Kamisama Dolls – 07 review

At this point, probably everyone says that about this show.

Okay, am I the only one who thought that the creators of this series switched the script accidentally with one of another series? This is the reason at the bottom of this whole series?! They can’t be serious… Well, I guess, they’re serious since they showed this episode. But it’s a weird twist that’s hidden in the past of this series, VERY weird, the kind that tries to go into Mindfuck-Territory, I’d even say. Yeah, it’s just that bad…

Summary:

Kyohei talks about the past as Senou Chihaya (everyone just calls her Sensei so don’t bother remembering her name), the new teacher arrives at Kyouhei’s and Aki’s village. Her participation in the village’s events already starts as she interferes with an argument between Aki and Atsushi upon her arrival. Atsushi, the wimpy step-brother of Aki who is also the legitimate heir of the great Kuga-Clan tries to bully Aki for being weak and losing Kuramitsuha to him. But Kyohei arrives before the argument can escalate into a fight and falls in love with Sensei as he sees her. At once acting upon his feelings he belittles Atsushi and his companions for endangering Sensei. Aki tries to leave but Sensei stops him and tells him to take care of the dog since he saved it. Aki complies.

Kyohei interjects now and narrates what a great teacher Sensei is and the scene switches then to Kyohei who walks with a random girl (she probably has name but she’s not important so, well…) as they meet Aki who takes a walk with his new dog Nono (be prepared Aki does that a lot this episode). Kyohei and the random girl are amazed at the persuasive power of Sensei and agree that like that Aki actually seems like a normal boy with Kyohei adding that he thinks he’s actually always like this. On the next day Atsushi makes his will will to take her as mistress known to her (or something, whatever, he wants to rape her, that’s it essentially). But she defends herself and Atsushi backs off saying to her that she will regret this.

Kyohei hears of this seemingly and talks with his dad about this who can’t be bothered (again – remember last episode? Same thing…) to do anything of consequence and just says essentially that it’s Kyohei’s problem if he cares that much about it and not his. So he should solve this problem personally with Atsushi – which Kyohei can’t because he’s also a wimp.

Atsushi’s words take effect as kids are missing from Sensei’s lessons and on her way home she meets Aki (with dog naturally) who she should stay away from as the principal remarked to her before. They talk about Aki not going to school and he also can’t be bothered to care about school and other people because he hates to be hated but is too arrogant to do something about it. At last Sensei asks Aki whether he’s lonely but Aki doesn’t get why that could be important.

The next day someone writes on the blackboard that Sensei had sex with a dad of one of her students. She flees from school after this and meets Aki (with dog of course) and they have a talk about life and Sensei doing her job. That convinces her to go back. After that Kyohei seeing the message for Sensei on the blackboard runs out of school in search of her but meets Aki instead who tells him that he just talked with her and that she’s going back to school. Aki, like Kyohei’s dad, tells Kyohei that he can’t be bothered to do something about it and if he thinks it’s that important he should talk to Atsushi personally. Then Kyohei hints at seeing Aki as a kind of rival in love concerning Sensei but Aki doesn’t get it.

“Okay, so they know about my dark past. Well, explaining this to the kids will be a a bit technical. But I did what I’ve thought was right back then. And that’s a technicality I’m prepared to hide wildly behind.”

After school as Sensei walks back from school she’s again bullied by Atsushi who this time is attacked by Aki who is by chance nearby – with his dog, of course. Sensei goes home with Aki and talks with him about her past revealing that the accusation she’d have slept with the dad of one of her students is actually true. Not only that but the kid discovered them having sex, runs then out onto the street and gets hit by a car. But he luckily survives and Sensei loses her job. And since she could find no other job she became a teacher in this village with the very special Kakashi. She then admits that Aki has the same eyes as that kid from that time and agrees with Aki that she wants to sleep with him since she can’t take revenge on that kid from that time. So she then has sex with Aki and asks him to flee with her from that village but Aki wants to stay because of Kuramitsuha, his Kakashi.

