Eternal Separation 「永遠の終止符(わかれ)」
We’ve reached the concluding episode of the otome game adaptation of Kamigami no Asobi and wow was that a lot to take in. Things inevitably get rushed in final episodes but this rushed? Shackles came off easily, transformation sequences weren’t galore enough, fake student scenes obviously recycled (someone in production didn’t think about its continuity) and as expected, it was but a fraction of time in Yui’s real world. My heart really goes out to Yui, a first for a reverse-harem anime. Guess with everything this last episode it means there won’t be a second season. Or will there?
I’ll admit I watched Kamigami with almost zilch expectations. What got me going was 2 things – a challenge issued by fellow Koekara writer Kiseki-chan to review this genre (in response to my challenge for her to cover a KyoAni show – how is this a fair deal?! lol) and because of Irino Miyu & Kamiya Hiroshi. So I wasn’t particularly looking forward to watching it every week especially when there are other shows this season that pique my interest much much more (plus if I really wanted Irino + Kamiya = KAmiYU, I just watch Captain Earth). The first episode was hilarious (remember, zilch expectations leaves plenty of room for acceptance) because of the transformation sequence as the gods gathered for battle. And in this last episode, I’m sorry but Apollon’s button-popping sequence was still way too funny to be taken seriously in the context of Balder’s destructive storyline. Thankfully though, Kamigami delivered in the second half of the series and turned itself into a case study of how a production team can try to make the best of its source material. What I speculated to be a battle for Yui because that’s how these reverse harem shows usually go, turned out to be much more – a battle to keep the God of Destruction from effectively destroying the world. That said though, my heart really went out to Yui because although she’s the token girl, the focus greatly shifted away from her these last 4 episodes and in this last episode, she seemed to have been properly used and discarded without any explanation. Our flavour of the month Hayami Saori did a fantastic job sobbing and breaking down in the end there, making her Kusanagi Yui my de facto (honestly, there’s not much competition here) favourite reverse harem female lead.
The pacing was very rushed here. Yes it’s the last episode but if they wanted to pack so much in, they should’ve thought to stretch this arc to 3 episodes instead. Was the production studio so resistant to spending more? I never got to see what actually “killed” Balder. Was it water? Drowning? Hades’ and Didi’s pleas for Zeus to save the fake spirits was enough to remove their shackles? Ok… then what about Takeru and Totsuka? How was them rushing to protect Loki enough to break their shackles? I would’ve liked a bit of explanation and it could’ve been just a one-liner from Yui/Zeus/Melissa/Thoth. Speaking of Zeus, how does a God who doesn’t know the human heart himself (recall ep. 5), expect to rule of the boys who are working towards that very aim? Ok I’ll give in on this point since it’s probably the source material’s loophole. Moving on. Just how did Balder’s shackle break?! Loki pierced a sword filled with everyone’s feelings and that worked? Isn’t that a bit too easy?
I quite enjoyed the transformation sequence and seeing the various gods unleash their godly powers. I just wished there was more time to show this properly. We’ve sure come a long way from the flowery blooming sequences of the first episode. As rushed as things got, we got pairs of sequences (Thor/Loki, Hades/Didi, Takeru/Totsuka) and of course Apollon and Balder got their own. Apollon’s white flying horse makes a stiff-looking come back too. Each god obviously had different effects (my favourite was watching Didi throw red wine at things) and it was fabulous to watch! Throughout the 11 earlier episodes, we’ve been stuck with gods in school uniforms. Now they’re half-naked in their full godly glory and we get just half an episode (it felt less though)?! No! I want more! I want to see Totsuka’s moon beams or Hades’ black smokes of doom and bad fortune or whatever. Sigh, none of that happened. Instead we got badly animated fight sequences that didn’t even feel like a proper sequence and poorly drawn mid-fight expressions. Apollon’s was possibly the best but that’s just because he’s Apollon. Even then, I felt shortchanged although the animation and art has always left me lacking with Kamigami ever since episode 1.
Throughout this series, we’ve seen the boys slowly gather and form a camaraderie and genuine friendships. They’re still in their various cliques but at least we see more inter-group interaction. I just wished the antagonism was more obvious at the beginning so as to really juxtapose the effect Yui and school has had on them. Eventually, they learned the emotional spectrum of the human heart which culminated in them using their friendship to save Balder from himself. I liked that. But like I said earlier, poor Yui/Fairy-san. The snappy send off was harsh, even by anime standards. Without a proper goodbye or time to sort out her mixed feelings for everyone, she’s cast back to earth. No one told her what would happen or that she actually went back in time by about 10 mins. She was effectively just used by Zeus and used (for lack of a better word) by the gods! How is the girl suppose to just get back to her daily routine after spending so much time interacting with the gods? Very cruel Zeus. Very cruel.
And then the boys turn up in another set of clothes gathered in front of Yui’s family’s temple. Is a second season/OVA in the works to give the boys a proper send-off this time so Yui has proper closure maybe? I do kind of hope so (MAL has listed an OVA). Because for a reverse harem, Kamigami seemed to have tried to work against the genre’s tropes and tried-and-tested. The music by Elements Garden has been mostly enjoyable and in fact, preferable to their other more famous work in reverse harem UtaPrince 1000% & 2000%. The running joke on Thoth-sama’s wall slam was the one thing I truly looked forward to and even in this last episode, Kamigami managed to deliver it in the most unexpected of scenarios!
In the end, nobody truly got Yui’s attention although Apollon and Loki got to kiss her (on the hand and forehead). And that’s a typical reverse harem ending so I’m ok with it. For all that Kamigami’s entertainment value was, I’m inclined to give it 7 out of 10, the highest I’ve given to this genre (Ouran High School notwithstanding). I’ll cover the OVA and DVD specials as they are released so subscribe to Koekara to stay informed! In the meantime, check out what Balder (Kamiya Hiroshi) and Hades (Ono Daisuke) had to say about the Kamigami recording session :)