「追憶の肖像」 (Tsuioku no Shouzou)
“Portrait of Memories”

With the opening and ending sequence taken out in favor of extra time, plus a new ending theme by Ishikawa Chiaki (Garden of Summer), this flashback episode felt like the lead up to the finale. It definitely surprised me with the way it unfolded, which was very different from what I had in mind. I mentioned back in episode four that the name of Kyouhei’s teacher was revealed in the credits as Senou Chihaya (Nabei Makiko) and that she was likely killed, but at no point did I suspect it was the result of an entire village turning a blind eye to the sexual harassment of one Kuga Atsushi (Miyake Kenta). I figured it was an accident of sorts, and not some village-wide hazing. Granted, the actual cause did go to show how twisted and occult-like Karakami really is, reaffirming the whole dark secret type of vibe it’s given off. To that end, it was pretty repulsing how the parents were scared of the Kuga family’s authority in the village to the point that they’d tell their kids to stay away from their teacher when she didn’t do anything wrong.

Upon seeing that, I was pretty convinced that some of the kids were simply spreading a rumor on the blackboard to force Chihaya in a corner, so my image of her really changed when I learned otherwise. She’s clearly a lot more soiled than she originally appeared, but I still think it’s unfair to blame her solely for the trauma and subsequent accident that she put a former student through. Last time I checked, it takes two to tango. There’s no arguing that she should’ve been more sensible about her relationships when she’s a teacher, but I was inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she’s learned from her mistake and moved on. That only lasted for a short while though, because as soon as I did she’s coming onto Aki just because he reminded her of that boy’s father. (*facepalm*) Like seriously, was anyone expecting an adulterated student/teacher relationship in all this? Cougarville aside, I did get a sense of where this backstory was headed from that point on. Namely, how we would end up at flashback that we’ve seen many times already where Aki massacred everyone. I caught wind of Chihaya sacrificing herself to protect Aki during my season research, so the rest of the episode just fell into place — including Aki forcibly taking control of Kuramitsuha again.

While that part of Kyouhei and Aki’s past was fairly predictable halfway through the episode, the same can’t be said about the backstory as a whole. I found it surprisingly hard to completely sympathize with Chihaya for example, even though she was clearly the victim in all this. The same goes for Aki, who had personality problems well before any of this happened, breaking away from the typical scenario where the trauma made him who he is today. Then there was Kyouhei and his feelings for Chihaya that were hinted at before, which served as a huge red herring and made it seem like he blamed Aki for her death. For a moment, that looked like the cause of the bad blood between Kyouhei and Aki even now, but it turns out Kyouhei found out not too long after that Aki wasn’t responsible for Chihaya’s death. (Fake-out #2.)

So while the tragic conclusion was easy to foresee given the way things progressed, the story took a quite a few unexpected steps to get there. At the same time, it gave off an unfortunate yet not overly tragic feeling, as the tears from everyone at the end (including Hibino) didn’t invoke any sort of emotional response from me. From my perspective, Chihaya tried to to move on and was forced to remember her mistake, which led to her confiding in another emotionally scarred outcast to get a momentary release from it all (pun intended). She did what she felt she had to without any regrets and things simply got worse because of it. There’s no denying that Atsushi is the root cause of everything, but when Chihaya turned away Kyouhei’s offer to help claiming that she’s an adult and decided to sleep with Aki instead, she definitely didn’t help her case.

Anyway, given everything that’s happened, I’m still unclear as to what Kyouhei has against Aki when he knows what happened. Does it really come down to some lingering feeling of jealousy toward Aki for sleeping with Chihaya before he even had a chance to confess? I mean, he seems to be aware that Aki was trying to save Chihaya, so I can’t imagine him bearing a grudge over that. Then there’s Aki himself, who still perceives Kyouhei as his friend judging from the way he came to mind when Aki thought he was going to be killed. My suspicion is that his attempts to draw out Kyouhei’s true nature is partly because he wants someone to share in the same pain that he’s experienced. Whatever the case, this was an awesome story-building episode that also clarified why Moyako didn’t show any interest in Kyouhei last time — it looks like she’s one of the few people who sees Aki for who he truly is. I think Hibino sees it too now.

Note: It was only hinted at when Atsushi said that Chihaya isn’t only Aki’s woman anymore, but from my understanding, the manga is more suggestive about how he raped her before Aki arrived.




  1. I have noticed something interesting while watching this Episode. Alright, this might be a bit wordy but I feel that I stumbled upon something big.

    Notice that the song that the Kakashi sing differ depending on the Seki controlling it. Compare the songs Kuromitsuha sings when Aki is controlling it (in Episode 1) and when Atsushi is controlling it. This is also the case when Kukuri is being controlled by Kyohei and when it is controlled by Utao.

    In Kukuri’s case, the song played when Kukuri is being controlled by Kyohei is actually heard before, specifically in Episode 5 when Kukuri absorbed Takemigazuchi’s lightning attack. This could hint that Kyohei was in control of Kukuri at that time. This means that Kakashi could possibly be controlled by its previous owner, such as in the case of Kuramitsuha.

    1. Hints aside this flashback episode only proves what you’re thinking, that, yes, former owners can take control if they have a deeper connection with the kakashi etc.

      And lets face it, Utao sucks as a pilot. 😛

  2. Wow! What a powerful episode. Aki isn’t the monster I had
    thought originally. And the teacher wasn’t without faults
    of her own – a realistic portrayal of people who’ve made
    mistakes and are trying to move on. The dog was definitely
    a healing for Aki.

    It’s possible she chose Aki because she felt too tarnished
    for Kyouhei even after he offered to protect her. But she
    mentions that she was drawn to his (Aki’s) eyes to most…
    Maybe the classic girl drawn to the ‘bad boy’?

    I’d really like to know how Kyouhei later found out what
    really happened since all of the others were killed…
    Did he have another talk with Aki? I don’t fully understand
    the enmity between them…

    While it seemed like a humours insert (in a previous episode 5)
    when Utao separated Kyouhei and Hibino, I wonder if it now has a
    deeper meaning in that she doesn’t want to see her brother
    suffer a loss like that again (remember, she sought him out when
    Aki escaped). Maybe her closeness to him is more because now
    that she’s a Seki, she can protect him from that kind of pain;
    …and does she know the truth about the massacre…?

    This series has started many threads – I look to see how everything
    will end up. The depth this series is adding to its characters
    is progressing quite well – this is turning into an amazing series.
    I hope this trend continues.

    BTW, the ending theme was beautiful!

    1. I think it is more like Aki is a village outcast and now she became one also after rejecting Atsushi because Atsushi spread bad rumors about her after being rejected. Out of the depression of being all alone and on top of that Aki reminding her of her ex-lover (single father of a boy from the old school she taught at) she gave into sexually satisfying herself with Aki.

    2. What do you mean He’s NOT a monster?!? He is a Monster…a Monster PIMP THAT IS!!!!

      TO ALL FEMALE TEACHERS!!!!! the type of “Revenge” that Chihaya exacted, is the type I can fully ENDORSE!!

      BROOKLYN otaku
    1. The dog?
      The village probably took care of all the corpse but not this one; and with Aki in prison and the professor dead he was the only one available to do it.

      But someone who knows more about japan culture could tel us what it is judging by how he buried it.

  3. the light novel makes it more suggestive…

    You mean the manga because the original material is not a light novel.

    Nice and sad episode but the past is not completely revealed i guess since in episode 1 there is more to show.

  4. I was very much looking forward to seeing how BB will animate this arc and I must say I’m extremely impressed. I was expecting some form of sugar coating but they made it explicitly clear what was going on, even to the extend that Chihaya was raped. The whole flashback reminded me of “Majo no Jouken” (which is a must-watch J-Drama) but I find it very hard to sympathize with Chihaya and in many ways, she was clearly asking for trouble. Also, would like to point out that Kishi Seiji has done an excellent job with the pacing for Kamisama Dolls. They’ve left out some details from the manga but certainly kept the best parts in tact ;D

    Seishun Otoko
  5. Atsushi got what he deserved but Aki should have more control as Seki…
    Chihaya was not so innocent, but still great teacher. How many would just quit teaching and seek other employment?
    Aki as it seems shared more than a feeling towards Chihaya with Kyouhei – namely deeply rooted enemity towards that stinking cesspool of clan politics and Seki “nobility” that is the village… to the extent of both of them resigning as Seki. Aki “reclaiming” Kuramitsuha might be a hint Kyouhei might do yet similar with Kukuri.
    Overall, best episode so far and great portent for the ending for one of more overlooked animes of the season.

  6. This was very interesting. Although it answered a lot of questions, it left quite a few unanswered. The only conclusion I can come to is that we only know one part of the backstory here.

    This incident could have caused the bad blood between Aki and Kyouhei, but I don’t see Kyouhei remaining angry at Aki for all of this afer the fact when he knew what happened.

    It also doesn’t explain why Aki believes Kyouhei has the same ‘true nature’ as him (e.g. violent and aggressive), especailly since Kyouhei didn’t go berserk at any time during the flashback.

    Aki also refered to something akin to ‘just like old times’ when Kyouhei found him in the flashback, hinting that something possibly happened further back (perhaps what we saw at the beginning of episode 1?) that Kyouhei isn’t ready to talk about yet. Another possibility is that something happened after this incident that was a more direct cause of Kyouhei resigning as a Seki. Maybe it’s both.

  7. Mature back story is mature. People make mistakes all the time, it’s mostly the intention that judges the action.

    Glad to see that the main characters (and side) each have their own dark history. Quite liked this episode.

  8. I knew Aki is an anti-hero character. He’ ain’t bad, just mad. This even, along with OTHER issues in the series will only just continue to make you guys facepalm…. I assure you all this.

    The Mo0n DOgg
  9. This was a lot different than I was expecting. Sure, this is true for the events themselves, but also because I was expecting something regarding what happened at the beginning of the first episode.

    Looks like there’s even more to be uncovered about these characters.

  10. “My suspicion is that his attempts to draw out Kyouhei’s true nature is partly because he wants someone to share in the same pain that he’s experienced.”

    @Divine: I think it is more than that. I think because he knows that he and Kohei are the same, they both have been broken due to the village, Aki was broken when Chihaya and his dog died, but Kohei had been broken a long time ago, back when they were still kids, I think it’s the flashback in the first episode when it was Kohei with Kukuri who blew up that mountain. So when Kohei left the village and started “pretending” to be kind and a push over to almost everyone else, Aki was pissed off about it, and want him to return back to his old self, the kind of person that he perhaps truly treated as a friend (birds of the same feather flock together I guess.)

  11. Remarkable subtle, complex and dark ep that pulled no punches. Here was my take, for anyone who’s interested.

    I think it was pretty clear in the anime that Chihaya was raped. In fact, I just loved the fact no punches were pulled here – this was presented in all it’s ugly, tragic glory. KamiDolls is a great show for moral ambiguity, where the villains are victims and the heroes are deeply flawed. As for why Kyouhei might be angry at Aki, well – don’t forget, though Kyouhei defended him Aki already had the rep as a bit of a psychotic. Add to that the fact that he killed what looked to be about a dozen villagers. Provoked, no doubt – but most of those had no direct involvement in Chihaya’s rape of murder. The experience traumatized Kyouhei so much he gave up being a Seki, after all.

  12. I get what this ep was trying to do and all but I still don’t sympathize or care much for Aki. Remember he had problems from the start, the teacher, though making him take care of the dog helped in a sense, he was still fixated on getting his kekashi back and his “power”. The episode made it clear, when things got so bad she wanted to leave he didn’t, now she’s dead and the chance was blown.

    I also don’t feel sorry for Chihaya, she had her own deep psychological problems like Aki, which is why she was drawn to him anyways. The ep wanted you to feel sorry for the two, Hibinos tear at the end is the flag if you will, but it didn’t work for me. Not that I’m cold hearted, people are like this irl, but the thing that kills it is that they’re not using any common sense. Aki hates that place so much yet wouldn’t leave without his “power”, the Chihaya was an “adult” who should have common sense and the ability to work out this problem yet only compounded it by sleeping with Aki who everyone else shunned anyways, it was another “slap” in the face of the village in a way. But in the end she was weak and needed her counter part to “run away with” because there was no way she’d leave on her own, she had nowhere to go anyways, I think it was clear, she was really weak even if she put up the strong front of a teacher.

  13. woah woah, Divine…I get that Chihaya isn’t exactly the perfect role model, but the way you talk about her makes it seem like you’re talking down on her. Now even though we’re talking about fictional characters (lol), I still think you should be a little bit more understanding / sympathetic. Humans make mistakes ya know? It’s not like she was an evil person. She slept with her single students dad, but I honestly feel like she didn’t exactly initiate it on her own. The way they portray the father (all dark and stuff), maybe it wasn’t just to mask his identity but to make some sort of impression on us about who he is? Also, about the Aki thing, that’s just her being vulnerable. She even saved his life. What does that say? I’m pretty sure she’s taken a liking to him, and although that’s technically “statutory rape” I don’t consider it any less emotional than any other love connection.

    Also, why does nobody even mention the dog? I almost died when i saw nono :'(

    1. As some people already pointed out, it was more feelings of pity for Chihaya than sympathy. I actually wanted to get emotionally “invested” in her story, but the screenplay never really called for it. I don’t know what else I can say about that.

      As for Nono, this is a bit of an Easter egg in the screen captures. It’s a shame that he/she was killed, because Aki looked like he was just about to turn a new leaf.

    2. A girl got rape. A guy got NTR. A bunch of people got massacre. Please do forgive me if I don’t put the dog a higher priority.

      However since you mention it. I believe the dog was a physical form of Aki mindset(becoming a good guy). It quite dishearten to see it die.

  14. For me, this was a more emotionally charged episode so far in comparison to the rest. The flaws are obvious, of course – Not having enough backstory to substantiate what kind of character Chihaya or Aki was, e.g. not enough scenes showing the situation Aki was in before this. That could play out to be a strength however, leaving the audience with an imagination to think what he could have possibly went through to make him shut off his true nature and create a cold barrier around him.

    As viewers with a bird’s eye view, it’s easy not to sympathise with Chihaya since we can see what’s going on and what her past looks like. On a more basic level, though, her case was tragic as she ended up doing something silly yet in the end redeemed herself in her own eyes (and possibly with some viewers) by saving Aki. Making her character more innocent and ‘pure’ per se simplifies the story and makes it straightforward to understand. Maybe pity is a more suitable word for her here.

    As for Aki, he’s got some deep issues. In a sense, both Nono and Chihaya were the keys to unlocking his ‘true’ self, which was actually being a nice guy. If one understands that, it becomes logical that he would go berserk. Having two things that resemble hope or the light of life (or something like that) given to you and taken away suddenly…As a human being, the tendency is to return to the way he is used to – violence.

    On the whole, the recurrent theme I get is that the village is like a handsome murderer – Looks good on the outside but totally messed up on the inside. There could obviously be more backstory for Aki and Kyohei (who literally was a side character in this episode). In any case, Kamisama Dolls exceeded my expectations for now with this episode, so I’m looking forward to the next one more now.

  15. That’s pretty realistic. You won’t believe it when I say:”most adults are like this sensei, seriously”:D. Well, I think the enmity between aki and kyouhei roots from something deeper than this sensei stuffs. Remember that kyouhei actually hates(kind of) the village too~~

    1. Now this begs for more questions about aki; did he really like to kill animals when he was smaller? Doesn’t sound like it. Even kyouhei knows that he is always a nice guy:D….
      I think we need to actually know what happened to kyouhei and aki during the ep 1 flashback to know the complete story!

  16. To be honest, I felt absolutely nothing this whole episode, and I’m usually a HUGE sucker for sob stories. The gossiping party is a pretty realistic touch, but it just wasn’t very sad in my opinion. And I honestly don’t get how the audience is supposed to feel pity for Chihaya; especially when she’s shown to be a static character, who didn’t change at all after she got relocated. And I’m not trying to troll anyone here nor am I an apathetic person, but I felt that the emotional impact during this episode was virtually zero; the one character I actually did feel bad for was the dog. >__>

    1. Sure i’m not feeling that all sad for Chihaya, but its not like there’s nothing to feel. Especially the scene where Aki start to slaughter everyone around him and the insert song start playing. If gives me a “This is it.” kind of feeling. Not sad but deep.

    2. I just feel that this episode would have been a lot better if the stepbrother wasn’t such a completely one-dimensional stereotypical inept yet cocky “bro”. ;_; Also, the everything that went down in the first and last thirds of this episode were completely predictable, especially the parts with Kyohei.

    3. In a way, Chihaya’s staying the same is more realistic
      in that it’s difficult for people to change at their
      most basic level. Too much modern media junk out there
      portrays their characters changing 180 degrees after
      nothing more than a stern talking to, etc., usually
      overnight or within minutes. Unfortunately, people
      (myself included) tend to repeat their mistakes a few
      times before really learning.

  17. When the dog got kicked…. Man o man I felt it in my ribs. Poor animal. The one tear at the end from Hibino, lol I think they coulda left that out but then again no one cares what I think. Now if Hibino goes after Aki? That would be what I call Throw’n a wrench in the smooth sailing AKA relational cluster f*ck.

  18. yea if hibino goes after aki that will suck. well maybe not when Kyohei gets super crazy and controls the crazy ass kakashi instead and aki kills him together with the twins and aki becomes the good guy in the end…..???lol that would be a craaazyy twist

  19. Ugh that was quite the bloodbath. This was episode was very different from the others with the tone switching to serious and dark. The whole backstory was just really sad.

    Like the others said, something is definitely there that we’ve still yet to see but it looks like we won’t get on that soon.

    Anyway I just rewatched ep.1, Kyouhei and Aki were running with this girl from the Kakashi thats going berserk. Can someone confirm if she’s Hyuuga Mahiru? Also I think it was Kyouhei who fired that devastating laser.

  20. Kyouhei may not actually have anything against Aki at this point. Well… aside from all of the murdering and stuff.

    He was unable to act on his feelings for Chihaya and felt jealous towards Aki in not only that Aki was able to have that relationship but that he was willing to go so far to defend her when Kyouhei didn’t even have the balls to talk to the asshole seki guy.

    Who Kyouhei really hates is himself and he has transferred some of that hate onto Aki because of the lingering feelings he has always had for Chihaya.

    Aki’s plan may not be to bring Kyouhei over to the “dark side” so to speak, but rather to bring him over to the side that sees the village for the corrupt place it is and to take a stance against it instead of simply running away and trying to forget everything.

    1. Not really dark side or against the village but I guess since Kyouhei beat him with Kukuri, he is upset that Kyouhei gave up his power. It is like having a long time rival who you want to beat gives up. Rivals are all important in anime.

  21. Wow, anyone who experience that kind of trauma will be damaged for life, but in Aki´s case was the trigger that turn in what he is today, I mean, he had his share of problems but now I simpathyse more with his character. That explains the strange feeling I got from Aki, he´s half crazy but not truly evil; If you think about it he hasn´t killed anyone outside the village, just people involved because he sees them as the true evil after what they allow to happen to Chihaya.

    No wonder Kyouhei hates the village, that place is cursed to the bone; the two families control everything about the life inside the comunity. Kyouhei has to get Utao out of that twisted place before she ends up like Aki or worse.

  22. Am I the only one who thinks Hibino’s tear had a much more important meaning. Well, not really her emotions, but the fact that she has that memory of Aki’s in her head.

    She received that when she was in the woods in the previous episode. That other girl Moyako said that only few people are able to read the memories left behind in those woods and that these people are the ones chosen to be a Seki.

    1. No, everyone can use the forest. Which is why Kyouhei didn’t want to go into the forest, he is afraid of either girl finding out he likes hibino (i guess). Hibino saw that girl’s memory (Aki + dog) and that girl saw Hibino’s memory (she is not a bad person; more like mind reading?)
      Only strong ones become Seki.

  23. Guess I see one possible thought that about the Kyohei/Aki relationship.

    It might be that Kyohei just has a side of himself that he cannot reconcile with (the angry beat the bejesus out of people side), and Aki was the first to bring it to the surface. Now he just continues to antagonize him because hey, that’s Aki. He gets under people’s skin.

    The question I have remaining is whether we are sure the flashback scene where Kyohei is carrying utoa/aki is tied in with the one from this episode?

  24. @Divine: I don’t think Aki reminds Chihaya of the boy’s father but the boy himself. Cause she saw the same eyes in both of them; eyes of shattered dreams and hope. Eyes which sees nothing.

  25. Right now i sympathy Aki so much that i find our protagonist Kyohei a freaking lousy brat. There seems to be more into it. I wonder what happened before which made Aki loose his doll and become an outcast. I get the feeling that it might have been something he took the blame for.

  26. Yeah, this is about what I’ve come to expect from isolated villages in anime. The “special people” get all kinds of power, all the adults are idiots, and none of the teenagers have the backbone to actually do something. Except for Aki who was just trying to get by after whatever happened that the adults probably falsely pinned on him and took away his kakashi, and somehow along the way unintentionally seducing a teacher. That’s kinda awesome, too bad he lost it when she died. Not that I can blame him. This didn’t help my opinion of Kyouhei at all since all he did was have a random one-sided crush and mop around instead of manning up and putting the other Seki in his place. Way to fail, Kyouhei. Way to fail.

  27. What’s the deal with thinking Chihaya’s not so pure for sleeping with a boy’s father? She didn’t commit adultery there. And guess what . . . teachers are people, and adults and they have sex like other adults do. Hell, without the kid stumbling on them like every kid does with their parents. Hypothetically, Chihaya could’ve easily become a girlfriend and even step mom to that kid.

    Her relationship with Aki is disturbed. But that has its roots in both of them labelled as pariahs and her trying to cope with that child’s tragic death on her conscience.


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