The next day Aki plays with his dog at the riverside realizing that things have gotten a “little weird” while at school the principal fires Sensei because someone took photos of her having sex with Aki. Later that day Kyohei goes to Sensei and tries to confess his love but she interrupts him and makes him promise to always be Aki’s friend instead. In the following night then Atsushi abducts Sensei and kills Nono who wasn’t with Aki at that time for whatever reason. Aki arrives at Sensei’s house and finds the corpse of Nono and a note telling Aki to come to a certain place.

Aki goes to that place and finds sensei on the ground held hostage by Atsushi and some other guys. Atsushi reveals that he always hated Aki and that Sensei isn’t just his woman anymore (whatever that means, right…?). Aki insults then Atsushi with his indifference who attacks Aki. Surprisingly Sensei jumps in front of Aki in time to protect him by sacrificing herself. Atsushi’s goons panic but Atsushi plans now to kill Aki, too, and let it look like a double-suicide. But Aki stops Kuramitsuha suddenly and takes control of it. In that moment temple servants arrive asking Atsushi what happened. He answers that Aki has killed Sensei and has taken control of Kuramitsuha. Aki then just kills everyone. After a while Kyohei arrives and finds Aki in the midst of a massacre. He asks him looking at Sensei’s corpse if he did all this and Aki answers “Yeah.” After that Kyohei fights against Aki – and wins. Kuramitsuha is sealed, Aki imprisoned and Kyohei turns his back on his Seki-carrier.

Back in the present Kyohei says to Hibino that he later learned of the truth that Aki didn’t kill Sensei.

Review:

Oh. My. God. What the hell is wrong with the creators of this series? So that’s what it’s all about – a woman’s tragic life and death because she always fucked the wrong person? She had sex with a minor! And she had sex with the father of one of her students! What the hell is wrong with this person? I feel cheated by this series, in a bad sense cheated. The whole episode I’ve kept thinking: “This can’t be it, no, this definitely can’t be the cause for the whole plot of this series…” But I was wrong, they seriously took an average Shounen-Plot and gave it a cause that is so messed up that nobody can take this seriously.

Okay, let’s start again… This episode presented the past of the series and why everybody is in the position he is in the present of the series. Despite that premise there was nothing much of substance to be found. The series keeps using the same information over and over again. There’s nothing new or deepening as far as the setting goes. So, it fails already that way but then there’s the emotional reason of the characters and why they are in the state they are today.

The plot then… Well, not much better, I think, some really nasty plotholes plagued this episode. In one scene as Kyohei leaves school in search of Sensei he meets Aki who met Sensei a few moments ago. She should be on her way back to school, Kyohei is on his way from school to Aki – they should’ve met. And at the end as Kyohei said that he later found out that Aki didn’t kill Sensei. Who told him?! Everybody present was killed by Aki so who was supposed to tell Kyohei the whole truth? Besides that, there were some structural things that were actually quite funny, I would say. There was Aki with his dog Nono who always was by his side. Aki did nothing but walking around with his dog, it seems. Then there was Kyohei and his heroic endeavour to save Sensei by asking Aki and his dad what to do – but in the end he did nothing. And Atsushi was a whiny boy who was nothing like the character he was supposed to be. He didn’t seemed like the head-of-the-clan-in-preparation at all. And still people listened to him. That shouldn’t work but of course it’s not difficult to blackmail a person like Sensei…

“Well, punks, if you have anything left to say… say it to my hand ’cause I’m not listening.”

What the hell were they thinking making her a sort of tragic victim?! Kyohei getting all fluffy with his narrative when talking about her great abilities as a teacher when her personal life is a mess – that doesn’t add up with the role she’s supposed to play, I’d say. Am I really supposed to cheer for such a character? Also, it doesn’t make sense that she comes to this special village with the Kakashi and all – because she couldn’t get a job elsewhere. Why does this village take willingly teachers with a dark past when they have to trust these persons to keep their secret? Does one really want to trust a person with such a past? And are then also surprised when stuff like her affair with a minor come up. And how long they kept her in her job anyway although they should know what the revelation of her past would do to her reputation. It just doesn’t add up…

This episode is a chaotic mess of seemingly trying to connect the tropes of “nasty realism” and “tragic tale of love” but in the end it’s just ridiculously bad because of how serious the series takes its bad concepts and its flawed usage.

