Kamisama Dolls Ep. 10: Half good, half dumb


POMF

I’ll never understand how this show manages to get as much leeway as it does from anime fans. The character motivations are elusive and poorly written, the animation is horrible — easily the worst Brain’s Base effort in quite some time –, and the plot developments from week to week are absolutely miniscule. Worst of all, everything is just so generic. From the predictably evil village with secrets to the emo, misunderstood villain, there’s nothing here that is done with any freshness or wit. And yet, while these same criticisms are used to lambast other shows, people conveniently ignore them for KamiDolls. What is it about the show’s schlock that seems to get people to put blinders on?

Ah well. I guess we’ll just never know.

“Anyway, ever since then, my mind has been broken.”
Aw man, why did the anime have to go and ruin a good thing with a cornball line like that? We finally understand what the opening to the first episode was all about. Kyouhei, Aki and Mahiru stumble upon some strange monster in a mine shaft (I’m inclined to think all mine shafts are evil now) and all three nearly died because of it. For the first time in a long while, the anime is captivating and intense. Even though we knew the kids wouldn’t die, this is one of the more — no, this is the best thing KamiDolls has churned out to this date. The action choreography, the war-like soundtrack, the voice-acting and everything all contributed to crafting a rather effective scene. If only the rest of the series would have been like this from the start, i.e. get rid of the worthless Utao character, KamiDolls could have really been a strong contender in a season full of solid anime. There’s just two problems.

First, the scene sort of cops out. The characters are on the ropes. It looks as if the monster’s going to win even though we know it couldn’t possibly win. Just how exactly will our heroes get out of this latest predicament? I’m at the edge of my seat here! And eeeeeeeeh, the anime ends the story here. We’re told Kyouhei’s sanity blacked out, and the next thing he knew, the monster had already been killed. According to Mahiru, Kyouhei saved everyone by opening Kukuri’s left hand. That is, however, just so lame. Don’t just tell me what happened; show me what happened. It feels like the story’s creator had no idea how to finish the scene.


Can’t commend this though. This just looks stupid.

The second problem is in this sub-section’s title. I’m sorry, but the last adjective I’d use to describe Kyouhei is ‘broken.’ The dude is as milquetoast as any other generic anime hero. In fact, he’s dull. He has glimpses of rage in him, but that does not suffice to characterize the guy as broken. Most of the time, he’s this simpering wimp who can’t even tell Hibino outright that he likes her. So of course, when the guy’s all like “Uguu, my mind has been broken since that day,” I can’t help but laugh. And I shouldn’t be laughing. I just watched the most intense scene in the entire series! But Kyouhei had to go and utter something so ridiculous, it pretty much took the wind out of the anime’s sails.

Mahiru
I guess I should some solace in the fact that most of the episode was pretty much kakashi fights. Mindless or not, it beats the Utao variety half-hour we normally get. Don’t get me wrong — there’s still plenty of pointless Utao bits in this episode, but she doesn’t actually dominate the screentime for once. I’m just not sure Mahiru’s much of an improvement. The poor girl’s character, like everyone else in the story, is executed with such a heavy hand. Here, we’ve got the rich, spoiled ojousama of the rival clan who treats everyone like shit except Kyouhei.


The animation is as one-dimensional as the characters.

So while I enjoy having some fight scenes to chew on, the first conflict only started because, well, Mahiru is trying to assert her dominance over the other females. That’s just kind of… dumb. Then, of course, she fights Aki too when she meets him later. Why? Because they’re just combustible people! Every Seki seems to have major anger problems in this anime. At the drop of a hat, they whip out their massive toys to do battle.

Everything else
• So I guess in a one-on-one fight with an otherwise evenly-matched opponent, Mahiru is unstoppable.

Who can really stop her if she can just immobilize all of her opponents on a whim?

• I’m not a fan of adding yet another faction to the mix, i.e. some dude with a get-rich proposal to both Aki and Mahiru. The anime’s been all over the place and I really wish it would just focus on a couple compelling subplots. There was really no need to expand the conflict of the anime (at the time being) beyond Aki’s quest for vengeance and the Hyuga elder attempting to revive some ancient goddess.

• It’s too bad that Mahiru isn’t a more interesting character. She’s the only one to call Utao out on her sick brother complex.

• Utao really does make you want to slap her every time she’s onscreen.

Yeah, yeah, we’ve hashed the incest angle enough, but goddamn, when your relationship with your twin is already as strained as it is, I don’t think demanding respect as an older sibling is going to help.

