DVD Review: Kamisama Kiss – The Complete Series

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What would you do if you were given the power of a god? Well that’s the question that has landed on Nanami’s shoulders as she takes up a new life as a land god in a local shrine, but storyline aside what do we think of this release by MVM Entertainment? Find out in our DVD Review of Kamisama Kiss – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

Nanami was just a normal high school girl down on her luck until a stranger’s lips marked her as the new Land God and turned her world upside down. Now, she’s figuring out the duties of a deity with the help of Tomoe, a reformed fox demon who reluctantly becomes her familiar in a contract sealed with a kiss.

The new responsibilities – and boys – are a lot to handle, like the crow demon masquerading as a gorgeous pop idol and the adorable snake spirit who’s chosen the newly minted god to be his bride. As the headstrong Tomoe tries to whip her into shape, Nanami finds that love just might have cute, pointed fox ears. With romance in the air, will the human deity be able to prove herself worthy of her new title?

Our View:

It’s a simple fact that Life is hard work, most of us will know this, but when it comes to anime series the ‘hard life’ prospect is not always illustrated, especially within slice of life and comedy styled shows; fortunately when it comes to Kamisama Kiss no-one has it rougher than our main protagonist Nanami Momozono. You see Nanami’s father racked up a huge debt, and after the bailiff’s came knocking she found herself kicked out of her house and living on the streets with her farther no-where to be found.

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In hindsight it’s a terrible but brilliant way to start off a new show; it’s terrible because it sums up several years’ worth of back-story within a minute, some of which would have been quite enlightening to see, but it’s brilliant as it easily sets up how Nanami became the god of a local shrine. Amusingly I’ve never really known an anime to have such a ‘decisive’ start to the show, as by the half-way point of the first episode Nanami has opted to stay at the Shrine and become it’s land god, much to the annoyance of Tomoe – a fox yokai who has been looking after the shrine since his masters disappearance.

From here it’s pretty much one debate after another, with plenty of screaming and shouting from the two main protagonists, as they each try to get along while maintaining the shrines duties. Tomoe, who still yearns for his master, is dubious about Nanami and as such is reluctant to follow her commands, while Nanami herself is still trying to wrap her head around the whole ‘land god’ situation. This continuous “two-and-from” routine continues throughout the entire series, but as the story progresses the bond between Nanami and Tomoe grows stronger, so much so that Tomoe ends up agreeing to all of Nanami’s wishes and a love starts to bloom within Nanami’s heart.

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Of course a story that features kindled spirits and gods has much more to offer than romance and rantings between two main characters, as with each passing episode new characters are introduced to further complicate the situation. For example once Shinjirō Kurama , who later becomes a regular on-screen character, and Narukami hear that a human has taken over as land god, both attempt to over-throw her in order to take her position, and as such short-lived battles (and plenty of romantic styled dialogue) take place with Tomoe doing the fighting.

Each episode of Kamisama Kiss has its own story and agenda to tell, with each passing episode offer something different. The core basis of each episode though is relatively the same, with Nanami somehow getting in trouble and Tomoe coming to the rescue, but to compensate this slight repetitiveness is some great one liners and comical on-screen antics that makes watching the series an enjoyment, even if romantic comedy’s aren’t your thing.

Extras:

It’s not just the series which is fun, unique and entertaining either, as the way the extra features have been spread out across three DVD Discs is also quite interesting. The reason for this is simple, there wasn’t enough space for the additional materials to be on two discs, but even so don’t get too excited as its mostly commentaries and text less songs.

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In total there are two different English Cast Commentaries, the first of which is located on Disc 1 (for Episode 1) and features Jerry Jewell (ADR Director) and Tia Ballard (voice of Nanami), while the second English Cast commentary is located on Disc 2 (for Episode 12) and features Jerry Jewell (ADR Director) and J. Michael Tatum (voice of Tomoe). As always both audio commentaries provide an insight into how the voice actors portrayed their roles as well as some general banter, but in terms of an audio commentary it’s not that informative, unlike other anime releases.