Episode Rating: 4/10

About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on August 16, 2011, in Anime, Kamisama Dolls, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. You know…I agree with you that she was NOT a tragic character, because as an adult woman she was NOT admirable, at all. As a teacher you do NOT sleep with one of your student’s parents (even if he IS divorced), and YOU DO NOT SLEEP WITH A MINOR!!

    You know, I think I would not have minded her if she STAYED a good teacher, someone who accepted Aki exactly as he was and did not make any nasty moves on him ::shudders:: That is was fine that Kyohei had a child crush on her… She would have stayed sympathetic and tragic cause she WOULD have been the reason for Aki’s smile (the sex did NOT soften him, it was her acceptance of him that made him smile), and for Aki the only person who treated him nicely murdered right in front of him…. and as Kyohei’s first crush…it would have been tragic that he couldnt do a thing to save her…

    Aki and Kyohei’s feelings and emotions were the tragedy. NOT her death.

    I kinda had to swallow bile when she slept with Aki. ugh…..

    HOWEVER, this episode just explained a bit of the animosity and tension between Kyohei and Aki..but NOT the core of it…cause there is something else that happened before the nasty sensei came to the village….

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    • There are a few things that make Sensei just not worth my sympathy because of some things this episode did:
      1. Slandering a person is a bad thing – but it surely doesn’t get the audience on the side of the victim of it when the slander is actually true.
      2. I can understand that she perhaps made a mistake in the past with the father of one of her students. Well, shit happens, right? But then going over to fuck Aki as a form of revenge and making the next dumb move in her sexual life isn’t what “learning from the past” means. What I missed in Sensei mostly was – regret. Someone with that kind of past would normally be happy to use the job in the village as a chance to start anew but Sensei plans to elope with Aki instead which is just a childish fantasy. An adult should show more responsibility.

      The tension between Aki and Kyohei was strange… I mean, there barely wasn’t any left at the end. Much of it just disappeared when Kyohei explained that he later learned of Aki not being responsible for Sensei’s death. Sure, Aki overreacted by killing everyone after Sensei sacrificed herself but Kyohei should be the first person to understand the anguish that Aki felt because of Sensei’s death because the question is, how would Kyohei have reacted when it would’ve been him standing there instead of Aki?

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      • I think you demonize the teacher too readily. Her misdemeanors were certainly unproffesional but hardly morally damning. She slept with Aki to make up for her guilt in tramatizing a previous student. It’s established that she is both lonely and guilt ridden which makes her sympathetic. Aki is mature beyond his years and has a strong will. You act like the teacher took advantage of a insecure child.

        What was wrong with this backstory is that Aki and Kyouhei’s relationship with their teacher was too short lived to warrant such a strong emotional tie. Why is the mention of their teacher (who doesn’t really look like Hihino at all, contrary to what they say…) enough to turn the usually meek Kyouhei berzerk? Well… he had a child crush on her.
        While her death caused Aki to snap, it’s clear he was already fucked up to begin with from whatever past event alluded to in the first episode. That’s right, the real driving force of the anime (presumably) happened before the events of this flash back! It remains to be seen if seen if Kyouhei has any real beef with Aki, except for just being so ax crazy.

        For the narative structure of the series in general, the story is told backwards. Rather than find out the secrets overtime, the main players, Aki, Kyouhei and Utao already know all or most the details. It’s just the viewer and the not persistant enough Hibino left in the dark. We are building our own understanding of the plot which will leave us scratching our head over the characters real motivations until the final episdode.

        PS In regards to who told Kyouhei that Aki didn’t kill the teacher, its never stated that everyone in the room was killed. It could be that one of Atsushi’s goons survived the incident long enough to relate what happened.