• Honestly, the anime doesn’t need any of the kids in the story. The anime could be a whole lot more taut without either Utao or Kirio.

13 thoughts on “Kamisama Dolls Ep. 10: Half good, half dumb

  1. Shinmaru

    This is basically what I thought about the episode. The flashback is surprisingly good — especially compared to the ham-fished flashback in ep7 — but it left me frustrated, because it shows that Kamisama Dolls CAN be decent, but it just can’t find a focus, so everything is all over the map and sloppy as hell. You can’t expect something like this to be a masterpiece, but at the very least, it could be a decent thriller series. Oh well.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      At some point, KamiDolls ceased being a thriller with fanservice but rather fanservice with just enough violence to trick people into watching.

      Reply
  2. Marow

    The beginning of the first episode, as you have mentioned a lot, was great.
    The fourth episode, with Aki being chased, was also great. At least that specific scene was, me being a bit of a fan of “run and hide” action moments. A big plus was that the animation was way better than it is now (or am I imagining things?).

    But now.

    Whatever.

    When you laugh at something that is not a comedy moment, something is really really wrong. I just want to drop this show. But since I am a completionist (to a certain degree), I cannot. Hurr durr

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      A big plus was that the animation was way better than it is now (or am I imagining things?).

      Nah, I don’t think you’re imagining it. I mean, I always think a decent measure of any show’s animation is to compare and contrast the OP to the actual meat of the anime. This doesn’t always work, but often time, the exercise tells you a lot. And what do we see in the stylish KamiDolls OP? That the animation can be great but, more importantly, also interesting. The rest of the show’s production values, on the other hand, feel like something from the late 90s.

      Reply
      1. Marow

        I actually do that too!

        Oh, I forgot something. You said that the fans give this show leeway. Do you mean on sites like MAL then?

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Naw, I don’t even have a MAL account. I was just loosely addressing a vague collection of blogs out there.

          Reply
  3. Richfeet

    Whoa, holdup. Those things are scarecrows? Shame on you anime. You had fighting scarecrows in your anime and had the NERVE to be this bland. Shame shame shame. Maybe in that flashback, a mystical ultra rare scarecrow falls from the sky and destroys the lizard scarecrow. That would be better story than what we have now.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Well, the villagers depend on them for mundane tasks such as lifting heavy material and whatnot. I guess being a scarecrow would also fit part of the job description. I guess the intriguing question is at what point did the kakashi become tools of violence? The anime sort of explores this possibility when Aki tells Utao that the kakashi are only good for death and destruction, but stuff like this is often buried under a mountain of incestuous vibes and cake eating nonsense.

      Reply
      1. Richfeet

        Yeah I guess. That is like some weird hidden ninja village conspiracy. But with any form of technology, there is a chance that might be used a a weapon. Kyouhei doesn’t use one anymore and Utao’s being a bro-complex. Aki’s the only one (sadly) get to the bottom of this mess. Great, He might go from antagonist to antihero at this rate.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          He might go from antagonist to antihero at this rate.

          Actually, that seemed like a safe bet as soon as Aki was seen losing to Koushiro. You rarely see villains in such a vulnerable state. He may not become an anti-hero, but he’ll be redeemed in some way before the series end. This will just be ridiculous since he’s killed countless people at the start of the show.

          Reply
  4. Mere

    They sure do love giving female characters constipated expressions.

    When I heard the “Now my mind is broken” bit I literally cringed. How cheesy and boring. Plus he is such a cookie cutter boring guy, you’d never know he was BROKEN LAWL. Everything about this anime is just a big mess. While the flashback part of this episode was great by itself, It doesn’t really feel like it fits in properly with what has basically been reduced to a fanservice anime.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Maybe they don’t get enough fiber out in Japanese villages. And Kyouhei is totally broken. Stuff’s crawling in his skin and everything. The funny thing is that we’ve seen two flashbacks. This one actually goes before the Aki flashback. So in Kyouhei’s own words, he was already broken by the time Aki broke himself. But, well, you never would have guessed it watching the seventh episode again.

      Reply
  5. Marow

    “Naw, I don’t even have a MAL account. I was just loosely addressing a vague collection of blogs out there.”

    You can only replay 3 times it seems. But I guess I should read more blogs, since I haven’t noticed anything (except randomc, but they’re mostly… neutral?).

    Reply

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