After the second episode my opinion of Kamisama Dolls really hasn’t changed much. It’s a slick, well-made and altogether competent series that seems on target to provide solid entertainment without doing anything exceptionally well.
If anything, the second episode slowed down the pacing a little in order to flesh out the leads a little more and introduce a couple of additional supporting characters. Most important among these is Kuuko (Sawashiro Miyuki, in a change of pace role for her). Kuuko (aptly named) is the head and now only member of the True Science Club at N University, where Kyouhei and Hibino are her classmates. Her mission seems to be to prove all the wacky conspiracy theories out there – bigfoots, Loch Ness Monsters, etc. She’s systematically alienated everyone else in the club into quitting, not surprising as she seems to spend most of her time calling them slaves, breaking fingers and blowing up their cars. As an occult otaku with a detective father she’s obviously going to be woven into the Kekkashi affair. It’s fun to hear Sawashiro-san cutting up in a lunatic role, but I hope Kukko gets toned down a bit because she annoyed the hell out of me.
As for the rest of our heroes, the dynamic between brother and sister became much more clear this week. Utao may be tsundere for him, but it’s obvious that she adores her brother and craves his attention and approval desperately. For his part Kyouhei was pretty hard on his sister when she was practicing with Kukuri, but that and the scene where he was briefly alone with the Kami leads me to think that he’s merely being self-effacing when he says he wasn’t very good at controlling it. Rather, I suspect he was actually a prodigy and quit for reasons that some would call cowardly but Kyouhei himself would call sensible and moral – he simply doesn’t believe that this is a power that should be controlled. Perhaps he has specific experience with what can happen with you let that control slip.
Kyouhei is a notch older than most male leads in anime, and a somewhat calmer and more mature fellow – though still painfully shy around Hibino and prone to fits of panic. He clearly takes a play it safe approach in his life as much as possible – again, indicating that he’s seen plenty of grim moments as implied in flashback form – but that approach is severely challenged by the presence of Utao and Kukuri. Utao could be seen as a pretty standard moeblob, and she is awfully adorable as she concentrates on controlling the Kekkashi and cosplays as a waitress for Hibino’s Dad. But I’ll give her this, her cute is effective and her relationship with her brother looks to be the vital one at the heart of the series.
I get the sense that this show is going to be a generalist when it comes to tone, and not a specialist. This was a pretty light episode – I definitely LOL’d when Utah lost concentration and dumped Kukko and her slave into the lake, and when she used Kukuri to try and operate her game controller. But there are signs we’re going to see lots of intense action and possibly some pretty harsh violence as well. I sense a lot of darkness behind the story of this strange village, and Aki is indeed on the loose again. Whether he proves to be villain or victim is going to be one of the interesting questions as this series goes forward.
Lastly, Brains Base included a message to the people of Ibaraki, where the series is set, in support for their recovery from the 3/11 East Japan earthquake. This is the first such notice I’ve seen in an anime, so kudos to BB. I suspect it won’t be the last.