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As usual, we have to issue a warning: this article is full of spoilers. Read at your own risk or please pick up another article to read.
Julietta Suzuki is a shoujo mangaka who published several short stories before her first series in the magazine Hana to Yume: Akuma to Dolce. Her third series is the topic of this article, the lovely Kamisama Kiss, or Kamisama Hajimemashita, as it’s known in Japan. The manga is projected to end this year’s May, so hopefully we will have more anime seasons or OVAs. We will have to conform with the last release in 2015 for the moment, but we definitely want to see more of our couple.
Although Suzuki’s drawing style is what we can expect from a shoujo, with big shining eyes, abuse of pink shades, flowers and the like, the twist in Kamisama Kiss is a combination with the Japanese shrine culture and colorful adventures with a diverse (and sometimes even cute) Youkai cast. The Cinderella archetypal story is also a big appeal to fans. I mean, who is given a house for free just when they are kicked out of theirs? This house-ex-machina can only happen in the anime world. And yet, the story increases in depth with time.
In short, we get a sugary anime with comedy, nice upbeat music featuring traditional Japanese instruments and highly likeable characters. In particular, we have a reliable protagonist (Nanami) who matures in order to face the challenges of becoming a land God. But who would not like to face such challenges with a handsome protective Kitsune (Tomoe) as a companion? Anyway, let’s see exactly why this pair of lovebirds are such a great couple.
1. Because Tomoe is the Sexiest Kitsune
Time for a short crash course on Japanese folklore! We must have noticed by now that the world of anime is full of characters with fox ears and tails. This is a direct consequence of the traditional stories where fox spirits (kitsune) are protagonists. Kitsune are intelligent and their magic increases with age, but their trademark ability is to shapeshift to human beings with the help of leaves. Although some stories refer to these spirits as mischievous and harmful, they are depicted as model wives and husbands in others.
So, who combines the best of these two perspectives? None other than Tomoe, who is handsome and has a magical attractive allure. The sly, flirty guy also uses this to his advantage, but when he has to protect Nanami, he shifts to his serious and proud personality. He is the ideal stay at home husband, as he can clean and cook perfectly well! Tomoe even took care of Nanami’s cold in an episode. As youkai, he can use fire to fly and find objects, and his past as the companion of the demon king Akura Ou is fascinating and bloody, becuase in it we can find why he does not believe in love in the beginning of the story. But that changed when he met a certain special someone…
2. Because Nanami is Resourceful
Enter the protagonist of Kamisama Kiss! She looks as the ideal cute, soft and delicate shoujo girl, but her character is the opposite. Her father was an irresponsible gambler who ran away from home, so he is the main reason why she is poor at the beginning of the story. Her mother died of an illness sometime before, admonishing her to not trust men. That is why Nanami is highly independent and self-aware.
Also determined, stubborn and protective, when she receives a house that turns out to be a shrine with Tomoe included in it, she is shocked and reluctant to accept her new position at first. It’s expected, as the “food offerings” the shrine spirits give her are usually reserved for Kamis images on earth, they are not for humans. She also acquires the abilities of listening to people's prayers and of using papers to trick her enemies in a similar fashion that youkai do (changing places with someone or something).
Tomoe is furious with the idea of becoming the servant of such a “weak girl”. Still, when she is attacked by another youkai in the first episode and falls down a cliff, she pulls Tomoe with her and unexpectedly kisses him, making him his servant. This girl does not let her human condition to be an obstacle for her, she does her duties as a land God and saves Tomoe whenever it’s necessary. So, don’t judge her by her appearance!
3. Because They’re Not Always Together
For some people, being with their sweetheart 24 hours a day and sharing every single thing is the ultimate dream. For others, it sounds like a stalking nightmare. So, how to keep a balance? Well, this couple has managed it, partly because of their personalities.
Tomoe has his own diversions and gives space to Nanami when she needs to practice her spiritual powers. He also retires to the Youkai realm when necessary. As for our protagonist, being the independent girl she is, does not overly sticks with him, even if they usually are together attending the shrine, fighting youkais or at school.
Of course that Nanami shows jealousy sometimes, as Tomoe is too sexy for not being a female distraction. In those moments, she can be so mad she looks scary! But this situation is not one sided, as our kitsune is also jealous of Nanami’s cute shikigami Mamoru and of the cool looking youkai Kurama, who is an idol in the human world. Nevertheless, all these situations fall more into the comedic part of the relationship and does not affect the couple in a negative way.
4. Because Their Relationship Is Based on Loyalty
Tomoe used to love a human girl so much that he made a pact with a God called Kuromaru to give up his youkai powers, so that he could grow old and die with her. He does not remember this when he meets Nanami, but it turns out that, in a complicated twist of time travels, the girl he loved in the past was Nanami herself, disguised as a certain Yukiji. Although Tomoe’s memories were sealed by his former master Mikage, he falls in love with Nanami in the present for the exact same reasons he did in the past: her determined personality, courage and protective nature which shows up even in the most adverse circumstances.
Yet, when he becomes Nanami’s servant in the present, he takes his job of protecting her seriously regardless of having or not feelings towards her. Tomoe confronts Gods and even goes to hell in one occasion for her sake. That is some loyalty there!
5. Because of The Power of Their Love
When Tomoe was the companion of the demon King in the past, he used to kill other living beings without any mercy. He also thought love was foolish, but he learned to value himself through his relationship with Nanami, to treat others with forgiveness (as he did when he left the demon King, actually) and to not give in to his raw youkai instincts.
As for Nanami, Tomoe’s youkai apprentice, Mizuki, tried to make her hate her servant in the first episodes. He basically told her that Tomoe was a womanizer, but eventually realized that Nanami’s feelings were too strong. She also was shocked when she realized how cruel Tomoe was when she traveled to the past, but she learns to accept his youkai nature once it’s evident he has changed and is forgiving towards him. A love that makes you become a better person is undoubtedly the best love ever!
The story of Kamisama Kiss is a love between different species that works as an allegory to love between different cultures. Nanami never lost her faith that a relationship between a youkai and a human could work, but she did more than believe. Nanami demonstrated Tomoe how much she cared for him with actions. That made Tomoe notice her, and in the end, both had to put a lot of effort on it. So, remember kids, couples who work hard together towards an objective, stay together.
Which was your favorite Nanami and Tomoe moment? What would you like to see in future anime seasons of Kamisama Kiss? We’re open to all your comments and suggestions!