OP Sequence

OP: 「Birth」 by 喜多村英梨 (Kitamura Eri)

「死の谷I」 (Shi no Tani I)
“The Valley of Death I”

More mythology than fantasy. This episode introduces the world, but it doesn’t really begin to explain itself.

And On The First Day

This episode mainly introduces us to the mythology of the KamiNai’s world and explains why it is the way it is today. God made the world in six days, and on the seventh he knobbed off and said “See ya, losers!” I’ve read quite a few mythologies, some fictional and the rest…let’s call them historical, and I can’t think of one where the god(s) abandoning a world had such a direct effect on the laws of nature. Usually the whole place just descends into bone-grinding chaos and evil, but they don’t have a natural law like death just up and break! For that alone this series is interesting, even if that makes me wonder about the mental state of the author. What kind of a person imagines a world where god actually tells everybody “I have failed” and leaves? What a dick! (Their god, not the original author. Probably. I dunno, I’ve never met em.)

Enter Ai (Toyosaki Aki), the gravekeeper in charge of preparing the graves for the 47 people of her village, so they won’t have to around as undead monstrosities that definitely aren’t the zed word. (Though they get to sort of keep their minds, so that’s cool. Their heads? Not always.) A loli that digs holes…is this a new moe mode? I don’t know, but I think we should keep her away from Andy, even though she doesn’t have the big bangs that he likes. Moving on.

Taking Itself Seriously

This is probably personal preference on my part, but hear me out: if there’s one thing I don’t like about this series, it’s how seriously it takes itself. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a serious story, but it feels like this one is taking itself more seriously than it deserves. It’s acting like this is the grandest of tales – and sure, people being unable to die would be that – but actually, they can die, can’t they? Sure, they might not be able to rest without a gravekeeper, but you can sure as hell make them stop living, as silver-haired bishie murderer Hampnie Hambart (Namikawa Daisuke) proved quite well. So it really comes down to an extra, mandatory step in the dying process. Whoopdie doo.

Now, the whole no-more-children-being-born thing – which was only vaguely alluded to in how happy Anna (Watanabe Akeno) and Youki (Nojima Hirofumi) were to have a child in this day and age – is a pretty big deal. Perhaps my problem is that they introduced us to this high-flying, world-spanning crisis, and it’s hard to connect that to our main characters. I think of Robotics;Notes, which, while enjoyable, suffered from a gap between the relatively mundane main characters and the world-wide scoop of the problems they were trying to deal with.

Human, or Gravekeeper?

The one thing that could invalidate my previous concern would be if Hampnie and/or Ai are truly suited to tackle the world-spanning crisis we’ve been introduced to. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised. Hampnie definitely knows more about the world if he’s willing to go around killing (un-living?) an entire village in one go, and as for Ai, there’s the question of whether she is a gravekeeper at all. She has emotions and acts like a human, but if she’s not a gravekeeper then why did Hampnie let her bury all those people? (Though maybe he just wanted to double-check.) And how did Ai’s mother (or her “mother”) rest in peace after her burial if Ai wasn’t a gravekeeper? Okay, okay, so an easy answer there – another gravekeeper like Scar (Noto Mamiko) could have come around and done the job for her after the fact, like she probably did this episode. Still, the question remains – if Ai wasn’t a gravekeeper, why did everybody tell her? Or is she a different kind of gravekeeper altogether?

The problem right now is that the story isn’t explaining itself…yet. That’s good for hooking us in and making us want more, but I feel like too little was explained in this episode! I don’t blame Madhouse, though – this show is adapted from a novel series, and if we were reading the book then we could just turn to the next chapter and find out more. As is, we have to wait a whole week. Ahhh! Oh well, it’ll be here soon enough. Until then, at least we have plenty of pictures of Ai-chan.

Looking Ahead

KamiNai, you got some ‘splainin’ to do! Old TV references aside, I’m looking forward to digging into Hampnie and Ai’s stories more, and see if they really are as important as all that. I’ll be covering this show until Zanibas gets back from his Bigfoot hunting expedition, so expect the posts for this show to come out on Sundays for the next few weeks.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – And on the seventh day, god was a dick. The mythology of the world is laid out as Hampnie makes his guns-blazing entrance. Poor Ai #kaminai

Random thoughts:

  • I like that Hampnie was actually willing to fight a little girl – that’s refreshing gender equality(?) right there. Also, loli punt!
  • Naked loli, candy loli, happy loli digging graves. Weird. It’s the summer of lolis indeed!
  • She already dug all the plots. Uh, what was she going to do if it rained? Though I guess they came in handy. She finished just in time…which is exactly the kind of convenient timing that annoys me, to be honest.
  • “You’re very handsome.” I must admit, I enjoyed Ai yanking Hampnie around. They could have a good dynamic, once she stops moping around.
  • If you liked this, you should definitely check out Gen’ei wo Kakeru Taiyou. It also has lolis in despair, but with more emphasis on the atmosphere, the mystery, and with oodles and oodles of style. Highly recommended.

