Crazy Shrine Maidens
Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens
かんなぎ (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - A1 Pictures
R1 License - Bandai (Defunct)
Jin decided to use a piece of the sacred tree to carve a statue for his middle-school project and while moving it outside, it happens to touch the ground and transforms into a very cute girl. She is Nagi, a Shinto spirit, the guardian of the village and she is really annoyed that her sacred tree was cut down. Having no place to live, Nagi is forced to move in with Jin and tries to accept her new existence by venting her anger and cleaning the "Impurities" that appear as bugs.

Nagi has a rival in a little sister guardian deity, who lives in a shrine on the other side of the river. Well, Zange-chan has woken up too and decides to become a top idol of the village, much to Nagi's dismay.

Based on (same-name) manga series authored and illustrated by TAKENASHI Eri, of which it covers volumes 1-3 (of 7+ volumes released before the manga stopped due to health issues of the mangaka; the release of new chapters has continued in summer 2011, after a pause of two years.).

Animation by A-1 Pictures.
Series aired October thru December '08.
13 TV Episodes + one OVA episode

The head of A1 Pictures has mentioned that while the first season of Kannagi will have 13 episodes, their company is already working on a number of additional (as yet) unaired episodes.

1:40min Series Opening - YouTube Video

An ANN news article denotes that Bandai has licensed Kannagi and it is to hit American shelves soon.
"かんなぎ" = "kannagi" (with kanji "" that can also be read as "miko") = medium, diviner, shaman, oracle.
Episode Details 
cvr1, cvr2, kan1, kan2, kan3, Nagi, Zang, Akib, Tsug, Taka, Anna, Shin, Loli
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 8 7 7 7 6 5 Devil Doll [series:1891#752]
[Score: 67% = "Watch"]

Another "sudden female supernatural co-lodger" series with moe, ecchi elements and some school harem potential. The fantasy part looked most promising but with the series losing its focus half-way through the season and adding otaku filler material instead, plus all lead characters's true intentions remaining a mystery, this anime fails in all essential categories - even more so as later volumes of the manga have fewer otaku elements and answer most of the open questions.

Art and Animation are just average. Music is nothing special as well (with both songs representing the dual nature of this series and the being enjoyable in both cases, and the OP animation shining with being in good sync with the song - by the way, none of the OP material is actually part of this story...). As for the Characters, neither Nagi's nor Zange's background is explained in this show (despite the manga going way beyond the anime even though it had to be halted due to a surgery for the mangaka), Tsugumi alone can't save the day, and most of the side characters are just irritating. The Story goes nowhere in the end. But the worst element is the combination of embarrassing scenes, false accusations, rumors, and lies that killed most of the fun for me.
  • Episode 1 (0): Appearance. Mostly harmless but cute. (Manga chapter 1)
  • Episode 2 (0+): Childhood Friend. Amusing and even with the first little conflict. More of this, please. (Manga chapters 2+3)
  • Episode 3 (+): Art Club. Lots of new character but nice development, most notably between Nagi and Tsugumi. (Manga chapters 4+5)
  • Episode 4 (0): Zange-chan. Both the fantasy and the otaku/harem arc are progressing; the combination of both will be a matter of taste for the audience. (Manga chapters 6+7)
  • Episode 5 (0): Fan Club. The cooking competition was a letdown, the fan club theme was okay; Zange's father added a new goal to the scenario. (Manga chapters 8-10)
  • Episode 6 (-): Maid Cafe. A whole episode about bust sizes and otaku fetishes. (Manga chapters 10special+11)
  • Episode 7 (0-): Video Tape. Side characters galore, insider jokes, much ado about nothing. (Anime-only story)
  • Episode 8 (-): Sacrilege. Lies and misunderstanding, an embarrassingly weak episode. (Manga chapters 12+13a)
  • Episode 9 (--): Rumors. This show is going downhill with an incredible speed. (Manga chapters 13b+14)
  • Episode 10 (0): Karaoke. Despite the horrible vocals, Zange's efforts and Takako's performance kept this one in the average range. (Manga chapter 14special)
  • Episode 11 (+): Doubt. Finally this show returns to its premise. Best episode so far. (Manga chapters 15+16a)
  • Episode 12 (0+): Goddesses. Why did this series waste so much time on filler material? (Manga chapters 16b+17a)
  • Episode 13 (0): Death. It looked like a decent ending before they decided to ruin the mood with the cheapest of all ecchi jokes. (Manga chapters 17b+18)
The anime is a very close adaption of the manga (of which I have read 37 chapters as of autumn 2011); subsequent manga volumes provide additional information about crucial issues that remain fragmentary in this anime such as Nagi's true nature, Hakua's story, and Hakua's link to Jin; a sequel would answer many open questions. Later manga chapters focus on the fantasy layer and almost ignore the otaku element.

