First Impressions – Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi

You have to be the cutest gravedigger I’ve ever seen

I watched the pre-air, but I had to wait for the higher quality actual episode to come out. It was the best quality pre-air I’ve ever seen, but still not nice enough for screencaps. So now here we are with a review for the first episode!
Maybe the best first episode I’ve seen so far this season, Kami-nai is here~. …Or however your shorten this anime’s name. Anyways, I was pleased with what I saw this episode and it doesn’t look like Ai will be grating on my nerves like she did with me at the beginning of the manga.

The Twilight Zone

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Some kids play jump rope to pass time…others dig graves

Kara // As expected of Madhouse, this looked really nice. I’m not really a fan of Ai’s overly moe appearance, but it worked well with the entire art style they had going on overall. The lighting of the whole thing was REALLY nice as well. The constant twilight lighting (except that on time it was night) setting was really nice. It also worked well with the dead-but-not-really world in a kind of symbolic way. Or at least, it made everything look kind of surreal. As for the pacing, I was thinking that Hampnie killing the villagers and Ai burying them wouldn’t even happen until the next episode. So this was a nice surprise where I was expecting something slower and less action orientated.

Life Without Death

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Cool // Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi (or Kami-nai) takes place in a world where no one is born and no one ever dies. The status quo remains the same. It’s interesting that all this happened because God realized he had run out of space in Hell or Heaven, said “OOPSIE”, and decided to screw everyone over by keeping them on Earth. You would think immortality – the one secret humanity constantly strives to unveil – wouldn’t be so bad. It is.

The “living forever” trade-off is immediately portrayed as being undesirable. Instead of showing possible benefits, Ai explains how horrible it is that people can be mortally wounded to the point where they’re beyond human recognition, but still be alive. Imagine being burnt into a repulsive mound of flesh by a fire and then still being alive. God created Gravekeepers to decide whether or not to kill these zombie-like creatures, thereby granting them peace. Otherwise, they’ll stay fully conscious in whatever godawful state they’re in.

What makes the Gravekeeper job so fascinating is that these people aren’t quite as much like zombies as I initially thought. At least, that’s what I gathered from the state of the guy who had half his brain blown to bits. He was far from being a brainless zombie, and was only interested in saving Ai. Not in devouring her or anything. That means these Gravekeepers aren’t killing monsters, but deciding when to put innocent people to rest. They have to decide when it’s right to bury someone or not. In normal cases, would they just let that man walk around normally with his face blown off or would a Gravekeeper force him into a coffin just because he “should have” died? I really hope that’s the case and people don’t just become zombies, but it makes for an interesting issue to provoke a myriad of moral dilemmas.

My Humps, My Humps, My Humps

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Kara // Let’s talk about Hampnie Hambert, the man-eating toy or whatever he calls himself. …I feel like I know too much about him due to the manga, but let’s focus on what this episode chose to show us. Already, he’s pretty damn interesting. For seemingly no reason, he kills off an entire village, but yet, he leaves Ai alive even after he attacked her. He’s also using a fake name and knows a lot about gravekeepers. …Or maybe Ai was just never informed about them properly due to plot reasons.

I thought he was an okay character at the beginning of the series (he definitely fits within my preferred character archetype), but Hampnie does get REALLY interesting as the plot goes on. The person he’s looking for is a part of that, but he also has … circumstances. Plus his opinions of the world itself are pretty interesting (though that might be expected of a guy who slaughters an entire village and then makes an underaged girl bury them after kicking her ass). Does Hampnie have good reasons to kill the villagers, or is he just an asshole? Well, that should be revealed in the upcoming episodes. So if you’re worried about him being too one dimensional, don’t be too worried. He has his reasons, and they should be revealed fairly quickly. …Though whether you think they’re good reasons or not is up to you I guess.

————————————————

Final Thoughts

Ah, good. They skipped a lot of the plot where Ai lived peacefully in the village with her surrogate mother and father (which was only useful for setting up thier later death scene to be more emotional… though it did hint at the villagers hiding something from Ai). So points to this episode for pacing. As for everything else, I don’t know what to say, other than it met my expectations nicely. The animation was nice, I liked the voice acting and I think it transferred over pretty well from the manga. As for the plot, like I said before on the summer preview, I’m really fond of the storyline. It can be a little confusing at first, but everything does seem to sort itself out eventually and this series has a lot of interesting little secrets despite how simple the plot presented itself this episode. I look forward to seeing the storyline reveal things~.

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this show, since even it doesn’t know what it’s trying to be. The lighting and direction often goes for the dark, ominous feel. Everything is cast in the orange light of the sunset, as if night and all manner of terrible things are about to come the second that light is extinguished. The entire concept is also pleasantly dark: there’s a 12 year old who has to put people “to sleep” because no one dies. The concept itself sold me on the show instantly.

The downside here is that 12 year old looks like she tumbled out of shoujo anime. Ai has hands that are scarcely bigger than a box of matches and eyes big enough that you could probably see them from space if you tried. The magical girl attire really boosts her moe levels through the roof to the point where it’s cloying. I have no clue why they’d go for moe given how edgy and dark literally everything else in the show strives to be. Humbert’s design is a bit better, if not forehead-smackingly cliche. A villain with white hair, red eyes, and a trench coat? Someone followed the manual a little too closely here.

