Kamisama Kiss 2 by Julietta Suzuki

From the back cover:
Nanami Momozono is alone and homeless after her dad skips town to evade his gambling debts and the debt collectors kick her out of her apartment. So when a man she’s just saved from a dog offers her his home, she jumps at the opportunity. But it turns out that his place is a shrine, and Nanami has unwittingly taken over his job as a local deity!

Nanami doesn’t want to miss out on the fun when a hot teen idol joins the student body. Tomoe reluctantly agrees to let her go, as long as she conceals her divine mark. After all, what could possibly go wrong at high school…?

Nanami has been out of school for three months, living in the shrine that is her new home, but the appalling lack of worshippers means her days are very dull indeed. When she sees a TV news story about a famous pop idol transferring to her high school, her school spirit is suddenly reinvigorated and she decides to return, even though Tomoe (her fox-eared familiar) insists she wear a stupid-looking headscarf to cover the mark that identifies her as a tochigami (deity of a specific area of land), lest yokai detect her presence and attack.

The pop idol, Kurama, turns out to be a jerk, but he’s intrigued by Nanami’s ability to resist his charms. The other students aren’t too friendly, either, and tease Nanami about her poverty. Enter Tomoe to save the day, clearing her name when she is accused of theft, delivering a delicious lunch when she’s too poor to afford something from the cafeteria, and generally making it appear as if she’s now under the care of a wealthy family. When Tomoe later finds himself in need, having been shrunk by another deity who has taken over the shrine, Nanami is grateful to be able to give back to him, watching over him as his child’s body struggles to contain his powers. In the end, when the other deity is ousted, Tomoe chooses to reenter into a contract with Nanami.

I’m still unsure exactly what to make of Kamisama Kiss. I definitely like its sense of humor—it’s pleasantly absurd, like when Kurama (who predictably turns out to be a yokai) is chased through the halls of the school by one of Tomoe’s fireballs while in the form of an ostrich—and the supporting cast (like the two onibi-warashi who occupy the shrine along with Nanami and Tomoe), but the main characters have yet to really intrigue me. It’s nice that Tomoe and Nanami are building a more friendly relationship, and that both clearly care about each other, but there’s nothing to really distinguish this development from all the other stories in which two argumentative sorts wind up falling for each other.

I think part of the problem is that I am still mentally comparing it to Suzuki’s other series released in English, the very charming Karakuri Odette. I shouldn’t, because they’re very different types of stories, but every now and then Nanami gets an expression on her face that reminds me so much of Odette that I can’t help myself.

Because Karakuri Odette turned out to be so good, I am reasonably confident that Kamisama Kiss will eventually win me over, but in the meantime I’m left a little bit disappointed.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. I still don’t know what to say about Kamisama Kiss. I didn’t like Karakuri Odette much, so I wasn’t sure about this one. I read the first two volumes and I still can’t form an opinion. I wouldn’t say it doesn’t have a potential but I am not sure if I will continue reading it. I like Tomoe enough but can’t say the same about Nanami. I hope volume 3 will be the volume to make me decide whether to continue reading it or not.

    • I think I’m having a similar problem regarding the inability to form an opinion. At the moment, it’s not a favorite, but it’s not bad either, so I can’t imagine myself actually dropping it.

      • Danielle Leigh says

        I’m a little late to the party but I found myself quite fond of Kamisama Kiss after KO volume 1 failed to hook me. I like it because the power dynamics are bizarre and often fluid (sometimes Nanami has the upper hand and sometimes Tomoe does) and there’s just enough of a hint of backstory for Tomoe that makes me want to stick it out for the long haul (and I shouldn’t even phrase that way because right now I find this a more enjoyable read than, say, Dengeki Daisy).

        • I’d like to learn more about Tomoe’s backstory, too, and am looking forward to reading volume three, which comes out next week.

          I also agree that Kamisama Kiss is more enjoyable than Dengeki Daisy, which suffers a kind of bizarre anti-Star Trek thing where the even-numbered volumes are kind of meh.

          • After reading volume 3, I still can’t form an opinion about Kamisama Kiss. I admit that it was more enjoyable than the first two volumes but for some reason, I still don’t know what to make of this series. I like that the mangaka is introducing a new character in each volume, which makes things more enjoyable and lively but I still can’t put my finger on the reason why I can’t be hooked. What do you guys think?

            • I actually just started volume three this morning, so you can see my verdict on Wednesday when I discuss it during the Off the Shelf column with Melinda 🙂

              And you’re right about each volume introducing a new character. Maybe we’ll like it more once the cast is settled. That happened with Rurouni Kenshin, for example.

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