Kamisama Dolls episodes 01-03 – Bow Before Your Gods!

So, it’s taken me a bit to decide on what to blog after ReverseVampire swooped in on No. 6 before I could pick it not being able to decide between Blood C and Kamisama Dolls but in the end I’ve had a lot more fun with this than the former show after three episodes. I can’t say that Kamisama Dolls is the most original or groundbreaking series thus far, and I doubt it will be, but it is quite fun to watch. The characters are fun and could turn out to be pretty interesting, the mecha-god-doll-things are cool looking, and there’s a story taking shape that’s building some interesting conflicts. So without further ado, my post on the first three episodes. This will be more of an introduction and impressions post, and normal entries will begin with episode 04.

Nice, Xenogears-esque initial event that drives everything afterwards. My village is number one!…except that now it’s on fire.

Premise

Some time in the past all the main characters were living in a secretive village where certain individuals, called Seki, are given control over ancient devices that can perform a variety of tasks for both domestic and violent purposes. Something happened when the characters were younger that resulted in a huge battle and one of them, Aki, killing a room full of humans and later being imprisoned by the village. Fast forward to when Kyouhei, the protagonist, is in college after wanting to leave the village and its secretive ways behind. However, his younger sister Utao, now a Seki, arrives with Kukuri, her ‘doll.’ Which in turn triggers a visit by a newly escaped Aki and his god-machine. The short but destructive battle then has the two siblings moving in with the girl Kyouhei has a crush on, Hibino, as her father is also from the village. The authorities back home then seem intent on hunting down Aki as the story kicks off.

College student characters? I never would have guessed that a show like this would have all but one of them be out of high school. Utao and Kyouhei in the back of the car, Hibino and her father in the front seats.

There is plenty in that premise that has been done before or very nearly so. Kyouhei getting to live with Hibino is a common dynamic, but it is a bit different since his sister lives there too. And while it may be cliche and makes it easier to have the characters interact more, the show does make good use of it. There’s a nice balance between the serious and the comedic in a lot of scenes but without pushing the comedic element too far so as to undo the serious. Utao’s energy blast that took out Kyouhei’s apartment came during a very serious moment between him and Aki, but just as Kyouhei winced it dropped a bit of comedy into the equation. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly how the show is managing the comedy so well, but it definitely works. And it keeps the show in that ‘fun zone’ since it would probably be pretty mediocre if it only concentrated on the action part of the story.

Meet cute.

Characters

The characters are what makes this show as enjoyable as it is. With the exception of dull-as-a-butter-knife Hibino, I’ve taken a liking to all of the main and secondary characters that have been featured so far. Kyouhei’s past with Aki is more interesting than standard hero-villain interactions since Kyouhei still seems to care about him a bit, even buying some bread for him when the two meet in Odaiba. Aki for his part still taunts Kyouhei and tries to push his buttons to make him angry and return him to the Kyouhei he knew back during whatever happened that got lots of people killed. Aki reminds me a lot of Accelerator (not just visually) in that he might have been warped into the way that he is. He might have a point about how the village is run. And as episode 03 showed, he might not be the worst thing out there.

Problem, Kyouhei?

Utao is the jealous little sister character mixed with a clumsy dojikko but somehow instead of being annoying she’s quite endearing. She’s got some great facial expressions that are either funny or cute, acts jealous of Hibino but not in that way (at least I hope it’s not true brocon), and often steals the scene whether she’s the active one or the butt of other characters’ teasing. Which brings me to two of Hibino’s friends and two very fun characters: Suou and Kuuko. Suou is a future Yukari-sensei. Loud, forward, likes her alcohol, and can scheme and manipulate her friends (and Utao) pretty well. She can’t control herself over how cute Utao is and latches onto her, but then expertly manages to keep her around by offering cake…only to turn it around on Utao by turning the offer of food into teasing about her weight. The other friend, Kuuko, ‘leads’ a club dedicated to finding time travelers, aliens, and espers discovering all sorts of crazy pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. By leads I mean that she stole a clubhouse from the school and attempted to bully, seduce, and otherwise force a classmate to help her. She comes into the picture when the clubhouse catches fire and Utao has to use Kukuri to rescue her. She also happens to see Aki as he’s on the run from two Seki sent from the village to kill or capture him. And when she sees him collapsed on the ground she claims her prize and is seen dragging him away with an enthusiastic smile on her face at the end of episode 03.

