Kyouhei, after moving away to Tokyo from his old town to get away from the events that happened, is on a goukon with his friends, including his old neighbor, Shiba. After drinking for a whole night, he and Shiba discover a dead, bloody body in the elevator. He is told by his younger sister, Utao with her Kamisama Doll, that Aki, an old friend, and his Doll are the culprits responsible.
Since time immemorial the worship of higher powers has been a cornerstone of human civilization, but as mankind's understanding of the universe grew, so did his technology, and many ancient beliefs were gradually replaced or discarded by one means or another. Not all of them fell by the wayside though, and while some religions adapted their rituals and practices in order to survive in the ever-changing world, others were carefully hidden to keep the old ways alive, or to protect their secrets from being misused by humanity.
Originally a manga by Yamamura Hajime, Kamisama Dolls begins with a rather nightmarish scene in which three children are being chased by a strange creature that can fire beams of energy from its mouth. The kids appear to have some kind of "robot" that tries to protect them while the brown-haired boy tries to carry the little girl and his friend to safety. Unfortunately the creature is too strong, but before it can land the final blow the brown-haired boy and the "robot" somehow manage to destroy it.
Years later, Kuga Kyouhei moves to Tokyo to attend college, and to escape his traumatic past.
It all sounds very exciting, but while the rather dramatic opening suggests that Kamisama Dolls is an action series, that isn't actually the case. Although combat does play an important role, it's often incidental to the main thrust of the narrative, and the plot is geared more towards character drama than anything else. In addition to this the series is refreshingly straightforward, but alongside this simplicity is a surprising degree of depth as the personal histories of the leading characters and the politics of the three priestly families play a major part in the story.
That said, while the simplistic approach makes everything easy to understand, it also exposes the fact that Kamisama Dolls can sometimes have difficulty deciding what it should be. This is mainly due to the rather slipshod manner in which the action and drama are meshed together, but the addition of some rather inane comedy and the inability to maintain a steady narrative progression don't help the show at all. To further compound matters there are several scenes that don't actually fit anywhere in the story, and because these all seem to include Shiba Hibino in some kind of compromising position, it's more than likely that they're only designed to promote merchandise involving her.
There's a surprising mundanity to the visuals that may cause some viewers to assume that Brains Base simply didn't care care enough about the series to make it look good, but it should be pointed out that a part of this is due to the limitations that come with any adaptation. The characters, background imagery and settings are decidedly "average", and there's a startling lack of anyone who is truly outlandish or flamboyant. In addition to this the animation is rather utilitarian, and while the basic ranges of movement are handled well, it's the combat between the Kakashi (the "dolls" that are considered gods), that really steals the show.
Which brings up an interesting point.
For many viewers it can often seem as though all of the creativity and imagination has been applied to the Kakashi, but Kamisama Dolls has a surprisingly subtle visual contrast at work that suggests that the somewhat bland designs and the straightforward animation are purposeful measures. Many studios feel an almost habitual need to exaggerate the characters in some way, but in order to promote the idea that everyone in the series is an average human being (including the Seki - the "priests" who control the Kakashi), Brains Base have approached the design with normality in mind. Sadly, they went a bit too far with the everyday look, and without anything extravagant to balance things, many people may find this a visually dull series.
Thankfully the same can't be said of the acting.
At first glance it may seem as though much of the dialogue is rather bland, but in truth this is nothing more than a continuation of the drive to depict the characters as normal, if flawed, human beings, and in a very real sense it works. The script is filled with conversations that only peripherally include the viewer, and although explanations about past events can sometimes become a little heavy handed, there's a logic to the serious parts of the dialogue that is missing in many other shows. The seiyuu are thus able to deliver some good performances, and the usual elements of cheese and ham have been toned down in favour of "normal" reactions.
That said, the slightly banal comedy does cause a few problem, and some of the actors seem to have difficulty coping with the rapid change from seriousness to humour.
One of the surprising things about Kamisama Dolls is the musical choreography, even though the majority of the series is free of any instrumental accompaniment. The few tracks on offer are usually reserved for tense scenes, comedic moments or action sequences, and their usage is generally rather subtle - by necessity. The haunting, ethereal songs of the Kakashi add an extra dimension to the background music that, at times, is almost religious in its effect, and the inclusion of these strange little pieces adds a completely different element to certain scenes. While the timing of all of these different audio strands isn't perfect, it's clear that attention has been paid as it would be all too easy for everything to degenerate into a cacophonous mess.
