It’s part of the nature of Kamisama Dolls that it can often be as entertaining while nothing much is happening as when all sorts of things are happening. When it avoids the overly self-aware fixation on Utao’s moe this show does idyll as well as any this season – and a lot of times there’s interesting stuff percolating underneath the idyll, anyway. But I confess I’m getting worried that, with only three eps to go, things seem nowhere remotely close to any kind of resolution. That makes highly entertaining but relatively slow-paced efforts like episode 9 somewhat of a mixed bag for me.
I would describe the actual development here as lots of plots moving a little bit. Just about all the major players in Tokyo and their stories got a touch. There was more mention of Kyouhei’s crush on Hibino than there has been since the first episode, and it even appeared he was very close to confessing at the latest college night out when one of their no(i)sy friends interrupted him (and someone on-screen actually acknowledged that Hibino had a rack – imagine that). Kukko and her father Kyousuke both got a look-in – she in a highly dysfunctional roommate arrangement with Aki, he investigating the “doll” reports and interrogating a hapless Utao right in the café.
Of greater weight were a couple of other loose threads, one of them being the Kirio situation. I actually find the attitude of Kyouhei and Utao just about right on this – very realistic. They haven’t forgotten about him by any means – Utao obsesses over meeting him again, while Kyouhei frets about his welfare while acknowledging that they probably won’t be able to take custody of him anytime soon. Koushirou as much as admits that he took the boy to Tokyo to get him as far away from the Hyuga elder as possible and promises Kyouhei that he’ll make sure nothing too bad happens. As they’re theoretically enemies, Koushirou is continuing to prove himself quite a standup guy here. He seems to genuinely care about Kirio, genuinely want to reassure Kyouhei, and he even arranges for the twins to meet up again. He’s also brought Moyako to Tokyo to finish the work on Takemikazuchi. In the process she seems to pretty much confirm that Kyouhei took control of Kukkuri during the Kirio fight, stating that it was only Kyouhei over the last several centuries to be able to use Kukkuri’s left arm – which was used in that battle.
As for our new cast addition, her name is Mahiru (KanaHana) and she turns up just when Kirio is promising not to pick any more fights with Utao. We don’t know much about her yet except she’s a Hyuga, she has a seeming crush on Kyouhei and she seems to disapprove of Koushirou – who she refers to as the next head of the Hyuga clan. It’s easy to see that she’s not going to be a throw-in – Mahiru is all over over the preview and she’s played by the hottest seiyuu in the business at the moment, so she’s going to be important to the story. It’s late in the game to be introducing someone like that, but then it’s late in the game, period.
The takeaway from the episode seemed, not for the first time, to be the parallels between Kyouhei and Aki’s situations. Koushirou as much as tells Kyouhei that his attempts to sit on the sidelines are doomed to fail. There’s an implication that some sort of conflict is coming and everyone will need to choose a side, and I don’t know that it’ll necessarily be Kuga vs. Hyuga. Aki is similarly lost, thinking of Chihaya and musing that he’s also doomed to failure in trying to quietly hide from his past. Aki is rather more certain of his goal, however – to “blow Karakami off the map”. And I’m not at all sure I’m ready to call that a bad idea. The Hyuga head is there, for one thing, as is the weird monster he’s hiding beneath the village. It’s a paranoid, insular place, and for all the protestations about their use for good, I think a pretty strong case could be made that the world and those who’ve left the village behind would be far better off with the Kekkashi and Karakami gone. Even Koushirou seems to acknowledge this in his little nod to NGE – “Gods in his Heaven and all’s right with the world. But our Gods are down here with us, so nothing’s ever right.” Unhappiness seems to cling to everyone from Karakami like a bad smell, and a big part of me thinks Aki has the right idea.