Kamisama Hajimemashita Overall Review
A/N: I’m going ahead to post this, Oki will be covering the final episode so look forward to it.
Kamisama Hajimemashita is about a girl named Momozono Nanami who suddenly finds herself evicted from her home after her father had ran away and left her behind due to gambling debts. While sitting in the park trying to figure out what to do, she helps a man named Mikage out who in return after hearing her story gives her his home. Nanami goes to her new home only to be greeted by yokai, and discover that Mikage had given her the power of the Land God of a Relationship Shrine.
Story & Plot: 4/10
The main focus of the story was supposed to be about Nanami becoming a Land God and growing as one, but that isn’t the focus in this adaption. Instead they decided to completely focus on the romance- only… they completely butchered it and there wasn’t an ounce of quality in it. Why is that? Well it’s because they left out crucial bits that are all stepping-stones for Nanami’s x Tomoe’s Relationship. It feels sudden, shallow and there’s no depth. It doesn’t deliver the same impact as the manga does. In fact, it wasn’t even close.
Another big issue was that there was no direction. Without a direction, there is no flow. This happened because the production team decided to play a game called, “Mix and Match” … only to fail, big time. In this adaption, there was no such thing as chronicle order. They failed to follow the chapters in order despite the fact in the end, they wrapped everything up using the ‘base event’ of Volume 5. There was too much jumping and throwing in random chapters that only happen five volumes later than the latest they used, to using the side story that was featured in the fanbook vol 13.5.
Characters & Development: 3/10
The adaption had ruthlessly SLAUGHTERED the characters and their developments.
And what happens when one slaughters the character developments?
Nothing flows smoothly and you don’t get to see the true nature and potential of the characters.
A good example would be: By episode 11, the anime made Nanami look like she is a clingy and a typical heroine that we always see in shoujo series. Then they dropped her into a pit of flames in Episode 12 making her a powerless, helpless damsel in distress who quickly gave up and ran away. The result: Made her O.C.
The major difference between the Anime Adaption and the Original Manga is that:
Nanami is NOT a helpless damsel in distress.
HER WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND TOMOE ALONE.
SHE IS HEADSTRONG, BRAVE AND EVEN IF THE ODDS ARE AGAINST HER, SHE WILL FIGHT.
She CARES about the shrine! It is her precious home, and is not something she will ‘carelessly’ abandon because she is ‘too weak’! [GLARES AT EP 12]
One of the things that make me most upset is that they ignored her development as a Land God-, which heavily ties to the plot and her own character. Being a Land God made her character even stronger than she had came out to be in the beginning. Nanami was never a weak girl, sure she started off on the rough note since she had a lot to learn, but she takes her duties as a Land God very seriously, and not to mention- passionately too.
Then you have Tomoe’s character. In the beginning it wasn’t so bad, but during the last few episodes, I found they made Tomoe’s character being way too soft to my liking towards Nanami. Then we have the lack of proper relationship development, which destroyed the smooth sailing of genuine growth for Tomoe’s and Nanami’s bonds. In the manga, their relationship development is really well done. There are no stupid misunderstandings that drag on forever, nor is there a stupid reason for her being rejected.
Since two key factors’ that I mentioned in the above were missing, this is what made the adaption such a let down… to both the new and the existing audience.
Now for the damn extra characters that shouldn’t have existed at any point time earlier.
I AM LOOKING AT YOU MIKAGE AND OTOHIKO!
There was NO NEED TO HAVE THESE TWO FREQUENTLY APPEAR AND TAKE UP SCREENTIME. I found it extremely disappointing that they cut Himemiko out, and only had her appear twice (the last episode doesn’t even count because she hardly had an screentime). She and Nanami are good friends, and it’s saddening that it was left out.
Of all the three shoujo adaption’s this season, it is truly a shame to see that Kamisama Hajimemashita was not one of the lucky ones to receive high quality animation. Many times the quality of the animation dropped and lasted throughout entire episodes. On top of that, they really- and I mean really in the beginning of the series abused the shoujo bubbles.
The original soundtrack was okay, but I felt it could have been better. The tracks weren’t really original and some of them I felt were not fitting for the scenes. At least I enjoyed the OP/ED.
Most adaptations end up not living up to fans expectations because either the Anime has caught up to the existing original material and are forced to make up their own ending. However for Kamisama Hajimemashita, while they used the “base” of the arcs in the manga, for some ridiculous reason they decided to use only PARTS of it and make up the rest as they go.
I don’t know why and WHO thought it would be a “GOOD IDEA” to jump back and forth volumes, chapters, not go the easy way- of following the goddamn manga material in CHRONICLE ORDER!
Oh my god!
THE MANGA HAD IT ALL LAID OUT, PERFECTLY.
CHRONICLE ORDER EXISTS FOR A REASON.
This is what made this adaption such a train wreck. Sure, on the surface it looks like a “good adaption”: and for a while it was doing ‘okay’ to the point I was able to enjoy it, but it’s incredibly shallow and has no depth. Why? They decided to do it the hard way and ignore the divine existence of Chronicle Order and turn a blind eye to the existing canon material in the manga. By mixing up the chapters and jumping back and forth in between volumes, that alone delivered a fatal blow. Worst of all, it was like a slap in the face when like I had theorized, they would have been able to cover all the material from Volume 1 to 5- Only to watch them drastically change what would have been the biggest highlight of the show: The Kagura Dance/Shrine Festival Arc done properly.
And seeing them mess that up was my last straw.
I completely snapped when they did that. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe that they were ignoring this QUALITY material that made Nanami shine more than ever before and show how much she cares about the shrine! This was the turning point about how I felt about this adaption. I went from feeling from “Okay” to “Horrified”. Many times I put up with slight changes and enduring our beloved main characters being tweaked, but changing what would have been truly the biggest highlight of the adaption was not acceptable.
Notes of what has been and should have been skipped:
– There should have been an episode for Himemiko’s Moon Gazing Party (Ch 13)
– Ep 10 should have been the festival they went to at the beach (Ch 25)
– There should have been an episode covering (Ch 29)
– Ch 50 (vol 9) and the fanbook sidestory for ep 10 shouldn’t have been used– there were many alternatives choices (such as the above) and if they organized the episodes properly, (HINT: CHRONICLE ORDER) they would have definitely been able to pull it off.
– Instead of going down the “Anime Orignal” route starting at 13:00 in Episode 12: THEY SHOULD’VE JUST FOLLOWED ALL THE EXACT EXISTING CONTENTS FROM VOLUME 5IN CHRONICLE ORDER!
If there is second season will I cover it?
With how they wrapped up the series by debuting Kirihito, there is certainly a chance that there will be a second season. Yes, I will probably end up covering it (perhaps this time for the sake of my sanity, share it with another blogger), but honestly for everyone’s sake I would like to see them change both the director and the screenwriter and I’ll look at the opportunity more optimistically. Anyhow, even if they don’t change up the staff – if they are going to do it, at least DO IT PROPERLY. THERE IS A TON OF REALLY GOOD STUFF GOING ON STARTING FROM VOL 6 AND UP. NOTHING SHOULD BE CUT OUT.
Recommendation: READ THE MANGA!!!!
In the beginning I found it hard to recommend this because it heavily varies on how you will cope with the Anime. There are a handful episodes that are well done but if you want any romantic goodies- you’ll get it, but you probably not going to experience the same impact like how the Manga delivers.
So in this case, I highly recommend you to read the manga first. This way you know ahead of time what true potential the series hold. However when you decide to watch this adaption, you will most likely be disappointed but at least it won’t make you turn away from the manga in case you get a bad impression because of the adaption.