Now, I am a big fan of mecha, and normally my attitude toward them is something like this:
“Because it looks cool.” (image from Brave Police J-Decker)
However, if there’s any otherwise good show that has mecha but fails to use them well enough to justify their presence, it’s Kannazuki no Miko, particularly since there is no explanation for why the power of Orochi and the God of Swords are mecha.
So why does a show with no other sci-fi elements have mecha that aren’t explained? It could simply be something like the picture above, because someone just likes mecha. This being a factor is supported by a couple of homages to Giant Robo and GaoGaiGar despite the complete lack of similarity to either of those series. The mecha designs themselves actually are pretty cool. The actual fights? Well, let’s just say the homages are the best part of them.
The lack of in-universe explanation for the mecha is still a flaw regardless of why they’re there, but there actually is an official out-of-universe explanation, and it makes a lot of sense if you think about it (and know about a certain obscure series in the first place). Kannazuki no Miko is in large part an homage to Hades Project Zeorymer. This is kind of weird since Zeorymer was neither particularly popular nor particularly good, but it does explain a few things. (Note, however, Zeorymer did say where its mecha came from; in fact their creator was a main character.)
Both the Orochi and the Hakkeshu, the villains of the Zeorymer OAV, are organizations of eight people who want to destroy the world even though many members of each don’t seem all that bad otherwise, and have backstories ranging from actually tragic to lame excuses. (Seriously, who turns omnicidal because her manga don’t sell?) However, as one of the other mistakes in Kannazuki no Miko, most of these backstories that could have made people actually care about the antagonists are not actually revealed until they are already out of the picture, all in one quick scene.
What about the main characters? Their roles are shuffled a bit, but both have themes of reincarnation in rather different ways. (This might be getting closer to the Zeorymer manga, which was almost completely different in plot from the anime) Masato/Masaki from Zeorymer was the one who uses the most powerful Hakkeshu robot to fight against the rest; he/they had a split personality and both Chikane and Souma have elements of both personalities as well as different kinds of duality. Souma has the fear that the evil nature of his power will take over, and Chikane presents herself as one extreme followed by the opposite.
Himeko has some similarities to Miku (such as her presence in Souma’s mech making it more powerful; and this fact being demonstrated in a fight against three opponents), but of course doesn’t turn out to be an android like Miku in the Zeorymer OAV.
Even the infamous scene from episode 8 has an equivalent in the Zeorymer manga (not the anime). And let me tell you, if you think KnM glossed over it (which it kind of did), you’ll definitely realize the Zeorymer version is far worse in every possible way. (In fact, the original Zeorymer manga actually ran in a hentai magazine, though aside from that one scene it actually was a psychological mecha story with a very weird excuse for naked fanservice.)
Next up: why I don’t dislike Souma