So yeah I am lying out of my ass again, given how Macross is a pretty good love story as well, but Kannazuki no Miko does tell one of the better love stories within the mecha genre outside of the Macross Franchise.
I am pretty sure that at some point we have been overcome with an inexplicable desire to re-watch a series for little to no reason, not even the learned folk like IKnight are above flights of whimsical actions, even more so for crude soldaten like myself. Besides just watching Shin’s “so sorry for the BL here have some yuri vid” made me want to take a short trip to see an old friend to play some Wii and borrow some anime. I remember back in the ye olde days when I was still swapping series and one of my buddies loaned me Kannazuki no Miko for Gundam Wing (Yes, way back then I bought all of Gundam Wing for about 30 USD a disk) way back when the former was new and I did not have broadband. I am not sure where Kannazuki no Miko would fit in IKnight’s Mecha Tree if it even fits in at all. Nevertheless as part of the more distant branches I am sure that Kannazuki no Miko gave an impassioned confession for a love most pure atop the Tree of Mecha bringing Gao Gai Gar almost to tears and G made Gundam wish that it possessed such eloquence. Oh and it shot an arrow in Evangelion’s face to make it cry some more. Though Kannazuki no Miko has its share of detractors (you know who you are) KnM as a love story does work. So watching it again made me fall in love with the series once more. (So yeah there are plenty of spoilers, just in case you weren’t there back in the ye olde days.)
Yeah yuri in mah mecha! The thought never did occur back in 2005 to me though it was a pleasant surprise.
Being an idiot I at first did think that Himeko only saw Chikane as a friend… some friend eh?
The very misleading OP.
I admit that Kannazuki does fail as a pure representative of the mecha genre because the action was generic and boring, the mecha themselves were not appealing to me. However like a good mecha series the shift focused on something far better than technical specs and recycled shots. At the time I was fooled by the OP into thinking that it was spoilerific, it was but I would later find that it was all a very elaborate deception that was masterfully pulled off. It was also my first contact with the glory that is yuri so I was rather shocked and awed to see that Chikane’s long foreshadowed betrayal was so devastating in a very surprising way. I was fooled the first time into thinking that like every other mecha show I had watched that this was going to be full of action, and then Chikane kissed Himeko in first episode, my first flag that this series was some how special. Now I was familiar with the idea that young girls could be into other young girls, but I had never seen an anime at that point where two would actually kiss. Suffice to say I was quite taken with Chikane Himemiya from the start. Not only was her love from the outset seemingly doomed but she was everything I encourage all my younger girl cousins to aspire to, elegant, composed, subtly powerful, and possessed with an intensity of purpose that I could never attain.
They will always have Paris their Rose Garden.
While the mecha action was pretty stale as a love story it worked incredibly well, though I have doubts that it could have worked had Chikane been replaced by a dude. For one thing Chikane’s Rape the Dog moment would not have been even remotely forgivable had it been a guy. I am sure there is a double standard here, but for some reason since it was a rather unorthodox way to go about it and the lack of possible penetration from the predominant position I can’t seem denounce it as rape, but it does fit the legal definition of sexual assault or sexual misconduct (Yes I hang out with too many cops). Given the limited options of the situation it didn’t involve intercourse as we usually see it (which is the usual point at where rape in the modern context is defined) even though consent was not given. Secondly the love story worked so well because it was seemingly forbidden and even in the real world frowned upon. For the romance to have worked in a heterosexual context the reasoning would have had to have been contrived to the extreme.
A moon only shines because of the sun.
The romance aspect was by far the strongest aspect over shadowing even the theme of abuse and betrayal that all of the Orochi shared. While some had rather weak motivations for wanting to destroy the world they were all hurt and angry that an uncaring world would allow for such terrible things to happen to them. Chikane’s road towards her decision were much more well defined than the rest of the casts’ we see her trying to let go of Himeko going so far as to present Himeko in a more refined package for Soma to take, but ultimately her affections and her anger over her inability to protect Himeko led her to attempt treachery. When Ogami Soma was not involved Chikane was content at just being friends, but once Himeko started dating a boy the thought of losing her one special person wounded her in a very profound way because Chikane could never have the kind of relationship she wanted, so she thought. For most of the first half we have the shounen type hero defeating his enemies and fight his brother as the main rival. Soma was at first a viable candidate for ending with Himeko, and his upstaging wasn’t really complete until the hither to hetero Himeko proved that she was bi or a closet lesbian by kissing Chikane. The whole childhood friend card was a devious way to hide the true pairing until the very end given the additional “live so that I may confess my love” schtick Soma used before the final showdown, I expected Chikane to be redeemed, but I never thought that it was possible for Chikane and Himeko to be together the way she wanted. I wanted that kind of end, but didn’t think it was possible nor dare to seriously dream that it was.