Last updated Saturday, October 15 2011. Created Monday, October 10 2011.
Watch 8 7 8 7 6 6 Ggultra2764 [series:1891#1552]
With what I seen of Jin and Nagi's chemistry at the start of Kannagi, I thought that this would be a modern take on Ookami to Koushinryou. Instead, I got quite a flawed potential premise that goes nowhere. Instead of exploring in great depth aspects to Nagi's godhood like the impurities, her split personality and the need for worshipers, the series throws in enough otaku pandering and sexual humor that will obviously make this a title for the giddy otaku and fan service crowds. Because of enough focus on these comedic attempts, there's quite a limited amount of time to explore elements to the mystery of Nagi. Heck, we're not even given much background on how Zange chose to possess a normal girl's body. As a matter of fact, the series proved itself to be ongoing as nothing really gets resolved by the end of the series. The scenes scattered throughout this series hinting to aspects of Nagi's godhood were what kept me from choosing to give this series an Avoid.

Artwork and character designs looked decently designed with smooth lining and features. Animation wasn't the major feature of this series hence its score. The OP music sequence did well enough to grate on my nerves while the ED music was quite good to listen to and created a somber mood.

Kannagi's premise seemed like an interesting one and I thought I was expecting something like Spice and Wolf. Instead, this title's pandering to the fanboy crowd really turned me off quite a bit.

Last updated Friday, September 11 2009. Created Friday, September 11 2009.
Watch 8 7 8 6 6 7 Dreamer [series:1891#2279]
This one seemed to be an interesting anime. At least from the onset it did....

Art, Animation and Character Designs
The art is pretty good... although it seems it's a bit "washed" out.... less it's the artists style. The animation seems a bit choppy at times so the frame rate must be a bit low. However, it's not really a bother. Character designs are pretty good. Facial expressions are funny. Tsugumi is uber cute.

The opening theme song really annoyed me. Not my type what so ever. However, for those of you who like "pop" or "happy-go-go" music, then you might enjoy it. In episode 10, during the karioki scene, it was pretty much all the same type of music.... blegh!

Episode and Series Stories
There was nothing really "memorable" in this anime. The series story was lackluster and the episode stories were more or less the same.... a bit some humor here and there. Being that Nagi was a god, I figured she might have to do something "special" near the end... or at least I had hoped it would have been the case. But... we got nothing. Just a boring ending to a "not-so-interesting" anime. Episode 10 was an utter waste of art and animation. The whole episode was dedicated to everyone sitting in a karaoki room singing.

Overall, there was nothing here. I had better hopes for this one since it looked interesting from the onset. However, as the sayings.... looks can be deceiving.

Last updated Sunday, February 08 2009. Created Sunday, February 08 2009.
Buy 9 9 9 8 8 9 AstroNerdBoy [series:1891#436]

Kannagi was a series that I saw people blogging about and indeed had seen some promo images for it. However, despite the cute character designs and "Crazy Shrine Maidens" English subtitle and the possible mahou shoujo element, I really can't say my head was turned. After all, my backlog of anime is quite extensive and I need to catch up. However when MS and some others suggested that I would in fact enjoy this title based on my previous likes and dislikes, I decided to take a chance and start watching this anime. Boy, am I glad I did!

The series starts of by only introducing us to the main characters of Nagi and Jin, then works in Tsugumi before introducing us to the rest of the cast. For the first ten episodes, the focus is mainly on the humor with some plot elements tossed in from time to time. The characters have some excellent seiyuu work done for them, which makes things all the more enjoyable. TOMATSU Haruka should be noted for really making the character of Nagi just a complete pleasure and hoot. The casting of her in this role is just brilliant. I highly doubt an American VA could even come close to matching the variances in performance, both in terms of accent and emotion.

The supporting cast is very good too. There's Jin's big dumb friend and art club member Daitetsu, Jin's "I'm not an otaku" otaku friend and art club member Akiba, art club president and semi-otaku Takako, soft spoken art club vice president Shino, and Nagi's kami-sister Zange-chan (in the body of student Hakua, which is a plot element I'd like to see explored further). Zange-chan comes off as almost evil at first, but for whatever reason, that aspect is quickly dropped and to be honest, I am glad it was. After all, Zange-chan provided for some good laughs.

Director YAMAMOTO Yutaka deserves a great deal of credit too. He clearly has a great understanding of comedic timing and what it takes to make things funny. I've always maintained that doing the unexpected for comedy works best. Even if you are doing a joke that is old (such as the food jokes that often come up in anime), if you do unexpected things or make people wait for the expected payoff so that they don't know exactly when it will hit, then you have the makings of a very funny series. That's exactly what Yamamoto-san does -- he will do the unexpected, but also perform the comedic timing to such a degree that more often than not, he achieves maximum laughs.

