Weekly Digest: 11/3/12 – Kamisama Hajijemashite, Magi

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Two very good episodes in what’s shaping up to be a very deep season, even if it isn’t a great one.

Kamisama Hajimemashite – 05

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Kamisama Kiss has a very important quality that doesn’t get talked about much: as simple as it sounds, it makes me happy.  It’s just a fun show to watch, in the way that good shoujo that doesn’t take itself too seriously can often be.  Between the flawless direction, the lovely and whimsical art and the consistently amusing dialogue this is one of the better low-maintenance viewing experiences of the season.

My statement of last week that there are no real villains in this series might arguably have had the lie put to it with the introduction of the Thunder Goddess Narukami (Hyousei).  I suppose it’s too early to call her evil but she’s certainly nasty enough – having coveted Tomoe’s services for decades she sees the elevation of a mere human to be Tomoe’s master as her opportunity to steal him – and the shrine – for herself.  Of course as usual this is mostly an excuse to give Tomoe and Nanami another bonding experience, but there’s the added bonus of the hyper-moe chibi version of Tomoe that Narukami brings forth when she hits him with a hammer.  Unfortunately his new tiny body can’t hold his youkai power and starts overheating, but Narukami is seemingly fine with that – if he doesn’t want to die, he can simply agree to become her familiar.

One former villain has definitely confirmed his place among the good guys, and that’s Kurama, whose house Nanami shows up at with the ill Tomoe after they’re booted out of the shrine.  He sees himself as a love rival for Nanami but of course there’s no way in Hell that’s happening, though he definitely proves invaluable in doing battle with Narukami.  There’s no suspense about how the episode is going to turn out – this isn’t that kind of series – but the experience of watching get to where you know it’s going is certainly a pleasant one.  It’s snappy and funny and pretty and cute, and the characters are plenty likable. Kamisama Hajimemashite may not demand much from the audience, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t giving them something of value.

Magi – 04

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What’s this, Magi you say?  Yes, it’s back – I found the fourth episode to be an order of magnitude better than the third.  We’ll see where it goes from here, but I wish I’d found the time to watch this one sooner than I did.

While we get a brief check-in with Alibaba early in the episode – he’s pining for Aladdin and has used some of his dungeon swag to buy freedom for the local slaves, for which Morgiana is extremely grateful – the bulk of the episode is focused on Aladdin.  He’s woken up in a small village on the high plains, among the Kouga Clan, whose leader Baba (Sawada Toshiko) tells Aladdin that the village is two years walk from where he came from.  There’s also some background from the old woman about the Rukh, the strange butterfly-like wisps of light that Aladdin sees hovering around him and credits for saving his life when he’s in trouble – she says they’re the collective souls of those whose lives have ended and bodies returned to the soil.

While I find the third episode of Magi frankly rather boring, I was constantly involved in this one, start to finish.  The world of the Kouga – a former great empire now reduced to a single clan, very reminiscent of a Mongolian nation in their expertise with horses and yurts – was really well-conceived and impressively detailed.  While we’d only just met them the story of their struggle to maintain their way of life had a lot of grip, especially after the arrival of the Kou, whose leader Hakui Ren (Mizuki Nana) claims to want to unite the world in peace and kill no one in the process (good luck with that), a perspective not shared by her racist idiot of a Captain.

The conflict between the Kouga and the Kou (and the sands of time) is played out a little too broadly, and there’s a bit too much of characters smiling beatifically at the camera – but on the whole, this was a good little story with a really jarring surprise ending.  If indeed Aladdin and Alibaba are going to be separated for a while at this point I find Aladdin’s arc the more interesting of the two, not least because it’s somewhat unusual ground to cover in a shounen and Alibaba’s appears to be much more conventional.  And his quest to discover what he is and to find a feeling of belonging is more compelling than Alibaba’s textbook shounen hero dreams, at least for now.  One episode featuring Alibaba’s arc as good as this one would change all that, of course.



  1. A

    I actually quite like Kamisama Hajimemashita — it's quite light-hearted — and together with Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun that's my top two shoujo series of the season.

    I am quite disappointed at Sukitte Ii na yo — the male lead is too pretentious and unbelievable in my taste. I have started watching Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojo yet — I am not attracted to the character designs — but after following your posts, I am thinking of giving it a try.


  2. B

    Enzo, maybe blog one or two less shows or shorten some so you have the time to edit the posts you make ;). Ignoring sentences that might have been phrased better, here are the typing errors I found just on a first read through:

    "My statement of last week that there are real villains in this series" – Pretty sure this should say "are no real villains".

    "if he doesn't wan to die" – want

    " but the experience of watching get to where you know it’s going" – should say "the experience of watching them get to where…"

    "and the characters and plenty likable" – second and should say "are"

    "some of his dungeon swag to but freedom for the local slaves" – but = buy

    "the collective souls of those who lives have ended" = whose lives have ended

    And that was just the basic stuff. Nobody expects perfection on an anime blog but maybe just give things a once over?

    As for the episodes themselves, I found this episode of Kamisama Hajimemashite perhaps not quite as interesting as the past few but still solid. As you say, it's a show where you know what is going to happen but you don't care because the journey there is pleasant. I found Narukami somewhat irritating though which is why I place it slightly lower than the past episodes.

    Magi I agree that this episode was a vast improvement over the third. The fact that Kaji Yuuki wasn't in it at all after the very beginning helped. The only thing I disagree with you on was the "surprise" ending, I knew it was going to happen as soon as she excused herself to walk off into the darkness, and suspected it would happen even before that. She was raising some flags throughout the episode so it didn't really come as a shock to me at all when it happened.

  3. K

    Magi's pacing is a lot faster than I think it should be, you would probably enjoy it more if it did more of the exposition that was in the manga Enzo. Though I do like how they ended this episode. Story wise expect it to only get better (execution however I don't give any assurances).

  4. A

    I like many of the series that are airing this season and for the most part I predicted which ones I would like. I was pleasantly surprised to find Kamisama Hajimemeashite and Girls Und Panzar to be so much fun to watch. They were not even on my radar but I usually watch the 1st episode of each show and then decide what to watch and what to not watch.

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