Kannazuki No Miko: 2nd Opinion

I already covered this show some years ago but a familiar fan felt he could add more to the show by writing his own review. So I granted him the opportunity and here it is. Enjoy.

(I even made it prettier than mine by adding more pictures. Yay!)

Check out the dood’s previous contributions here:

Kannazuki no Miko

You know, I see people talking about Yuri Kuma Arashi, Yuru Yuri, Nanoha, and the like and while they seem to be nice shows and I know people love them, there is one show to me that I think needs a better understanding in order to appreciate it for what it is.
Kannazuki no Miko.

The reason I’m doing a 2nd review of this is because I feel like this show is getting picked on for ALL the wrong reasons, and I find that sad and pathetic.
Now, do I think its THE GREATEST anime ever made in history. Absolutely not. BUT, at the same time I do consider this to be a flagship yuri classic that needs to be better appreciated and to do that, let me delve deep into this.

Kannazuki.no.Miko.full.20449
But first things first, let me get small briefing on the story.
Himeko is a shy girl who attends the same school as her friends, including her potential love interest and childhood friend, Soma.
Himeko also reveres the lovely Chikane Himemiya who is a crown jewel in her school.
On their birthday, an ancient evil awakens and threatens to destroy the Earth, unless Himeko and Chikane fulfill their duty to awaken Ame no Murakumo. Himeko and Chikane are also the reincarnations of the Solar and Lunar Priestesses who stopped Orochi long ago and the Orochi is an evil entity that manifests its “necks” in the form of mecha. Soma, who was supposed to destroy Himeko and Chikane, must help destroy the Orochi.

Now, let me get straight to the so called “flaws” this show has, or the one that people has the MOST problem with.
The mechas, the friggin MECHAS.
I’m always amused by the notion that just because this show has mechas, it must be bad. Oh, and other complaints seem amusing such as “Soma sucks, he’s annoying” and “Himeko is the dumbest blonde ever” and Chikane is “evil bitch who should never be with Himeko” and then there’s the “Oh, there’s a pop idol, catgirl, manga artist, WTF????” and I never bought ANY of it.

Orochi members and a mech

Let me focus on the mechas.
First of all, how does this show attempt to appeal to EVERYONE out there?
So, a yuri anime with mecha and fantasy elements constitute a show that has EVERY thing you’ve seen in an anime wrapped in one? Like really?

Lemme show two shows that I believe follow an example similar to KnM. Gasraki and Eureka Seven

Gasaraki mixes mecha with ancient Japanese culture. Any problems here?
Or Eureka Seven where it combined Mecha, hetero romance, and adventure in one. So…where’s the outrage there?
I guess, if it has lesbians in it, its yuri and yuri is a genre of itself.
And when you put thousands of polar opposite genres together(Yuri, Mecha, Fantasy), its a complete trainwreck.
Amazing.

To me, I think the mechas bring some originality to not just mecha in particular, but also yuri in itself.
I can’t think of any other show, where mecha is portrayed in the supernatural sense, rather than a political or scf fi sense.
The mecha designs where done by Goro Murata, who did mecha design for Blue Seed, Legend of Black Heaven, and Tench Muyo GXP.
The mecha designs are well made and give me a sense of nostalgia. Reminding me of G Gundam, and the fights themselves are pretty fun and epic to watch.

Kannazuki_no-Miko-wallpaper

Animation wise, like many more famous classics before it, its not gonna look BEAUTIFUL for today’s standards but back then it looked really nice with vibrant colors and pretty BGs that help the setting.

The character designs were done by Maki Fuji who did Strawberry Eggs, UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie, and recently Bladedance of Elementalers.

She did a really good job on designing not only the characters themselves, but the uniforms themselves. They look cute enough to be appealing to the eyes and I wouldn’t mind trying out those the ones Soma was.

Voice acting is a mixed bag, when it comes to comparison.
While the Japanese original is FLAWLESS, the english dub just isn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong, Stephanie Steh and Michelle Ruff played their parts decently enough, but their performance compared to the original takes some of the magic away. Everyone else did okay, but I recommend you listen to it subbed.