Everyone loves Utao.

Suou~

I’m sure that whatever deity or ancient civilization that built Kukuri had this use in mind.

DDDDAAAAAWWWWWWW.

Kuuko: taskmaster, seducer, detective’s daughter.

I’d ship it.

Last and very much least is Hibino. Not only is she dreadfully boring, I swear that her outrageously oversize breasts just get bigger every scene.

Visuals and Sound

Nothing extraordinary in the animation, just your average stuff. I do really like the visuals in the OP sequence though. Multiple shifting shards that color the characters and scene as they move about. And for the Seki characters you can see the design of their doll in their silhouettes when one of the shards/beams passes over them. The sound, like the visuals, is pretty standard except for one element. I thought that it was pretty cool that when the dolls are in use they each emit a different sort of tune or chant. It made for a pretty cool aural confrontation as Kukuri and Aki’s doll fought each other and the two songs overlapped.

Sort of Art Deco looking in a way.

Story Progression

Second to the characters, this is why I chose to blog this over Blood C. Kamisama Dolls has moved things along and shown that there is movement in the story that it’s trying to tell, unlike Blood C so far (though I hope that show gets better, I want to believe in Clamp!) The characters have all been introduced pretty quickly and effectively by the end of episode 03, with what I believe to be the last two from the OP sequence showing up by the end of that episode. I like the dynamic between Kyouhei and Aki, and between Aki and the village, and that should make for something interesting. Or at least some good fights. Utao probably has more to her in terms of how she’s linked to Kukuri and why she took over as Seki from Kyouhei too. The village has two families that are feuding, an interesting plot element to have going on in the background (and probably in the forefront before long.) I’m not expecting this show to be a masterpiece, I don’t see how it could be, but I am expecting to have quite a lot of fun watching it. So far all the elements have been solid, and sometimes it’s more fun to see a simple concept done very well instead of something new which may not work out. I’ve taken to the show much more than I thought I would and I’m looking forward to more.

Kyouhei being nice to Aki despite his provocations is an interesting scene.

If you only knew the power of the Dark Side!

The latest two Seki to show up. Koushiro who goes after Aki immediately, and as yet unnamed one who made a truck swerve off of an overpass in an attempt to kill Utao.

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17 Comments

  1. Posted July 28, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    For someone that seems like she is in the wrong show, Utao is frighteningly necessary for this series. What I can’t accept is Hibino’s grotesquely enormous bust which is so hilariously large that I simply cannot take it seriously. It’s as if she was so utterly bland as a character that the producers thought it was necessary to give her such big boobs that it approaches being asinine.

    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, it’s best to just forget that Hibino is there, really. She’s been nothing but bland, and that wouldn’t be so bad, if she didn’t look ridiculous. Utao, on the other hand, just works perfectly.

  2. Posted July 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    First two episodes were very boring for me, they did a good job introducing the characters and yes Hibino’s chest OMG Huge LOL I don’t think they needed to do that but I guess they want others to watch for her? I do enjoy watching the Dolls they seem fun so far, I can’t wait to see what they really can do in a fight. Right now they sort of just run into each other playing tag, hopefully soon we will see them actually fight it out.

    And there is like some odd evil clone theme going on, seems Utao has a evil brother or a copy of herself? Ah well so far favorite character would be Kuuko the mad scientist character.

    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      I suppose Hibino’s…proportions are meant to appeal to someone but it’s just so ridiculous I almost can’t imagine it selling even with that kind of audience.

