Pray to the gods or succumb to the deep depths below. Every deity has a story to tell, and a message to relay; and it’s the flawless miko of anime that know how to convey it best. So, set everything else aside, because here at Honey’s Anime we bring to you our Top 10 Miko Anime. Your soul-searching ends here with this magical countdown!
10. Fushigi Yugi (Fushigi Yuugi)
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Apr. 1995 – Mar. 1996
Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo find the perfect read while visiting the National Library, titled “The Universe of the Four Gods”, set in ancient China. However, this book may be more than just a few words on paper after they are suddenly transported into the world of the book. With their lives changed before their eyes, the road only falls steeper when Miaka is pegged with the task of being the priestess of Suzaku, and must summon the god to grant three wishes. However; her best friend Yui is manipulated into being the priestess of the opposing god Seiryuu; setting the two former middle school friends against each other in a battle of the holy.
Beliefs can go a long way in defining who we are and how we carry ourselves. Thus, when your beliefs are put at stake, we fight to protect them like our own children. Be it a holy war, or just an escalated difference of opinions. What these two girls get their hands into is invigorating, supernaturally pleasing, and not without a strong underlying meaning. So, what makes Mysterious Play the best candidate to kick off our Top 10 Miko Anime? Well Miaka and Yui of course. Best friends pitted against each other by the handles of jealousy and vengeance is an implosion in the making. It reverberates the sounds of a beautiful tale, amplified by immaculate visual execution and a bed of great character development. The historical setting shimmered over by supernatural flare and engaging action makes this a great series for anyone, at any time.
9. Shrine of the Morning Mist (Asagiri no Miko)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Jul. 2002 - Dec. 2002
Claiming there to be something “different” about Tadahiro Amatsu, given his two different colored eyes, is simply stating the obvious. To make matters worse, color isn’t the only strange thing; as apparently, there seems to lie a hidden secret behind his left eye. One big enough that he’s become the target of a masked demon sorcerer by the name of Ayatara Miramune. Seeking help, local priestess in training; Yuzu Hieda, recruits a band of four high school girls who undergo training to master their abilities and defeat the demon threat. But perhaps the real answer to everything is within the secret behind Tadahiro’s mysterious left eye.
Four daunting gals mixed in a sundae of comedy and thrill. Only to be topped by the eye candy magical aspect that makes miko anime such a great watch to begin with. Tadahiro brings forth a spiraling wind of excitement pampered by the eccentric traits of his four female counterparts. Only then to be layered over by compelling, supernatural, and mystery elements that manage to keep you hooked from start to finish. If you have a moment to spare, then you have a moment to dive into Asagiri no Miko. You won’t be disappointed.
8. The Goddess is a Middle School Student (Kamichu!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jun. 2005 – Sep. 2005
The calm breezed decade of 1980’s Japan; far off in the town of Onomichi, where Yurie Hitotsubashi takes on life like any other middle schooler. Things are as usual, until one day she suddenly announces to her friend, Mitsue, that she’s in fact become a goddess. Seeing this as a great marketing ploy for her family’s ailing Shinto shrine, classmate Matsuri jumps on board with Yurie’s claim of divinity and becomes her manager. Now a life of everyday middle school has transformed to one of wish granting, god conventions, aliens, and curses. All in a day’s work, right?
As such, after a long day of work, there’s always a story to be told, and Kamichu! is a natural at storytelling. Fun, quirky, and magical, the blissfulness this anime has to offer will set you and your friends on a binge-watching epidemic. You can’t get enough of the everyday life of Yurie in just one episode, so you’ll have to keep watching one after the other. To be a goddess, or not to be a goddess; a question that is downright fun to answer as you paddle onwards through Yurie’s passing attempts at proving her holiness, while at the same time being; well, human. Perhaps she’s lost her mind; or maybe, just maybe, she’s truly become a god. I guess you’ll have to watch to find out for yourselves.