The soundtrack is one of the BEST things about this series.
It was done by Mina Kubota, who also worked on the Aria series, Kaleido Star, A Letter to Momo, Shattered Angels, and Tamayura.
Its one of the best OSTs I’ve heard in anime, as it has BEAUTIFUL piano work, combing with some classical style elements, including a Japanese pipe to add the icing on the cake. Not only do we some cool battle music, but we have some well done heavy hearted scores to compliment the scenes, appropriately. Just fantastic! Job well done, Ms. Kubota.
Did I mention the OP and ED are some of the greatest OP and ED songs ever including the insert?

The story is, while not the greatest ever, is one of the most heartbreaking ones I’ve seen in anime.

The idea that you are forced by fate to kill someone you love then having to say goodbye that person who loves you back is pretty tear jerking.
I think what Chikane had to do can be up for question but you CAN’T deny the pain she and Himeko had to go through.
Himeko is also a good character, who did show some backbone later in the series by finishing the ritual by herself, injuring herself. That takes some guts, especially for her.
Not to mention the fact, that she would be able to love Chikane even after for all the terrible things she did, makes me give her mad respect.
I also like Souma’s hot bloodedness. And here, I thought he was gonna be more like a wimpy harem protagonist than a badass who just wants to protect someone he loves, especially when you consider what he had to go through himself.

I also like Mako, Otoha, Kazuki and the rest of the cast.
Though, I’ve had a bit of a personal interest in both Nekoko and Reiko.
Nekoko has a rather dark past which she seemed to be a medical experiment. and her constant destruction might be a good indicator despite her cheerfulness. Reiko, who wrote rather dark manga seemed to be struggling with her own success and I personally would have liked to see a little more what was going in her head.

Pacing is good, and while it might start out sort of slow for some, you gotta press on when we get to the later episodes, when it gets REALLY dark.
Then the show becomes exciting again.

Legendary first kiss

Now, if you want me to complain about ONE thing in the series.
Well…for one thing. I personally wish this was LONGER.
I would have SO many more yuri scenes with Chikane and Himeko if it did.

So all in all, Kannazuki no Miko is a show that’s definitely not for everyone but it doesn’t have to be.
At the same time, it shouldn’t be considered anything more than a beautiful story about love and the tragedy behind it with mecha.
I feel if people delve deep into its premise before actually going in, you’d might have a better grasp of what you’re seeing.
I think the problem here is that its too weird for most mainstream anime viewers. And that’s the thing, you can’t be different in the anime world, you have to be all fanservicey and what not, not that fanservice is a BAD thing. I think this series is brilliant and what happens, you get crucified for being too different and hopefully this show will one day be properly recognized for being so good.
One of the best and most underrated anime out there.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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12 Responses to Kannazuki No Miko: 2nd Opinion

  1. Mh, I don’t know. it’s not like I hated KnM but it’s definitely one of my least favorite yuri anime out of all the like, 5 that exist. I guess it’s one of the few animes that improve on the manga but still, there was ton of stuff that I really disliked. I don’t mind the mechas or the weird evil side bosses (who even cares about those guys?) but, for example, the anime made me hate that third wheel guy even though he really wasn’t all that bad. The whole Chikane-is-now-the-evil-overlord-of-Yuri-Rape-but-because-she-loves-Himeko plot felt really contrived and made me shake my head, not at Chikane but at the writers. Just another case of not letting the main characters talk because that would result in only half as much episodes. And in the end all they did to resolve pretty much every problem they had was talking.
    Maybe I’m just tired of those good-guy-is-now-evil-but-not-really plots. They are ultra predictable and happen way too often. I’m definitely tired of using lack of communication as plot device.

    I guess, I’m the only one that had problems with Eureka Seven? While the male protagonist became stronger and more mature, the badass female protagonist transforms into a damsel in distress that’s utterly useless without him because that’s how healthy relationships work. Hate those things.

