Kamisama Kiss, Vol. 1-2
written by Julietta Suzuki
Nanami is so poor that her fellow high school students call her Broke-nami. Her dad, the gambler, ditches her and their apartment in order to avoid paying up and now she’s alone and homeless.
Her salvation comes when she shoos a dog away from a man who seems to really, really hate dogs. She tells the man her story, and, out of gratitude, he says she can have his home. He’s been gone for 20 years and appears happy to pass it on. He kisses her on the forehead before walking off, and while this might merely come off as an endearing gesture, it actually means something.
Nanami follows the map to her new home and discovers it’s a rundown Shinto shrine. It turns out the man she met was a tochigami, a type of deity, and this was his shrine. When he kissed her, he made her the new tochigami. She meets the spirits of the shrine, and the yokai Tomoe wants nothing to do with her and runs off. She finds him rude and uncouth, but he’s supposed to be her servant. Nanami learns that if she kisses him, she will put him under her control, an idea she finds mortifying (the kiss, that is).
Now that Nanami is a girl-turned-deity, she’s actually in a lot of trouble. Other mystical beings may want to steal her shrine or even eat her! When Nanami is facing a life or death situation and Tomoe is mocking her instead of helping, she kisses him and seals the deal. From then on, he is her shinshi, a being with a special attachment to a deity.
The first volume sets this up, and the second brings in new characters and gets Tomoe and Nanami to draw closer together. Another deity turns Tomoe into a human child because he won’t obey her. Because his body can no longer contain his powers, this results in a terrible fever. Nanami nurses him and helps him get his old body back, causing the two to become closer.
Kamisama Kiss is a shojo read that has a very cute vibe to it, though a few parts of it show spooky or creepy images. I enjoy all the delving into Japanese folklore, and the volumes have a glossary at the back for words like tochigami and shinshi so readers unfamiliar with them can be helped out. While the notion of Nanami and Tomoe actually growing to like each other was pretty clear from the beginning, it’s still a carefree and entertaining read.-- Danica Davidson