In volume twelve of Kamisama Kiss, it quickly becomes clear that there is a major problem with the relationship between Kotaro and Himemiko. The catfish princess is attempting to protect Kotaro by keeping him ignorant of her real identity, which is never actually a very good idea. Meanwhile, Kotaro is a shy boy who has been bullied in the past and therefore has some severe trust issues.
The situation reaches a breaking point when Nishikiryori, the prince of Inunaki swamp attempts to pay court to Himemiko by interrupting her date with Kotaro. Sadly, Nishikiryori is a self-centered arrogant twit and causes a great deal of trouble for Himemiko. It takes a save by Sukuna, everyone’s favorite one-eyed Ryu-oh to get Himemiko and Kotaro out of trouble, because Himemiko was in disguise and didn’t want to reveal her real nature to Kotaro. This of course leads to Kotaro finding out that Himemiko is not human anyway, though what Kotaro finds more upsetting is the entire being lied to thing.
Meanwhile, Nanami is not aware that there are some severe relationship troubles in the air. She is too busy being happy for Himemiko and annoyed that Tomoe is making some dire predictions. After an argument about Yukiji, the woman Tomoe doesn’t remember having been in a relationship with due to Mikage’s intervention, Tomoe gets sent on an errand to get him out of the shrine. (Mizuki also gets kicked out.) This turns out to be a bad thing because Nishikiryori has apparently decided that the best ever way to get Himemiko to consider him as a spouse is to kidnap the human kami and take her to his swamp so she can be a go-between.
Nanami is needless to say, not cooperative about this plan and spends a great deal of time objecting to it. She manages to take her complaints to Nishiki himself, who it turns out is not used to being told he is an impossible, arrogant brat. (The Ayakashi who appears to be his major domo has spoiled from an early age, which explains why Nishiki does not have even remedial social skills.) Nanami ends up giving him lessons in not being a jerk, and then talks him into a fieldtrip on the surface. (Once again, we see Nanami somehow making friends with obnoxious people and then making an effort to reform them. Given that the obnoxious folks she’s reformed so far have been mostly male, you could possibly make an argument that Kamisama Kiss is a reverse harem manga.)
While this is going on, Tomoe and Himemiko are going on the warpath. Neither of them is very happy with the prince of Inunaki swamp and his extremely rude actions. The volume ends with their arrival at Nishiki’s palace.
In this volume, we see some interesting interactions between the characters. Himemiko seems extremely socially awkward, especially with the entire “get ready to get married without talking about getting married with the person you want to marry,” thing. (This was definitely a disaster waiting to happen; the first few pages of the volume were spent waiting for the impact.) The lack of communication of course leads to an extremely huge break in the relationship, mostly instigated by Sukuna who apparently has a low tolerance for these kinds of shenanigans. I did like that he did offer some encouragement to Kotaro, and that Kotaro seems determined to talk about this to Himemiko. I also found it interesting that poor Himemiko assumes that everything is over forever and immediately focuses on kicking Nishiki’s tailfins.
(Also, Himemiko and Kotaro’s song should be Teenage Dirtbag, seriously.)