    And Strike Witches did take the supernatural approach to mechas, cause apparently those things count as mechas.

    Like

  2. automaticimperfection says:

    I liked the manga better, the very brief “next” ( or is it previous ? ) reincarnation in this other anime…long name..sora something being some angel thing, that was cute and ended pretty well,if you ask me, and this other manga title Amnesia zettai thing..well it’s clearly for dudes methinks but it looked interesting, except the last part was never translated and I don’t know what happens and I doubt it’ll be licensed.

    I love Kotoko and I loved her songs,that I got to know thanks to this anime, Himeko may be silly but come on,it’s not like Nagisa ( SP) is the brightest star ever, these kind of girls aren’t like that, that’s why Chikane, Shizuma and the rest have to be way cooler.

    I did hate Soma haha, I’m sorry but I did, the mechas were fine.

    Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. automaticimperfection says:

    I forgot to mention,since I’m quite old,this was one of the very first titles I ever watched and one of the first real yuri kisses I ever got to witness ,so it has a special place in my heart. :3

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hanneman says:

    The thing i love most about this show is the development of Chikane’s feelings. Everytime Himeko was going out with Souma, you could feel her pain, either when she lied and said it was okay, or when she cried alone in her room. These moments were absolutely fantastic, and did a great build up for the ending, which is the other thing i love about it.

    The thing i disliked about the mechas was that, excluding the final fight, every other fight was scripted the same way, and felt like the same battle over and over. It began with the villain landing some blows, then Souma got pissed off and dispatched them with his mecha. It felt like the villains were never a threat, just a distraction.

    About the rape scene, which was pretty dumbed down on the anime, i gotta say it didnt affect me at all. It had its motives , but i can see why some people were so sensitive about it.

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  5. Alshaya. says:

    Throwing out all the mecha part, we get a pretty decent love triangle. Now let me write two positive aspects of KnM which are often overlooked by viewers.
    (+) Souma is on equal footing with Chikane. Both gave their all for Himeko. Looking at him, Souma is a very good guy, one is hard to find these days, so there’s no reason to break-up with him. But in the end, Himeko chose Chikane over him. There’s a subtle meaning behind Himeko’s decision, which imo is very amazing. We see, unlike in many other yuri works, they always make the male “the bad guy”, hence, if the MC chooses the girl, it’s because the male is “the bad guy” and the girl is “the good guy”. Worse, they always give a traumatic experience toward the MC which makes her hate all male in this world. KnM, however, shows us that no matter how good the male is, the MC will still choose the girl because she is “she”.
    (+) Himeko is not that dumb for being able to forgive Chikane despite all the “things” Chikane did to her. No, I don’t forgive Chikane’s “action” no matter the reason is, but I highly disagree to say that Himeko is very stupid for forgiving her. Himeko is not dumb, she is just as mad as Chikane. If Chikane’s madness is that she will do everything for Himeko’s sake, then Himeko’s madness is that she will endure everything for Chikane’s sake. So, both are crazily in love with each other.

    TL;DR, despite all the faults in the show, KnM will always hold a special place in my heart, and ChikaHime will always be my #1 fav couple of all time.

    P.S. Sorry that this became a long comment >.<

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Onkel says:

    I felt that the series as a whole was just underdeveloped and really needed to be longer.

    The mechs were okay, but their fights never seemed like a true plot point and simply a distraction. The bad guys got a 30 second teaser of their past lives which could have made some very interesting characters that we perhaps felt sympathetic for as they were slaughtered. The relationship between Chikane and Himeko before the show was never really made clear – Himeko has that picture book but at times it seems like Himeko barely knows anything about Chikane and vice versa.

    Worst of all, there was even a subplot with Kazuki and Yuikihoto climbing up a mountain to find something… but we never found out what. The show just doesn’t give enough information as to the type of thing they found there. Most likely, that Chikane is Orochi – but how? That there is an 8th Orochi? About the whole Chikane loves Himeko thing that happened in the past life? That they have to kill each other?That Chikane and Himeko are the cutest yuri couple ever? That they’re useless, underdeveloped side characters?

