Manga Review: “Kamisama Kiss” Volume 20

Kamisama Kiss Volume 20 focuses on Nanami Momozono, a high school student who has become a kami at the land god’s shrine. She has two familiars serving her: Tomoe, the fox demon, and a snake incarnation named Mizuki.


Kamisama Kiss Volume 20
Written by: Julietta Suzuki
Publisher: Hakusensha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 2, 2016

Volume 20 starts out by concluding Nanami’s school trip in Okinawa. While the story about a girl who suspects that Kurama has a secret she tries to uncover doesn’t seem important, it actually has a couple of things included that move the story of this volume forward. First, Tomoe sees Nanami acting in ways that he hardly sees while she’s primarily around Tomoe and the others at the shrine. Second, Mikage asks Tomoe to take a gift to a shrine maiden. Through a flashback, we learn that Tomoe first encountered the shrine maiden years ago when she was a young girl. When Tomoe actually sees the shrine maiden now, he discovers that she’s an old woman who is close to death. Tomoe starts wondering if that’s what will happen to Nanami as she gets older, and Tomoe begins thinking that he’d like to become a human.

Tomoe’s desire to become human serves as the driving force for the remainder of Kamisama Kiss Volume 20. I thought it was interesting that Nanami actually wasn’t supportive of Tomoe’s wish to become human. I think she knows that he’d likely be unhappy about losing his powers and being unable to serve as her familiar anymore. But Tomoe is still insistent about becoming a human even though Nanami objects. This leads Tomoe to do something incredibly foolish when Kurama offers him something that could potentially help grant the fox demon his wish. But in the midst of Tomoe’s wish to become human, Nanami discovers something important Kirihito, which only adds to Nanami’s already turbulent emotions.

As I read this volume, I noticed that Suzuki started drawing Tomoe with a more human-like “bishonen” (beautiful boy) look to him that she had in previous volumes. I expect this artistic choice was made to emphasize the fact that Tomoe wants to become human in order to be able to be with Nanami and not live on while she ages and passes away when she’s older. But this change in design for Tomoe also seemed to help change the overall aesthetic feel of the manga. This isn’t a bad thing, though. With the changes in the storytelling and the art, it really gives me the impression that Kamisama Kiss is drawing closer to its conclusion.

Fans of the series will definitely want to check out Kamisama Kiss Volume 20, because it’s such a compelling read. Major character development and important story progression take place, and long-time readers won’t want to miss any of it. Fans should appreciate and enjoy what they see in this volume, and it will make them want to go on to the next volume to find out what’s going to happen next.

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