Kannagi – 11
One day while Nagi absorbs herself with her favorite TV show, Loliko Cutie, Jin wonders exactly why Loliko has to fight off those wimpy bad guys one by one. It doesn’t seem like there’s really a point or end-goal, so he can’t understand why Nagi likes it so much. Nagi, however, completely identifies with the adorable girl-heroine, and mimics her powerfully and profoundly cute poses after a weapon-upgrade.
As they begin eating dinner (from the convenience store), this gets Nagi thinking that maybe she needs an upgrade on her wand, too. Jin tells her she should use the one she’s got, and reminds her that while she’s done nothing but play around lately (like, watching TV and going to Karaoke), she hasn’t even used it to fight off impurities like she should be. Averting her gaze, Nagi says she was thinking about starting again tomorrow… In response to his perfectly responsible lecture, Nagi grumbles violently and steals the last of Jin’s conbini katsu, shoving all of it into her mouth as quickly as possible as revenge for him insisting that she use her old wand instead of buying a new one.
When Jin shakes Nagi violently, demanding she return his katsu, she accidentally presses the power switch for the TV, and a local commercial featuring Zange-chan distracts them from their argument. She tries to advertise for her debut CD (inspired no doubt from karaoke recently), even as the journalist interviewing her tells her it’s strictly prohibited to do that on her program. Nagi switches it off quickly, thinking Zange’s head is getting a little too big lately, but Jin notes the irony.
He leaves the room to answer a phone call from one of Zange’s stalkers who is upset that she has publicly shown favor to Jin. He hangs up on the caller, saying that he’s had a lot of those types of calls lately, but gets immediately interrupted by another. While he fights off Zange’s obsessed fans, Nagi heads to the bath to prepare for her busy day hunting impurities tomorrow. Jin returns to the living room and starts thinking about how he first met Nagi, and their first week or so together, fighting the impurities with the wand he bought for her. He starts thinking maybe it really is getting a little worn out, so he cleans it up with some new paper and tape to give it a good makeover.
When Nagi comes out of the shower to find the refreshed wand waiting for her, she seems really pleased. She takes it into the kitchen where Jin is washing dishes, and even though he offers to buy her a new one tomorrow (as long as it’s no more than 3000 yen or so), she sweetly and brightly declines his offer, saying this wand will do just fine. Showing rarely seen appreciation, Nagi becomes very motivated for tomorrow’s adventures, counting on his help as well.
At school the next day, Nagi barges into the men’s restroom chasing a butterfly impurity. With pathetically bad aim, she completely misses the swift shadow-like creature, and soon crashes her wand directly onto Jin’s head as he appears from behind to help. He daftly catches the butterfly as it very nearly escapes from the open bathroom window, but unfortunately crashes onto the rooftop below after falling over the edge in the process.
Rumors once again begin to spread about Jin because of his recent injuries as he walks through the hallway looking increasingly like a zombie or a character from Zetsubou Sensei, and he runs into Daitetsu when he exits a nearby classroom. Standing several feet away to avoid making old rumors worse, Daitetsu warns him earnestly that he should stay away from Nagi, or just wind up more hurt in the process.
In the art room that day, everyone (including Jin) discusses his current situation. Shino shows everyone a cute handmade 5-panel cartoon she drew to explain how a boy in low spirits who gets a lot of attention and then subsequently dumped will end up much worse off than when he started. After listening to this lecture and his friend’s concerns in shock, Jin is forced to admit to everyone that perhaps the amount of injuries he’s received lately is a bit unreasonable. Nagi bubbly walks in, not really realizing whose fault this is, joking that she’ll fix him right up with her magic wand. In disbelief, Jin drags her outside to talk privately. Watching them leave, Takako fantasizes about all the girls around Jin as if they were in a visual romance novel game, but Shino says it can’t be helped since it seems like they’re all courting him at once. If only he would choose a favorite…
Behind the school, Jin finally vents all his built up frustration, blaming his recent bad luck on Nagi, who doesn’t disagree at all. It dawns on him that he might really die at the rate things are going, and vows to stop helping her from now on. Nagi doesn’t understand what’s come over him all of a sudden, and tells him her goal is and has always been to catch and cleanse impurities as much as she can. Jin isn’t satisfied with this simplistic answer though, and wants to know more about the impurities. According to Nagi, they aren’t found everywhere – only in Kannagi. This isn’t a normal town. When he asks why their town isn’t normal, she can only shrug and say she doesn’t know. Jin becomes irate because he wants to know *why* she is required to do this seemingly endless trivial task. What’s the real purpose behind everything? Why is it only their city?
The clouds overhead begin to darken as the questions pile up and Nagi finds herself increasingly unable to answer. She becomes angry and backlashes at Jin for all the intruding questions that are really none of his business. However, Jin straightforwardly points out the trend that every time he asks about the motives behind her goddess duties, she becomes furious when she can’t answer. She frustratedly admits that it’s because she doesn’t truly know, herself. In a final fit of anger, Jin shouts that if she doesn’t understand, all she has to do is THINK! It’s unacceptable to continue the way things are when she hasn’t even thought about why she’s doing it.
At this, Nagi tears up and runs away, Jin is left to ponder why everything she does has such vague reasoning. While he’s lost in his thoughts, he runs into Zange’s father in the hallway, who gives him a hard time for the injuries and his rumored relationship with Zange. In his office, he lightheartedly apologizes for the misunderstanding, and for taking out his feelings on the wrong target.
Jin asks his teacher if he can talk to him about Nagi, and confesses that she’s actually a (self-proclaimed) goddess. He listens to Jin’s story and dwells over it in all seriousness, and starts talking about the history of spirits and possession stories, and how it might relate to the two sisters – Nagi and Zange. Normally, when a spirit takes over someone’s body, (such as in Zange’s case since she took over his daughter’s body), one might be compelled to perform an exorcism. But he doesn’t feel like she’s an evil spirit. Speaking briefly about Shinto traditions, he reveals that there are not as many concrete rules compared to some other religions, and certainly not very many with an infinite number of gods. Jin shouldn’t take Nagi’s word for it that she’s a god just because she says so, and should investigate if it’s at all possible. His teacher doesn’t think they’re evil spirits, but he can’t really be sure if they’re gods if he can’t confirm the truth. Jin thinks hard but can find very few examples of behavior from Nagi that aren’t mundane or selfish. Jin’s teacher wraps things up by throwing his personal thoughts out there: It’s possible that either each girl has her own goals for claiming to be a god, or maybe it’s that they falsely believe that they’re gods.
Meanwhile, Nagi sits on the school roof and wonders why she let herself get so irritable at Jin. She closes her eyes and begins to think deeply about the underlying reasons behind her current lifestyle. Her inner personality tells her loving words about her followers. She watches over them all happily, enjoying her job as a god – except for the impurities that harm her. She still doesn’t understand why it’s only in this town. In a past conversation with Tsugumi, she told Nagi that Jin joined the art club to find himself, but ended up just copying Daitetsu, rendering it meaningless. Her response to Tsugumi was that if there’s something you don’t understand, all you have to do is think about it and try your best to figure things out for yourself – words she tries to live by…
She dwells on her own double standard, agreeing that it’s meaningless to work so hard towards a goal without even thinking about the reasons why – like how she’s fighting the impurities one by one. Her mind begins to darken as she wonders if there’s truly any meaning behind her actions. She turns unstable as she fights within herself and her memories of Jin’s words, screaming that it should be fine to go on the way things are without understanding why. After all, she isn’t doing anything wrong..
A scary image of Jin reaching towards her angrily with a black hand jolts Nagi from her inner thoughts. As the rain begins to fall, tears also stream down her cheeks as she realizes that all this time she didn’t understand herself. On top of that, she never even realized until now that she didn’t understand herself.
Jin leaves the classroom in dark spirits after his teacher tells him that if there’s something you don’t understand your only option is to work it out. First walking slowly, then breaking into a run, Jin rushes to the library to research from a relevant book, but it’s just full of uncertainties. He wonders how he should go about researching something like this, and accidentally drops the library card from the book as he stands up to return it. He immediately notices that Nagi’s name is the most recent addition to the list of borrowers…
Outside on the rainy rooftop, Nagi is nowhere to be seen, but her precious wand remains, becoming damaged in the stormy weather.
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This is the beginning of the end, and things are finally getting slightly serious (this is all relative, of course). Starting out at Jin’s house, Nagi is watching her favorite loli-show, and Jin questions Loliko’s reasons for fighting. It seems to him like she’s just fighting bad guy after bad guy with no real grasp on the why or what for. Nagi, however, completely identifies with the evil-fighting cutie. At first this is all fun and games, but after Jin reminds Nagi that she hasn’t been attending her own duties as a goddess lately, she promises to get back to work with her newly rejuvenated wand. After sustaining considerable injuries through helping Nagi, Jin fears for his life enough to drive the point home a bit deeper. He wants Nagi to tell him why she must fight off impurities, and if she doesn’t know why, then just think about it until she figures it out. At first Nagi is upset with Jin, but she comes to realize he’s right, and by the end of the episode she has disappeared, leaving only her wand behind to fall apart in the rain.
After suffering so much because of not only Nagi, but Zange too (the harassing phone calls from desperate men), I’m surprised Jin has any sanity left, but it’s no surprise at all that he vented his anger at Nagi after he was beaten up a little too much in addition to her flippant attitude. I’m glad he spit his feelings out into the open though, because I hate it when characters just sit on their feelings and let situations inflame out of sheer mis-/non-communication. He has noticed the clear trend of Nagi getting furiously angry with him every time he brings up this touchy subject, but he hit the head on the nail when he said it was up to her to figure out the reason she must do these things if she doesn’t already know. There’s no use getting angry, but there’s something deeply wrong with simply performing her odd goddess duties without the faintest clue as to why. Look for metaphors here where you will, and keep any movies regarding ants out of it.
In her fuzzy memories and slight mental breakdown, Nagi knows that Jin is right, and the episode ends with her decision to do something about it. What that is exactly is yet to be seen, but I’m looking forward to next week. I feel like the clouds and the rainstorm were purposely building up to parallel Nagi’s feelings. All the way from the sunny morning, slightly cloudy afternoon, and building storm. The serious side of the show isn’t so bad. I think it’s because they’ve mastered the art of being both heartwarming and funny. Even if you take the funny away from that, the characters are so well developed and moving that I think I’ll be easily satisfied with the upcoming ending.