It’s a fierce battle for the last spot in my overcrowded blogging schedule this Summer. With multiple carryovers, 3 new series at RC and several can’t-miss options here, several shows are going to face the axe, I’m afraid. After the first half of tonight’s Kamisama Dolls I was worried that it might be one of them, but as of now it’s resting pretty comfortably.
It was definitely the tale of two halves with this third episode. The first, inexplicably, decided to cram some of the most over-the-top, forced moebombs down our throats you could ever imagine. Utao’s cuteness level has been the subject of some fan disagreement already, but I was more or less OK with it. But this was something else – it was just full tilt and bizarre. Five minutes of Utao making faces as she imagines getting fat from eating cake? The problem here is that too much saying a character is cute isn’t cute. And pretty much every character on the show seems determined to tell us how cute Utao is. She’s cute enough, but they really need to give it a rest.
But then, everything changed. The second half was brisk and action-packed, introducing new characters and laying down some interesting foundation for the future plot. Aki, having killed his captors and escaped, returns to the city. He really seems to be fixated on Kyouhei – he speaks of it in terms of hatred but there’s obviously something like love there too. We’re given hints as to a shared tragic past, crimes committed by both – but no real details yet. Obviously this is what drove Kyouhei to stop being a Seki.
Into this picture steps Kouchirou (Murase Katsuki) another Seki from the village and obviously in town to hunt down Aki. He’s from a rival family, apparently, and may home some complicated interests here. He views Kyouhei with disdain, but Aki views Kouchirou with something like real fear. And indeed, he seems pretty badass – quick-strike capability and hit-man sunglasses. But he still finds himself in trouble against Aki when yet another Seki shows up and saves his badass – Kirio (Kobayashi Yumiko). We don’t get a real good look, but from what we can tell he appears – and I think the resemblance is much too close to be coincidental – to be a shota version of Utao.
As things end, Aki is unconscious from Kirio’s attack and is dragged home by Kuuko, who’s convinced she’s finally found her weird science proof. Judging by the preview she’s going to go “Misery” on him next week, though I suspect she has no idea what she’s up against. I still see Aki as more of a tragic character than a true villain – the obvious comparison is with Accelerator from Index, and they even look a bit alike. As for Kirio, who knows – perhaps an evil twin of Utao? Some sort of dark mirror of her character?
This is indeed a series that presents some very contrasting tones from episode to episode, and even within the episodes. There’s some pretty harsh violence, some very lightweight fluff and lots of straightforward anime sci-fi elements dressed up as mythological ones. I’m very interested to see where the show goes from here, as the plot itself is one of the lucid and interesting of the season. The danger is too much self-conscious pandering where Utao is concerned, and I certainly hope this week was the aberration and not the norm on that score.