I have an enormous affection for Kamisama Hajimemashita, which is a series that’s a living and breathing example of harmony and balance. Comedy and drama always peacefully co-exist, and it always manages to be ingratiating while never seeming like it’s trying too hard (just hard enough). This is a show that knows it’s adorable without making too much of a fuss about it (which I think is one of the core strengths a shoujo can have). Easy to appreciate, yes, but maybe this show is also a little too easy to take for granted.
Episode 2 finds Nanami preparing to head for the gathering of Kami at Izumo, which means choosing which of her familiars is to join her. This is an interesting thing to watch play out given the always-unequal rivalry of Tomoe and Mizuki – Nanami treats everyone with kindness, but Mizuki can never rival Tomoe in her affections. Despite this (and his protestations of not having feelings for Nanami) Tomoe is intensely jealous of any favoritism towards the Snake. Initially she tells them to decide via a game of shogi, but ultimately overrules the results (one suspects Tomoe cheated) and chooses Mizuki – though for a reason that should have made Tomoe happy.
Meanwhile Nanami goes off to buy an airline ticket for Izumi, having decided that transport intended for Gods is not especially comfortable for humans. This entails a trip to the travel agency with Mamoru, who’s just revealed his human Yamashita Daiki-voiced form, a grade-school boy with a distinctly Hideyoshi-esque face. Along the way Nanami set upon by four resentful ex-Gods, stripped of their status (the start of a recurring theme this season, one suspects) and has a run-in with Kirihito – whose familiars are buying tickets themselves (he’s stuck with a human body). He’s later referred to as “Akura-oh” and it’s clear he’s going to be a major player this season.
At Izumo we continue to see Nanami roundly dismissed and disrespected by the Gods, which is made worse by the fact that she’s been separated from Mizuki and Mamoru and thus is unable to perform every her relatively unimpressive divine tricks. As this is happening Tomoe has been tasked with impersonating her at school (his unhappiness at this prospect rather spoils Kurama’s brief introduction for the season) and Mizuki is desperately trying to find a way into the assembly, which eventually culminates in his hitching himself to the tardy Otohiko’s coattails. Thus, the stage is set for the drama (and comedy) to unspool next week.
I think the key moment of the episode, though, is the intervention of Mikage himself. The shadows of the past exerting their influence on the present seems to be a major theme of this season, and none is more important than the God whose name graces the Shrine which Nanami represents. One could almost imagine after the first season that Mikage had flitted off, bored and disinterested in what went on with those he left behind, but it’s becoming clear that he’s quite invested in both his Shrine and those who’ve inherited it. In fact it wouldn’t even surprise me to learn that he’s responsible for the very active role his old friend Otohiko has taken in helping Nanami get up to Divine speed. We still don’t really know what Mikage’s endgame is, but it seems to me that it’s perhaps the crucial factor in deciding how Kamisama Hajimemashita will ultimately resolve itself.