At times, the contrast works in the show’s favour. I really liked when Ai was just cheerfully going about her daily routine as she recapped how God forsook them. That sort of disconnect added to the unease and enhanced the message. Almost every scene after that impeded the message instead of enhancing it. The amount of lame jokes made me concerned for the future of this show. Kami-nai is at its best when it really focuses on the creepy as hell concept of people not dying, and just stumbling around with whatever wounds they accrue. With such an intriguing concept, I can only hope the direction takes a better turn and ditches the bad jokes and cutesy stuff in favour of more scenes that make you want to crawl outside of your skin.

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Next week: who the hell is she???

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39 Responses to “First Impressions – Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi”

  1. skylion says:

    Goodness, Doll LOLi, Mahou Shoujo LOLi, Kinrio LOLi? What does the Summer have in store? It’s like Oda Nobuna all over again, with more shows!

    Now we have Gravedigger LOLi. Sheesh.

    All that aside, I love the texture of this program. Even with the subpar visuals on the pre-air, it drenched nearly every scene in Golden Time (photographers jargon for the times near sunset and sunrise, when you don’t really need artificial lighting). And like you say, it is incredibly symbolic.

    The background seems a bit dodgy, like Kami-sama leaving the world is the best sort of guess they have now to explain why people never quite die. How much time has passed since this revelation? Decades, centuries?

    Liking the characters, from Aki-chan’s shift from cute to serious mode, and the mysterious nature of the Man-Eating Toy! That’s one heck of a handle, buster.

    Looking forward to more, thanks for the review.

  2. skylion says:

    Spammy is just feasting upon my First Impression comments. Are they that rich in nutrients?

    • BlackBriar says:

      He’s getting a head start on everyone after that mass feeding from the Summer Anime Catalogue. We brought this on ourselves.

    • Karakuri says:

      I’m trying to save you. I really am OTL

      • skylion says:

        Ah, don’t be so hard on yourself. We know Spammy cannot truly be tamed…

        • BlackBriar says:

          The one who possibly could had to resign himself temporarily.

          • skylion says:

            Resign himself? Eh?

            • BlackBriar says:

              That’s right, sir. Highway, The Spammy Tamer had to temporarily resign himself to Fresh Meat.

            • skylion says:

              Ah, yes. How clumsy of me to forget the obvious.

            • Karakuri says:

              But hey. You’re not alone today, skylion. Apparently he doesn’t like ANYONE commenting on Free!. You have no idea how many comments I just had to save.

            • Highway says:

              I’m just saving up my energy, collecting my motivations. Someday he will again bend to my will!

  3. Irenesharda says:

    It was okay.

    I have yet to find a real connection to this setting or characters and nothing really has grabbed me so far. I don’t really like Ai, she’s cute sometimes and annoying other times. HH, the silver haired toy, is annoying as heck and has NOT made a good impression on me. I don’t really get what the plot will be either, is this a zombie series? Vampires? What are our MCs supposed to be doing? Why did HH kill the entire village?

    Also, if there is supposedly no birth or death, than how did HH “kill” everyone and why was that one guy the only one who got up? Also how was Ai born if there is no births? How did her mom “die”? I am also not really sure how or what this show wants to do and it really confuses me.

    Well, this series has started off with a “pop” rather than a bang. It’s pretty to look at and has potential I guess. However, those little air “wisps” are going to get tiring after awhile. This started off as my most anticipated of the season, however, it has yet to show if it’s worth of that yet. I will continue my 3-episode trial and see if this show gets better.

    I give this premiere episode a 7/10.

  4. Highway says:

    I thought this show had a bit of disconnect, like you guys mention, between the bright fantasy outfit that Ai was wearing and the overall tone of the show. And I thought it didn’t do that well of a job of getting the distinction between ‘alive’ and ‘not alive’. I don’t think I’d want it described as zombies (cause man, am I tired of zombies), but it just seemed like it didn’t make much sense. I mean, if people stopped, uh, unanimating, surely they’d come up with ways to stay in that ‘alive’ state as long as possible? What is the point of giving up, if god has forsaken you? Even in Sankarea, they were working on ways to preserve the body of the not-alive people. I just don’t see people giving up like that.

    The show needs to start making more sense and giving more exposition, really. It’s fine to be dark and atmospheric, but sense needs to be made for it to not be a trainwreck.

    • Karakuri says:

      Sense will come, Highway! It just takes a couple of episodes. …Or at least it should only take a few episodes. The viewer start off with the same amount of knowledge as Ai, and she’s extremely naive when it comes to this world.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, I felt the same way about lack of exposition. But I gave it a pass because I felt it set the right atmosphere to build the meta story on in later episodes. And since Humpy-san contrasted what a real gravedigger is to Ai’s fake job, I’m betting they are going to hang a lampshade on that come next episode.

