Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kamisama Hajimemashita 6: The Nightmare In The Dream

Kamisama Hajimemashita is the anime I look forward to most every week.  That probably sounds absurd in the midst of what is a strong anime season so far - Kamisama has neither the animation of K nor the dystopian narrative of Psycho-Pass - but it does have a perfectly tart-sweet relationship between two endearing romantic leads, an intriguing array of supporting characters, and wonderful source material.  Sometimes it's just nice to watch an anime where you can watch two characters fall in love and believe, or hope, that everything might work out in the end  - and if that anime also contains Kurama and all of his epic fabulous, so much the better.

Summary: Nanami's sick, so Tomoe disguises himself and goes to school in her place, where he then must deal with Kurama's unwanted advances, a gross demon, and the complexities of school life.  Meanwhile, Mizuki sneaks in to see Nanami and shows her a frightening glimpse of Tomoe's past.

Thoughts: Well, I don't want to spoil the manga here so I'll be careful what I say, but the anime certainly seems willing to adapt, or allude to, a lot of source material - and the way this episode in particular introduced "Yukiji" as she sought out Tomoe-from-the-past only helped confirm, for me, a Tomoe-Nanami-Yukiji theory I've been chewing on for some time.  Given that this season is only thirteen episodes, I wonder if they're hoping for a second, or if this one will be self-contained.

I'd love a second season.  And not least because this episode was one of my favorites since the start of the show.

Kamisama does comedy well, and Tomoe's day at school was worth plenty of laughs.  His inability to understand the curriculum, his obvious irritation with Kurama, and his willingness to go through all of it for Nanami's sake felt note-perfect.  It's worth noting that Tomoe's attitude towards Nanami has changed since their renewed contract last episode; he's making it more obvious, in gestures if not words, how much he cares for her, and it's certainly having an impact on her.  (So is Tomoe's long hair, and I cannot blame her one bit).  Still, this episode pairs the sweetness of Tomoe's gesture with multiple gags, the most amusing of which might have been Tomoe's increasing annoyance with a canny and newly-amorous Kurama.

Can I deviate here (and momentarily set down my abject Tomoe devotion) to pay tribute to Kurama?  Because he's hilarious.  The anime's managed his character wonderfully.  The show isn't afraid to play up every last dramatic bit of his persona for comic effect (that music whenever he shows up) but doesn't make him a laughingstock, either.  He's not entirely self-aware, but he's smart and wants to help, and this makes him a comforting ally (especially in comparison with Mizuki, who right now comes off as...well, a complete creeper).

And this leads me to the part of the episode which touched me the most: the bittersweet segment when Mizuki invites/forces Nanami into Tomoe's past.  The Tomoe Nanami meets there, of course, is not the complaining, devoted shrine servant she knows; rather, he's violent and unpredictable, aggressive, and cold.   She's scared of him (and for good reason) and her tears when she sees her Tomoe again speak to so much about her feelings and her willingness to believe in what he's capable of.  The growing faith they share in each other makes this a sweet relationship to watch, even with dark harbingers of what might wait ahead for them.

Now excuse me.  I need to go find a smoke machine and some BGM so I can make appearances like Kurama.


  1. this is my favorite episode of the series so far too! and i also hope they do make a second season!

    as always, your analysis of the relationships between the leads and between the supporting characters is spot-on! =) i really enjoyed reading your recap and analysis!! thanks!! =)

    1. I really wish they would. Especially since they're adapting so far, in some aspects, into the manga.

      I'm glad you enjoy it! KH is one of my favorite shows to write about. :)

    2. Thanks for replying to my comment! =) Reading your reply really made my day! =)

      Thanks for introducing KH to me because I started watching this anime only after reading your recap and analysis on KH's episode 1, so I am very glad that you are posting about this lovely, but underrated anime. KH is definitely one of my favorite animes of this Fall season. =)

      PS. I'm leaving my comments as anonymous because I haven't thought of a name to leave my comments with yet. My apologies.


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