyable. Not to mention that without exception, it manages to end every single episode with a really charming climax that is full of warm feelings (that ED works brilliantly with it). I don’t see many other shows pull the same.

The problem mostly is that this series really needs to be a 26 episode series. With 26, its story just cuts off in the middle with a hasty end boss, and the characters don’t develop as well as they could have. It loses most of its points on that.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Awesome timing, really uses its simplicity well and knows really well how to build up.
Characters: 8.5/10 – Simple but effective characters. At first they might not seem much, but they grow on you.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Well drawn camera angles, although they don’t move much. Catchy soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – It’s the same old setting about youkai, but well used.

Suggestions:
Kodomo no Omocha
Bokura ga Ita
Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

Posted on 2 January 2013 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

Aack! Writing up the 2012 summary took way too long and I am now stuck with a huge backlog of shows that still need to be reviewed!

So yeah, blah blah Nanami runs away but then she doesn’t an then beats the spider. I’m saying this rather blunt because really: who expected otherwise? By the way though Kamisama Hajimemashita has a great ending.

The reason both of these things are possible are due to the execution, and the aftermath. I mean, who cares about that stupid spider, it’s what it did with the characters that matters here. Even when Nanami was still running away, the characters and their quirks were great to watch. The creators actually kept in the comedy, compared to other comedy shows that pull such an ending that drop all of the comedy in favor of drama.

I’m quite surprised though: this episode had a really corny plot. Yet, Nanami’s dance scene was a highlight, and the kiss at the end of this episode also was a highlight that was rather well built up, even though there are tons of romance shows that end with a kiss, and yet this one felt really special because everything came together.

The charm of this series really lies in its characters. It’s unambitious, yet they work so well that een such a cliched ending works well. Seriously, there are so many other series that would bore me to death with this kind of ending. I applaud.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 19 December 2012 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

Um, Kamisama Hajimemashita, you’re ending next week. Don’t you think that with this episode, you’re heading to a rather flimsy climax? I mean I dunno, but this just screams “crap, we’ve run out of time! Quick, throw in some really powerful monster and have the main couple split up!”

I guess it had it coming, but the style of this episode definitely was different from usual. The jokes were ess sharp and the plot took this turn that just screams that the script was rushed. The final episode had better be very good to make up for this, because it’s an episode that I’ve seen so many times before.

A few of the things that did manage to set this episode apart: Nanami’s feelings of being useful. Okay, they came totally out of nowhere, but heck. They give her character. This just is not fitted for the final climax of the story. Problem is that this is the thing that I’ll remember this show by, so I really hope that the creators can still make something out of this. Please…
Rating: 3.5/8 (Enjoyable)

Posted on 15 December 2012 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

This just was SO pure. This episode reminded me once again why Kamisama Hajimemashita still is my favorite romance this season. It may be much simpler than the other romance shows, but in terms of delivery it just is top-notch. Although granted, the first half of this episode was nothing special for this series’ standards.

So yeah, the snake goes out. Surprisingly no Nanami or Tomoe, and instead we get a bit of a heart-warming story about the snake and his trip to the city. I liked the part where he accidentally drinks wine and get knocked unconscious. But what really made this episode shine was what followed after it. The part where Nanami and Tomoe went on a date.

Their feelings there were just amazing: the angst felt perfect, their chemistry was just wonderful, with the central theme was Tomoe living for today, rather than the past. It’s clever use of build-up from the previous episodes that focused so much on his past, and gave so many hints that he was still caught up in it. The small details, like the focus on the hair, or making Tomoe bump into someone to lose Nanami were also really good to flesh this half out more. And then there was the ending, which was a hilarious anti-climax and climax at the same time. I surely did not expect Tomoe to force himself into the ferris wheel like that, and Nanami’s reaction to that was just hilarious.
Rating: 5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 8 December 2012 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

Okay. I absolutely loved this episode. Last week had me fearing a bit that the creators would go through this series a little too fast for the characters and comedy to really work, and this episode indeed consists out of two smaller stories, but the pacing here was just perfect. This time things really fit enough for everything to play out and for the creators to work their magic.

The first half of the episode was chockful of character development: we finally got to see what transformed Tomoe into his current self. That crucial piece of the puzzle was finally shown here, and yet this only takes up 10 minutes. It was delightful to watch Tomoe there and see him change.

The second half: again character development. This time in the romance. At this point it was obvious that Nanami likes Tomoe, and she realizes that very well, but the use of a mixer was really well placed. It really was just something to have fun, Nanami knew that as well, and yet that turned out to be the trigger for Tomoe’s jealousy: feeling competition from a human of all things. On top of that were some really good jokes and facial expressions (I loved how the mixer was just for one of Nanami’s classmates feeling lonely, or how ridiculous the name for that one guy was… did he ever get that coat of his back?)

Also. The ending. That showed that the creators know fully well that the ending of each episode for this series is awesome, and with this episode they only even made it better when Shinjirou started giving a really bad cover of the regular ED. Not only was this hilarious, it also really reaffirmed something for me:

TMS Entertainment has gotten ahold of a couple of really good producers. I already suspected this, but this really shows that they are flexible enough to just record a different ED for once for the sake of a joke that happens in the series, and it fits so well. It shows that the different departments really take each other into account. It’s also shown with the execution of this series: how incredibly consistent it is. Part of it has to do with how Akitaro Daichi is just incredibly awesome, but the rest of the people working on it: everything just seems so well planned out for this series. It’s all crisp and consistently tries to make the best out of its limited budget with consistently god jokes and timing.