The introductory song, "Fukanzen Nenshou" by Ishikawa Chiaki, has a decidedly Latin flavour that fits rather well with the stylized character montage used to open the show. In contrast to this the ending theme, "Switch ga Haittara" (by the same artist), is a bittersweet yet melodic piece that plays out alongside a rather interesting take on the traditional closing sequence. While the ED does feature images of the more prominent character, some of them are merely patterned silhouettes until they appear in the series proper. In addition to this a few of the more important scenes from the episode are recapped in the "eyes" of the Kakashi, which may be a metaphor about how the "gods" view the actions of man, or it may just be a case of aesthetics.
At first glance many of the characters may appear to be nothing more than bland variations of certain stereotypes, but while there's an element of truth to that perception, it only really applies at the beginning of the series. There's actually a decent amount of characterisation from the outset, especially where the lead roles are concerned, yet while these do make a reasonable platform upon which a character can be "grown", many anime fail when it comes to the underlying logic of this process. In that respect Kamisama Dolls deserves a little praise, in particular for the manner in which Kyouhei's apathy and Aki's desire for revenge are justified as both mesh with a few small, but important, threads in the plot. In addition to this the supporting characters offer a nice mixture of personality types, and there are occasions where they are used to cleverly foreshadow some event that will happen at a later time in the storyline.
That said, certain developmental aspects fall on the shallow side because the show has difficulty getting to the point, and more importantly, sticking to it. More often than not a scene will offer some insight into the reasons for a person's actions or behaviour, but this is quickly ruined by unnecessary fanservice and bland comedy. While these moments do visibly decrease towards the end of the series, they do a lot of damage to the viewer's perception of the characters.
Kamisama Dolls is one of those anime that tries to give the audience a little bit of everything, and because of that it fails to deliver on some of the more important aspects of the story. As a concept, the series has a lot to recommend it, but at a mere twelve episodes there's simply not enough time to develop the plot or the characters to the degree necessary to make the narrative work. In addition to this the emphasis on "normality" may cause people to assume that the show is nothing more than a healthy dose of tedium.
Patience is a virtue though, and the rewards can sometimes be surprising. The series really does take things up a few notches towards the end of the show, and the clarifications and justifications begin to make much more sense. It also becomes clear that the first twelve episodes are merely the first portion of a larger story, and in all honesty if the follow up maintains the pace and progression that occurs at the end of the first series, then the second season could well be one to watch.
While this anime does have many flaws, unlike many other shows it can also redeem itself, but only if the next installment lives up to the true potential of the concept.read more
Here are my honest thoughts about Kamisama Dolls !
The anime can be summarized like this: Several priests from different families fight each-other and every character in this show has his own interesting background. These priests are able to control so called Kamisama dolls and they make funny noises everytime they appear. The characters are likeable and fun to watch and the story is promising at the very beginning.
We are introduced to Kyouhei and his sister who get in conflict with Aki, who was once Kyouhei's best friend and bla bla bla bla bla ...... (Seriously, just read the summary for that ).
In my opinion the anime lacks a strong narrative goal, which would give the plot something to focus on. Is the story about Kyouhei, who wants to forget his horrible past ? Is the plot about his friend Aki, who wants to regain his humanity ? Or is the story about something else ?
Another problem the anime suffers from is the very goofy slapstick humour. Now I am myself a great fan from goofy anime like Excel Saga, but in the case of Kamisama Dolls it often feels alienating, distracting if not contradictory to the otherwise serious plot.
What about the graphics ? The characters are very nice to look at and the facial expressions always look believeable and not exaggerated like in some anime (Umineko ...... *cough!*). The female characters look adoreable ! If you are here for some bishies, you won't really get them here except for the badass Aki. It's really a pity that the studio was too lazy at drawing the background characters ! For example in one scene where Kyouhei talks with Koushirou about his past and motivations, the sloppy designed background charas destroy the entire mood.
The music on the other hand is very good and advance the overall enjoyment.
The problems I have listed here are more subjective and should not taken for granted. But in the end, the whole anime feels more like an introduction to something bigger, but I don't have the feeling we will ever get a second season.
Despite all the minor flaws, I still liked Kamisama Dolls a lot and don't want to sound like a nit-picking jerk. If you are searching for nice entertainment with a nice atmosphere and some emotional parts, you won't be disappointed.
