The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials


Title: Kannagi
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Company: A-1 Pictures Inc.
Format: 13 episodes
Date: 4 Oct 2008 – 27 Dec 2008

Synopsis: Jin Mikuriya is an ordinary art student who lives alone and enjoys doing things that any normal boy his age would. For a school project, he uses a portion of a fallen sacred tree’s trunk to make a sculpture of a girl. To his surprise, the sculpture comes to life as a being in the form of a sassy girl named Nagi. Their relationship develops as they hunt and exterminate “impurities” in the town and encounter hijinks one after another.

The Highlights
Characters: Generally quirky, where hilarious interaction outcomes ensue.
Plot: Generic and predictable albeit entertaining.
Comedic material: Exceptionally work for most of the time.
Animation: Fluid; works in favor of the series tremendously.
Episode 8: Out of the blue… stupendous!

I’ll make myself clear on my preference on anime: I normally don’t favor comedies. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor; it’s simply that many comedy anime don’t tickle my funny bone as much as it should. Comedy anime such as Cromartie and Minami-ke have proven me wrong and thus have become rare exceptions to my preference. Then comes Kannagi, a comedy series that apparently employs the typical harem archetype for laughter. At first glance, I assume that this would not be one that is personally enjoyable but after a few episodes, I am reminded of the old saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.

Kannagi begins on a rather familiar note: A loser living alone gets a surprise when a girl pops up from nowhere, and hijinks ensues for the poor boy. This all so common approach have sunken love comedies such toLOVEru and Seto no Hanayome into mediocrity, and Kannagi seems to be following the same route. Thankfully, it stays away from the danger zone with its unique delivery of its comedic moments and punchlines that frequently hit the home run. The materials used in Kannagi – which can be traced to references of otaku culture and real-life instances – are akin to Lucky Star, except that instead of pointing them out to the viewers, they are personified by the characters’ embodiment through their comical quirks. Furthermore, the characters are delightfully entertaining to watch with their idiosyncratic characters. Tsugumi is the ironic girl who often comes off as tactless despite her self-conscious demeanor while Akiba is an otaku with an unaware sense of self-righteousness. As a last example of interesting characters, Daitetsu is the misunderstood gentle giant with a green mind as demonstrated in episode 8 which, without warning, sparkles with brilliance.

The characters are not the only reason for the successful comedic delivery. Praises goes to the fluid animation as well, which is unusually amazing for a genre such as a love comedy. The smooth animation renders many moments more hilarious than they already are, from scenes of people writhing in anguish to the ones featuring people brisk-walking out from tight situations. Additionally, the series is given the nice last touch with the presence of the catchy opening song “Motto Hade ni ne!”, sung by Haruka Tomatsu. She also gave a equally commendable effort voicing Nagi and, in all sincerity, she may well become the next “big thing” in the anime community along with the blooming Aya Hirano.

Kannagi is nevertheless not without its flaws. The series uses the hackneyed harem device as its foundation for comedy, rendering a number of comedic moments stale and unoriginal. The series also screams of another conspicuous trope that comes in the form of the title character, Nagi. Though entertaining to watch at times, she still possesses the clichéd tsundere complex which is prevalent in many other mediocre series. Plus, she is not without the protagonist Jin, her male counterpart with the recognizable angst and naïveté to help suit her insolent character. I find this to be sad as the main characters are ironically being overshadowed by the shining characters around them in terms of the freshness of their traits.

Despite the tropes and anticipatable story, Kannagi is a delightfully diverting series with some outstanding moments of utter hilarity and characters that shimmer with their eccentricities. My advice to those who don’t mind harem undertones and seek laughter is not to let Kannagi‘s face value fool them. Good things may come to viewers who are patient and tolerant, and it applies here well.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: AC

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