Kannagi – Final Impressions

kannagi

I wasn’t familiar with the manga, but based on the buzz, I had pretty high hopes for Kannagi coming into the season (or at least high hopes for Haruka Tomatsu), and by the end, the show managed to meet and exceed most of those expectations. It was the zany, episodic, slightly romantic comedy I was looking for.

Even though they’re not really similar shows, it’s hard for me not to mention Lucky Star when talking about Kannagi, what with the choreographed dance intro, the shared director and the in-episode references, but they share the same charm and similar focus on making the characters memorable.

The characters are what makes Kannagi so awesome. You’ve got a good mix of the standard character stereotypes: the bashful and inexperienced harem guy, the unpredictable, loud-mouthed girl who walks in on the main guy’s life, and the insecure childhood best friend. And then you’ve got the crazy, zany characters like the light prostituting Nun-cosplay idol, the hardcore otaku, the perverted fujoshi, and the huge, but sensitive art prodigy. They’re all loveable and enjoyable on their own merits. But the best part is the relationships between them, gives each of them a chance to shine, without it making them seem like they’re one-shot, one-dimensional punchlines-in-waiting. So when Akiba says “It’s a sony!” or Tsugumi’s fighting with Zange about who gets to feed Jin, it all feels more natural, which ends up making them, and the show, that much funnier.

Kannagi’s “story” from an episode to episode standpoint was comedic gold. The closet ep, the love square ep, the karaoke ep, the maid cafe ep. Kannagi had the most memorable episodes I’ve seen since Haruhi. But the overarching dramatic storyline faltered as the season went on. They built up a little bit of intrigue around Nagi, Zange, bodysnatching, the race to become an idol and Godhood, but never delivered on it. In fact Zange’s bodysnatching storyline seemed to have been completely dropped (although I imagine they’ll pick it back up in a future season – perhaps they should’ve planned a 24 episode season in advance). And the pacing in the last couple episodes really suffers because it focuses mainly on Jin’s depression. But that aside, there wasn’t a single episode that didn’t at least bring a smile to my face at one point, if it didn’t leave me in side-splitting laughter.

I’ll always caveat myself by saying I’m not an animation fanatic, and only really good (or really poor) animation quality will standout to me, but the show looked great. Obviously there’s no battle scenes or heavy action animation, but all the character designs standout and a lot of the attention was paid to the little details and expressions, like when Jin or Nagi would be surprised and their hair would fly back, which made it a joy to watch.

I really like the OP, it’s a good song with some cool choreographing. Maybe it’s no Hare Hare Yukai or Motteke! Sailor Fuku, but I love Nagi’s choreographed dance, particularly in the “babyface” and “driving” sections, as well as the scenes they choose to show during it. Otherwise, I didn’t think the music really stood out, the BGM was pretty plain, and the ED is your standard mellow ballad. The only exception would be during the Karoake episode, in which all the songs and performances were pure win.

If it hasn’t been clear, I loved this show. For better or worse, it was like the Lucky Star, Minami-Ke of the season for me. A light-hearted comedy with a lot of heart that I could look forward to watching every week, because I knew it wouldn’t fail to deliver the comedic goods. Here’s hoping there’ll be a season 2 to continue the awesomeness.

And just in case you haven’t seen the cuteness that is Haruka Tomatsu. Check it out:

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