First Impressions: Kamisama Dolls

OP: “Fukanzen Nenshou” (不完全燃焼) by Chiaki Ishikawa

Kamisama Dolls was one of my sleeper picks going into the Summer season, despite knowing nothing of the source manga, based strictly on the director and the studio. And the early returns are quite promising after a strong first episode in what’s shaping up as a strong season.

Kyohei Kuga (Okamoto Nobuhiko, very busy lately) is a young man from the small village of Karakami who has moved to Tokyo and now works in the same company as busty Hibino (Kayano Ai), whose father hails from the same place. Kyoukei’s secret is that he’s a Seki – some sort of vessel/controller for strange, machine-like Gods called Kakeshi. Or at least, he was – until he surrendered his rights to be a Seki and left the village forever. But it doesn’t look like anyone can leave this village behind…

Into Kyouhei’s Tokyo life come Aki (Ryohei Kimura), a psychopathic Seki who escaped imprisonment in Karakami, and Kyouhei’s little sister Utao (Fukuen Misato).  She’s stepped in to fill his shoes, apparently, but isn’t very good at controlling her Kakeshi yet. When Aki goes on a murder spree in Tokyo and comes after Kyouehi, his apartment gets trashed and he and Utao end up moving in with Hibino (previously unaware of the village’s secrets) and her father. As for Aki, he’s killed in the confrontation and loaded on a truck back to the village. Or was he…

That was an altogether well-made, slick and interesting first episode. While there are still a lot of mysteries surrounding why these Kami exist only in Karakami and what their purpose is, the premise itself is interesting. Aki hints that the village might be sinister in nature, and there are definite hints that this is more than a simple good vs. evil scenario. Given Aki’s presence in the OP/ED he’s obviously going to be a regular and thus, well, not dead. As for the other characters, Utao is preposterously cute – this is a standout season for cute with Alice and Yune already unleashed – and Kyouhei seems like a fairly stiff-backed and sensible lead. Hibino is the generic love interest for now, but it’s too early to judge her role yet.

You can pretty much count on a Brain’s Base series to look and sound good, and this one does. ED is pretty generic but the OP has a nice Flamenco sound to it. Part of my reason for high hopes was that director Kishi Seiji (Seto no Haynayome, Angel Beats) has shown a stylish flair and quirky wit, and there are signs of that already. I enjoy the little humming noises the Kukuri make when they move, and there are lots of interesting things happening in the background – especially Utao’s facial expressions. So far, so good.

ED: “Switch ga Haittara” (スイッチが入ったら) by Chiaki Ishikawa

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6 comments

  1. M

    I had read the first few chapters of the manga and so far this seems a faithful adaptation. A couple of differences I noticed in case you are curious: in the manga Kuga actually got attacked in the subway, and the anime seems to have added some childhood flashbacks. Aside from that, I feel Utao's cuteness has been given a boost and the gore has been toned down a notch but that's under expectations.

    I'm surprised at how much they put in a single episode. It covered the first three chapters of the manga (that's 50 + 30 + 30 = 110(!) pages) and yet it didn't feel rushed (and the manga is far from slow-paced).

    As for the flaws, I'd say the elevator scene lacked some build up and that there were some overreactions. Nothing major, though.

    I agree this show has potential. At the very least I'd say it has figured out exactly what it wants to do in its 12 episodes.

    One small correction though, the dolls/gods are called Kakashi; Kukuri is the name of the one Utao controls.

    Oh, about the new design, and sorry for the long post but since you asked for feedback: it may only be me but I've just realized the right part of the blog (links, archive, etc.) takes almost half the screen. Seeing how the reader's attention will be focused on the left 90% of the time, maybe it would be wiser to make the reviews wider. It would also allow you to make images bigger if you like. Which reminds me, the images keep going up a few pixels from where they shoud be, not sure if that can be fixed since I've seen it on other blogs. Otherwise, it looks nice and even though I'm not a fan of BG images it seems to work here.

  2. Thanks and thanks – feedback noted and name corrected!

  3. m

    I find the story and suspense intriguing so far and absolutely loved the simple but brilliant OP. Also like the small eyed character designs which reminds me of older styles…only wished that Hibino's breasts weren't so abnormally big.

  4. Like jelly on a plate… 😉

  5. l

    >momogoldfish
    haha, then you should visit this website. This anime is this season biggest!! :)

    http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2011/07/06/kamisama-dolls-biggest-of-season/

    P.s
    G.E. I don't know if i could put link here. If it is inappropriate, feel free to remove it. I will also take note of it in the future

  6. That's fine, Ikaze.

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