    Aside from lack of development, tone was a very big problem in the series. While tone is not something animes, especially of the yuri variety, can nail, I feel that KnM’s toneshifts were insultingly contrived. They would jump from comic-relief characters to a sinister and dark plot to tragedy to slice-of-life happiness to comic-relief bad guys and then to angst and end up back at the sinister and dark plot. It all might have made sense if the goons weren’t so… goonish… and we maybe saw ordinary people and the surrounding environment of Mahoroba being affected by the mecha in their day-to-day lives, like in NGE.

    The English dub I felt was pretty good among the three leads, especially Michele Ruff who I felt did a better job conveying the grand emotional depth of Chikane than Ayako Kawasumi did in the subs, but the side characters were pretty generic. However, the script was god-awful. Conversations towards the end just jumped into random, completely out-of-character poetic crap that made barely any sense.

    What the show did well was the interactions between the three leads as well as Chikane’s strength as a character, the beautiful music and the emotions in general were very strong – especially the romance and angst. Sadly, plot holes, inconsistencies and lesbianism have just made all the bad parts of the show become extrapolated out of control and the views of this show are that it’s terrible. Which is something it is far, far from.

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  7. yurimylove says:

    Well written review! You expressed its good points much better than i could. Hopefully more people will give this show a chance after reading your review.

    Personally, this anime has stayed in my top 10 yuri animes of all time list ever since i first watched it years ago. While newer ones slowly get added to my list (the latest being Sakura Trick from last year), i haven’t yet found 10 yuri animes better than it to displace it from my top 10 list.

    Like

  8. mikotohimemiya says:

    The best moment for me in yuri is the recognition of Himeko and Chikane in love and kiss. As I wrote earlier in the comments, Kannazuki no Miko is my first and most favorite anime Yuri-gener. Then Soma was in flight.
    Cross Ange surprised me a little bit more when I witnessed the first kiss Ange and Hilda. I really hope that this Ange wanted to say that it feeds something like romantic feelings for Hilda. Here Tusk, unlike Soma, full chocolate. But I hope that it is possible to release three times a season, where the girls will be able to be together.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lord Sithis says:

    I wish it was longer too. I really liked it. In fact, I gave it a 9 in MAL. THAT thing was a little bit extreme, but when it happens in hentai everyone likes it.
    Most people say Strawberry Panic is one of the best yuri anime out there. Well, I watched it and… it was okay. If Kannazuki no Miko was 26 episodes and Strawberry Panic 12, both would have been thrice as good. Just an opinion though.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurence J. Nguyen says:

    I haven’t read the manga but I’m glad I watched the anime even though it’s not perfect and it’s flawed because it is. I agree that KnM is not for everyone and in my point of view, it is one of the most polarizing anime shows out there where some people like them while others hate them, just like with Akame ga Kill! (The Anime adaptation, not the manga) but that’s not Yuri. It’s a dark action fantasy Manga & Anime, if you ask me.

    Regardless, I don’t necessarily hate KnM while I did get some enjoyment out of it I find myself somewhere in the middle rather than loving nor hating it. In this case, it was overall, decent but that’s just my opinion. Either way, I’m not bothered with any anime that involves Yuri (Girl’s love) as a genre and while I haven’t been watching that much anime, I’m still looking for different kinds of anime to watch in different genres, TV series, movies, etc. I’m currently expanding my horizon in terms of diversity because of that.

    Whatever the case may be, Manga is still Manga and even Anime is still Anime as a hobby and an art form of entertainment and I will always have my favorites like Kyousougiga, Tasogare Otome X Amnesia and of course, Strawberry Panic.
    In other words, I enjoyed watching anime as a hobby of mine whether it’s retro or modern and some I like and others I hate.

    HimekoxChikane 4ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t like the manga, I prefer the anime because it was (at least for me) more interesting and with a better ending. That idea that the two are loving each other when when they are alone is beautiful! And of course in the last scene when they meet made me cry ;___; This is definitely in my TOP of yuri animes!

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