Now that was a nice, low-key and relaxing episode of KamiDolls to help us rest up for next week’s finale.
In terms of sheer, unadulterated fun this is as good as any series I’ve seen for a long time. Damn, Brains Base is a good studio – they can seemingly do just about any genre and do it well, and they manage to do adaptations that are both faithful to the source material and have an extra spark and sense of style all their own. Kamisama Dolls has already proven it can succeed in a wide variety of attack modes, but it’s really hard to beat when it just goes for pure, adrenaline-pounding insanity. There aren’t a lot of series that could cram as much power into 22 minutes as this episode did and still make it coherent, in-character and not seem at all rushed. Kishi Seiji, I called you out when before the season started and you haven’t let me down.
The craziness started early and never let up, with all of our resident psychopaths in residence at the Sendagaya penthouse in full berserker mode. Shiba, Taser in hand, was ready to rape Hibino, seemingly as much as an act of spitting in the face of the Kuga as anything else. Aki was tied up on the floor, but his fellow nutjob kooky Kukko showed up to release him. After Kukko proceeded to rescue Hibino by using a long-iron (with a bit of a slice) on the back of Shiba’s head, she threatened to photograph Hibino tied up and spread eagled and sell the picture at school. Hirashiro shows up and proves he’s no slouch in the disorder department, as he’s fully prepared to shoot Kukko and pass the blame onto one of his flunkies. After a struggle it’s she who shoots him, and she drags a woozy Shiba along as they flee the police. And that’s when things started to get crazy.
Of course, we haven’t yet talked about our top-shelf batshit girl, Mahiru. I guess all the nonsense about her being harmless can be officially set aside now that she’s tried to throw Hibino off the roof of a skyscraper, but Kukkuri – bearing Utao, Kyouhei and Moyako (who seems oddly vestigial for much of the action in Tokyo) arrives just in the nick of time. What follows is a straight-out, balls-to-the-wall battle sequence that would do any of the great mecha series of the 90’s proud. Koushirou and Kirio arrive in time for all hands (except one) to be on deck for the fracas. At first the others are more or less resigned to let Mahiru and Utao use their kakashi to vent out their Kyouhei-love on each other and get it out of their systems (as a horrified yet fascinated Tokyo populace looks on) but things get out of hand quickly enough.
When the dust settles Magatsuhi has gone rogue, Kukkuri having severed it’s control circuits, and is acting out Mahiru’s built-up hatred by trying to kill Hibino as Kyouhei goes into a rage and tries to wrestle her free bare-handed. Kirio and Utao go into a GAR twin-attack to save Onii-san, but Kirio inadvertently disables Kukkuri’s control circuits with an attack from Takemikazuchi, and Kyouhei has taken what looks like a fatal blow to the head from Magatsuhi. Most interestingly, though, a new song is heard as the wounded Kukkuri takes to the air – one we haven’t heard outside of flashbacks and for a brief moment at the close of the Utao-Kirio fight. Yes, there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Kyouhei the Seki. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…
What a wild ride that was. I always felt Kyouhei would end up back in charge of Kukkuri as the season (he said hopefully) concluded, and it’s looked for a couple of episodes as if Hibino being in danger might just be the thing to push him over the edge. As he writhed in Magatsuhi’s grip we saw a flashback from Kyouhei’s perspective, where he repeats something his mother told him and I’ve already said was a key motif here – he can leave the village, but he can never escape it. And then there’s the fascinating absence of Aki throughout all of the insanity on the rooftops of Tokyo. He’s the ultimate wildcard – more dangerous than Mahiru because he’s both more in control and less predictable, you can bet he’s got an absolutely crucial role to play as things wrap up next week.