For more from yours truly, check out my blog on writing, art, and the book I’m working on at stiltsoutloud.com.

Full-length images: 13, 36.


ED Sequence

ED: 「終わらないメロディーを歌いだしました。」 (Owaranai Melody wo Utaidashimashita.) by 小松未可子 (Komatsu Mikako)



  1. Imagine no longer needing to worry about eating, sleeping, healing, or anything of that nature. Eventually, you’ll lose a lot of screws. Sure, there’s a Gravekeeper who could eventually put you down, but how long is it after those screws are gone? That village managed to last for 47 deaths. Meaning that’s a long, long time since people where alive there.

    Also, if there are 47 deaths before Hampnie did anything to them, that would roughly mean there are 47 different ways of death. That would probably mean some of them died gruesome deaths. Yet, all better. I don’t think what Hampnie does will work long term. Short term, sure.

    I really would like more information. This has a pretty good start, but we’re having to do a little too much guess work at the beginning. Heck, for all we know this isn’t a “God(s)” leaving the world issue either.

  2. I’ve heard and seen a lot of this show(in LN and manga) and I can say with certainty:

    This will be good.

    It’s just sad that they had to cut all that child abuse and blood and put censor lights in episode 1. I expect the BD will have them as extra scenes.

  3. Hrm… so God goes through all the trouble of making the world only to realize that he’s royally fudged up and just up and calls it quits ’cause he doesn’t feel like trying anymore, eh?

    Goodness, it’s a good thing all those nameless people who wrote the Bible are all dust in the wind (great song to listen to on a rainy day, btw) now; otherwise they’d be seriously pissed and suing for copyright infringement, indeed. -Nod nod-

    Anyways, decent first ep. Tad bit slow on the uptake so far, so here’s hoping it picks up the pace next time. ;>

      1. Public domain? Depends on the version and where you live. Because translations are protected by copyright just like original works, bibles are generally in copyright until 50-70 years after the death of the last surviving translator, or up to 120 years after they were first published. And despite having been first published in the 17th century, the Authorized Version of the bible is still in copyright in the UK until 2039.

  4. The mythology of the world held my interest for a short while and I thought it was a pretty interesting spin on an otherwise well known sequence of events but other than that… I couldn’t find myself being hooked at all within these 23 minutes.

    When I realized that people weren’t dying, it didn’t spark much of a response from me other than to think, “oh so this is a zombie anime”. The dead keep moving so God sent Gravekeepers as a means to repent for his past failure? It honestly sounds nice when I think about it but for some reason or another, things seemed to fall a bit short for me in the end.

  5. I didn’t mind the lack of answers so far since I’m sure they’re all going to be answered down the road… I liked it =) The atmosphere of the show reminds me of ef somehow (until everyone started dying T_T). Could be the character designs lol

    So far it’s probably my favorite premiere of the new season ^^ very happy with it.

  6. Does anyone remember Neil Gaimen’s graphic novel Sandman? There is an arc where Lucifer quits, and all the damned souls get turned out into the living world. Earlier on, too, there was some hinting to the disastrous outcome should ever the personification of Death go missing.

    Obviously this anime is different on multiple points; I’m just reminded of one of my favourite comics of all time. There certainly weren’t any lolis to whack zombies with a shovel or whatever in that one. But Kaminai certainly has the potential for hidden depth, with a mix of philosophical (the lack of what Tolkien would call the mortal ‘gift’ of death) and the spiritual (dealing with an absentee God). Of course nothing at all may come out of it all in the end, but it certainly catches one’s interest in the meantime.

    1. Terry Pratchett also delved into that a bit in the Discworld series, during the aptly named Death arc. With some interesting ramifications…

      Once again, just wanted to plug one of my favorite authors that totally doesn’t need it 😀

  7. If i remember correctly, the synopsis for the series mentioned that people stopped being born 15 years ago. But isnt Ai 12? how does that work? Is it something addressed later in the series?

    as much as I like my lolis, Ai’s head is a bit too big ^^; Seems like her neck can snap any moment

      1. She’s(probably) half-Gravekeeper and half-human.

        If, say, that her mom is a Gravekeeper(not human), then she’d be immune to the effects of God’s abandoning humanity(since she’s not human). Ergo, if humans can’t reproduce, probably female Gravekeepers can.

