- Genre : Happiness, otome, mullet reverse harem, magical boy
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Brain’s Base
Yui is just your average run of the mill, beautiful, smart, sweet, kendo practicing high school girl capable of immediately accepting and adapting to any situation no matter how outlandish and one day she is swept away to a magical garden/high school full of god boys from various mythologies brought together by Zeus to develop a better understanding of mankind. That old story. We’ve all been in this exact situation a billion times right? It’s happen to me twice this week alone! You know how these things go, eventually we have to drown a pretty blond boy to avoid a Matrix type Ragnarok. Yawn.
I never know how to qualify these shows. They’re not exactly cute boys doing cute things, I mean they don’t really fall into the slice of life category at all. Technically you could call them reverse harems, I mean that is what they are but this title could fool you into thinking they are romantic storylines. The are not. The romance (if any) is usually completely secondary and only serves as an excuse to bring the characters together. It’s rarely central to the story and in this case was completely irrelevant to the main conflict.
If anything, you can recognize these shows by their standard dating sim adaptation structure which means we get separate mini storylines for every boy and their unabashed embrace of kitch. When done well these are pleasant, slightly manservicy comedies that will make you giggle, when they’re done badly they are annoying and infinitely stupid. When done very badly – the are comedy Gold! I’ll level with you, at this point I find it really hard to tell the difference.
All of this as just to explain that I have to be in a particular mood to review these types of shows. A mood I like to call: frantically rapturous. It’s achieved by eating absolutely nothing but processed sugar for 3 days then writing the post real quick before the crash comes. The diabetes is more than worth it.
One of my favorite commenters Dawnstorm, clued me into this series by showing me this clip:
Please note the hair transformation!
Needles to say, I immediately took the rest of the day off and proceeded to binge this. As you can see, the art style is what you would expect, and you shouldn’t look too closely at angles or distant characters, but the transformation sequences are phenomenal. Sadly, there are very few of these, most characters only get a brief one in the last episode. This is unfortunate as the god costumes are one of the greatest cinematic achievements of our age. The mere sight of them will touch you in ways you did not think possible. Try not to drink before one as getting wine up your nose can really burn.
The animation is sporadic at best. Essentially, characters are mostly stationary or going through slow minimal movements and suddenly there is a burst of action that immediately dies down. It’s not a bad way to disguise limited resources and I enjoyed the visuals as whole. Voice acting is competent although I never quite got use to Loki’s voice. The best part however, is the ED which features actual bad lip-synching from our boys complete with moody scenery and art school project desaturated colors. It was my everything.
In structure, Kamigami no Asobi follows the standard otome template pretty closely. It should be noted however that there wasn’t enough time to concentrate on all the boys. This means that while Baldr and Loki are personally established and get their own quite important storyline, Thor is largely ignored. We see kitty boy Anubis cameo through the show but I’m not sure main character Yui even knows who he is. As a result, the world feels a little fuller than your standard otome offering where the only characters that seem to exist are the main cast. Otherwise, the show is fairly stereotypical but deeply enjoyable. Dawnstorm had already sold it as one of the best offerings of the genre and although I am not yet well versed enough to make this type of sweeping statement, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The archetypical boys are all there, but they have been given just enough personality to be endearing and the narrative is careful to never take itself overly seriously. In fact, here’s Toth aptly describing the entire harem better than I ever could:
The lighthearted, obviously caricatural hand with which everyone has been drawn is a great way to keep things light and easygoing. I get annoyed when these silly little shows try to take themselves too seriously and give their shallow characters overdramatic characterizations. It was also nice to see the ditzy trope applied to the otherwise perfect prince character.
However, otome heroines are usually one step up from plant life in these things. They seem an after thought with little to no personality beyond nice and unable. Unable to do what? Anything. In this, Kamigami towers over the competition with Yui who while undeniably nice is capable, restrained and seems to have actual interests and motivations of her own. Her character gets sidelined a bit in later episodes and she becomes much less interesting but for the first half at least she is a refreshingly down to earth and rational heroin. In fact, watching Yui react just like any normal reasonable person would when put in traditional otome situations had me cracking up the entire time. For my money she could have been even more forceful and self-reliant but I still loved Yui and that’s saying something under the circumstances.
Like I said, the romantic aspects are usually a surprisingly small part of these shows and Kamigami pushes that even further. Although there are brief mentioned of attraction and vying for Yui’s attention here and there, the emotional core of the show, and most of the driving force behind the ultimate plot point has absolutely nothing to do with her at all. I must say this was quite unexpected and very welcomed. I sort of wish this was a different type of show that would have explored the Norse Mythology retelling they were going for instead. I mean with all the pretty magical boys of course.
The fact that these boys are given a touch more personality and backstory beyond their tragic pasts and how much they love the MC is an important element to flesh out the story a bit. The bigger established mythologies that get hinted at also add a bit of depth. By creating much sturdier foundations for the narrative than these shows usually get, the jokes land much more cleanly and I found that I was laughing along with the show almost as often as I was laughing at it.
I was about to end this post without even going into the most important part. The mullets. Look at these glorious mullets! These are epic. Loki even has this awesome gradient in his that makes me want to dye my hair red again. (I won’t – it was a huge pain getting it white, I’m not messing with it now). Maybe it’s because I’m also watching FMA at the moment and Ed is rocking how own impressive mullet when he lets his hair down, but I’m starting to associate the hairstyle with pretty boys. THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!
When did anime start to conspire to make me think mullets are attractive? I know this isn’t the first show to do it
but it’s the first time even the heroine sports one….and I really dig it! Thankfully my hair isn’t quite long enough to copy the look or else I probably would have cut it like that and be really sad now. But honestly, why is anime doing this to me? What’s the end game here? Guys, I’m scared…
Favorite character: Thoth!!!
What this anime taught me: We must not get complacent in the fight against bad hairstyles
Adulthood has shown me that you really don’t need fun to have alcohol.
Suggested drink: Mount Olympus
Every time you see the Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi – take a sip
- if it’s in actual sword for – take another!
- Every time Baldr is a clutz – point and laugh
- Every time we see Melissa – take a sip
- Every time Apollo is super eager – clap
- Every time the blondes stick together – be suspicious
- Every time Hades says misfortune – take a sip
- Every time Thoht *corners* Yui – take a sip
- Every time someone days “human” or “humanity” – drink some water
- Every time they get the mythology right – take a sip
- Every time spontaneous stripping – raise your glass