Kamisama Kiss 5 by Julietta Suzuki
I’m having a bit of a stressful week so I was happy when the fifth volume of Kamisama Kiss arrived at my house. This manga blends a mystical fish out of water story about a human girl taking on the role of shrine deity with whimsical character designs, producing a perfect comfort reading manga. Nanami is having trouble dealing with her fox spirit helper Tomoe and his new rival the white snake Mizuki. They all attend a summer festival at another shrine and Nanami gets so frustrated at the constant bickering that she squeezes the bickering spirits’ hands together and says that they have to hold hands forever unless they make up. Mizuki and Tomoe are now forced to have an actual conversation, and it is clear that Mizuki’s obnoxiousness stems from his loneliness after being stuck at an abandoned shrine for so long.
The festival at the neighboring shrine makes Nanami think that she has to do something to bring visitors to her own shrine. It has the reputation of being creepy, but she’s determined to put on her own festival to bring the worshipers back. Since it is unusual for a human to be a shrine deity, Nanami has to learn how to do the proper festival dances the hard way. Tomoe is initially discouraging of her efforts, but ultimately comes around to support her. One of things I enjoy about this manga is that minor characters keep reappearing in later chapters, making it easy to picture the odd new social circle Nanami now has surrounding her. Nanami gets help from the swamp deity Himeneko and even the tengu disguised as human idol singer Kurama stops by. Kurama is amazed to see how Nanami’s power as a shrine deity has grown even though she isn’t really aware of it. Tomoe comments to him “she doesn’t realize it herself…but she’s not an ‘ordinary girl’ anymore.”
Suzuki’s manga are always a visual treat and blending the world of shrines and modern day life give plenty of room for her to showcase wonderful costumes and quirky character designs. I liked Karakuri Odette so much that I didn’t think I’d be captured in the same way, but Kamisama Kiss is really growing on me. This manga has all the easily read episodic charm of her other series, but I’m hoping for a bit more of a romantic payoff at the end.
Review copy provided by the publisher