Kamisama Dolls – 13 (Final) Review

Man, I wish the series could’ve adopted the same philosophy as it’s presented here by Aki…

Reviews by M0rg0th and Saranaufogus

M0rg0th: I tell you, in ten years we will look at this and say laughing ‘Thank God, the whole thing ended here.’ because you know how it is with expectations: they have a way of inviting disappointment. But well, for now we probably all have our expectations of where this series should go from here. Because, you know, it’s not over, ignore the “Final” in the title, this series is as much over as Police Academy was over after the first movie (yes, that comparison was deliberate…).

Synopsis:

As Kyohei loses consciousness due to Mahitsuga’s attack, Kukuri goes berserk and attacks Mahitsuga with “laser-beams” and other stuff while Utao is confused and weakened by the sensation of losing control of Kukuri. The fight ends with everyone okay but Mahitsuga gets destroyed by Kukuri.
At the hospital Kyohei lies in a coma while Utao is in shock. Utao just wakes up on Hibino’s lap as Hibino’s dad arrives concerned about his daughter’s safety. Meanwhile, Koushirou and Moyako keep their distance from them talking about how Mahiru and Kirio have disappeared. The scene cuts to Kirio sitting alone in a park thinking about why this all happens, somewhere else Mahiru is asking herself why Kyohei isn’t a Seki anymore with that power. And that’s when Kyohei starts to remember back when he was a teenager and how he failed to do anything about Sensei. He always felt like an outsider who wasn’t part of what happened despite his efforts to do the opposite and therefore he distanced himself from the village not feeling like he belonged there.
Then his flashback turns into a nightmare and Kyohei ends up waking up and hugging Hibino by reflex who was standing near his bed at that moment by chance. Later on the rooftop of the hospital Kyohei apologizes to Hibino for hugging her all of a sudden but Hibino kisses him and admits that she actually liked Kyohei’s words. As Hibino and Kyohei go back to his room in the hospital, they are greeted by Utao who tells them frantically that she can’t control Kukuri anymore.
Back at Hibino’s house Moyako is taking a look at Kukuri but she thinks that’s nothing wrong with it – technically. Utao seems worried about it despite that since she still can’t control Kukuri. A few moments later Kyohei and Hibino are talking about their future which leads to Kyohei deciding to atone for what he has done until now and take responsibility while Hibino supports him but adding that he shouldn’t bear that burden alone. As Hibino goes Aki appears telling Kyohei of his plan to “nuke” The Village. Kyohei is still against it but then Aki tells him of how the Hyuga-clan-leader has dug up the four-legged Kakashi that Kyohei destroyed a long time ago. Despite that Kyohei wants him to stop wanting to destroy everything but Aki wants to go all the way with his hatred. The talk then derails to them remembering what they did when they were kids which makes them remember what good friends they are. After that Aki leaves and says goodbye to Kyohei, obviously still seeing him as the friend he was in their days as children.

*sigh* Couldn’t they have made the whole series a flashback introduced later in the series and skipped right to the part where Kyohei becomes badass? Instead of this we got Utao, you know, UTAO, goddamnit…

M0rg0th’s Review:

So that’s how it all ends? With a teaser promising the story I’ve waited the whole series to see? Well, I guess, that’s better than seeing a cheesy anime-original ending, isn’t it?

This episode did something what I didn’t expect it to do, instead of ending with a ‘Bang!’ it ended with the emotional finale of Hibino and Kyohei finally admitting what they feel for each other. And I think it was a nice way to close off a part of a story but it’s only a “part” of the whole and therefore it didn’t really give off the satisfaction of seeing the story end and I guess that’s the biggest problem I have with this episode.
There wasn’t much satisfaction in seeing it.

It felt just like the kind of live-show with time-constraints which ends up getting longer than what was planned time-table-wise and is getting forced now to end the whole thing as fast as possible. This episode didn’t feel rushed as rather like simply stopping mid-way. There were for example these totally useless scenes of Kirio and Mahiru that were practically a waste of time. Sure, later it would make sense to still spend some time with these characters as they will probably still play a role but now? Now it just seems useless to me to include those scenes because you know, this series is over. And there’s no second season announced yet (they should do it soon and the author of this series should better meet all his deadlines in the future) which makes this for now the end of the Kamisama-Dolls-series – and it doesn’t satisfy. It’s practically a cliffhanger to not only end things with a teaser but also showing a few scenes of what happens next when there’s no frigging next episode! I don’t understand why someone would make a series that tries to adapt its source-material as precise as possible but didn’t want to wait for the source-material to be a finished series. Now this series stands with a plot stopped mid-way and has to wait for an unknown amount of time until the author has finally finished his series or wrote another dozen volumes or something like that. If the author takes too long nobody will care about it but if he rushes it and does a bad job of continuing it then that’s it for the series as well. No matter how you look at it, it’s badly planned…
That way it’s rather pointless thinking about where the story of this show is going, what each element of it will ultimately mean and what was important and what wasn’t. Even stuff that may seem now unimportant could get important later if the author wants it to be that way.

