Just for fun, you might want to compare my review of the Japanese edition of Kannazuki no Miko from three years ago to this one. I bet at least some things have changed.
Today’s review is brought to you by Ted the Awesome and the word amai. :-)
Amai is an interesting word. It means “sweet” and is used, as one would expect, about pastries and other sweet things. In the same way that we describe someone as “sweet,” in Japanese a “sweet girl” will be amai just like a pastry might be. But amai has other meanings in Japanese as well. Where we would say “you’re too soft on her” or “you spoil him,” the word amai might be used. And there’s amai as in “naive,” which you find used in fight scenes in which the hero is confident about his/her giant robot piloting skills and the bad guy screams “Amai!” as they launch an underhanded, treacherous attack which inevitably fails to win.
So amai is more than just “sweet” as we understand it in English. It implies a kind of naivete which, in a mild case is simply indulging (another person) too much, and in its extremity is a sort of dangerous cluelessness.
This is all to preface this next sentence: In the first volume of Kannazuki no Miko, Himeko is amai.
She is sweet in the conventional sense, and kind and good – but she’s also dangerously naive and dotes on the people around her, giving into their whims without question, to the detriment of their well-being – and her own. As a result, she is forced into the role of victim by both the people she trusts.
Why, one has to ask, if both Souma and Chikane love Himeko so much, do they allow her to be bullied, outcast and victimized instead of stepping up and claiming their friendship publicly? Setting aside for the moment the fact that Kaishaku’s writing skills are total ass, lol, let’s look at this objectively.
If either Chikane or Souma *had* stepped forward and said – get your hands off her, she’s my important friend, okay, maybe the talking behind her back and bullying might not have disappeared, it would have at least been notched down. If BOTH of them had said “Get your hands off my Betty!” the rest of the school would have backed off, and watched the drama play out with immense satisfaction and titillation. But neither does. Although both Souma and Chikane profess to love Himeko, they let her dangle, unprotected, on the edge of a precipice every day – only showing their “true” emotions when they are alone with her.
It seems particularly nasty behavior in the light of their professed desire to “protect” Himeko…when they are the reason she needs protecting in the first place, right?
Basically, both Souma and Chikane are fail. ^_^;
Souma’s fail is slightly more forgivable, because he’s the basic stuttering non-verbal manga boy. Chikane’s fail is quite literally epic, because she *knows* the whole story and isn’t giving Himeko a single piece of information. Ultimately she brutalizes her physically and emotionally, because in her warped view, it’s to “protect” Himeko from knowledge of the situation.
Himeko’s fail is that she is completely, totally amai. She allows the whims of others to take control of her life, she indulges them by not having an opinion of her own, she naively forgives even the basest behavior, and she never once takes an interest in the truth of what is going on. Not really.
The truth is that the the myth cycle the Orochi and the Priestesses are playing out, is quite thin. The story, really, revolves around the love triangle and Himeko’s victimization by herself and the people who profess to love her.
Tokyopop’s team did as good a job with the material as they could. It’s not a good story, nor is it well-drawn, but they made it make as much sense as possible. I applaud them for that. It’s not as easy as they made it look. The original was actually quite nonsensical. ^_^
Whether you like Kannazuki no Miko will depend on a lot of factors, but if you are the kind of person who goes by the equation zOMG Yuri!=Good!, you’ll probably like it lots. ^_^
Art – 6
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 8
Service – 8
Overall – 7
Of course, we’re all interested in finding out the fate of the second volume, which is slated for release in about a week or so. I expect that as it’s one of the licensed titles, it’ll see the light of day eventually, if not actually next week. Sadly, some members of the team who made soup out of this stone are no longer with the company, which is a genuine loss.