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  2. @ Ren: First off, thanks for the comment ^^ !
    “Her misdemeanors were certainly unproffesional but hardly morally damning.”
    Well, I guess, then some people must have made a mistake when she was fired twice for indulging in uncouth relationships, right ^^ ? Your argument for sympathy is based on a relativistic point of view where her motivations justify the things she has done but I don’t think norms quite work like that. A teacher having a relationship with one of her students always sounds bad because it isn’t very becoming a person with that job and even though one may explain the reasons behind it, there’ll always be the point of someone having done something wrong in a case like this. And her dark past consisted of having had sex with a person she perhaps shouldn’t have sex with so where’s her way of dealing with it? Starting another foolish relationship? Aki may act like an adult in your eyes but he still is a kid and how is she responding to her conscience by screwing up another kids life? First it’s a kid being driven over by a car because she slept secretly with the kids dad and now to make up for that misery – she sleeps with a different kid? How is that supposed to make sense without making Sensei a kind of deranged character? And she definitely wasn’t a deranged character… There’s also the problem of her not being a “tragic character” with this kind of rushed characterization. Giving her such a dark past and making her happy by doing another mistake by having sex with Aki are things that need a lot of good characterization to work and not seem overly melodramatic. But one episode was definitely not enough for that and as rushed as Sensei’s characterization was she became a baffling character with a strange way of living her life.

    “We are building our own understanding of the plot which will leave us scratching our head over the characters real motivations until the final episdode.”
    Yeah and that’s what I like to call crappy storytelling. There should be no headscratching that doesn’t also give the viewer a spark of interest for the plot. But here it’s simply being left in the dark and nothing else. And Kamisama Dolls isn’t a series whose finale will be the big revelation (like in Blood-C), instead the series is just all over the place with a dozen sub-plots and doesn’t make it clear for itself what is really relevant and what is not. It’s obvious that this wants to be a rather long-running series in its original form but the anime doesn’t have that time to do that. The finale can very well be a big disappointment with a lot of issues left unaddressed because of the original plot-structure. This series won’t do much good with its DVD-Sales considering how bad the animation sometimes is and how the series only attraction point is to try something different but never really executing it very well.

    “PS In regards to who told Kyouhei that Aki didn’t kill the teacher, its never stated that everyone in the room was killed. It could be that one of Atsushi’s goons survived the incident long enough to relate what happened.”
    *sigh* You may be right, I may be right, whatever… That we have to debate this with “maybe”, “perhaps” and “if” just shows that the series is unclear on an issue that actually would need some clarification.

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    • I agree, one episode was not nearly enough to clarify Aki and Kyouhei’s emotional baggage nor was it time to develop the teachers character to help the viewer sympathize with her thought process or situation. The distinction I wanted to make for the teacher’s character is the difference between being back at your job and being a bad person. She was a very unprofessional teacher and was fired twice. Rightly so. But on a personal level her actions (in my opinion) are not really condemnable because they never intentionally, or predictably hurt people. The car accident with her previous student was, well, an accident and as much the father’s fault as her own. Sleeping with Aki, while the motivation for it shows emotional instability, did not actually hurt him. Quite the contrary, he was able to deduce from her story why she was interested in him and slept with her anyway. The teacher saw that like her, Aki was hated by everyone for something he did in the past and they both wanted to leave the village. So why should we hate her then? Because she was emotionally weak? That’s harsh. You don’t have to respect someone in order to feel sorry for them.

      Another point I wanted to bring up was your analysis of Atsushi’s character. It’s true that he was incompetent, had poor emotional control, and an assortment of other personality problems. So why would they make this guy the next head of the clan? Birthright. It’s not stated on what criteria they use for new heads of the clan (generally it seems they prioritize ability with cases such as Kirio) but being a clan, presumably the eldest son of the main family will be first in line. I thought this was inferred but perhaps I am just speculating. At any rate, for this and the issue of who told Kyouhei the truth about the teacher’s murder, speculation is fine if there are reasonable solutions that don’t break the suspension of disbelief.