That’s what Utao amounts to without Kukuri: a lame joke about exaggerated cuteness…

Like I said the episode culminated in a love-scene between Kyohei and Hibino which was a nice development but a not very surprising one. But I guess concentrating on that for the end was a better choice than dragging out the fight between Kukuri and Mahitsuga (or whatever the name was of that Kakashi). Because this love-scene was much more than just romantic cheese for the idealistic part of the audience but it was also a turning-point for Kyohei’s character to finally allow himself to be the Seki he obviously is with the ‘special talent’ thing he got going but for reasons that are different from Aki’s.

And that was another nice scene between Aki and Kyohei which made clear again that despite them having contrary ideologies regarding The Village, they both are still friends linked by their past. As far as characterizations go this episode had some great moments.

Hibino was as usual a purely supporting character for Kyohei and I don’t really like how her role in all this was secondary at best. But Utao isn’t different in that regard as she loses all kind of significance without Kukuri since the rest of her character is just a pile of stupid antics and we just get to see her whining about being unimportant basically in this episode. Not that I complain about that…

And that’s where I lament about the saddest part: That the whole thing ends here. I may have sounded always a bit negative about this series and in my final review of the series I will say why I don’t like Kamisama Dolls as a series but the story behind this is interesting even when a bit undisciplined in its execution which makes the plot move in a very roundabout way most of the time but the basic story is interesting and seems to get even more interesting now as the story gets going finally with Aki and Kyohei facing the real bad guys in The Village and stopping to toddle around in Tokyo. But sadly this is it for now and only God knows (or the author of that series) when we will get to see the next season of this series.

The final episode of Kamisama Dolls is a fine continuation of the story and a significant turning point for it. But as it prepares the stage for the real action to begin one is surprised to note how this is supposed to be a final episode of a series. In that regard this episode fails and one will hardly be satisfied seeing this as an appropriate point to stop.

Episode-Rating: 6,5/10

Saranaufogus’ Review/Rant

Ouch, I just hit my funny bone…. Sadly, I can’t say that this episode was half as entertaining as the odd tingling feeling running down my arm.

I would like to go through this episode in my usual review style but instead I am just going to say what comes to mind instead.

Kyouhei the Seki.

Now, I know that I was not the only one who has been waiting for Kyouhei to kick some ass after the cliffhanger last week. It had seemed like that was going to come true with the title of the episode and the revival of Kukuri, but what did we get instead? A bloody disappointing scene that looked like 2 dolls trying to mimic a boxing match. There was no Kyouhei getting powered-up, no butt kicking, and no extra attention paid to the dolls. Instead, we get a flashback of Kyouhei’s past, more fan service and a pointless episode to which all I take away from it is frustration and bewilderment as to whether the last part of the show is indicating at a possible sequel to this series.

I have to say that this series badly needs a sequel to tie up all the lose ends and actually make the show seem like there was some point to it, but with the way the amount of fan-service has been increasing with each passing episode, I am not sure if the “sequel” would end up becoming a plain harem series.

The problem with this show is that it is so messy and so chaotic and the writers seem to have no clue as to what they are trying to convey that even the ending had left me baffled as to whether it was meant to be a cliffhanger or simply the end of the series. Even the whole “in the next story” part was not enough to convince me that there *might* be more. Then again, it could just be another Skip Beat! anime with the promise of a tomorrow that will never come.

Red bean has the properties to stop World Wars.

Now with the flashbacks…

Was I the only one who felt like nothing informative came out of it? Sure, we do learn some new information about how Kyouhei lost his Doll in the first place. But what was with the chummy moment between Aki and Kyouhei? It just felt simply out of the blue not to mention out of character for the both of them. (You don’t forget your deep hatred for someone simply because of some red bean balls.) What I did not like is that the writers simply couldn’t resist the urge to throw in a plot continuation line with the whole Aki is heading to the village to destroy it and has essentially asked Kyouhei along on a date because by that time, I just wanted the show to end with some sort of dignity.

Good for you Kyouhei. It has been a very long time for you but it is still feels like a very long time to me seeing as to how we don’t actually get to see you in your “powerful” form this season.

