Like clockwork Kamisama Hajimemashita delivers another vastly entertaining episode this week, as always finessing the balance between comedy and drama about as well as it’s possible to do it. But even as it explores its first real side story of the season, it’s clear that the anchor chain is shorter this time around – the storylines that drive everything are never too far from mind. Namely, the deepening romantic feelings between Nanami and Tomoe (especially on his part) and the lurking presence of Akura-oh.
Even allowing for that reality, no doubt a major purpose of this arc is to display another side of Kurama, and it’s certainly accomplishing that. Suirou tells Tomoe and Nanami that Kurama is the sort that wants to take on all burdens himself, never asking for help – which is not exactly in sync with his flip playboy image in the mundane world. That said, Kurama certainly doesn’t want the burden of being the Fourth Successor – and especially after Botanmaru puts the word out that he’s back, that’s the expectation among those desperate to see Jirou’s rise to power thwarted. Suirou tries to talk Nanami and Tomoe into dragging Kurama back home, but if you’ve been watching this series at all you know that’s not going to happen.
The issue here is that Jirou has the Soujoubou locked away in the compound behind an array of magical and physical barriers, and Suirou is certain he’s not going to allow anyone to waltz in carrying magical peach pills. Kurama actually brings himself to ask for help, and though he mumbles it so softly Nanami can’t hear it over the wind, that definitely amounts to real progress for him. Nanami is the one who comes up with the plan to try and get the pills to the Soujoubou, and it’s pretty wild – give Shinjirou her powers by proxy so he can pretend to be the Land God of Mikage Shrine, which allows Jirou no choice but to let hi m in. Meanwhile she has to dress up as a boy (seemingly from a shounen manga) to fulfill her end of the deal, sneaking in as part of Shinjirou’s retinue and seeking the Soujoubou. For this she enlists Botanmaru’s help, though Kurama initially orders him to stay behind – in addition to being a sucker for cute little boys, Nanami sees something of a kindred spirit here in the one who’s looked down upon as weak by everyone else.
The real cracker of the episode, though, is the night before that big event, which finds Nanami and Tomoe sharing the same room. The possibilities both comedic and otherwise are obvious here, and Akitarou-sensei is not a director to leave possibilities untapped. The banter between the sharp-tongued Tomoe and feckless Nanami is predictably hilarious (he jokes – though it’s true – about her sleeping wildly so her “hem rises up”, and how she has “no breasts to speak of”) but there’s great sexual tension here. It’s obvious that Tomoe is increasingly consumed with desire for Nanami, which vexes him and scares and thrills her. She’s not ready for that, but he’s hundreds of years old and more than experienced – yet she is very much in-love with him. And it’s she who winds up in his futon, not the other way around…
As always the episode is absolutely packed – curse it – with wonderful faces and sight gags. My favorite is when Nanami flees back to her futon after Tomoe reminds her she’s in his, and flops down face-first causing Mamoru (who’s been disappointingly irrelevant after his flashy introduction) to pop up into the air in slow-motion and gently settle back to the pillow. Seriously, that could have been a blip – but it’s little touches like that which make Kamisama Hajimemashita so much more than it appears at casual glance.