The Anime culture has always drawn heavily from the rich religious and mythological history of Japan as there are endless allusions to Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism and other religious factions. We have curated a list of anime about gods that depict these very religious and cultural references.
Shinto (The Way of the Kami), is an indigenous Japanese spiritual practice where the belief in Kami is a prevalent one. Kami are spirits that inhabit natural phenomena like trees, mountains, rivers and also concepts like wealth and fertility. With the introduction of Buddhism, some of these kami were anthropomorphized and given human attributes. The appearance of the kami is what is most popularly depicted in anime. While there may be some specific technical differences in the portrayals, most religions follow similar patterns, therefore allowing for an immediate connection with the viewers.
List Of Anime About Gods
- Kamisama Kiss
- Oh My Goddess
- Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu
- Spice and Wolf
- Nekogami Yaoyorozu
- Kamisama Kazo
- Cautious Hero
- Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens
1. Kamisama Kiss (2012)
This lighthearted supernatural shoujo anime is an interesting take on the usual romantic storyline. A kind-hearted Nanami Momozono finds herself on the streets after getting kicked out by debt collectors as she fails to pay rent. While sitting at a park, trying to make sense of what her situation looks like, she happens to save a former God, Tomoe. Soon, she is made the new Land God by Tomoe and must learn to accept and execute her new godly duties.
Here’s a fan-made trailer you can watch:
Tomoe here, is a yokai which simply put, is a monster. These entities, also called kami, are deeply rooted in the ancient Shinto religion of Japan and reside in natural objects like the sun, land, and trees. Much of this anime is focused on folklore and the relationship between Nanami and Tomoe, who believes their relationship is a forbidden one, but eventually finds himself falling for her too. As expected in an anime about god, it has an amazing grip of folklore and tradition.
2. Oh My Goddess! (2005)
How cool would it be if god had a hotline number that we could call whenever we ran into trouble? Oh well, maybe we’re just not as lucky as Keiichi Morisato who just so happened to ring the right digits and now he has the gorgeous Goddess Belldandy to keep him company forever.
Come to think about it, is it really that easy living with a goddess? Keiichi finds out the hard way as he gets kicked out of his all-male dorm and then has to figure out his life around other gods, demons and supernatural entities. Oh My Goddess! is an extremely fun watch with its easy plotline and great comedic timing. If you enjoy light fantasy anime about gods and goddesses, this one is an absolute treat.
3. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (2006)
On the surface, this shounen drama seems like your usual run-of-the-mill high school anime. Trust me, it is anything but! This story follows the narrator Kyon, a tired cynic who encounters the eccentric Haruhi Suzumiya and soon realises that she’s either a being beyond this world or she’s definitely got a few screws too loose. Kyon, along with Yuki, Mikuru and Itsuki soon get together on a mission to keep life interesting enough for Haruhi to keep her from using her extraordinary powers.
While in most anime, the gods are intentional or at least aware that they have godly powers, this anime stands out with its fresh characters. Haruhi is the one who creates the SOS Brigade which is essentially a group that saves her from boredom one crazy mission at a time. There’s time travel, aliens, great characters, and good animation. What’s not to love in this eccentric, funny supernatural anime about a clueless god-wreaking chaos?
4. Noragami (2014)
Noragami showed us that gods can be a lot cooler than we think they are. It’s not really surprising that this supernatural shounen took the anime community by storm with its stunning visuals and amazing storyline. Yato,a minor god, finds himself displaced and meets Hyori who develops the ability to see supernatural entities after a strange incident that separates her soul from her body. Check out more anime like Noragami.
As Yato teams up with Hyori to gain fame and recognition which would grant him at least one shrine to receive worship at, there ensues romance, amazingly smooth fight sequences and of course characters that aren’t cardboard cut-outs of cliche tropes. Grab some snacks and a comfy seat, because this binge-worthy anime about gods is gonna take a while.