Overall, it was a disappointing episode as all I have been waiting for since the first episode was to see Kyouhei unleash his power but at the end, it was all a mere tease with an even bigger teaser after the series ended. And honestly, can you blame me for no longer caring about if there were a sequel to this episode? After watching this episode, I suddenly felt like Kamisama Dolls was trying to pull a Blood-C on us and the whole series was a mere “trailer” to the main plot that is meant to happen in the village. (if it ever happens or if the writers don’t get sidetrack by random fanservice... I am not even sure if there is going to be a season 2 (am too lazy to research on whether there will be one)).

I know that a series is not based on just pure action, but this show had more fundamental issues than just that. If the story was actually coherent with answers instead of leaving everything with an open ended question, I would not be complaining as much.

So for the first time since M0rg0th has joined the blog, I am actually going to rate an episode lower than him…

Episode Rating: 4.5/10
(I am so disappointed, tired and can’t keep my cool after this episode so excuse the harsh judgement.)

-ra out!

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About M0rg0th

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

Posted on September 28, 2011, in Anime, Kamisama Dolls, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. In the end, Kamisama Dolls falls flat on it’s face. It’s hard to be excited about a second season when the first one was already such a messy mess!

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    • It isn’t great but I think, it would be a decent enough series if it would’ve been a 40+-episode-series with a complete storyline that leads somewhere. But ending the series like this with an uncertain sequel…? That doesn’t really help to overlook the chaotic storytelling of this series. In the end this series just shows that “complexity” doesn’t equal “quality”, a multitude of subplots doesn’t really improve the plot alone by its quantity.

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      • In the end this series just shows that “complexity” doesn’t equal “quality”, a multitude of subplots doesn’t really improve the plot alone by its quantity.

        A similar formula was present in Brain’s Base’s two other works, Baccano! and Durarara!! and it felt like Kamisama Dolls was trying to emulate the same thing, lots of subplots and lots of characters. But as the series’ ending has proven, it’s pretty obvious they realized that this was pretty much going nowhere and they required more episodes to get this done. But really now, they’ve wasted 13 episodes now and I just don’t think anything can redeem 5 hours of running around and throwing one subplot after another.

        The show had potential, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

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  2. “A similar formula was present in Brain’s Base’s two other works, Baccano! and Durarara!! and it felt like Kamisama Dolls was trying to emulate the same thing, ”

    I think that it just goes to show that the what is more important than the ability of an animation studio is the quality of the plot. Afterall, both Baccano! and Durarara!! was written by Ryohgo Narita.

    Either way, this show was a huge mess and I don’t think the issue is that lack of episodes.

    All the time spent on fan service and all those pointless scenes would have been plenty of time for the animators to actually squeeze some more relavant content into there. What I find odd is how the studio is trying to desperately to pique our interest for a possible second season.

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  3. While no one likes cliff hangers, I actually liked how this episode turned out. Having the series end here with some anime abridged version would have been more disappointing. Thankfully, the sub-plot with dolls having a mind of their own is being followed up on. Hibino admitting that she likes Kyouhei was surprising and could mark character development for both of them.The love triangle between Kyouhei, Hibino and Utao was one of the biggest de-railing sub-plots so hopefully this turn of events will tone that down for the possible second season.

    The only part I didn’t like was Kyouhei and Aki’s final meeting where they have an out of character moment, laughing about their childhood memories. They kept hinting that Kyouhei and Aki have a strong bond but never actually showed they were friends until now. It would have been a better transition if Aki had helped stop Mahiru’s doll to smooth the path towards more amicable relations. Aki and Kyouhei may have sorted out their feelings for their teacher independently but not with each other; a scene I think is really missing. Despite being one of the most important people driving the plot, we still don’t know why Aki is as screwed up as he is. If there is a second season, hopefully they can stop beating around the bush and just spend a lot of time talking about what goes on in the village, past and present.

    This series (season?) had so much potential but the execution was just awful. If the second season wants to redeem the first, then they needs to supervise the writer whenever he gets distracted. Someone to say “Will this sub-plot be farther reaching than one episode? Will it tie back into the main plot? If no, don’t put it in.” and “Does this episode serve to develop characters or forward the main plot, or does it just use an excuse plot for fan service? It should be heavily reliant on the former and the latter used only occasionally.”

    If each episode were as driven as the first, the series could have been golden. It’s hard to believe such a clumsily handled story was actually really faithful to the source material.

