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Friday, June 26, 2015

Dear Julietta, I Have Thoughts On Your Manga

Spoiler alert: post contains spoilers for the Kamisama Hajimemashita manga up to volume 18/chapter 107.

Kamisama Kiss volume 18
Nanami’s journey to the past was a success! She found a way to break the curse and save Tomoe, and he even admitted that he has feelings for her. Now they’re both ready to enjoy life as a happy couple. Tomoe is hoping to spend some special alone time with Nanami, but instead they go on a school trip to Okinawa with the entire grade—and things go from tropical paradise to yokai nightmare in no time!

Dear Julietta Suzuki:

Julietta - do you mind if I call you Julietta? - I've been told that you will be attending Anime Expo 2015 this year, to take place July 2-5. Awesome! The company that publishes your manga in English, Viz Media, has been asking fans of your series for questions to ask you during the convention. It is no secret to anyone who reads Nagareboshi Reviews that I am a big big fan of Kamisama Kiss, especially Nanami and her relationship with Tomoe, the human kami and her protector/servant.

I would love to ask you a hundred questions on your creative process, how you draft every chapter, where the inspiration for each story arc came from . . . but after reading the most recent English graphic novel release of Kamisama Kiss, I'll have to make my questions a little more plot focused.

One, do you even realize how much joy you have brought into my heart by making Nanami and Tomoe's relationship canon? And not only that, but not messing it up in the process? I can't even begin to count how many OTPs I've seen gone canon only for the writers to chuck everything that made them interesting or unique in the trash can, just so they can cause drama or stir up a contrived plot twist. And yet, if anything, the bond between Nanami and Tomoe are only more intense. They still protect each other and bicker and keep the shrine in order while attending school, but the love between them has become undeniable and, in effect, their shared strength.

Two, so what exactly is Tomoe studying as he works to pass exams alongside his not-so-academically-lucky girlfriend? Has he really spent the entire time post-Nanami sheltered away in the shrine, never interacting with another human being - or even picking up a periodical left behind by a shrine visitor? If our resident silver fox has been alive for so long, you think he would have learned a thing or two about history, literature, language, math, et cetera. Tomoe, why do you need to brush up on ancient Japanese history? You lived through it!

Three is for my poor snake Mizuki. Will he ever find true love and stop pining for Nanami now that she and Tomoe are officially together? I mean, it's not impossible for Mizuki to get a girlfriend if he wanted one. Nanami/Tomoe are obvious proof that yokai/human relations are better than ever. Or maybe Mizuki can find himself a nice snake girl (or boy?) to slither around with.

Speaking of human/yokai relations, Ami and Kurama are going to hook up, right? Because I don't think Kurama deserves Ami. Seriously? Kurama does not seem to understand how humans work. He doesn't care about what happens to Ami, even though they are classmates and at this point, her safety is more important than his vanity. For a popular idol, Kurama is so bad at relating to other people when his job is to connect to his fans on a personal level. And Ami seems so terrific! She's brave and seems to be keeping her calm while kidnapped underwater. I dunno, most people would have been panicking in her shoes. Maybe this is the arc Kurama realizes how swell Ami is?

Four: Kirihito and Akura-oh. Okay, that's not a question. I'm just wondering what part of Kirihito is, well, Kirihito and what part of him is Akura-oh. Does Kirihito now recognize Nanami as the mysterious dark-haired woman from his past? Is there any way the demon can be expelled from the human host and somehow bring Kirihito back to life, sans Akura-oh? I feel like at this point what is left of Kirihito would have died out under the crushing force of Akura-oh's spirit, but maybe absorbing so much of Nanami's life force will reverse the situation with an injection of literal humanity. Are we heading for a split persona issue with Kirihito as he looks to fight intruder Tomoe?

Five is definitely the most important one of all. Okay, lemme just - grab something - yes, this is a bullhorn, why do you ask? Okie dokie, IS NANAMI-SAN GOING TO BE OKAY?! Oops, was that too loud? Sorry. I'm just so concerned about the health and wellness of my favorite human kami and my favorite Kamisama Kiss character to boot. Should I be calling Takashi Natsume and Nyanko Sensei as back up for Nanami in her time of need? I don't think Tomoe and his brash, tsundere attitude is going to be enough, y'all.

Don't get me wrong, Julietta, I absolutely loved the eighteenth book of Kamisama Kiss. It had a smart mixture of romance, action, supernatural and humor to keep me going, and the Nanami/Tomoe stuff was enough to elevate it into the stratosphere. But so many questions! I wish I could ask all of these questions to you in person at your Anime Expo panel, but I'll have to miss it. Perhaps we can talk this over via volume nineteen?