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      • “But on a personal level her actions (in my opinion) are not really condemnable because they never intentionally, or predictably hurt people.”
        Yeah, I have to agree with you on that point and it’s definitely a matter of opinion that makes a difference here because I didn’t judge her actions on a personal level but on a normative level. That’s what I’ve thought seemed more appropriate due to the lack of any deep characterization the episode wanted to provide with just using one episode for this. Also, I’d argue that Sensei is basically a side-character who has a rather passive role for the plot as far as her influence on the present plot is concerned and I don’t think that one should expect the audience to take a personal point of view concerning the actions of a side-character because that requires sympathy and a very lengthy and good characterization so that the viewer can really understand why this particular character did something that in its essence may seem like an evil thing to an outsider. Sensei simply isn’t the material for such a story with the way they structured the plot, I would say. They tried to do something interesting here but the execution was too bad to make use of that idea.

        “So why would they make this guy the next head of the clan? Birthright.”
        Hmm, I guess I should’ve expanded on that point to make clear what I mean. I know how these stories of “birthright” always summon this image of idiots becoming important because they have the right parents. Some writers think because of that that some punky bully can become king and all they have to do for that is to explain who his parents are. Sure, everybody can have such a bratty bastard as a child, even the blue-blooded elite or whatever you might call it. But as far as characterization goes this simplified version often ignores how different the life of such a person would be. Atsushi simply behaves like a dumb thug with a streak of arrogance but there’s more to being the next clan-leader than just being more important than others. Etiquette, vocabulary, taking care of his responsibilities and so on… Such a character shouldn’t be characterized this primitive and childish. It has really no impact to show that The Village is evil because of dumb power-hungry gorillas at its top because that’s just ridiculous.

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  3. Come to think of it, Atsushi getting the spot just because of his blood seems off compared to all the other Seki. Both Aki and Kirio were adopted explicitly for their talent will dolls so you would think ability were more important than lineage. If anything Koushiro would make a better clan leader, but I digress. The episode was too short to give us much information on the inner workings of the clans, the power struggle between the two families or who is eligible to become a Seki. This show can be frustrating when all information is on a need to know basis. I hope I’m not the only one who was dissatisfied with the explanation behind Kirio’s adoption into the Hyuuga family being “Well, it’s a long story so don’t bother asking.”

    It occurs to me a greater plot hole than the one about Kyouhei knowing Aki didn’t kill the teacher. Many of the events were from the teacher’s or Aki’s perspective, so there is no way Kyouhei would know enough about them to tell the whole story to Hibino. He never visited Aki after the incident so its not like Aki told him either.

    So what can we take from this episode?
    1. Aki snapped when one of the few people who cared about him was murdered, that said he was already pretty messed up.
    2. Kyouhei doesn’t have a reason to be mad at Aki, Maybe he just started hating him AFTER Aki came to Tokyo and was threatening his loved ones. Still doesn’t explain why he had such a strong bond with the teacher.
    3. Aki now has a basis for his belief that Seki’s and their dolls are just instruments of death.

    If I were to redo this episode, for starters I would make it two. Give an episode to establish characters, the bonds between characters and their motivations. Most importantly, Kyouhei needs a good reason to have loved his teacher, and they need to establish why he is even friends with Aki. Then for the next episode, trigger some event (such as the teacher slapping Atsushi) where the shit hits the fan and things degrade until the tragic finale where the teacher is murdered and Aki goes on his killing spree. The finale needs to be framed in such a way that Aki’s actions were indirectly responsible for her death. Instead of Kyouhei allegedly being angry because Aki killed the teacher, have Kyouhei view the event as Aki just wanting his doll back and the teacher getting killed in the cross fire. It would be a misconception, but it would fit in line with Aki’s disposition and how Kyouhei might interpret that.

    The way things stand, Kyouhei isn’t a main character in his own backstory.

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    • Sorry to jump into the convo you guys are having but I am just going to butt in with my thoughts =P

      “2. Kyouhei doesn’t have a reason to be mad at Aki, Maybe he just started hating him AFTER Aki came to Tokyo and was threatening his loved ones. Still doesn’t explain why he had such a strong bond with the teacher.”