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  4. @Mira

    A similar formula was present in Brain’s Base’s two other works, Baccano! and Durarara!! and it felt like Kamisama Dolls was trying to emulate the same thing, lots of subplots and lots of characters. But as the series’ ending has proven

    That’s an interesting comparison since Kami-Dolls storytelling was fairly standard, I would say, but there was nothing about the way the point of view that had as much style as Baccano! and Durarara despite their multitude of sub-plots. But it would explain why the whole thing seems so chaotic in the way it never quite concentrated on one part of the plot. The greatest difference between Baccano!/Durarara and Kami-Dolls is that why the former had a coherent story despite its seemingly “chaotic” storytelling the story of the latter just jumped frantically around like a frog on drugs every time the series decided to change its point of view on a matter or just introduced another subplot we would never see the end of.

    @Ren:

    The love triangle between Kyouhei, Hibino and Utao was one of the biggest de-railing sub-plots so hopefully this turn of events will tone that down for the possible second season.

    The worst thing about it probably was how useless it turned out to be. It was just another one of Utao’s bad jokes that she liked Kyohei in a very un-sisterly way. Utao’s character-development was also cut short due to the abrupt end of her sub-plot concerning Kirio, that one never got the time to have any kind of effect on Utao’s character or Kirio’s for that matter.

    It would have been a better transition if Aki had helped stop Mahiru’s doll to smooth the path towards more amicable relations.

    I totally agree with you, Aki would’ve needed more screentime in the last third of the show because it was hinted upon but never directly showed that he changed also. I felt like his change was supposed to be a bit more complex than just the decision that “nuking” The Village is a good idea. It wasn’t probably the best moment in terms of build-up but I think it was acceptable to see Aki and Kyohei behave that way. I mean, it’s better than having them pretend they are the enemies they seemed to be at the beginning. It shows the development better that way.

    This series (season?) had so much potential but the execution was just awful.

    Seeing this series made me feel like I had just read the first hundred pages of a novel and I can’t say how much of it was a total waste of time or not. It’s clear that the series wants to be a long-running one and like that things seem to matter long-term. Well, while I wouldn’t say it’s total crap if there’s ever a second season it definitely isn’t the riveting experience the fans of the series make it out to be.

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    • The transition was awkward but I like this development of them being friends. Aki and Kyouhei’s relationship this season was… problematic. Sometimes it seems Aki genuinely cares about Kyouhei with consideration to their old friendship. At other times it seems like he doesn’t care about Kyouhei and just wants to draw out his inner madness by attacking his loved ones. I like to think the writer had both aspects of the character in mind but because of the frequent distractions, Aki’s motives seem disjunctive.

      The problem of Aki being a straight up antagonist is that Kyouhei doesn’t have any intention of killing Aki, so Aki will just come back again and again after each defeat.
      As friends, however, they can make a complimentary duo. While they both detest the village, they have radically different philosophies on how to deal with their past. They don’t have to be super chummy but they could at least technically be on the same side. What team Kuga really needs is an ally. I think the scene where Aki, Kyouhei and Mahiru team up was one of the best parts of the anime.

      In regards to what the next season would be like, I wonder what the Japanese viewers (because theirs’ is the only opinion that matters for future seasons) think of this flood of fanservice and sub-plots. Do they not care about the plot so long as they get their tits and imouto’s (not at the same time plz! D:)? I’m sure there are just as many critical reviewers over there too so I’m curious what the general reception was.

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      • Sometimes it seems Aki genuinely cares about Kyouhei with consideration to their old friendship. At other times it seems like he doesn’t care about Kyouhei and just wants to draw out his inner madness by attacking his loved ones.

        Just another sign of how undisciplined the storytelling of this series is. One can even lament the simple fact that it isn’t clear what now Aki’s role is supposed to be… The start of the series wanted to make us believe that he’s a sort of antagonist but perhaps not as evil as Sauron but rather more a kind of Darth-Vader-Villain who just made the wrong decision that led him on the path of evil. But as the story went on and more of the past got revealed Aki became a “victim of circumstances” that just needed some kind of redemption. And the strange thing is that this isn’t a development of his characters it’s just a change of presentation story-wise because was Aki truly a different person at the start of the series? Or did the story just wanted us to make believe that he’s evil? Aki definitely was a character that was discovered instead of developed over the course of the story.

        In regards to what the next season would be like, I wonder what the Japanese viewers (because theirs’ is the only opinion that matters for future seasons) think of this flood of fanservice and sub-plots. Do they not care about the plot so long as they get their tits and imouto’s (not at the same time plz! D:)?

        Since the animation wasn’t that great and the story wasn’t finished I don’t see people buy the DVD’s but rather go to the original series and continue reading there. Therefore I would grant the series a moderate success – at best. Of course I can’t prove that with any data and I don’t think it’s that interesting a question to warrant some research, so take my opinion with a grain of salt regarding that 😉 .

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