Manga Review – Kannazuki No Miko (Vol. 1+2)
The most famous (or in some cases infamous) Yuri manga Kannazuki No Miko by Kaishaku finally was published this year by Tokyopop in two volumes which are both available now. I call this series famous as if you ask anyone to name a yuri title 9 times out of 10 this is the one they come up with. The flagship title of the yuri genre and in many cases rightly so as it is often regarded as the first one where ‘the girl got the girl’ as such. I say infamous due to a certain rape scene featuring what I believe to be a tanto sheaf but is often referred to as a flute amongst the yuri community. This title isn’t for younger readers at times it can be pretty graphic.
Himeko Kurusugawa is a pretty normal high school girl attending the prestigious Ototachibana Academy. She’s very clumsy and not particularly intelligent, but with a bright beaming smile that could warm the coldest hearts and a cheerful attitude to life whatever it throws at her. She is secretly best friends with the princess of the school Chikane Himemiya she’s rich, intelligent, beautiful, from the most respected family in the town of Mahoroba and she excels at everything she does. Of course Chikane has a secret she is madly in love with Himeko and on the eve of their joint 16th Birthday she plans to have a birthday party just for the two of them. But thats when tragedy strikes it is revealed that Chikane and Himeko are in fact the priestess’ of the Moon and Sun respectively and they must save the world from the ancient evil of the Orochi who wish to recreate the world in darkness.
The added twist is one of the 8 necks of the Orochi is Soma Ogami, Himeko’s childhood friend he is regarded as the Prince of the school, but like Chikane he has the same weakness for Himeko. He also plans on confessing his undying love to Himeko. Now this is where the confusion begins along with a strange love triangle and well the ‘where the hell did that giant mecha come from’ questions start. This manga is pretty complex for two volumes, and I say complex as in confusing when it comes to the Orochi, reincarnation, mecha and the general shrine maiden element. Then again I don’t know of anyone who has read this title for that aspect, Kannazuki is generally regarded as a love story against all odds with two girls who belong together and are bound by ‘the red string of fate’.
If you have seen the anime series you will note there are numerable plot differences between the two including the reasons behind the rape scene, the background of the village and the ending of the manga which isn’t as dramatic or moving as the anime (which I still believe the love confession is a masterpiece that moves me to tears every time) it’s still interesting and worth a look, if not for an alternative view of the famous shrine maiden tale. I would also like to add the manga is pretty ecchi in comparison to the anime with possibly every single stereotype thrown in to the Orochi mix for fanboys to droll over.
Yes ok I admit it I do love Kannazuki no Miko, although the manga is no where near as moving as the anime, I adore the tale of Chikane and Himeko and that love conquers all, that people are destined to always be together wherever they are whoever they are. What stops this title form being a 10 is the damn mecha, ok I know some people like it, but in Kannazuki I always saw it as pretty pointless, plus the fanboy Orochi stereotypes can get very irritating after a while. But when the girl gets the girl how can I not love it.
One of the originals that set my personal favorite trend within the yuri genre (yes I know it dates back to the first manga Shiroi Heya no Futari) of the beautiful, cool and wealthy but misunderstood girl who is madly in love with her cute, moe best friend who she would do anything to protect. In a way it’s very much the beautiful knight in shining armor syndrome. Chikane will always remain one of my favorite characters ever created and although I prefer her anime incarnation, She can come across as slightly too sexually frustrated in the manga, not to say thats always a bad thing.
Personally I like Kaishaku’s style but it isn’t for everyone it’s very distinct within it’s over exaggerated simplicity. I personally like the attention to detail in some of the backgrounds and well I can’t really fault Chikane’s character design, you have to love the headband, also the androgynous male characters add to the flair of the artwork and the mecha are pretty well designed.