Also, the production team shows that they clearly understood the source manga material from TAKENASHI Eri-sensei. I'm told that twelve of the thirteen episodes follow the manga pretty closely. However, episode 7 is an anime-only story (a parody of the Amaterasu myth), but to be honest, because of the way things had been done up to that point, I couldn't have told you that this episode didn't come from the manga. There are series were things are funny and great and then for some reason, have episodes that fall off a lot (Hayate no Gotoku! springs to mind). Then you find out that those episodes that weren't as good didn't come from the manga. Fortunately, that's not the case with Kannagi.

Starting with episode 11, things begin to take a turn away from the comedy elements that worked so well and begin to work on the plot elements, which move the series into gloomy, depressed, and serious territory. That's not to say that 100% of the humor is gone, because it isn't -- the final three episodes do have funny moments, it is just that the humor takes a back seat. I'd been afraid that the serious moments would be the downfall of the series since the few times serious stuff came up in the earlier episodes, it seemed to almost derail things at times. However, the shift into the serious story wasn't as devastating as I'd feared and while I understand the desire to have a real story behind the humor but for the anime at least, it is the humor that makes the series, not the serious story about who Nagi and Zange-chan really are. I do find myself a bit curious about that, but I'm more interested in the antics of the characters as they go through life. To that end, I'm glad that the final episode ends on a comedic moment, as if to assure us that should there be a sequel series, the humor won't be forgotten.

The art and animation are all pretty good as is the music used in the series. So no issues there for me.

Bottom line: Kannagi is very funny, has a great cast of characters, great seiyuu work, great direction, and just an all-around fun time to be had for the most part. So for me, this is a title that I really do wish FUNimation would license for us R1 anime fans and as such, rates a "BUY" from me.

Last updated Friday, January 02 2009. Created Sunday, December 07 2008.

Rent Stretch [series:1891#628]
(All episodes watched):

I knew nothing about this title going in, but was pleased by the originality. A cute girl moves in with a teenage boy--but she's a Goddess, so hands off. There seemed to be no LOL jokes, but that was permissible because the "smile" ones were likewise original and plentiful as well. Best of all, the episode held my interest firmly; when the credits began to roll I was surprised because I thought it was only time for the station break. This may well be a favorite of mine for the Fall season.

"Slice of life Godliness" is the phrase that occured to me to describe Kannagi during episode two. Still no sign of the additional Mikos, who I'm guessing will be deities as well. In episode three one finally turns up. I thought that what may become the basic premise of this show was introduced in a way that was both humorous yet made perfect sense: since Nagi has lost the traditional foundations of her godliness, what she needs as a substitute is to be worshipped. And what's the best way to be worshipped in present-day Japan? Become an idol!

I especially liked the episode in which Nagi took on a part-time job. As soon as Jin and his friends went to a maid cafe I knew what they were going to find there, but it was fun nevertheless. This show has a believable goofiness to it--the characters' thinking is more detailed than in most shows, and makes perfect sense, yet absurdity results. So, I like it.

Episode seven stands out as an unusual and hilarious one. At the beginning of the episode Nagi has already sealed herself within a closet after an argument with Jin. We don't know what the argument was about, all we know is what we can glean from the comments people make. Over the course of the episode the whole cast comes in to try to convince Nagi to come out of there. This one was great fun and I was pleasantly surprised by the original and unusual premise--especially the jokes based on things which one would never say or do in public.

This show tries unusual storytelling and joke telling tactics, which keeps it fresh and original. I liked the Lucky Star parody in episode ten, for example. It becomes emotionally touching at times, too, which is uncommon in comedy anime. Clearly the story has barely begun at the end of this series, since Nagi's Idol career has yet to take shape, so I'm hoping for a second season.

Last updated Sunday, February 01 2009. Created Monday, October 06 2008.
Rent Jan-Chan [series:1891#967]
Crisp and clean animation, interesting characters and a funny story.

Both the Jin and Nagi characters are great. Jin is a very level headed and reasonable fellow (for a middle school student) and Nagi is a Goddess, without being too much of one. And the story builds quite nicely with a good balance between comedy and drama. And surprisingly, it even ends on a clean strong note - with perhaps one of the best endings of a short series that I have seen in a good while.

Last updated Monday, April 27 2009. Created Sunday, October 05 2008.
Watch 6 9 6 10 7 6 Xenoknight [series:1891#2967]
final review soon...

Very average intro and I prefer it that way. They can suprise me later.

The intro music had another realistic dance (hence the fluid animation) just like in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu and Rosario + Vampire Capu2. They are always great to watch and the music was just as good. It's called “motto☆Hade ni ne!” by Haruka Tomatsu and it is extremely catchy. Too bad the end credits were sub-par.

