Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens is a Japanese animation TV series that brings together drama, romanticism, and comedy all in one. Kannagi is about a boy named Jin Mikuriya who uses wood from the sacred tree of Kannagi and carves a statue of a girl. The statue comes to life as a goddess, whose name is Nagi. Both Nagi and Jin work together to remove impurities that are congregating in the town. There are numerous symbols, references to beliefs, and tie-ins to the Shinto religion throughout Kannagi. Whether they are intentional or not, they are still present and can be used for analysis.
The main characters in Kannagi are Nagi, Jin, Zange, and Tsugumi. Nagi is a goddess whose duty is to cleanse impurities. She meets Jin when she is brought into the story, and Jin helps her in her battle to cleanse the impurities. Jin Mikuriya is the boy who summoned Nagi by using wood from her sacred tree to make a carving. Jin has taken Nagi into his home and they become friends. Jin goes crazy with the thought of an attractive young girl in his home. Tsugumi was just introduced; she goes to school with Jin and is a longtime friend of his. Zange is Nagi’s sister and is also a goddess. She is under the disguise of a Catholic nun who listens to people’s problems. She presents herself as a nice and caring individual, but in reality she torments Nagi.
Nagi and Zange are both goddesses set out to destroy impurities. Because Nagi’s tree was cut down, she has a slight disadvantage compared to Zange. Zange also takes the role of a Catholic nun because Catholicism is a strong religion in the west and she wants to appeal to the masses and be even more powerful over Nagi. Zange is not a good representation of Catholicism. Catholics are forgiving, compassionate, and giving people. Zange is the exact opposite because she is out to get Nagi. Zange wants to be more powerful than Nagi and instead of helping her and giving back to her sister she undercuts her and waits to see her fail. According to Davies and Ikeno, Japan started to focus heavily on absorbing ideas and practices from the west during the Meiji era. That emphasis has been growing ever since the start of the Meiji era, which is part of Japan’s modern history (62). This means that most recently, the west has been a huge influence on Japanese culture and religion. Shinto and Catholicism have more differences than similarities, but both believe in doing good deeds for your neighbors. Unfortunately, Zange does not represent either religion in a positive way.
There are many examples of symbols of the Shinto religion throughout Kannagi. One key symbol is the shide paper that is used twice in episode one. In the beginning of episode one, there is a scene where young Jin catches a spider near a tree. This tree is Nagi’s sacred tree, and wrapped around it is shide paper attached to shimenawa. Shide paper is used in many Shinto rituals and is also used for purification and for blessing purposes. ...