Kamisama Kiss 8

March 13, 2012

Julietta Suzuki – Viz – 2012 – 11+ volumes

As much as I love this series, even I have to admit it’s a little formulaic. Still, I don’t know how she does it, but Suzuki has a knack for taking those formulas and making them new again. Here and with Karakuri Odette. Neither series really blazes new ground in shoujo manga, but I love the characters so much I just don’t care. I absolutely need to know what happens next.

So, here, Nanami is in the land of the dead with a “human.” He’s actually a malevolent being that’s trying to get his body back and merely borrowing the body of a dead human, but Nanami doesn’t know that. She first tries to find her way out of the land of the dead, then she tries to do it with the human, who is held captive at the insistence of the kami of the realm. Annoyingly, Nanami doesn’t try to find out why this is, she simply does what she feels is right and defies the kami.

I say that it was annoying, but I actually liked this bit of story. Nanami lacks confidence in her kami abilities, and the trials here help make her powers that much better. Part of it is that her traveling companion is so antagonistic, far from the comrades in the stories that have come before. Part of it is simply that it must be so in order for her to escape, and another part is that she has to do it without Tomoe. Again, while a lot of this sounds contrived, it was hard not to like this little bit of story. I even really wanted to dislike it, because I thought it didn’t make much sense that she was defying the kami. But I just couldn’t. Nanami does a good job here.

And then there’s Tomoe. Things are realized. Shoujo manga things. He also flies to Nanami’s rescue, an interesting feat indeed that involves unlocking his true nature. More than the trial in the land of the dead, I loved and adored this part of the story. The aftermath is what it is, and I saw it coming. Some awkwardness follows, of course. But I’m glad that the story doesn’t seem to be putting this off any more, and I’m looking forward to things improving from here on out.

And guess what? Guess who makes an appearance at the end of the volume? Could it be? Maybe Mikage?

Actually, I’m not entirely sure myself. It was a story twist that I was not expecting, but now something earlier makes sense. So as of right now, things are moving in a new direction, and I’m happy with it.

I adore this series, and I’ve been reading every volume as soon as it lands in my hands. It’s horribly addictive, and it always leaves me wanting more. Especially now, since the story seems to be moving away from themes of Nanami being a kami and more towards a character-centric plot about Tomoe. I don’t mind at all, honestly. While this volume had a continuous plot, I love the format of this series in that it uses a one shot-style story to develop an overarching plot. The direction of the overarching plot has changed, and I’m looking forward to the style of one-shot story that will suit it best. The short stories are also one of my favorite things about this series. Well, yes, the short stories, the characters, and the fact I can’t finish a volume without a ridiculous smile on my face. It simply makes me happy, and I’d be happy to read anything else Julietta Suzuki writes from here on out.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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