In addition to the English Cast Commentary there is the inclusion of the original FUNimation US Trailer, a trailer which showcases, in general, what to expect from the series if you’ve yet to watch it.

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Now the final DVD disc (Disc 3) features nothing but bonus content, in this case an English Cast Video commentary, Featuring Jerry Jewell (ADR Director), Tia Ballard (voice of Nanami), Sean O’Connor (voice of Kurama) and J. Michael Tatium (voice of Tomoe) for Episode 6 whereby yet again they discuss their roles within the series and experiences as an English Voice actor. This ‘video commentary’ is more interesting that the Audio Commentaries, as not only can you see the voice actors but you can see their reactions and gestures to questions.

Finally the final piece of bonus content is the traditional ‘text less songs’ selection for both the opening and closing songs of the anime,however unlike other anime releases there is a text less closing song for all thirteen episodes. In general the closing song is exactly the same for all thirteen episodes, it’s just that the first 10 seconds (or so) of each song is the last 10 seconds (or so) for that particular episode; because of this it is counted as a different closing song.  In hindsight while they might all be identical (the actually ending animation) it’s nice to see FUNimation treating series with some care and opt to includ all of the content as bonuses, the same can be said for MVM Entertainment as this third disc could have easily been removed in order to cut costs down.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:47:29 (Disc 1), 2:23:18 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kbps (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Kamisama Kiss, a series which sees homeless girl Nanami become a land god and the keeper of a local shrine after a chance encounter with its original owner; however despite the glorified title trouble arises when rival gods and spirits attempt to ‘dethrone’ her of the position. It’s now up to Nanamai, and her reluctant fox-familiar Tomoe, to not only protect themselves from attack but abide by daily activities as a god and help those in need. Of course this is only one side of Kamisama Kiss, as upon settling into her new found position a stronger bond between Nanamai and Tomoe begins to bloom and as such a romantic comedy ensues.

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What’s also quite amusing is how oppositely similar this series is to Black Butler, a feat which has most likely been achieved by J. Michael Tatum doing Tomoe’s voice, the same voice actor for Sebastian in Black Butler. The reason I say this is while Tomoe is being a ‘good servant’ to Nanami he has the same characteristics and manerisims as his voice for Sebastian in Black Butler – and the same can be said for when he gets angry. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, as the role suits him rather perfectly, but its rather canny how similar the characters are – with the only real difference being the phrase “well what kind of butler would I be” is not being spoken,  although this is most likely a personal observation than anything else.

Speaking of audio the English Dub was much more entertaining to listen to than the Japanese Audio track, not just because of J. Michael Tatum ‘butler’ styled voice over but Tia Ballard as Nanami as provided a realistic experience – and the less mentioned about the narrator the better. It’s the same narrator as in Okami-san (so another similarity) but at least compared to the Japanese audio she is ‘easier’ to listen to, as the Japanese Narrator sounds very high pitched and squeaky. As good as the English Dub is there was one minute that could (possibly)be an issue, as on the first episode the audio quality seemed ‘extremely’ low, like a 96kbps mp3 file, but this could have been intentional as it happens during a flashback. It doesn’t affect the overall performance it just seemed strange, but yet again this is most likely a personal observation rather than an error. In general both audio tracks are clear and easily heard, and while the English Audio track features a 5.1 Surround Sound track it is not needed, as this series is most dialogue and rarely features anything that a 5.1 audio track would benefit from.

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So what does MVM Entertainment’s DVD release of Kamisama Kiss offer to its viewers? Well it’s a 13 episode romantic comedy of the strange sorts, whereby humans become gods, yokai become familiars and pop-stars are fallen angel. Basically it’s a fun filled show that never takes itself too seriously, so if you are looking for something different (and on the ligher side) then I’d recommend giving Kamisama Kiss a shot. In terms of the DVD quality, well put-simply it’s another top-quality release from MVM Entertainment.

Score: review-stars-5

Kamisama Kiss – The Complete Series will be available on DVD from the 14th July 2014.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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