      Well, episode 8 did explain the reason behind why he disliked Aki – the fact that he sees a reflection of what is within himself in Aki. As for why Kyouhei gets agigtated at the slightest mention of the teacher? It might be for the same reason.
      With regards to the bond with the teacher, I agree with you that the instant bond and liking was unbelievable, but if we took a look at the poorly made “supposed-catalyst” character (the sensei), everything about her is an enigma.

      “3. Aki now has a basis for his belief that Seki’s and their dolls are just instruments of death.”

      Hmm, I am sure Aki has already established that fact in his mind before anything ever happened. As for a basis, I just think that he is a teen who is acting like a teen and overthinking things, because if we were to follow Aki’s train of thought, everything is an instrument of death. A knife is not an instrument of death unless you use it to kill people. I guess what I am trying to say is that a unless particular item was created for the sole purpose of bringing death, if really cant be seen as a direct relation to idea of death. Thus why I think Aki is just being a typical teen.

      @ the idea that this story should be 2 eps long

      I agree, more development is needed but I am not sure if I could have tolerated the stupid contradictory behaviour of the teacher.

      I have a feeling that at the end of the day, everything will be blamed on the twisted village and Aki either dies (and we are suppose to feel sad for him) or leaves to travel the world and that could be why they decided to make Aki’s character out to be one that you could “accept” by having him behave in a manner that is not purely antagonistic. (By making it out in a way that he had lost control because he was emotionally unstable and injustice had been done, like a tragic hero of sorts =_=” not sure if hero is the right word though.)

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      • Perhaps it would be better to clarify that Aki believes that despite being called ‘gods’, there is nothing sacred about the dolls, on the contrary, those who use them will inevitably abuse their power for murder. I suspect that Amataerasu was the doll they encountered in the episode one flash back and that traumatizing event laid the basis for Aki’s beliefs about their destructive nature. A knife has domestic uses but a tank (Koushiro thinks of them more like a tank) does not.

        It hasn’t been stated specifically, but dolls resonate more with certain people and seem to have a little bit of their own personality. They display small traces of emotion and other characters talk to them as if they were more than machines. ‘Empathic Weapons’ as TV Tropes calls it. If this is true, then Aki may think the dolls themselves desire destruction.

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  4. “It hasn’t been stated specifically, but dolls resonate more with certain people and seem to have a little bit of their own personality.”
    *sigh* Another one of these sub-plots… That was certainly said and some of Aki’s moments alone with Tsuhimitsuha (or whatever his doll was called) reflect that but overall it’s a notion largely ignored by the plot I’d say. The story in that regard seems more about how well the Seki can control his doll and what he does with this doll than a real setting-linked mystery-story about the true nature of the dolls.

    “A knife has domestic uses but a tank (Koushiro thinks of them more like a tank) does not.”
    Well, one could settle any debates with the obnoxious neighbour faster having the persuasive power of a tank on his side ^^ … That seems like a good way to make use of a tank domestically, doesn’t it?

    Like

    • I think a calling it a subplot is a misnomer. Rather its just an element of the setting. A subplot is when you have a developing situation that is second in importance to the main plot. For example, the romance between Kyouhei and Hibino is a subplot whereas the conflict between the Hyuuga and Kuga (at least for now) is just part of the setting.

      I think using a tank against your neighbor takes the term ‘domestic violence’ to frightening new levels. 😉

      Like

      • “I think a calling it a subplot is a misnomer.”
        Well, sure, it’s part of a setting but the way it’s unknown at the beginning and discovered in the progress of the plot makes it a subplot. You know, like for example a quest-journey where the protagonist knows where he wants to go but doesn’t know how he gets there and then learning how to get there is a subplot that is linked to the setting where it’s already determined that this place exists and where it is.

        “I think using a tank against your neighbor takes the term ‘domestic violence’ to frightening new levels.”
        Well, you know how these quarrels between neighbours tend to escalate… Some might think it useful 😉 .

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