7. Destiny of the Shrine Maiden (Kannazuki no Miko)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2004 – Dec. 2004
Welcome to the village of Mahoroba, home to the prestigious Ototachibana Academy and two of its students, Himeko and Chikane. These girls are like two sides of a coin. Chikane being bold and assertive, while Himeko is shy and less outspoken. Nonetheless, they share a friendship like none other. During their birthday; which happens to be on the same day, they’re randomly attacked by a manipulated friend, causing them to awaken a dormant priestess power from within. Now, with everyone around them being a potential enemy, these two friends must fight to protect themselves to the very end.
Power can bring forth many things. Some useful, and some life threatening. As these girls struggle to face a world in which danger lurks around every corner; festering in those they believed closest to them, Himeko and Chikane not only have to find the raw strength to come out in one piece, but the mental strength to bear the weight of a world falling upon them. While Kannazuki no Miko has a lot of mystical elements and mecha madness to draw your attention, it’s the underlying facet of two girls brushing away the glass from their shattering lives, and building a window into a new one, that carries this anime to precision.
6. Hiiro no Kakera: The Tamayori Princess Saga (Hiiro no Kakera)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2012 – Jun. 2012
Unassuming high schooler, Tamaki Kasuga, thought nothing of moving to live with her grandmother in the far-off village of Kifumura. Until she is attacked by strange beings, that is. Apparently carrying the blood of her ancestor, the Tamayori Princess, Tamaki is bequeathed the responsibility of keeping society protected from the likes of gods and ghosts. Alongside her five bodyguards, Tamaki must defy the odds as she takes on her new role in life, but will she be strong enough for what lies ahead?
A romance masterpiece that is woven together by the strings of a flawlessly realized vision of growth. Tackling responsibility and building oneself not into the person that she expected herself to be, but the person that she must be. Tamaki traverses the ups and downs of a life that at one point would have passed over her head as a mere fairy tale. There’s an exquisite essence to being able to stand alongside someone as they push forward through the unbelievable, and Hiiro no Kakera offers that experience with an open hand. May you know her pain, may you know her laughter; but most of all, may you know her growth. This is an anime with a story meant to be told, and as such, we highly recommend that you tune in.
5. Brave 10
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2012 – Mar. 2012
Fleeing her own possible death, Isanami escapes into the forest after witnessing her temple, and everyone within, laid to waste by a group of slaying ninja. Luckily, crossing paths with the assassin Saizou Kirigakure, she is taken to Ueda Castle where her possession of a strange inner power is revealed. Now, with the help of Yukimura Sanada, Isanami and Saizou will traverse the war stricken lands of the Warring States period in search of ten brave warriors to be by Isanami’s side. May the journey begin!
It’s always great to enjoy a historical piece, but one presented like Brave 10 is unprecedented. Deceit, and treachery. Violence, and sin. The horror of the past still echoes in our ears today, and Brave 10 whispers those words in an all too familiar manner. Pandemonium may have its way, but amongst it all, a flower still manages to bloom. The Warring States period is the horror, and Isanami is the flower. Now, withholding the handles to her latent powers, Brave 10 pours onto our plates an unforgettable tale of a priestess in search of a means to extend her petals outwards and reveal her true colors. Under the distress of losing everything that was once close to her, that resolve will be much harder to attain than anything; and it is this very representation of pain, engulfed by a newfound happiness, that makes Brave 10 such a great watch.
4. Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens (Kannagi)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2008 – Dec. 2008
Jin takes on a school project by carving a statue from the trunk of a sacred tree. Nothing too extreme, right? Except once he takes the project outside it transforms into . . . a girl; who happens to be a guardian deity. In a backlash for cutting down her tree, Nagi, the deity, decides to move in with Jin as she takes out her anger on the world. Death to all the “Impurities”.
Kick-starting off in a rather idiosyncratic manner, we are blessed with the likes of Nagi, whose quirky tendencies will make you fall in love on sight. She, paired alongside protagonist Jin, makes for an amusing, day by day, mindless piece of artwork. A lightweight supernatural experience lathered with enjoyable mischief. If miko anime is your way to spend your free hours, then this is a must watch. Just kick back and let Kannagi do all the work.
3. Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods (Gingitsune)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Dec. 2013
The fox spirit Gintarou has since long protected the Inari temple. Now, inheriting the family ability to see Gintarou as the last remaining member, Makoto and Gintarou overcome their individualistic differences and set out to help the people of their loving community.
Bonds are a necessary evil if you may. A backbone to humanity that can at times leave us vulnerable to some of the worst downfalls this world can present. Thus, watching Makoto and Gintarou; two completely different entities, learn how to harmonize through their common outlooks, is satisfying to the soul to say the least. A growing partnership between our two protagonists that is kept balanced by the unique qualities, and knowledge that they provide for one another. Gingitsune is a charming piece that takes elements common within fantasy anime, and winds them down to a more elegant, casual, and simplistic story about characters and relationships. It is an astonishing presentation of an everyday world.
2. Kumamiko: Girl Meets Bear (Kuma Miko)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2016 – Jun 2016
After spending her entire life as a miko at a remote village, alongside Natsu, her sacred mountain shrine guardian bear, Machi Amayadori yearns for the life of a normal girl. Thus, she does just that, and seeks to attend high school in the big city. While Natsu may be mind blowing when it comes to many things; like talking for one, can he truly prep Machi for the bustling city life? Or will his tendencies be too animal in nature?
Country girl meets big city isn’t a new concept in the world of storytelling, but Kumamiko sure gives it to us in a fresh new perspective. As Machi faces her own reflection wrought with the stain of her social anxiety, we feel her struggle as she sinks deeper into her own regression. Battling the insensitivity of those around her, save for Natsu, you can’t help but quietly cheer her on in hopes that she’ll climb her way out of her own dark hole. Visually impressive, innocent, comedic, and amusing. This slice of life anime is well worth the watch, and we’re sure you’ll feel the same too.
1. Red Data Girl (RDG: Red Data Girl)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2013 – Jun - 2013
Being raised under the roof of a shrine deep in the mountains, 15-year-old Izumiko Suzuhara has always lived a sheltered life. Not to mention her odd tendency of destroying any electronic device that touches her hands. But as any young girl would, Izumiko looks to change her life; and the only way to start is by . . . cutting her bangs. Now, with perfect timing, her guardian, Yukimasa Sagara, has beckoned his son, Miyuki, to come to the shrine and become her new protector. But with a history of bullying Izumiko since they were children, these two have all the reasons to hate each other. Miyuki just can’t seem to find the special spark that everyone sees in Izumiko. Unwilling to accept her as a goddess, as his father does, this unlikely pair will ride a bumpy road before learning to accept one another.
One can’t learn to accept others, however, without learning to accept themselves first. Izumiko is a young fledgling ready to break out of its shell and breathe the fresh air of this vast and open world; neglecting the reality of who she is in the process. Adorned as a goddess and kept with the utmost care, lifelong pampering has only managed to fit a sour taste in the mouth of a girl that just simply wants to be recognized as normal. In her attempt to realize that goal, the traces of her life that she seeks to leave behind only seem to sink deeper into the soil. RDG gives us a sample of how the battle to free oneself from the expectations of others is no different than the recognition of who oneself truly is. Izumiko may be running away from her responsibilities simply to end up back at their front door. The presentation of the soul-defining journey that it takes to get there; told through a tranquil visual atmosphere, is what makes RDG a special weave of cloth in a factory of fabrics all too alike.
These are the tales of exceptional individuals who must see through their assumption of reality to open their minds up to the magical world that is their reality. Miko anime isn’t just about girls saying prayers, but the tale of which of those unique girls define the term ‘inimitable’, and the message that is birthed amongst it all.
These candidates all have that unique quality within their execution in one form or another, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t anime worth mentioning beyond our list of Top 10 Miko Anime. Thus, if you may, sound off in the comments below with a few suggestions of your own.
Praise the holy spirit!
What are Mikos (Shrine Maidens) [Definition/Meaning]