      • Highway says:

        But *is* Ai really a ‘fake’? It would seem that she’s the real deal, otherwise wouldn’t the people she’s planted just zombie up and go walking around again? I got the impression she was only ‘fake’ in that she actually knew her origin, and she didn’t look the part. Or are they going to say that Scar has been going along behind her and actually doing her job?

        • skylion says:

          It was my impression that this is the first time she has actually had to perform the gravedigger “laying to rest” ritual, en masse. Fake might be that, she has not had enough experience, is to young, only has a modicum of the talent she is supposed to inherit. Until that expodump occurs, it’s all conjecture at this point.

          • Highway says:

            Well, I thought that she had to do it for her mother, and that went ok. But like you say, all conjecture.

  5. Liza says:

    I really loved the uniqueness of the show. The concept was interesting with God being all, “WHOOPS!” It actually reminds me of the Vocaloid song, “The Transient Apple Sales Girl” along with the manga Kuro Shoulder a Coffin.

    I’m going to keep up with this because I’m really curious to what Hampnie is up to with the killing of people. Also if Ai is really a gravekeeper or not.

    I also want to know how she fits all of her hair in that hat. 0_o

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Ah, c’est très intéressant! The premise really got me interested. It must be a hellish nightmare to have your body litterally torn apart but you’re unable to die. The very thought would surely plunge a person new to the situation into depression and despair. Imagine if the victims from Attack on Titan had to endure such an undesirable existence.

    So far this season, this show had the best opening episode with an ominous feel and a slight deception presenting that everything in that world is alright and there’s no problem. Not to mention the easy points won for the vibrant animation and colors.

    Overall, I’m onboard to keep on watching. I wonder if there’s any truth to what Hampnie has been saying at all of was it simply a trick to psych out an innocent girl who’s just lost everyone she cared about.

    @Overcooled: 4000 comments in the bag, master. 😀 That went faster than I thought.

    • skylion says:

      Wow, congrats on 4000 comments. You are my master in that regard. But one day. ONE DAY. There shall be a Vampire LOLi Reckoning the likes which will Scorch the Earth, Bring Heaven to Ruins and Freeze the very Soul of Hell! Bitter tears for Lucifer himself! We shall even take Kami-sama by Storm…..

      But yeah, I’m liking this show.

      • Overcooled says:

        It has some promising themes (despair! death! darkness!) but the presentation is a hit or miss from scene to scene for me. It has a lot of potential though. Plus, I haven’t read the manga like Kara so I want to find out what the hell is going on!

        Ahahaha, I expect nothing less of you, BlackBriar! Congratulations! By extension, does that mean skylion belongs to me? I might have to work a bit harder to make that one happen..

        • BlackBriar says:

          I’m looking forward to seeing how the story goes. Let’s hope none of the potential is wasted.

          Since he proposed it that way, yes. I can loan him to you or Anaaga for your fujoshi ideas. Keep him for as long as you like. I’m not expecting returns any time soon. 😉

          • Karakuri says:

            …Wow, you’ve even overtaken OC. I think there’s just Kyo and Fosh left ahead of you.

            • BlackBriar says:

              *roars* Yep, you guys have given rise to a monster. 😉 A part of me was gunning for my own master OC (Forgive my betrayal!). Kyokai is a matter of time but I’ll admit it now and say I’ve given up hope of reaching Fosh.

          • skylion says:

            Aw, HEEEEEEEEECK No!

            But, a Team of OC, Anaaga, and myself should create quite the storm. I am, technically speaking, Bi. You may come to expect a return…

  7. AllenAndArth says:

    this anime has some disturbingly cute characters…even though they’re gravediggers…by the way, I’M BACK and with a even worst sense of humor, did my puppets miss me?! Anyway how’s everyone here at Meta been?

    • skylion says:

      We been watching anime and talking about it…Good to have you back AandA.

    • BlackBriar says:

      It’s nice to have a returning fellow commenter. Welcome back, AllenAndArth. It’s a party here as usual at Metanorn. Whether it’s about anime or mangas.

      • AllenAndArth says:

        Nice! college life sucks my time…and the psycho-stalker ex-GF… she was kinda hot, but 15 calls a day no one deserves…Anyway, Sky and BB T-T so nice to see you guys again i’ll probably go on comment crazy now, so many animes in these last 2 or 3 months!

        • skylion says:

          By all means, comment crazy away.

        • BlackBriar says:

          i’ll probably go on comment crazy now

          Why not? Everyone else already has.

          • AllenAndArth says:

            hehehe!I guess…
            any recomendation?
            aside from this one and makai ouji?
            by the way… i wonder about Ai…if her mother was a gravekeeper, then isn’t she one too?or could it be that she can learn?or she can’t be because her mother became some kind of human-gravekeeper because she married?Or her mother was never her mother, it was all a lie?

        • Overcooled says:

          Welcome back! It’s nice that even though things were hectic for a while that you still came back. It’s like having a reunion! Better to spend your time with us than stalkers…

          • AllenAndArth says:

            Over!!!! \*-*/
            my old pal!the great madness!how nice to see you again

        • Highway says:

          Welcome back, AaA. :)

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