Kannagi Series Review
For most anime that’s based off of something, I am unaware of the original source material beforehand. In Kannagi’s case, I had read the first 10 chapters of the manga before I knew it was going to be made into an anime. So will this help or hinder my enjoyment of the series or will it be a moot question in the end?
Final Series Score: 8/12 B+
Rewatchablity: very low
Pros: Good production values, at times it was funny, had a very good ending song, sometimes it could be as good as it’s potential was
Cons: Tried too hard to be too many things, gratuitous fan service added to “improve” on the source material, character development was lacking and thus the characters either felt cliché or mere sketches of characters, would introduce characters or plot lines for no apparent reason and would often forget about them later
Awards given to this show by this blog
Our main character, Jin, is a typical high schooler except for his strong spiritual sense. As a young boy he saw the local land god. For his art project he decides to carve a statue out of a hunk of wood to match how he remembers her. Turns out this hunk of wood comes from the sacred tree at the temple of local land god (they were demolishing the temple area to build a sub-division or something) and when he finishes his carving – it turns into a human body that enshrines the local land god. The land god, Nagi, decides to live with Jin and continue her work purifying the land.
Thoughts and impressions
I think reading the manga beforehand initially hindered my enjoyment but in the end, it didn’t matter because I would have realized the faults of this show anyways.
I was looking forward to this show for two reasons, The first was the very minimal amount of fan service in the manga. This told me that the Kannagi manga wanted to make it on it’s story and characters and not through the use of fan service. Always a good sign. The second was the director of Kannagi was going to be the guy that lost his job directing after episode 4 of Lucky Star. I figured he’d take everything he learned while at KyoAni and having reflected on why he was unsuccessful with Lucky Star make sure the first job after Lucky Star would be success. And when I rewatched Lucky Star, I realized the first 5-6 episodes where much better the second time around now that I knew the characters.
The first episode of Kannagi started and the only significant difference from the source material was inserted fan service scenes. Likewise in the next couple episodes, the only thing that was added to the show was fan service scenes. I couldn’t help but wonder how the director decided that the best way to improve a show was by adding fan service. I wonder if he’s ever watched Spirited Away and thought to himself that he could improve upon it using a similar approach.
And it wasn’t just gratuitous fan service, it was detrimental to the story. For example, in episode 2, a scene was added where Jin is seen sniffing the bedding that Nagi used the previous night and later on Jin is shown answering the door holding Nagi’s panties. Later that same day (and only a few minutes later in real time) we’re shown a scene where a pair of baby kittens have died from starvation because the mother cat was killed in traffic. Jin realizes when he sees the dead mother cat that the babies are in danger so he rushes home only to see Nagi absorb their dead bodies into her own. It should have been a very touching scene but how are we to take it seriously when the show is trying it’s best to be a mindless fan service show. It can’t have it both ways.
Another problem I had was how the show introduced Nagi as having to purify the land by killing impurities but after the first few episodes nothing is done with this fact for the next seven or eight episodes. Nor is anything done about the father’s request to Jin about getting another god, Zange, removed from his daughter’s body. The show leaves us hanging on that issue totally. Instead the show tries to turn itself into a slice-of-life comedy and shows that KyoAni did the right thing by canning the director from Lucky Star because he’s still not ready to be a director.
The show did have some redeeming qualities. It was funny every now and again and it had good production values but after watching A-1 do Birdy over the summer – I knew they would make the show look good. The show was at it’s best when it was more serious and thus I finally started getting into the show towards the end when it veered into more serious territory. If the ending had happened around the midway point and had condensed the boring fluff into only a couple of episodes at the beginning, it might have turned out to be a better show.
I really can’t recommend this to anyone. If you’re looking for comedic shows about goddesses living with humans then I’d suggest the vastly superior Oh! My Goddess. If you want a slice-of-life show about Japanese gods check out Kamichu instead. If you want a show dealing with Japanese gods that has comedy, drama, and good characters check out Wagaya no Oinari-sama.
- 13 episodes
- genre: harem, comedy, supernatural
- animation studio: A-1 Pictures
- director: Yutaka Yamamoto
- OP: “motto Hade ni ne!” by Haruka Tomatsu
- ED: “Musuhi no Toki” by Haruka Tomatsu
- Seiyuus of note: Haruka Tomatsu, Hiro Shimono, Kana Hanazawa, Mai Nakahara, Miyuki Sawashiro, Tetsuya Kakihara
Here’s the opening and ending songs together: