OP: 「不完全燃焼」 (Fukanzen Nenshou) by 石川智晶 (Ishikawa Chiaki)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼
「神は来たりて」 (Kami wa Kitarite)
The adaptation of Yamamura Hajime’s action fantasy manga may not have ranked very highly in the seasonal poll, but I was pretty sold on what I read in the early parts of the manga. The promo material left me with a good first impression, and Brain’s Base delivers impeccably with this premiere episode, quickly reminding me of all the potential that I saw.
From a visual standpoint, I really like what I see in the anime already, starting with the opening sequence featuring Ishikawa Chiaki’s “Incomplete Combustion”. In addition to a great song, the style seen in an otherwise simple sequence distinguishes it from everything else in the season thus far, much like Durarara’s did back when it was airing — definitely worthy of MAD video parodies. The character and their designs have an immediate appeal as well, due to the fact that they’re a lot older (university students) and the female characters in particular have much better facial proportions (i.e. reasonable sized eyes) to reflect their age. Proportion-wise, the designs are pretty ideal in my eyes, and no, I’m not referring to Shiba Hibino’s (Kayano Ai) extremely well-endowed chest and petite waistline. While I’ve made it a point to not let character designs heavily sway my interest in a series, I do have preferred styles, so it’s nice to know that Kami-sama Dolls has a great look to go with the story that I’m really looking forward to. Kudos to character designer Morita Kazuaki for that.
As for the adaptation as a whole, I’m surprised there wasn’t more buzz about this series after I published the Summer 2011 Preview, leaving me wondering if I’m to blame for taking a more cautiously optimistic stance and containing my excitement a bit too much. I guess marking it down as a guaranteed blog only says so much, but I figured the “God Meets Girl” tagline would have turned a few more heads. After all, it’s not every day we see an anime that revolves around mysterious dolls known as “Kakashi” that are believed to be the empty shells of God and a select group of villagers known as “Seki” who can manipulate them, let alone an anime that features university students instead of the high school ones we see in just about everything. Not only that, Kami-sama Dolls combines urban lifestyle with the dark secrets of a small village, depicting how the traumatic experiences of main protagonist Kuga Kyouhei (Okamoto Nobuhiko, who’s in way too many roles these days) have followed him all the way to Tokyo, despite his attempt to distance himself from his village’s strict customs and cult-like conduct. Furthermore, Kyouhei’s relation to the Kuga family and that to one Kuga Aki (Kimura Ryouhei) also comes with a bloody past, providing ample backstory to really draw viewers in and make us want to find out exactly what happened back then and to see what Aki is after now.
To make us hungry for more, this first episode already answered some of those questions, alluding to how Aki used his Kakashi to kill a lot of villagers and was imprisoned for his murders, and recently escaped when he caught word that Kyouhei had left the village. At the same time, we learn that Kyouhei used to be a Seki himself, before he relinquished “Kukuri” to his younger sister, Utao (Fukuen Misato). On the action front, we’re also given a pretty good taste of exactly what these empty shells of God are capable even in the hands of an inexperienced Seki like Utao, which adds yet another dimension to the series. Of course, all of the above can still sound rather gimmicky as far as anime is concerned, so back in the season preview, I mentioned that Aki is purposely provoking Kyouhei in hopes of awakening his true powers (and his true nature), thinking it would spark some interest in the premise. The reason being, it was actually that plot-related tidbit that more or less sealed the deal for me. It not only reiterated that there’s a deeper story to look forward to, but also confirmed my gut-feeling of the promise the manga showed.
This first episode made a fair bit of progress, introducing the premise and all the main characters, while hinting that Aki is far from being out of the picture even after Utao managed to stop him. By no means did it feel the least bit rushed either, as it provided a good sense of Kyouhei’s interest in Hibino, the daughter of a family friend, and Utao’s jealousy of that fact. Along the way, we also learned how adorable Utao can be, even when Aki looked like he was going to kill her any second, which is part of the cuter and more lighthearted side of things that rounds Kami-sama Dolls out. There are still a bunch of other characters that have yet to be introduced, including Hibino’s university friend Karahari Kuuko (Sawashiro Miyuki), and other village Seki, Hyuuga Koushiro (Murase Katsuki) and Hyuuga Mahiru (Hanazawa Kana), the latter of whom likes Kyouhei. They should be interesting additions to the story, especially with the seiyuu cast to voice them. For now, this is a great start to a series that will only get better along the way.
Note: This is another one of Crunchyroll’s new simulcasts for the summer season. See here for new simulcast titles as they’re announced.
ED: 「スイッチが入ったら」 (Switch ga Haittara) by 石川智晶 (Ishikawa Chiaki)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼
Kami-sama Dolls Lesson
The preview for the next episode is actually contained in the ending sequence, which also features some scenes from the current episode. From the look of things, we should see Kyouhei teaching Utao how to control Kukuri better and the introduction of Kuuko next time. The lesson skits at the very end presumably expand on some plot-related information, except the use of sock puppets makes them goofy more than anything else. Not that I mind though, since Fukuen Misato can make anything sound cute.
The music that plays whenever the kakashi are used is soo B.A., can’t wait to see how they blend in future group fights!
I enjoyed the episode believed the pv was interesting from the preview. I’m just waiting for the main character to maybe somehow get one of those dolls and whoop some booty.
This looks great, will definitely follow it.
Also, love triangle anyone?
The opening scene bought me to watch this.
As for manga, I’ll try it if you say its good then.
Good first episode. Happy they didnt do anything ecchi as that ruins a serious show. Probably will keep on watching since characters arent one sided or generic plus kyohei in seki mode will be cool.
very different from what I expected, which is not a bad thing
Man, I love that OP.
What’s really clever is the way that they’ve set up the two girls — They’ll be able to mix Shiba learning about the supernatural (which is okay because her dad is from the village) with Utao learning about everyday life outside the village. I think it’ll give them a superb ability to mix the extraordinary with the ordinary, and keep both sides fresh.
Also, possible minor spoilers:
Show Spoiler ▼
Err, that should be “Kuga,” not “Kugo.” Derp. And I just noticed it’s in the summary as well, so I guess not spoilers after all. To-do list: read post before commenting!
They’re from the same family, but I don’t believe they’re direct siblings.
Yah, it was just a guess.
ordinary and extraordinary? are you from ib??
I thought the dolls looked pretty cute, especially in those last “Lesson” pics. Then I realized they’re actually quite big, not to mention the blood stain on the wall that I noticed much, much later. Scary details…
Just hot chocolate, I think T_T.
Oh man, love that OP song!!
Totally agree about the character designs, and overall this has been the most engaging first ep. of the season for me so far.
I like this series as well. Can’t wait to see what happens next week.
Considering how many people this villian killed and how dangerous he is you would think the village would have stripped away his ability to use such a homicidal doll. Not being able to do that then the dude should have been executed or sealed away because he is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off and no one is prepared to properly deal with him.
WHOS GOING TO REVIEW BLOOD C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please take a look at the blogging schedule that comes up before each season, it’s been up for a while now.
Incase you didn’t understand the table: Divine will be blogging Blood-C
Does it really pain you that much to not see a post about it, even though you probably don’t care to read what’s going to be said?
To answer your questions seriously, I am, just like it’s been outlined in the blogging schedule. I just don’t want to cover the low-quality early broadcast stream and opted to wait for the high definition television broadcast. I have watched the episode already though, so just be patient and just wait a couple of more days. Trust me, it won’t kill you.
I just thought you guys forgot about it since it came out already and i did see the blog post that it was a guaranteed watch
And sorry for the all caps dint meant to sound like an ungrateful idiot.
I LOVE THE MANGA!!! I HOPE THIS WOULD BE A FAITHFUL ADAPTATION. A BAD ASS ONE! ^^,
Absolutely. Cannot WAIT to see this. It’s one of my top must-sees of this season! Gotta wait for Crunchyroll, though. If they’re goin’ to the trouble of simulcasting, I can sure as hell wait 7 days for the free, legal stream.
Thanks so much for covering this! I already loved what I read of the manga and the art for the anime looks even better. Add in the haunting and catchy music and the promising voice cast? Oh, am I ever sold.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who was reminded of Kyubei upon seeing Kukuri.
Sankaku Complex agrees with you. lol
The opening blew my mind. So awesome!
agreed, the opening is very catchy
I love the opening more than I’m supposed to…
From the preview, I thought “this looks awesome, but I have no idea why”.
After watching the first episode, I thought it was awesome, but still have no idea why.
Wow, the OP and ED gave me this huge flashback to Bokurano which in turn reminded me of Narutaru. Hmmm… I hope this doesn’t give out too much jive like Narutaru…
Narutaru had potential as a series. I think they just wasted too much of the series and the storytelling could have been better. Cool premise with a horrible execution.
Looks like I am sold for a good 4+ episodes just from the screens!
Since everyone said the manga is so badass I will continue watching this series. Besides the very tense first few minutes, overall this 1st ep leaves a lot to be desired, imo: the animation quality was only so-so, the suspense was non-existent, and Kuga already screamed too loud and too often to my liking. The OP was very good, though, better than the whole episode in fact.
Man, that was one hell of an episode! I had my doubts about this summer season, but so far many of the shows (Blood C, Kamisama no Menmo-chou, Ikoku Meiro no Croisée, and this show) have turned out to be thoroughly enjoyable viewing experiences. I do have to say, however, that the opening sequence of Kamisama Dolls is outstanding both visually and aurally, and has to be one of the best I’ve seen yet…
Really? From the preview I knew it was going to be a great summer season. Lots of good shows and some great sequels (Blood-C, Nurarihyon, Natsume) plus we still have leftovers like Nichijou, Tiger & Bunny, Hanasaku, and Steins: Gate.
I hate Okamoto Nobuhiko voice “who’s in way too many roles these days”, Divine is right, and as a consequence i dislike Kyouhei and also because so far he look no good with week personality…
I like Kana Hanazawa, but she’s starting to be overused and im stating to get tired of listening her in every anime, good thing she’s not voicing Utau, it was a relief for me…
Busty Hibino also hurts my eyes…
Other than that, the first episode was good…
Even though you clearly showed enthusiasm with this adaptation by making it a ‘guaranteed’, from the Promo’s and previews I still saw absolutely nothing that stood out to me and I tried to completely ignore any expectations. Thankfully I loved this episode, the style reminded me of the late 90s with somewhat realistic eye sizes and the designs of the characters.
Overall I think this is alot better than I thought it would be and I can’t wait for some more development on the Kakashi and the village which is giving off Shiki feels, not in the vampire sense but how it doesn’t seem the most peaceful and fun loving place in the countryside.
One of my “sure to watch” anime
Great first episode. Definitely worth watching!
Am I the only one who got Bounen no Xamdou vibes from this?
Actually I got vibes from 2 other older series. Xamdou and Narutaru.
The premise itself didn’t seem anything special. With anime it’s really hard to tell much from just the premises alone. You never really know what you’re getting into until you actually see the first ep or two. I’ll admit I didn’t take a look at any of the other promotional materials (I usually just read RC to get first impressions of a series; I tend to watch the first ep of just about everything anyway). So it’s not so much that I wasn’t interested, it just didn’t seem to stand out from a promotional perspective.
This episode absolutely blew me away. The premise was, if you ask me, fairly generic, but the execution was excellent. I honestly think that just about any premise works for speculative fiction, it’s the execution that matters. The quick setup and development of character pasts and their interactions were very well done. I like the no-nonsense in the thick of things development. I definitely agree that this series has a lot of potential.
I think Divine, in reading the manga, you saw the potential there and were excited from that. It’s the subtle way they handle the little details (in contract to a typical over-the-time anime style) that set this apart. It’s hard to show that kind of thing in promotional material alone.
and no, I’m not referring to Shiba Hibino’s (Kayano Ai) extremely well-endowed chest and petite waistline.
Oh, come on, Divine, admit it. lol
At the risk of getting accused of being a pervert, I would freely admit that well-endowed chest of hers was very difficult for my eyes to avoid upon seeing the first screenshots of the first episode.
Interesting. Ill stick with it for a few more eps.
Something I’ve come to dislike about newer shows is that these days animation companies tend to use the same art style for nearly every series they pick up. I didn’t mind so much a few years back, but its really become a problem for me these days when I feel like I’m watching the same shows set in alternate universes. The art in Kamisama Dolls managed to bring back some of that old-fashioned originality I’ve been missing, making this series feel much like a 90’s series with a souped up budget and better animation techniques. With nostalgia alone, its won my viewership.
Of course, there’s a lot of things I enjoyed about the first episode asides from that. The premise is intriguing, the characters are fresh, and the opening credits had me drooling in seconds. The way it managed to blend humor into serious situations was also impressive, the most notable point being the fight scene in Kyouhei’s apartment. Utao made me laugh and Aki made me shiver- at the same time. I’m also a big fan of dark secrets in little villages.
The only thing thing that bothered me would have to be Hibino’s assets. They looked sort of…out of place in contrast to the realistic proportions applied to everything else. Thank goodness she’s a college student, at least. If they had those on a highschooler I’d be far too irritated to enjoy any scenes with her in it. College students! I also like that they feature people my age in this show, rather than kids acting like their my age.
Another great show to add to my summer watch-list.
Kamisama Dolls is no.1 on my list right now. Spending every minute of my spare time reading the manga and it’s freaking awesome!
I was ambivalent to it when I saw the previews but watching the episode has rocketed it to the top five of my summer anime list. I agree with those saying the music when the seki are summoned is really badass
Is it just me or does Utao remind you of Yui minamoto from Ichigo 100%?
“la, la, la, la, la… la, la, la, la, la…. “
hmmm, definitely strong contender for the mystery/fighting anime of the season… from the mysterious backwater temple-ruled village (Hinamizawa anyone?) to mysterious mecha-like kami, to young but already adult main character(s) (save the loli “seki in training” :P) this series has me sold from the first episode…
Shiba’s boobs are sure big
I really enjoyed this first episode!! The character designs (even Shiba’s slightly unrealistic body) are really refreshing compared to the cutesy styles we’ve been seeing for the past few years, and the college age characters are as well. My only complaint was that this episode didn’t seem to explain enough, but maybe that’s just my thirst for knowledge that they’ve tapped into. I will definitely be following this.
I’m wondering if Utao has a full fledged brother complex…
I enjoyed reading the layout and all but unfortunately this page took forever to load up, anyone else having the same issue?