Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens Volume 1 Manga Review

かんなぎ Volume 01  
Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens Volume 1

–> BUY FROM YES ASIA (Japanese tankoubon)

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens Volume 1Jin completes the wood sculpture of the miko he met as a child and it turns into a girl named Nagi, who claims to be a deity of these parts. She’s horrified to learn her sacred tree has been cut down and that there’s defilement in the land. Using a toy magic girl baton and some Shinto purification streamers, she has Jin help her purify some of these minor defilements, shaped like bugs. Jin’s childhood female friend, Tsugumi, sees them and assumes they are dating. However, when she comes by Jin’s home the following day, she’s shocked to see that Nagi is living with him. Nagi provides cover by becoming ultra polite and bowing to Tsugumi, stating she’s Jin’s half-sister and from a troubled family, thus she ran away from home to live with the brother she’d just learned about.

Nagi finds some abandoned kittens but Jin refuses to take them in. Later that day, he finds the mother cat has died and races home to find Nagi speaking kindly to the dead kittens and absorbing them into herself before passing out. After Jin gets her home, Nagi become angry about being asked questions about the incident. She leaves and goes to purify some defilement on her own but soon finds she’s in over her head until Jin saves her.

At school, Jin is in the art club along with other new male members Daitetsu and Akiba, who’s only interested in creating manga. Female club president Takako and female vice-president Shino decide to initiate their members by sending them to a storeroom for cleanup. Tsugumi joins them and after hearing a ghost story, banging from a trap door makes them flee in terror. When Nagi hears about this, she decides to come to school, in a proper uniform from Tsugumi, and decides to help investigate a possible defilement. Nagi senses it but when they get to the storeroom and open the trap door, it is only Dokusasori-sensei, the older teacher who sponsors the art club.

Nagi gets upset and leaves, knowing she sensed defilement. She tracks it to a church she’d not noticed whereupon she enters and finds her younger sister Zange. Zange is bemused by Nagi’s loss of power and states that her goal is not to rid the area of minor defilement but to grow in power as a god. Nagi returns to the shrine where her tree was, only to find it is now uprooted. As such, her powers will continue to weaken but she has a plan to become an pop idol and thus gain power through her fans.

Back at school, Jin is having trouble creating a bust in the art club so Akiba tells him to go see Zange-chan, a girl who cosplays as a mini-skirt wearing Catholic nun. Its late when Jin leaves and hurrying home, he finds some men accosting the girl Akiba mentioned. He interferes and avoids being hit while using his bag of supplies as a weapon. The two escape and by the river, the two chat for a bit. Before she leaves, she licks a cut on his face and says she’s come to like him, revealing that she knew his name without being told it. Jin returns home and is with Nagi watching TV and eating when Zange-chan appears on the TV. Nagi is stunned by Zange’s ploy to gain followers and surprised when she learns Jin has met her. He’s surprised when Nagi reveals Zange is her little sister and that in Shinto myth, there were two sacred trees — Nagi’s and Zange’s.


While I knew that Bandai had licensed this manga and I certainly wanted to read it, the truth is that I had no confidence that Bandai would do this in an “AstroNerdBoy approved” manner, meaning the retention of Japanese honorifics in the adaptation. After all, when I saw the streaming effort Bandai did for the anime, there were no honorifics in the subtitles even though the company’s official Kannagi website talked about “Nagi-sama.”  It wasn’t until I learned that William Flanagan was translating this that I decided that maybe I’d take a risk and purchase the manga. After all, his works include Japanese honorifics, save for brother/sister titles which he usually passes on.  Thankfully, the risk paid off for me. ^_^

The truth of the matter is, there are no surprises here for me.  That’s because the anime adaptation was so good and faithful to the source materials, only adding some bits to pad things out but normally not in a negative way.  For example, when Nagi comes to life in the manga, things move along quickly between her and Jin.  As such, it really is not a humorous scene though Nagi’s comments can be amusing.  In the anime, director YAMAMOTO Yutaka makes the scene pretty funny, thanks to great comic timing in Nagi’s becoming human and her finally moving.  So, even if the manga didn’t make me laugh out loud, isn’t as funny as the anime, and I am not surprised by anything in the manga’s story, I loved it just the same.  That’s because Kannagi is just great fun on one hand and the manga’s plot is interesting.

Since there are six volumes released in Japan, I’m hoping Bandai goes ahead and releases all of these in America.  It is a shame that Takenashi-sensei still has not brought the manga out of hiatus yet, where it went in early 2009 when she had some medical issue that forced her to quit. Supposedly, she was supposed to have brought the manga out of hiatus by now but for whatever reason, she has not done so.  Kannagi is a monthly manga title so even if Takenashi-sensei does get back to drawing, we’d only get a maximum of two volumes of Kannagi love per year. Here’s hoping she makes a full recovery and return. ^_^

As this is my first Bandai manga purchase, I don’t know how they are normally done.  However, Mr. Flanagan has his excellent translator notes at the end of the volume, so I applaud Bandai for including them, more so if this is not a normal extra for their manga releases.

I have always maintained that I will support the things that I like. Since Bandai’s release of Kannagi has been done in an AstroNerdBoy approved manner, I look forward to continuing to purchase the remaining five volumes should Bandai release them all.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens Volume 1 Manga Review”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great review, also the mangaka for Kannagi is most likely busy or at least helping out with the upcoming Carnival Phantasm OVA. Seeing as she did the manga for it. (She is a fan of Type-Moon and does a bit of artwork and other design stuff for them. Or at least for Take-Moon manga and a few character material pages)

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I am not familiar with Carnival Phantasm but it makes sense that she might be involved in the anime. After all, Akamatsu-sensei took some time off for the upcoming Negima! movie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress