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Manga / Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens

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Jin Mikuriya, Ordinary High-School Student, has just finished carving a statue out of a sacred tree that was recently chopped down. To his surprise his statue comes to life with the guardian spirit that once inhabited the tree — and she looks like a teenage girl. This girl, Nagi, sets off to purify the town of the impurities that are starting to spread, since the tree has been cleared.

Jin's childhood friend Tsugumi also finds herself getting involved in the events, along with the members of Jin's art club at school. A major source of conflict comes from Nagi's sister Zange, a goddess born from the other, still-standing, sacred tree.

Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens or Kannagi for short, is a manga by Eri Takenashi that was serialized in Comic Rex from 2006 to 2017, though the series went on hiatus from 2008 to 2011 due to Takenashi having health issues. There is also a series of light novels that began in 2008 written by Toka Takei and an anime series/OVA that was made in 2008.

Tropes in Kannagi include:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: A trio of spiders in episode 1 are animated by this. As are Nagi's wand in certain shots, and several background elements.
  • A-Cup Angst: Nagi knows what Jin prefers, and a little information card on her in the middle of episode five says that her dislike is "people who like big breasts".
  • Alternate Catchphrase Inflection: When the characters are excited for a new video (despite probably having no proper player for it since they initially thought it was on DVD), they get the Share Phrase "It's a Sony!" which they exclaim. All of this ends when someone hands them an old, unplayable, 8-track tape and they mention quietly, "It's a Sony...".
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Nagi's out-of-date Japanese is translated this way, with a little Tolkien mixed in. ("Fool of a Jin!")
  • Author Avatar: Yamakan, the director, appears as a member of Nagi's fan club, thanking her for letting him become qualified as a director. This is a direct reference to how he had deal with Executive Meddling while he was the director of Lucky Star's first four episodes.
    • The creator of the manga, Eri Takenashi, has also appeared in the form of some blue humanoid... Thing.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The anime's opening depicts Nagi as an Idol Singer with the rest of the supporting cast as her managers and trainers. None of this has anything to do with the actual plot of the show.
  • Beach Episode: In chapter 21 of the manga, the main cast goes to the private beach of Shino's relatives.
  • Bifauxnen: Hinoue Shouhou, the travelling monk who is first seen at the end of chapter 40 and properly introduced in chapter 41.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Zange. Although Hakua, the sheep, is still in there somewhere.
  • Blessed with Suck: Before Nagi came along, Jin's ability to see the impurities was terrifying because he thought they were ghosts. Hakua has it much worse though. Also Daitetsu, because he has the Face of a Thug and a very intimidating physique.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: After spending a night at Jin's house because he forgot his house key, and seeing the way they act towards each other, Daisetsu thinks that Jin and Nagi have this kind of secret relationship. Doesn't help that Jin won't give him a straight answer (well, he did, but Daisetsu took it the wrong way, thinking that Nagi was the model for Jin's wood sculpture, rather than Nagi being the wood sculpture come to life).
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Earlier chapters/episodes focus on comedy and lighthearted situations involving the characters, and the supernatural aspect of Nagi's divine origin is only lightly touched on. As the story goes on, the material noticeably shifts towards exploring the more serious facets of the series, including Hakua's past, Nagi and Jin's search into her origins, and the reason for the impurities' existence.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Nagi and Tsugumi whenever Zange is around Jin.
  • Cooking Duel: Nagi vs. Tsugumi vs. Zange to see who cooks for Jin the best. The winner is Nagi. She can be a great cook, but she prefers to let Jin do it because it's too bothersome. Nagi may cook good looking food, it just tastes like... Plum, or is it rubber type? Yup, her food is untasteful but only to everyone else who tries it. Nagi enjoys her own cooking.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Stray kittens in the second episode has this effect on Nagi.
  • Dancing Theme: Again, the OP. Nagi's little stage show.
  • Delinquents: In middle school, Jin was ("No, not like that"). Meaning, he wasn't really a hell-raiser, but acted up a lot because of his troubled past.
    • Manga: Apparently, he went to Daitetsu for advice, making the same mistake everyone else made about him.
  • Did I Say That Out Loud: A feverish Jin muses about asking Nagi to lay down beside him when she asks as to what she could do to help. Unfortunately for him, he thought out loud.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Nagi can be heard humming the OP theme in the bath in the first episode. It can also be overheard during conversations in both men's and ladies' room in the tenth episode.
  • Distant Finale: The final chapter takes place four years after Nagi vanished. She meets Jin again as a 13-year-old human girl.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Both the opening and (main) ending themes are sung by Nagi's voice actress, Haruka Tomatsu.
  • Dreadful Musician: Suprisingly for an aspiring idol, Zange couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.
  • Dynamic Entry: Nagi in episode eight:
  • Eyes Always Shut: Shino. It was even mentioned in episode 10 that when she sings, her eyes will open.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Nagi, later in the manga after absorbing the impurites that Zange collected into the form of Ozuma, her past lover.
  • Fanservice with a Smile: All three main girls in the show end up working at a Maid Cafe at one point. Zange beomes a replacement for her sister, much to her surprise.
  • Fetish: Besides being an all-around yaoi fangirl, Takako is turned on by things like... an innocent-looking Jin, a tone-deaf Tsugumi and a panty-flashing Zange.
  • Gender-Inverted Trope: Jin receives a number of tropes usually reserved for girls. For example, his most distinguishing trait is his "pureness", his most distinguishing physical feature is his very young, childish appearance, he's the victim of Accidental Perversion one time, and apparently was very dependent on Tsugumi when he was younger in a slightly klutzy way. The strength of Always Female means these tropes aren't quite played quite straight: for example, although he was needy and a crybaby in the past, he was also short-tempered and not exactly The Ditz.
    • Plus, he's "pure" in a guyish way, typical of a boy who is attracted to women but has never actually had a girlfriend.
  • Gentle Giant: Daitetsu. He gets into trouble easily because he can't explain why he really skipped lessons because the reasons are too embarrassingly girlish that he just lets people assume he's a delinquent.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: With Zange's tree being inside a church, weakening it, and Nagi's being cut down, both of them are fighting it out over this.
  • Grand Theft Me: Zange has taken over the body of Hakua Suzushiro. Her father questions it, but he knows Zange means no harm. Nagi at least thinks that he wants Zange gone, and it's heavily hinted that he'd be much happier if he got Hakua back, but he seems to acknowledge that Hakua is actually happier with Zange around.
    Suzushiro: My cute daughter has turned into my not-so-cute daughter!
    • It's revealed later on that Zange took over Hakua's body when she tried to commit suicide, reasoning that if she didn't want her body in the first place Zange might as well get some use out of it.
  • Gratuitous English: The subtitle "Crazy Shrine Maidens". Not a Foreign Language Subtitle, as this one's there in the original Japanese.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Daitetsu x Jin, if it were true. Surprisingly it doesn't settle which is the Seme.
  • Hair Antennae: Jin, although they're referred to as double Idiot Hair / Ahoge. When he's shocked they stand up like tv antennae in the manga.
    Some Guy:"That's Aho Aho Man in English right?" No, not really.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jin suffers from one in episode 12 after Nagi runs away.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Flashing Panties are enough to make Takako change her film-making decisions. Courtesy of Zange, natch.
  • Imagine Spot: Believing that Jin and Nagi are siblings, Daitetsu goes into an elaborate one showing what he thinks is going on.
  • Instant Fanclub: Nagi gets one (complete with webpage) almost immediately before the school allows her in as a New Transfer Student.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Invoked by Zange. She makes it sound like something illicit is happening between her and Jin. Doesn't work for a second on Nagi, but Tsugumi falls for it completely. Though it's up in the air how much of it was acting.
  • Karaoke Box: Episode ten, "Karaoke Senshi Mic Takako". Includes a cameo by the Lucky Star girls when Jin walks in on their karaoke session from the ED.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: By the Lucky Star cast. See Shout-Out.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pointed out. Nagi goes around in only the clothes she materialized in before Tsugumi takes her shopping to get more.
  • Little Miss Bad Ass: Zange takes out 3 guys with little effort when they try to hit on her in episode 12.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Jin. He takes himself fairly seriously despite looking much younger then the rest of the cast.
  • Lover Tug of War: Happens to poor Jin between Tsumugi and Zange in episode 9 when both girls are trying to feed him lunch.
  • Magical Girl: After seeing one on TV, Nagi gets a toy wand and modifies it as her weapon against the impurities.
  • Magical Girlfriend: Nagi, though she doesn't appear to be romantically interested. Yet.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Both Jin and Daitetsu are subject to this after Daitetsu stays the night at his house on a rainy night and the events of episode eight go down. Attempts by Tsugumi and Zange to fix this are futile. Instead, Jin ends up getting mistaken for someone who goes for anyone.
    • Later, Akiba's parents have a long, stern discussion with their son regarding him apparently drawing yaoi doujinshi using Jin and Daitetsu as models. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Mood Whiplash: Lighthearted fanservicey harem rom com, right? Then Hakua's backstory. Including summoning Zange by trying to commit suicide!.
  • Muggle and Magical Love Triangle: Jin's main romantic options are the goddess Magical Girlfriend Nagi and his ordinary childhood friend Tsugumi. He obviously wants Nagi, but Nagi wonders if a human girl like Tsugumi could be a better girlfriend for Jin.
  • Mundane Utility: Once Nagi gets enough power, her wand also makes a useful flashlight.
  • Naughty Nuns: Zange specifically alters a standard nun outfit to have a much shorter hemline. She has absolutely no qualms whatsoever to flash her panties at Takako if the situation calls for it.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Total number of "Crazy Shrine Maidens" in this series: 0. The closest thing is Nagi claiming to be a shrine maiden as her cover story. (We eventually meet a real one in the manga, but she's a minor character and not crazy.)
  • Nose Bleed: Takako, and Jin did it once when Zange was doing things to him in an attempt to get Nagi out of the closet.
  • Nuns Are Mikos: It seems like fake-nun Zange has built her public image on this assumption.
    • The lack of knowledge of Catholic traditions part of the trope also applies to Hakua's father. He was a former priest, but was married and had a daughter during said time as a Catholic priest. The older priest he asks for help in an exorcism of his daughter doesn't find this fact out of the ordinary.
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Sometimes Zange's fake-nun thing is creepy too.
  • One-Note Cook: Tsugumi can actually prepare three things: greens, eggs and vegetable omlette.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Jin fits by being able to touch the impurities without harm. Takako labels his plainness as him being a "too-pure-pure-boy".
  • Otaku: Akiba, who's Genre Savvy, but occasionally Wrong Genre Savvy. For example, once he sees Nagi, he tells Jin that "if this world is a manga, you are the main character." Which, of course, he is. Though he thinks of Nagi as a rich girl with an interest in ghosts because he saw it in an eroge.
  • Porn Stash: Briefly mentioned. After Nagi went searching for a bag to carry her wand in, she came across the stash. Jin's a breast man. Upon hearing this information, Tsugumi immediately looks down at her own bust (and promptly punches the air in triumph after glancing over at Nagi's lack-of-bust). Episode seven has Jin being worried when Nagi locks herself in his closet, because that's where he keeps the stash. Although the typical reaction to this trope is averted by Nagi, who, being thousands of years old and none too naive, doesn't care, and only notes that "all of them have big tits."
  • Pretty Freeloaders: Nagi
  • Product Placement: "It's a Sony!" Also Biting-the-Hand Humor, since Akiba brings a Blu-Ray and a Betamax. The show is produced by Aniplex, and therefore sponsored by Sony.
    • Ironically, in an earlier episode they show an "Avio" laptop (instead of Vaio)
  • Pungeon Master: Nagi, who gets off a pun at any opportunity.
  • Punny Name: Daitetsu - "Big Metal".
  • RPG Elements: Takako imagines a Visual Novel scene with Nagi, Zange, and Tsugumi.
  • Show Within a Show: Lolikko Cutie, the show that inspired Nagi and that she mimics in her purification.
  • Shout-Out: In the karaoke episode, Jin gets the wrong room and walks in on the Lucky Star cast (shown only from behind).
  • Shrines and Temples: Kinda obvious.
  • Sick Episode: Chapter 20.1 is about Nagi taking care of a sick Jin after his conversation with Nagi's other personality.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Manga — Naturally, this is how Jin thought you get started being a delinquent.
  • Split Personality: Subverted. Nagi claims to have one to explain her behavior and sudden appearance to Tsugumi. Even Jin falls for it until Nagi slips up. It's justified too. Nagi would occasionally be taken over by a gentle and serene goddess like persona. The persona refers to Nagi in the third person and is able to use powers that her normal self has not yet recovered enough to use.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Zange seems to be particularly good at this.
  • Stereotype Reaction Gag: Akiba resents the insinuation. Anyway, maid cafes, while popular among-
  • Sunken Face: In 3rd episode of the 2008 OVA Jin Mikuriya receives a crater when Nagi snaps and knees him in the face after learning, that the entire haunted storeroom thing was a ruse.
  • Take a Third Option: In episode 9, when Zange is forcing Jin to choose between her or Tsumugi to date in order to shake off rumors of him being gay, he's starts to say Tsumugi's name until Nagi mentions that he should simply hang out with both girls. Which ends up making things worse for him, as now the students suspect him of being promiscuous.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Jin at first complains about his new living arrangement with Nagi, but later on comes to enjoy her company, and and strongly protests when she jokingly suggests that she should just go live with Takako. When Nagi eventually runs away Jin's house, he goes out to search for her and bring her home.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Shino's cousin Miyuu. Introduced in chapter 21 of the manga.
  • The Trickster: There is a very strong (and amusing) streak of The Trickster in Nagi. Note the way she concocts the story that she is Jin's sister, her lie about having a split personality to "explain" her super-gluing her magic wand to Jin's table, and the way she sneaks herself into Jin's school initially.
  • Tsundere: Nagi, Tsumugi does this occasionally as well.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Nagi has a marvellous Tsurime Eyes.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Tsugumi. One episode/chapter showcases how many of the embarrassing secrets of Jin's youth she remembers.
    • Hakuha, Zange's host body, turns out to have been a childhood friend of Jin's as well, but he can't remember her.
  • Unprovoked Pervert Payback: Tsugumi enters Jin's home and walks in on him as he's naked and just finished showering... Tsugumi actually slaps him for it.
  • Unwanted Harem - Tsugumi, Zange, Nagi and Hakua (the girl whose body Zange has taken over). It is revealed in chapter 27 of the manga that Hakua had met Jin when they were children and had developed a crush on him.
  • Verbal Tic: Miyuu ends most of her sentences with "suno".
  • Wham Episode: A few in the manga.
    • The first was chapter 25, which details Hakua's past. She was tormented by the evil spirits and ghosts of war and suicide victims, and in the end nearly succeeds in hanging herself before Zange takes control of her body.
    • The next came in chapter 36, the infamous chapter that riled up several otaku over Nagi's "purity". Zange has brought together enough impurities to fully recreate Nagi's old lover Ozuma, who appears before her and Jin at the amusement park. Nagi then absorbs Ozuma and becomes a tainted god, asking Zange to exorcise her and Ozuma from the world.
    • The latest Wham Episode is chapter 40, and it's probably the most significant. Zange succeeds in exorcising Nagi, though she seems to not remember why she was so ruthlessly compelled to do so in the first place. Jin becomes furious at Zange for her actions, and refuses to speak to her after that. As a result, Hakua expels Zange from her body and forcefully reclaims it. In the morning, an unnamed character arrives in Kannagi, and notes that it's the last known location of Ozuma.
  • Wishful Projection: Kannagi will often berate Jin for not being her stereotypical vision of a loyal vassal who doesn't think for himself, just as the goddess expects of him. This often leads to powerful arguments between the two.
  • Yaoi Fangirl:
    • Takako of the Art Club is, behind her exterior of a tough critic, prone to examining the boys in the club, and when she sees friendly interaction between Daitetsu and Jin, gets a nosebleed.
    • Let's not get into what kind of trouble Akiba gets into when the Art Club appraises his pile of manga, including manga targeted at females.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel: Nagi has an onusa that is attached to a cheap Magical Girl wand. There's also a shide in the series logo (see the picture at the top of the page), which has four segments, each of which has one of four hiragana characters from the title on it.

Alternative Title(s): Kannagi