An art student named Jin Mikuriya carves a statue from the wood of the Kannagi tree only to have the statue come to life in the form of a goddess, who has now taken over the statue. He and “Nagi” work together to destroy the impurities that are gathering in the town.
Kannagi has some tough shoes to fill as a show that is aimed at the hardcore otaku fans, but also attempts to appeal to the non-otaku fans at the same time. As a show that has to do both it does an adequate job with attempting to please both groups. There are clichés that most would find in shows aimed at the hardcore crowd. We have a harem, a cooking contest, the childhood friend who also is a potential loves interest, the otaku who claims he is not an otaku, etc. Even though these aspects to exist in the series they are not to the degree that they would be executed during the show. The clichés are touched upon and used but they do not go full head on with any of them. Even the harem aspect is explained and each girl has a reason to try to be with Jin. Given that the otaku clichés do exist, those who are not fans of these clichés will be annoyed that they do exists in the show.
In a surprising note, there is some character development present to the main cast of characters. Each of them has a reason to do what they such as Nagi who as a deity is her job to rid the land of impurities and to determine who she really is. Given that this is a 13 episode series, this type of development is not usually found in a series that is the length of a standard anime season.
Art and Animation:
Animated by A-1 Pictures Inc. which is a subsidiary of Aniplex did the art and animation for Kannagi. The background art is crisp and do an adequate job with the designs, however the same cannot be said about the character designs. While the character designs work for the show, they have a rough around the edges feel to them. Nagi is easily the stand out character design wise for the show as she is not just another face in the crowd of anime girls. Zange, who has a cosplay nun theme to her attire and design. Tsugum gives a generic vibe being that she is a childhood friend of the series. Even Jin looks like a majority of the harem male leads that exist in harem anime.
Music and Audio:
The OP “Motto Hade ni ne!” is an upbeat idol song that is nothing you would not be surprised to hear in a show of this nature. The ED “Mushui no Toki!” has more soul to it and is the better than the OP. Haruka Tomatsu who gives Nagi her voice for the series and does a good job with the tsundere character Nagi sings both OP and ED songs. Hiro Shimono (Ken Robbins in Kaledio Star and Satoshi Yabe in Mitsudomoe) gives Jin his voice and does an good job with his role. Kana Hanazawa (Aoi Futaba in Asobi ni Ikuyo! and Kusano in Sekirei) gives her voice for Zange and considering what role her character plays in the show does an adequate job with her dual role in the show. The other seiyū do what is expected of their roles and none really goes above good.
The soundtrack does a good job with providing support to the series and is quite effective in helping the tone of the scenes provided.
The phrase “you can’t please everyone” is one of the best ways to describe this show. While the clichés may please the hardcore otaku crowd, it may annoy those who are not part of that group. That being said it is a fun if light show to watch and enjoy.
Pros: Likeable cast, appeals to most anime fans, good music
Cons: Rough around the edges character designs, clichés may bother some fans.