What can a girl do to support herself when she’s kicked out of her house and abandoned by her no good gambling father? She could take a leaf out of Nanami Momozono’s book and become a human god. This is the premise of the manga “Kamisama Hajimemashita” by Julietta Suzuki, also known as “Kamisama Kiss.”
This ongoing manga series began in 2008 and follows Nanami, a high schooler who is made fun of for being poor and having an unreliable dad. In the first chapter, we find Nanami alone in a park after being evicted from her apartment. A mysterious stranger appears before her and quickly offers her a new home, free of charge.
Nanami’s new home is a beat-up old shrine that contains a couple of minor spirits and a very grumpy fox demon named Tomoe. Nanami discovers that she is the new land god of the shrine and that Tomoe, a very powerful demon, is her familiar. The story follows Nanami as she encounters demons, learns to be a god and tries to get the stubborn Tomoe to help her.
Although this manga follows a pretty typical pattern for a shoujo manga (targeted for female audiences) in its romantic plot, the unique characters and premise set the manga apart.
Tomoe isn’t your typical romantic lead. He is stubborn, mean and completely unwilling to help Nanami in the beginning. It is her constant desire to improve herself and do good for others which brings Tomoe to the light. Nanami is quite an enjoyable character with her persistent attitude and hopeless naivety about demons and their lives.
The premise is quite good as well and makes the typical romance more interesting. Nanami has to balance schoolwork with her god duties, which include answering prayers and blessing relationships. She has an especially big responsibility to restore the rundown shrine to its former glory.
At the same time, Nanami is constantly being threatened by demons because she has a god’s power in a frail human body. It is intriguing to see the different types of demons that come after her, including a Tengu, or crow demon, and an ice demon.
The only criticism I have of this series is its very typical romantic plot. Nanami is smitten with Tomoe quite quickly early in the series which is a bit disappointing for her strong character. I prefer the strong lady lead who won’t take any crap from the disdainful love interest. The refreshing part of the love story is the development of Tomoe’s feelings for Nanami. It is very subtle and cute, which is something that I appreciated.
This manga is a refreshing read for someone looking for a fluffy romance with a unique setting. It is licensed by Viz Media and has been adapted into an anime that is currently running. I give this manga 4 out of 5 stars for its witty development of a girl into a god.
Kate Haddock is a sophomore in English. Please send comments to [email protected]