Good thing these two ladies have more than 2-5 opportunites a year to meet.
It did feel as if both Chikane and Himeko had enjoyed a long courtship with their mutual support of one another Himeko’s friendship to Chikane was fulfilling and unconditional, while Chikane’s support allowed the self deprecating Himeko achieve more in her photography and with Soma. While Chikane gave in early on to her realization that her love was strange there were hints that Himeko probably felt the same way though her two dates with the alleged hero and the scandalously misleading OP would have had us believe that her heart belonged to Soma. I admit it was heart breaking to see Chikane martyr herself for the sake of Himeko, and it made this soldaten very sad. While it was nice of Chikane to lavish attention on Himeko and sneak a subtle peak at her beloved it was clear each time how much it hurt her to urge Himeko on in a direction that would eventually doom the relationship they had. What seemed to be Chikane’s fall from grace was not entirely deplorable because it seemed that her unrequited love would indeed go on one-sided forever and that added an air of tragedy to her not often found in mecha where it always inevitably means losing some one to circumstances beyond their control, i.e. war.
If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty boy your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an archer girl to marry you
Chikane’s listing of reasons why she loves Himeko while seemingly crazy was in some ways kind of sweet as well. If it was a deception then it was a very well done ruse on the part of the writers who conveyed the depths of Chikane’s forlorn love for Himeko. While I brushed off most of the early hints of yuri action as typical implied lesbianism reminiscent of Card Captor Sakura, it turned out that it was an elaborate set up for a ChikanexHimeko end. The reason for her betrayal was fairly well executed and made it all but impossible to denounce everything Chikane had done given how killing the love of yur life every lifetime might drive you a bit mad. Where in a previous life Chikane chose the world this time she wanted to choose neither the world nor her own happiness but Himeko. I never was a fan of heterosexual love suicides that I read about in Japanese History class mostly because elopement seemed like a viable option and it usually involved a male lout who was going to abandon his wife for a beloved prostitute. Here however no elopement would have been possible and they would have been scorned or otherwise maligned no matter where they went.
The blossoming of flowers is but a pale comparison the the beauty of their love.
“A moon shines because of the sun” is about the most eloquent confession I have ever heard in all of anime and it fit in well with the theme of Himeko and Chikane being the sun and the moon. It was a rather unique inversion of the typical one male one female deity for the sun and the moon, and it shared some parallels with Tolkien’s ideas for Tilion and Arien where the moon became scarred because it had sought to catch up to its beloved sun. I also liked the accidental nod to Artemis with Chikane and her bow. The photo album surprisingly came to hold special significance and as a guy who was quite familiar with how Stalin was able to photoshop people out it was especially haunting how Chikane had disappeared from Himeko’s book of memories. Along with the fact that it was not full also added to the tragic nature of the love story. I think few tragedies in anime, certainly not in any other mecha show I have ever seen, ever come close to such a heart warming confession of love. I am sure that it was only tragic because they were both girls. After all if the impossibility of Himeko returning Chikane’s affections was not present then it would have been kind of sappy and overly long. It is debatable whether Chikane and Himeko’s last words on the moon were written well or terribly clichéd, but in the context of a seemingly doomed love it came off as rather tear jerky and sweet. It began with a birthday kiss from Chikane, it ended with a birthday kiss from Himeko there is something strangely profound about that. In the end love wins out and they fall in love again.
Oh sweet… I love cookies!
In all Kanazuki no Miko is probably one of the best love stories ever woven in the mecha genre though in doing so violates many rules and essentially trampled on the spirit of in which it was created there is no GAR, there are no upgrades, and the mecha are not the real stars. Thus as a pure mecha show it sucks on that front, nevertheless it does demonstrate that as a genre mecha does not have to be in total control to make a good story and that not all of mecha is populated by winners of the male stripe. It seems to this blogger that the mecha were added as an elaborate cover to what Kannazuki really was and served nicely to demonstrate Chikane’s powerlessness in the face of Orochi. That is by far one of the most brilliant uses of giant robots I have ever come across, and besides I like writers proficient in deception.
They fell in love again.