I don't read manga all that often, but for some reason (very possibly connected to the fact I had nothing to do at work Friday afternoon) when I saw this news brief on Anime News Network, I decided to check Kannagi out. After looking at the official website and the thread at AnimeSuki, I went to manganews.net to find scanlations and ended up reading the first eight chapters--it's possible I'm just easily amused, but I loved it: it has some great laugh out loud moments, a likeable cast of characters, and while the premise makes it sound like another To-love-ru, it doesn't resort to blatant fanservice to draw in readers. There's no release date for the anime yet, but when it does come out, I have high hopes for it now.
The premise sounds completely generic at first--Jin is a high school guy living alone (doesn't anyone in Japan live with their parents?) who carves a statue out of a block of wood from a sacred tree for an Art Club assignment (since the tree was cut down to make way for new development.) As he's getting ready to go to school, his statue comes to life, revealing Nagi, the goddess of the land for the area, who's shocked to find her sacred tree has been cut down (probably to build a Wal-Mart--everyone blames everything on Wal-Mart these days.) With her tree gone and her powers weakened, Nagi needs Jin's help to catch 'impurities' which she can then purify in mahou shoujo-inspired fashion. There's also the mandatory osanajimi character thrown in to the mix, and Nagi turns out to have a sister, who takes after Momoka from Keroro Gunso a little in the personality department.
What makes this a lot of fun to read (and hopefully will make it a great anime series as well) is the characters--Nagi is just awesome, and Jin and the supporting cast are really good too. There are some great moments with her and Jin, like how Nagi tries to pass off accidentally gluing something to the dining room table as the work of her other personality, only to trip herself up in her lie later. Or the cooking contest she wins easily, showing she really can cook even though Jin's been making all their food.
It's not all comedy though, and there's definitely the potential for some more drama, especially if Nagi starts to like Jin or vice versa, although there's no overt signs of this so far. The relationship chart's pretty straightforward--Jin's osanajimi likes him, but it's not clear who Nagi likes and I'm sure this is something that will get developed more as the series goes on. It looks like the first four volumes are out in Japan, so I'm guessing this will just get a one cour run (12-13 episodes) but we'll see.
A-1 Pictures (sounds more like a steak sauce...) is the studio behind this, and the director also did the first four episodes of Lucky Star for Kyoani. Fortunately, I'm thinking there's no way in hell Kannagi can start out with five minutes discussing the right way to eat choco coronets. Here's hoping this will be a great anime series that lives up to the manga--if it does, Nagi-sama definitely has the potential to go far in Saimoe.