        That’s the only way I can see it, probably.

    1. Yeah, I’m kind of hoping the older character that looks similar to Ai in the opening is really her after a timeskip, since I feel like her body needs to grow to be more proportionate to her head.

      That’s probably just her mother, though.

  8. Probably going to be one the best shows of the season, it definitely had one of the strongest pilot episodes. Really interesting concept too, I don’t want to see Ai suffer too much though, she’s so cuteeeeeeeeee. =(

  9. The first thing that struck me about this show was the gorgeous colour palette – rich pinks and purples and bright oranges and yellows. I hope the artwork holds up and this wasn’t another example of a studio blowing the budget on the first episode.

    Just one small point. The opening sequence (at least with the subs I watched) implies that God created the world in a week and then left on the Sunday after. However, we can see from the OP that the story is clearly set in at least the 20th century. God didn’t leave on the Sunday after creation, he just left on a Sunday a long time after that.

    1. Or they were using the word “days” rather loosely. I’ve heard some people argue that the “days” of creation in a certain IRL religion aren’t days as we would see them, but something like eons, and they’re called days in that religion’s favorite book because…I don’t know. I thought it was all baloney, but just throwing it out there. Maybe their god’s days are different, maybe what you said, maybe something else!

  10. I’m already really loving this show but it gives me some questions that might be hard to answer or so obvious that I need help.

    If God abandoned the world on the seventh day(?) and people stopped being born 15 years ago, then approx. how old is Hampnie? He looks and sounds about his early 20s, but when exactly was 15 years ago? Was that the time when people stopped being born? Was that when God abandoned them? Was God’s abandonment the cause of no birth for 15 years, and assuming there were only 2 people when God created Earth….just WTF is going on??

    I literally just mindfucked myself speechless by looking too far ahead too early. And I mindfucked myself because the thought of 15 years ago, and Hampnie smoking gets to me, cause how can anybody exist if God didn’t create them, but did he abandon them 15 years ago? Or was that when creation ceased but people lived before God?……

    … You know what? I’ll simply shut the fuck up and wait for more answers.

    Note to self: Bible logic + “Kami-sama no inai Nichiyoubi” logic = MINDFUCK +9000

    1. Pretty much that, yeah. Remember, we’re in mythology-ville here, so chances are some creative liberties are being taken by those telling all these stories, if not by the original author as well.

  11. I really like the atmosphere and art of this. Been anticipating this since it was announced.

    It also has the Chihayafuru feels with will all those vibrant colors I guess.

  12. seems good enough to warrant a few more episodes. i’m definitely interested to see the truth, but i also don’t understand why the guy won’t just spill it out either. i also find it really hard to believe that you’d call anyone, no matter how good-looking they were, “handsome” after they pulled a gun on you. nevertheless, it seems interesting enough. god abandoned the world on the seventh day, huh? then what’s with the volkswagen van??? and what exactly was the village trying to accomplish by telling the girl she was a gravekeeper when she isn’t?? is it really okay for this young (albeit impressionable) girl to be following the man who essentially murdered her entire village? or does she somehow know that it was probably the right thing to do because it seems like they’ve been living for a very long time (or at least that old farmer who greeted her was).

    it definitely seems interesting, but i think it’s simply because there’s just a LOT of unanswered questions. why does a toy consume humans, and why is its name “humpnie humbert”?? it’s really crazy and i’m not sure how i feel about the humor in the midst of all the mystery and what i’m thinking is supposed to be a grimdark plot, but whatever i suppose. waiting for the next episode somewhat eagerly.

  13. This is the anime version of the Walking Dead, except these zombies are Resident Evil 6 zombies that can pick up and use weapons, and they can think for themselves just like in Hellsing.

    I know I’ll be watching this.

  14. I’m such a dork, I feel asleep before I posted what I had to say yesterday, anyways, this anime is gorgeous and it was a decent first episode. It gave just enough for me to come back for more. For me, I’m going to need another episode to decide if I’ll follow this all the way through.

  15. I’m not happy after reading this review you say you dislike about how this show take itself seriously ?? What’s bad about that ?? We rarely got anything like that anymore…
    Many people are tired of the ”funny joke” anime style where the story means nothing and everything random with the ep 6 beach episodes …

    Reading from your other review you like more show with cute loli or girl doing cute things
    That’s okay but please write a partial review about another kind of show too plz 🙁

    Your concern is not justified so far and you say nothing about the amazing animation ?
    this was realy good looking and the animation was realy well done .

