When Nanami Momozono’s father skips town, their house is seized to pay off his gambling debts. Nanami is alone, broke, and about to spend her first night on the streets—but everything changes when she helps a man who is afraid of a small dog. After hearing her story, the stranger admits to having abandoned his own home years before. Kissing her forehead, the man gives her the address and tells her to live there in his place.
When she arrives, Nanami is disappointed to find that it’s only an abandoned shrine. Before she can leave, she is greeted by the spirits of the shrine and accosted by the shrine god’s familiar. She discovers that the stranger she encountered was the god Mikage, and when he kissed her forehead, he marked her as the new god of the shrine. Mikage’s familiar, the fox yokai Tomoe, is not pleased that a human has become god of the shrine. He’s even less pleased when he’s forced to become Nanami’s familiar.
Everything about this anime is perfect, from the animation, characters, and story, to the voice acting and music. The series maintains a flawless balance of comedy and heartfelt drama in every one of its thirteen episodes; a situation that makes the viewer anxious for their favorite character will resolve in humor, even as it sets the stage for future complications. The plot is layered with such complexity that even when one mystery is resolved, many more are left in its place. As such, the creators have managed to craft a story that is satisfying even as it leaves the audience eager for more.
The personalities of the characters are as varied and detailed as anyone could want. Since most of the characters have lives stretching back hundreds of years, there is a delightful contrast between their wild and lawless youths and their more domesticated present selves. In particular, Tomoe’s dangerous and shadowy past makes his modern devotion to household chores amusing, even as it complicates his life with Nanami. Though his loyalty runs deep, his motives seem shallow, and he switches from tender and caring to caustic and impatient within seconds. Tomoe’s enigmatic nature is a stark contrast to Nanami, who is a straightforward heroine from the beginning. Throughout the series, both characters grow as Nanami learns the depth of the strengths she already possesses and Tomoe discovers feelings he didn’t even know he was capable of experiencing.
The voice acting in Kamisama Kiss is phenomenal. J. Michael Tatum delivers the many moods of Tomoe with astounding gracefulness and precision, and Tia Ballard authentically portrays Nanami’s intuitive empathy and spunky temper. Joel McDonald is ideal as the mysterious and goofy Mikage, while Ian Sinclair manages to establish a fabulous balance between dangerous and playful with Otohiko. Micah Solusod brilliantly embodies Mizuki’s sweet, sometimes menacing personality, and Robert McCollum captures the tempestuous yet managerial personality of the Dragon King. All the actors are so perfectly cast that it’s hard not to burst with excitement.
This anime is so amazingly good that writing this review was a struggle to not dissolve into a fit of capitalized letters and exclamation points; needless to say, this is a must-have for every anime collection. Buy it for your library. Show it to your anime club. Don’t hesitate. Do it now. Your anime-loving patrons will thank you, and fans of Ouran High School Host Club and Black Butler will especially enjoy it. Perhaps the best part is that after the squeal-worthy ending of Kamisama Kiss, there is the knowledge that this charming show has a sequel.
Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series
directed by Akitaro Daichi
377 minutes, Number of Discs: 4, DVD/Blu-ray Combo Set
Company Age Rating: TV-PG
Related to: Kamisama Kiss by Julietta Suzuki