Especially the background story from Aki Kuga was well done and heartbreaking, but it's something you have to watch for yourself ^__- read more
I have finished this series and this is an update on my original 4 ep review
The story is pretty good. Though i admit when i first read the summary i didn't think it would be. I expected more of a chill anime without any killing, mass murder, psychopaths, and rival clans but i was wrong. It moves at a good pace and development has been very good imo. They're cliffhangers so it makes you want the week to go on by faster. All 13 episodes are either decent or pretty good. The main plot is kind of vague though and that's one thing i don't like about it.Even though the plot is vague the story is still going somewhere. It isn't the best story out there but it is unique and interesting though sometimes the fights that happen in the anime are provoked by really stupid reasons or something really cliche happens.All in all the story is something that makes you wanna watch it even if there are some obvious faults to it but nothing is perfect.
Not much to say here. I'm not really bothered or pay attention much to the art style. All i can say it's average. The art looks pretty good for me and there is nothing annoying about it.I have notice that the animators have used a couple of very creative tricks to minimize their workload. For example in the OP it isn't animated much but they use moving lines to make you feel that their is more to it than still shots of characters and some animation.Imagine the OP without any of the lines and you can see that it would be boring.
Again not much to say. The characters sound okay. There are a couple high pitched screams that might pop some eardrums but there seems to be no one with an annoying voice so yay. The bgm's does help with atmosphere and as for corny music i haven't notice any since I'm really tolerant of sound. The op and ed sound good but nothing special.There are also themes to each "doll" (depending on the character that uses the "doll") that the "dolls" sing and they sound really catchy to me because it seems that the tune represents the characters personality.
The characters are pretty damn good. I would say they have depth in them and character development have been good too imo. There are badasses ,weirdos, and sissys. Our main character kyouhei (not sure if i spelled it right) is a sissy on the outside but glimpse of his past and a couple of character development scenes prove otherwise. Some characters might seem useless but after a few episodes you see where they fit into the story. The main characters do develop a considerable amount towards the end of the story and they go a bit deeper within our main character Kyouhei.
I love it. It's very enjoyable and something to look forward to watching. Most people will like it unless you are really particular about the anime you watch. I believe that enjoyment is the most important factor so i will describe my experience. The first episode was enjoyable though i look at it and said ok where are you going with this. As the story goes on i notice that the dialogue is a bit awkward and some scenes are really unnecessary, for example some of the comedic moments seem really out of place. The end is a cliffhanger and i was disappointed but itching for another season. Not the best ending in the world and kind of sucks imo. Even with all of its faults it was a enjoyable watch so I will guarantee that you most of you would like it so give it a TRY.
If i could compare it to another anime it would be like higurashi no naku koro ni. Why? Because there is also a messed up village with some weird traditions, moe girls, and lightheartedness followed by blood or anger but it isn't as extreme as higurashi. So it's higurashi to a lesser degree. Some people might actually find it generic (in some ways it is) but it isn't. It's above average. In a sense that it's not in the "DAMN this is good" category but in the "hmmm this is pretty good" category.I liked it because even with a restricted budget the studio was able to produce a wonderful but not perfect anime.
So yeah it is an above average anime with a pretty good story, okay art and sound, interesting characters, enjoyable, and overall pretty good.
I would recommend this or at least try one episode and you would be hooked. Its better than most anime in its season (maybe the best) imo. Manga time =) no cliffhangers for me. read more
Seeing as only the first episode has been released, there's only so much I can say:
Synopsis aside, I was expecting something something light-hearted with a splash of moe, but I couldn't be more wrong.
The intro was done quite well. Granted, I have no idea what in the world is going on (though after watching a bit into the episode, you may begin to make connections), but I'm seeing a lot of death and destruction -- I'm hooked.
The OP song is average, as is the OP itself. Nothing special to me, but I'm don't feel forced to skip through it (though I probably will in later episodes).
The art style is alright, I'm not too fond of it as of now. The main characters Kuga and Hibino seriously look like side-characters. I'm speaking strictly on their appearance. Utao and Aki stand out the most so far.
They had some nice scenes with tension built up, but Utao pretty much broke all tension with upskirts, and other random things. Not sure how much I'm feeling the whole robot thing, but the story seems interesting enough to keep me going for another few episodes (before I decide to drop it or not). read more
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