Zetman and Lupin III were the same: they were really rough around the edges in comparison (which makes it all the more surprising how consistent this show is), but they always tried their best to make a spectacle out of their episodes, rather than making an episode for the heck of it. It really shows ambition and the drive to cooperate and improve. Next up is really: try to get a budget for a 2-cour series like this. A series that has the same mindset as Zetman, Lupin III and Kamisama Hajimemashita, and that actually has the time to play out for even longer, allowing for much more opportunities to experiment. I would just love to see that.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 30 November 2012 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

The current episode… I think it was a bit weaker than the others. And don’t get me wrong, it had an awesome climax again, and this made me laugh harder than any other episode this week, but it was a tad too short for my liking. The rest of this episode, it wasn’t that it was bad or anything in that direction, but after watching an episode of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo that just kept switching back and forth between comedy and drama, something that THIS show was supposed to be good at, I feel like it could have been a bit more.

But that’s not to say that aside from the climax there wasn’t anything noteworthy in this episode. Tomoe’s past rocked, and how his feelings completely changed. Nanami refusing to steal something that could save the life of that woman whose name I can’t find. It didn’t even cross her mind, she just didn’t want to solve her problems over the backs of others, and I can really appreciate that.

I just missed the same chemistry for a large part of the episode that made me originally like this show so much. The ending made up for a lot, but not everything in this case. Ah well, better luck next week.
Rating: 4/8 (Nice)

Posted on 24 November 2012 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

Just like Sakurasou, a sell-out episode. Where Sakurasou came with the sister, Kamisama Hajimemashita treats us to a beach episode. The big difference is that where Sakurasou got lost in its own cliches, Kamisama Hajimemashita used those clichés to achieve some really good character development.

And the simple reason for this was something major that Tomoe did in the sea 526 years ago. This was back when he was still completely different from who he used to be, and stole one of the eyes of someone called the dragon king, who is very strict with debts, to the point where it gets hilarious. This episode danced around the issue, but this seems to have been a major defining moment in Tomoe’s life. The biggest hint for this was that he was practically baited into it by that tramp: the issue had to be solved somehow, to the point where he felt that it was worth risking Tomoe’s life for.

What made the beach part of this episode enjoyable was how fresh it was. Rather than just showing the female cast parade in swimsuits, they really added stuff that was personal to the cast: Tomoe being unable to enter the water, Nanami unable to buy a swimsuit, to that one girl skipping along while just being dumped by her boyfriend. This episode really made sure to spice up such a clichéd set-up, and made it fun again, and it was the school example of how to do such an episode right.

Plus, the guy with the scarf just lost all of his dignity with that speedo of his. I burst out laughing there, but at the same time I really like the mystery around him and the irony of how he has basically been watching Tomoe from behind without him noticing it. I really want to see Tomoe’s face when he finds out. The creators already managed to create this expectation that it will be awesome just from the few times he has bene in the picture. Now that is good storytelling.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 16 November 2012 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

Holy crap! The ending of this episode was just perfect. Overall it was a bit of a weird episode, full of the hormones of teen-aged girls. That alone was quite enjoyable in how the creators managed to portray it, but the thing that all of that was building up to was even better: Nanami (there are quite a few characters named Nanami this season by the way… which is quite confusing) actually gets mercilessly rejected by Tomoe. After all of the romantic hints, he has no intention whatsoever to become romantically involved with his master.

On top of that, this episode had a really good director working on it. I mean, this series usually has very creative and varied camera angles, but this episode was quite special: the variety in shots really impressed me, and it brought out a lot of emotion from the characters, even more than usual. When the entire point of this episode was romantic angst, it really helped to bring this episode to life with Nanami’s feelings being thrown on a roller coaster.

And then there was the ending of the episode where Nanami was first dragged on top of a building, only to fall off it. That’s where the direction really impressed me, because it really managed to portray Nanami nearly falling to her death. Oh, and on top of that, I also found out that Akitaro Daichi has been personally adapting the script for each episode. That definitely explains a lot, and why this show is so incredibly consistent. I mean, I have hardly seen one weak moment in the characterization between the characters.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 8 November 2012 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

I love how this show is able to cheer me up no matter what. This once again was the best episode since the first episode, and that first episode really was in a league of its own with all of the hyperactivity going on there. This episode was utterly hilarious in its first half, and incredibly charming in its second.

I usually dislike fevers because they’re often forced in for extra drama, but here the creators made brilliant use of it by having Tomoe dress up as Nanami. As an added surprise, Shinjirou was again hilarious in combination with him, toying with a lot of the bishounen idol cliches. His entrance alone was just delightful in the way that it created this expectation that things would get crazy, and they did.

What this episode also did really well was portray love: Nanami’s crush developing was very good, especially now that she also got to see a chunk of his past and how much he changed. His previous master is also finally introduced here. This part worked particularly well due to how much I like the characters already, after just six episode, and I really have to say that Kamisama Hajimemashita has some of the most consistently enjoyable characters of the season.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 31 October 2012 with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

Now that was just completely adorable. This episode was the best episode of Kamisama Hajimemashita so far since episode 01. It was all about the recurring characters this time. And Tomoe gets turned into a kid.

What I’ve noticed with a lot of comedies that lost my interest is that they introduce these characters with gimmicks, and the blow all of their best jokes on the episodes that these characters are introduced in. The result are heaps of characters who feel like one trick ponies. Then Shinjirou Kurama returned in this episode (the idol), and he was much funnier in this episode compared to the second episode. The chemistry between him and Tomoe and Nanami in particular was hilarious.

And at the same time, the serious bits again were really good: this episode again kept switching back and forth comedy and drama. The drama was really genuine, especially near the end of the episode. With the previous episode we already got to see Tomoe’s worries about Nanami, but this episode went even further with him feeling depentant on Nanami, and being ashamed of showing his weak side to her. Nanami on the other hand was really well acted when she properly fell in love with him there after seeing Tomoe’s new haircut.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

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