      The dolls do look like they’ll have a cool ‘awakening’ sort of moment. I imagine Kyouhei can bring that out in them, hence why he quit (and conveniently making him more powerful as one would assume a main character would be.)

  3. Posted July 29, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I was not particularly interested in this series to start with, but I think that last shot of Hibino’s breasts has decided that I will stay away from it. Any show with that kind of character design declares its intentions to dissolve into fanservice and cliches (though I would be pleased to hear this wasn’t the case in a few weeks time).

    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      We’ll have to see how it goes, but I’ve had a good first impression of it despite Hibino. If every female character were like her I’d probably have dismissed it without watching more than the first episode, but I’m hoping that what’s happened already is a good sign for the series. Unless the fanservice starts in the next episode, in which case I’ll have to eat my words, heh.

  4. Whatsht
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    mecha-god-doll-things? maybe i’ll check kamisama dolls

    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Give it a try, it looks to be fun. Nothing too serious or anything, but some good entertainment so far.

  5. Moriken
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    We really need more shows with college students instead of middle/high-school kids!
    It just feels different, in a good way.

    And I SWEAR that Hibino’s bust (or whatever kind of lifeform it may be) changes its size from scene to scene! *_*;;;;;

    • LuvnAnime
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      Agreed. To both comments.

    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Seriously. I was very, very surprised that this sort of show, not too serious and featuring shounen-type fights, would have college-age characters. Pleasantly surprised, but surprised none the less. There is Utao, but while she’s playing the jealous imouto role, she thankfully isn’t the ‘token loli’ at this point.

  6. LuvnAnime
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    I hope they explain more of the whole Kyouhei/Aki I-care-enough-to-get-you-bread-even-though-you-killed-a-bunch-of-people relationship. Yes, Aki is a total nut case and he likes to push Kyouhei’s buttons. He definitely makes the story interesting. I’m just scratching my head over Kyouhei giving bread to Aki. WTF?? That basket case nut job Aki killed a bunch of people from the home village, then the people in the elevator, and the those drivers and he gives him food???

    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      My preliminary theory is that Kyouhei is very uncomfortable with the way that the leaders of the village do things, and that he sort of sympathizes with Aki or at least pities him because of how they locked him up. Or maybe the ones Aki killed were village elders or some sort of people that Kyouhei wouldn’t have as much of an issue with him killing as opposed to just innocent bystanders. Whatever the cause, it will be interesting to find out.

  7. katsumi
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Thank you for blogging this! I wouldn’t have looked twice at it without your post (these ridiculous breasts….I swear, I constantly wait for her to lose balance and just trip over due to their weight o_O).

    Up til now kami-sama dolls has proven pretty interesting & entertaining, here’s hoping it won’t go downhill.

    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Glad that the post got you interested when you wouldn’t have been otherwise. I really wasn’t expecting this to be a show that I’d follow either but with the exception of Hibino’s breasts the show seems to be a pretty classic concept but done well. Should be a fun show for the season, if all goes as well as it’s been going.

  8. GSreaper
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The concept of the story is definitely interesting, I just love the character interactions, especially between the protagonist and antagonist. Aki also reminds me of Accelerator, haha! I’m still wondering if Kyouhei will be able to show off his experience as a Seki in future episodes, that should be interesting to see.

    By the way, why are Hibino’s boobs becoming the infamous talk of this show everywhere I go? (Not a serious question) XD

    • Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      The characters really make the show, though it’s also proving to have some nicely thought out fights too. Aki is very much the Accelerator type of character, but I’m a-ok with that given his role in the story. And he has a side to him that’s more sympathetic than Accelerator was (early on in Index anyway) given how he can still ask Kyouhei for food but then will turn inwards and start provoking Kyouhei. Definitely one of my two favorite characters, along with Kuuko.

      It’s pretty hard not to comment on Hibino’s ridiculous chest, heh.

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