By Julietta Suzuki. Released in Japan by Hakusensha, serialized in the magazine Hana to Yume. Released in North America by Viz. Translated by Tomo Kimura
I haven’t done a full review of Kamisama Kiss in over 7 years, but it’s always been near the top of my want to read shoujo titles, and I’m impressed with it for lasting 25 volumes, which is more than four sets of Karakuri Odette. (Does anyone recall that series? It’s been about one fandom generation since it came out.) I was wondering what the author was going to do with this final volume, given that almost everything was resolved in the previous book. And it’s true, this is a victory lap of a sort, a light and cheerful final volume devoting itself to wrapping up the romances and getting Nanami and Tomoe married and living in the human world. It’s well worth the read, though, as it’s a well-told victory lap, and will put a smile on your face.
You’ll note the cover art is a bit different from the ‘wedding pose’ cover that the regular edition had. I picked up the Limited Edition, which comes with this alternate cover and a separate, hardcover minibook that features all the color pages from the series, as well as an epilogue chapter taking place several years later. I think it’s worth shelling out for the extra edition – the art is gorgeous, even if pretty small (this is still the size of a regular manga volume) and we also get one of those ‘extra chapters’ that always tend to happen in Hana to Yume series but so rarely get collected into North American (or indeed Japanese) volumes. Without spoiling anything, fans of Akura-Oh and Ami will absolutely want to pick up the Limited Edition.
As for the main event, I like how it shows that even after all this time, Nanami still has a tendency to sublimate her own desires if she thinks Tomoe will be uncomfortable or dislike anything, and I like the fact that the entire cast serves to clamp down on that and give her the epic wedding that she (and the series) deserves. As for the other human x supernatural pairings, Ami and Kurama is left up in the air, mostly as Kurama has not gained as much experience with human emotion as Tomoe has, but it’s pretty clear that she’s not going to be moving on. As for Himemiko and Kotaro, they’ve got a few more things conspiring to keep them apart, including some of what Nanami has dealt with before (the “they must be unhappy, it would be best if I left them” feelings), but they also have a very good reason to stay together, and the result is dealt with subtly but will put a smile on your face.
As will the entire volume, really. Kamisama Kiss has had its fair share of drama, and so after all the near deaths and trips to the afterlife it’s a relief to see such a sweet ending. Admittedly Mizuki may not agree with me, as Nanami and Tomoe becoming human means a parting from the spirit wold, but even that may be only a temporary thing, we discover. As with most really good manga, finishing this series makes a reader want to go back and start over from the beginning.