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.
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.