    This show deserves way more credit that you give him , and I’m sorry if I’m talking like that , I’m just feeling many people will just not download this ep after read your review… And that’s a shame and your other concern about the show , you need to watch the EP 2-3-4-5-6 for understand the story , most of your concern will get a reply later probably.

    1. I said that I didn’t like that it feels like it’s taking itself more seriously than it is serious. I don’t have any problem with a serious show – Gen’ei was serious, and I enjoyed it immensely, as are the carry overs of Shingeki and Railgun – but this one doesn’t feel like it deserves the serious tone it’s painting itself with. Yet. That could (and hopefully will) change. It’s just my opinion.

      As for the animation, I don’t always mention everything. Yes, it’s very good, but I consider myself a storyteller, so I tend to focus more on the narrative than the visuals unless the visuals really reach out and surprise me.

      Oh, and I’ve introduced eight different shows since this season started, and I vary my tone depending on the show I’m writing about. Serious shows require a different tone than slice-of-life.

    2. Everyone has different opinions and tastes. With that being said, not all of the reviews has to be positive as different writers have different perspectives.
      Don’t get me wrong, I know how you feel as I experienced the same situation where I disliked some reviews written in RC though instead of complaining, I tried to understand the writer’s POV.

      As for the series itself IMO if you have read a lot of LNs with fantasy genre, KamiNai is very generic with its chuunibyou-like settings.

  16. That’s a lot of questions for 1st episode to raise…enough to make me believe that this show will be either good or bad,no middle ground.Hopping it’s the former as I’m actually pretty hyped by this one.

    As for some 1st impressions of the characters: Humpnie seem’s to be quite interesting while Ai not so much.

  17. God made the World in six days flat
    On the seventh he said, I’ll rest
    So he let the thing into orbit swing
    To give it a dry run test
    A billion years went by
    Then he took a look at the whirling blob
    His spirits fell as he shrugged
    Oh well, it was only a six-day job

    — Rhymes for the Irreverent, Chad Mitchell Trio

  18. Kind of surprised with the less than stellar review. Personally, I thought the atmosphere and “seriousness” was just fine. I can think of quite a few shows which take themselves “too seriously” before this one. Rather than “too serious”, my biggest disappointment with the EP was that Ai didn’t connect, fully connect, with the broadside of her shovel upside Hampnie Hambart’s head.

    No children a “pretty big deal”? I would think it’s a very big deal since unless everyone can figure out a way to get along = slow death for humanity which seems to be the way things are headed.

    I wouldn’t put it on the same high level as Monogatari, but for me, few shows will reach that level anyway. Unless it derails somehow, this show along with Monogatari is on a currently very short list of shows this season that have so far made the cut. I liked the first episode and I’m looking forward to the next.

  19. People need to be buried by a gravekeeper to be able to rest in peace. Assuming what Hampnie says is true and that Ai is not a gravekeeper, what happens to all those 47 people that she buried? They’re not resting in peace, so are they buried alive underground? That’s a bit morbid.

    Just another slight inconsistency. Hampnie said he cleanly blew off everyone’s heads. Anna and Youki barely look damaged!

    1. I don’t think that he meant it in terms of her ability (i.e people she buries are not “at peace”). If that was true, her mom would have clawed her way out long ago.

      I took his statement to mean that in Hampnie’s opinion a “real” grave keeper is entirely neutral. They don’t care how someone “dies” – which is great for him b/c he can murder all he wants and a “real” grave keeper couldn’t care less.

    2. When a corpse is buried, its soul come out and goes way up in sky, resting in peace.
      The lack of death in this world means that, without an entity to guide the souls to the underworld, people remain alive even with a severely damaged body.

      Regarding the graphics of the dead people, I think is a censorship for not shows the gruesome details.

  20. “What kind of a person imagines a world where god actually tells everybody “I have failed” and leaves? What a dick!”

    Well, at least this god leaves. “Our god” just watch people suffer and do nothing…

    This anime’s god seems to be more reasonable. I like it.

  21. Quite frankly, this episode wasn’t very interesting to me. After reading your post, Stilts, I realize it might have been that it does take itself more seriously than it is portrayed with the characters and atmosphere. It’s a bit disappointing of a first episode, nothing really grabs me besides that fact that Ai may or may not be a grave-keeper after all. I’ll of course keep watching and reading your reviews, but hopefully it knocks it up a notch.


Leave a Reply

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