If you're like me, you've been dieing for the full version of “motto☆Hade ni ne!" to come out so I found a link from TASfaction (a YouTube member) with the full version in all it's blissful glory! Prepare your ears for a masterpiece...


Trust me, I already know... You can thank me for fowarding the link here later. ^_^ Now, where did I put those CD's... LOL

Ep 3 was funny as hell! I had a blast watching Nagi come to school and ruin Jin's life. Great stuff with a powerful end to the episode as well.

Ep 4 was a roller coaster in every sense. It was boring until the back alley scene and the sudden tongue + face = ^_^. More "sleep-inducing" events until the argument with Jin (again) and the sudden sibling quarrel. More crap until all the girls gather in his house and the harem finally begins!!

Ep 5: I liked the beginning but the rest of the ep was sub-par and very boring actually. There were a few giggles here and there but I had had one eye open trying to stay awake.

Ep 6 was a great episode! There was a shocking amount of fanservice, a little sign of jealousy that will help to push the story in the right direction, and a respectable amount of laughs (not giggles this time).

Ep 7 was the worst ep yet! Nothing happened at all. Just skip it or pretend it doesn't exist. The only thing to mention was a failed attempt to make the anime seem ecchi but it was just a ploy and it wasn't very funny and they didn't let the viewer see anything anyway. Crap ep...

Ep 8 is right in the middle I would say. It was very funny at the start with a "semi-ecchi" nude body cover-up (one-third of the ep is reserved for an incest fantasy (!) dream one of the characters was having). Things are like normal until the friend runs out to repent his sin of stealing the sacred tree and giving it to Jin to use. The next scene is really a "jaw-dropper" as the story takes it's first (real) shot at a story-line that focuses on Nagi as a God! She can't remember anything that happened though and Jin is extremely worried about her. The friend does more useless assuming and believes that Nagi is some sort of demon and he wasn't going to hand Jin over to her without a fight(?). Whatever. Great ep anyway...

Ep 9 was great stuff. The "confused" start of the ep was funny as hell with the school rumors flying about Jin coming out of the closet. As much as I hate the gay stuff in anime, I must say that even I was cracking up with the crazy assumptions people were coming up with. To reslove this issue, the girls (except Nagi) plan on clearing his name by going on a date with him! A bunch of interesting subjects present themselves during this transition and we see that Tsugumi is more than just a "filler" type character and she is actually "in it to win it" as well. She and Jin have a mature conversation about their past and she realizes that he is worth all the trouble he put her through when they were growing up together (yet another fish bites the "harem" lure). I thought to myself that this is a pretty pathetic foundation to get the romance/harem elements moving in the right direction but considering how Nagi didn't really play a role in this battle yet, I can forgive the writers' cheesey methods to get the ball rolling. One of the best eps yet...

Ep 10: The gang goes to sing karaoke. That's it. All they did was sing some songs (really their true feelings on the situation) and tried to have a good time. To be fair, there were some solid laughs watching some of them sing but the ep was done in two scenes (main room and the bathroom). They even ruined the end credits with more stupidity from the karaoke song selection. No progress at all...

Ep 11 The start of the ep was good. She wants a new wand (she's been slacking with those impurities lately) and Jin easily scores some points when he fixes her old one up (they finally seem to be getting along well). Then comes the second part of the ep when things start to get really messed up. Jin has had it with getting hurt while helping her with the impure bugs and he puts his foot down (for real this time) and demands to know the whole truth about Nagi and her being a God! She can't answer all of his questions and cries and runs away (she always finds a way to avoid the questions when it comes to this topic). Jin seeks guidance from Zange's father and learns that Nagi might not be who she claims to be... Nagi has trouble remembering her past and her reasons for being here (all of a sudden) and she leaves her wand behind as it begins to rain... The final string is upon us but there is a small ray of hope with a few episodes that are going to be outside of the normal 13 episode series that will continue the story afterwards. Serious ep...

Ep 12: What in world is going on here! Nagi bounced (left) for real! She really is gone and Jin didn't even panic when he read the note she left for him. Any other man would've ripped the town asunder until he found her but Jin wasn't as worried and lost some major cool points with me. It seems that Zange isn't in any better of a situation regarding her claims either! This is not a great way to push the final events of the series. I don't want it to end like this at all! Jin even dreams that Nagi is hurt laying in a dark alley somewhere and hears her calling out to him like she is in trouble yet he still goes to school like normal (what a jerk)!!! Only good thing to mention was how well Zange can fight off a gang of perverts (she's a "G"). Frustrating ep...

Ep 13: Now that is the Kannagi I remember... Great series!!!

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Last updated Monday, January 26 2009. Created Sunday, October 05 2008.

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