Title: Kannaduki no Miko
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 2004 – 15 Dec 2004
Synopsis: For Kurusegawa Himeko, Himemiya Chikane is a vision of perfection, which she admires from afar. Smart, athletic and beautiful, Chikane turns heads wherever she goes. However, when tragedy strikes, and the ancient evil, Orochi threatens to end them, Himeko and Chikane find out that they’re the priestesses of the sun and moon, and must work together to seal Orochi once more.
Music: Breathtaking and memorable; defines the mood of every scene
Characters: Antagonists aren’t given necessary attention; protagonists well analyzed
Romance: Somewhat flawed, yet still interesting
Mecha: Terrible fights; almost a joke
Kannaduki no Miko is one of those odd creatures. It was an anime that gave me every reason not to enjoy it, yet, I still did. From a cast of seemingly vapid antagonists, a silly conflict that, though steeped in Japanese mythology, was plot-device-ish, and mecha fights that were confusing and asinine, my initial response to Kannaduki no Miko wasn’t a great one. But, with a top soundtrack and an intriguing love triangle, Kannaduki no Miko shows glimpses of an excellent story trapped within an average anime.
Kannaduki no Miko’s greatest highlight is the music. KOTOKO’s OP and ED themes, “Re-sublimity” and “Agony” rank highly among my favourite songs in anime, and the entire soundtrack, with only minor exceptions, is superb, memorable and, in my opinion, likely the most consistent I’ve heard. Although the songs do, more often than not, define, as opposed to enhance the mood of the scene, considering how moving and remarkable I found the music, you won’t hear me complain too much.
The biggest sore point in this anime is the mecha component. Mecha fights, though not pointless, are almost always poorly executed and difficult to take with any amount of seriousness. So ridiculous are some of them, I was left questioning whether they were supposed to be parodies of some nature. If they were, what they were trying to parody, I still don’t know. The antagonists who drive the mecha were equally difficult to take seriously. Archetypal to one extent and annoying to one much larger, I found it easy to dismiss them as a device for moving the plot forward, as opposed to characters with emotions and reasons for existing in the fashion that they did. The worst thing about this was that, towards the end of the series when it was far too late, we’re privy to a thirty second vignette hinting that these antagonists had noteworthy background which, if explored properly, could have made it possible for one to empathize with them. This was, in my opinion, a tragic case of wasted potential.
The stronger component of Kannaduki no Miko’s story is the one that deals with Himeko and Chikane’s lesbian relationship and explores the theme of forgiveness. But even this had its flaws. Without giving too much away, even though I was surprised and impressed at Chikane’s justification of her unjustifiable actions, I couldn’t help but question Himeko’s willingness to forgive. With that said, I admired the frequent introspective analyses these two characters are given throughout the course of the series. I was also impressed with the attention given to Himeko’s male suitor, Souma, the zealous knight-in-shining-armour character, who comes complete with an explicitly examined past and an insatiable drive to defend his princess. Souma is an example of a well developed side character, and, as such the build up before his more important fights were compelling. It’s a pity that the fights themselves, though, were so ridiculous.
Kannaduki no Miko reveals some rather significant blemishes in its first few episodes, which will likely turn off a lot of potential viewers. However, with an interesting analysis of its two main characters and the third wheel, and a redeeming climax, Kannaduki no Miko, though not a great anime, is certainly memorable, and a fair way to pass the time. Additionally, as an aural experience, Kannaduki no Miko is second only to very few. But, I don’t know many people who are watching anime for the sounds alone.
The Rating: 5
Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun