Kamisama Hajimemashita finds itself in a different position to most of the best series ending this season. There’s the question of a sequel, from the almost-definitely (Yowamushi Pedal) to the definitely maybe (Akatsuki no Yona), where this series seems very unlikely to get one. There’s Kiseijuu, which is finishing the original story, while Kamisama Kiss is leaving off smack-dab in the middle. But then, if you’d asked me I would have said even getting this season was unlikely and here we are – so I suppose there’s always hope.
As he has a few times this season, Daichi-sensei splits this penultimate episode into two basically independent halves, with the first focusing on Akura-oh. Daichi has a ton of loose threads dangling out there, but it’s especially hard to see how he’s going to manage to tie this up with only the finale left – and that looking likely to focus on what happened in the second half of this ep. Akura-oh is still scheming to try and get body back, and he’s managed to pound some sand he scooped up from the Underworld into a mirror which can act as a replacement gateway. And all the while, he’s play-acting the role of Kirihito – a lot of which involves snowing Kirihito’s overprotective mother into believing this is still her son.
But then… Perhaps that it isn’t her son isn’t so cut-and-dried. Akura-oh is still a hard man, consumed with rage at what he sees as Tomoe’s betrayal, but he too is finding himself impacted by feelings for a human woman. When some of the Netherworld’s miasma leaks through the mirror (seriously, being one of Akura-oh’s flunkies better come with life insurance) Kirihito breaks it rather than let the miasma continue to leak through and kill his “mother”. Is there some part of the human boy still alive inside this body, influencing Akura-Oh’s mind, or has Akura-Oh simply learned compassion through Kirihito’s dying kindness and interaction with his family? And just what, exactly, is the nature of Yatori’s interest in him (I certainly take nothing he says at face value)? Again – an awful lot to resolve here, and not much time with which to do it.
In the B-part we get back to the main cast. After a very funny gag which finds Tomoe sneaking shitake into Nanami’s hamburger, then thinking better of it after she gives him a delighted reaction to the news of what he’s cooking, thoughts turn to weddings (which yields a misunderstanding, and an interesting proclamation from Nanami she’s “not getting married – ever”). And then to the new year. The latter means that the familiars must visit the shrine of the Year God for a new talisman, a journey for which Nanami insists on joining them.
This is transparently a premise with which to move Nanami’s story – and thus, that of her relationship with Tomoe – forward. But it’s a good one. It seems that visitors to the Year God must past through the “Ju-ni Torii” – twelve personalized Torii gates which compel the visitor to reflect on their previous twelve years. For ageless beings like Tomoe and Mizuki this isn’t such a big deal (though Mizuki does rather fret over it, as those were dark days for him) but for a human and a young one at that, it’s monumental. And surely enough, passing through the Torii returns Nanami to her toddler days – and gives us (and Tomoe) our best look yet at just how troubled they were.
This is a fascinating development for a number of reasons. It certainly highlights the impossible gap in age and experience between Tomoe and Nanami, but it also allows Tomoe for the first time to see just how much pain Nanami has endured to reach the place she is now. Her father was a deadbeat gambler, and her mother apparently died young of a terminal disease. Despite the fact there her life has never more obviously been a blink of Tomoe’s eye, I think this will give Nanami a boost in stature in those eyes – seeing what she’s endured without losing herself will surely give Tomoe a newfound respect for her strength (the growth of which has been a recurring theme all season). And that will seemingly cause a major shakeup of the story in the finale – perhaps even a proposal from Tomoe. Again, there’s a huge amount to deal with in 22 minutes – but if anyone can do it…