5. Spice and Wolf (2008)
Spice and Wolf is gearing up for an all-new season and we could not be more excited! But fear not, there’s still plenty of time for you to catch up. This seinen anime revolves around Kraft Lawrence, a merchant and Holo, a forsaken goddess of harvest as they embark on a journey towards her homeland Yoitsu but not before going through some personal journeys of their own throughout the series.
Watch this fan-made trailer:
There are some important concepts that get probed in this anime, like economics, trade or the way politics often meddles in man’s religious sentiments. This anime is like no other, whether it is the romance or the character development or the “unique fantasy” that is portrayed. If you are looking for something new in anime about gods, Spice and Wolf is an amazing slice-of-life tale.
6. Kamichu! (2005)
Kamichu is a one-of-a-kind slice-of-life, fantasy anime that is heavily influenced by Shintoism. Kami are divine spirits that take the form of things and concepts that are important to life. However, our little kami, Yurie in this anime, has no idea how she transformed into a goddess overnight or even what her powers may be.
Here’s a fan-made clip:
What’s truly fascinating in this anime is the themes as well as the locales depicted in it are true to life, while keeping the fantasy of the story alive. Yurie, on her journey, goes through several discourses while continuously working on becoming a great goddess as well as a better human being. This adorable and relaxing anime is a heartwarming experience while being very informative at the same time.
7. Nekogami Yaoyorozu
We all know about the running joke that cats really must believe they’re gods while we humans are merely their lowly slaves. Well, this anime will give you a glimpse into the mind of the Cat God and her shenanigans after she gets stripped of her rank and banished from the heavenly abode for her gambling habits.
Watch the adorable opening to this anime:
This anime is perfect for those times when you do not want to expend any energy whatsoever and just have an enjoyable experience. The characters are hilarious and drawn with inspiration from other gods and creatures in Japanese Mythology. This hilarious anime series about gods will keep you hooked, entertained and more.
Also Read: Anime About Friendship
8. Kamisama Kazoku (2006)
So we’ve established so far that gods aren’t beyond needing help or training in order to become good gods. And in this old seinen piece we have our young god-to-be Samatarou Kamiyama, who is sent to the human realm with his family to learn more about the world so when the time comes, he can step up to be a reliable god.
Here’s the opening sequence of the anime:
Samatarou might be a god but he still is your average schoolboy on earth and he isn’t beyond developing feelings for Kumiko Komori. This show stood out to me for how relatable the “god” is. He is shown to have human experiences while he tries to win over Kumiko without any help from godly powers. This anime is a no-brainer when it comes to chill anime about gods that blend the supernatural with the human world.
9. Cautious Hero
Can you ever be too careful? Ristarte, the goddess, finds out the answer is an annoyingly evident NO! She summons Seiya Ryuuguuin, a hero with stats that are off the charts and she’s sure he is the best contender against her enemies. Unfortunately, Seiya, while exceptionally powerful, turns out to be ridiculously cautious about everything as he overbuys armor, overtrains for minor challenges and uses his strongest moves against the weakest enemies. Why? Ya know, just in case!
This anime is a comedic isekai that almost parodies the world’s issues as they go on their impossibly wild journey. This anime about gods is comical and interesting, and will definitely have you laughing for the most part.
10. Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens (2008)
Anime has proven that gods and goddesses show up in the most unexpected ways possible. In this one, a student Jin Mruikiya creates a sculpture using the trunk of a sacred tree, unaware that a kami named Nagi resided there. With her tree gone, she begins living with Jin and takes over the statue. Jin and Nagi then begin working together to eliminate the impurities gathering in their town.
Kannagi has been rightfully credited with praise for its great cast, good comedy and very well-written dialogues and script. What stands out in this show is that the goddess is not without flaws, she is demanding, lazy and often rude but Jin manages to accept Nagi for what she is, flaws and all. Kannagi is another great anime about gods that is not only relatable but also hilarious.
Here are a few amazing anime about gods that didn’t make the list, but be sure to check ‘em out as well:
- Saint Young Men
- Death Note
- Kamigami no Asobi
- Heaven’s Official Blessings