DVD REVIEW: KAMISAMA DOLLS SERIES COLLECTION / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: SEIJI KISHI / SCREENPLAY: MAKOTO UEZU / STARRING: NOBUHIKO OKAMOTO, MISATO FUKUEN, AI KAYANO, RYOHEI KIMURA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Based on the manga series by Hajime Yamamura, Kamisama Dolls follows Kyohei Kuga as he moves to Tokyo to break away from his small town origins. While in the big city, and just before a babbled attempt to ask out the girl of his dreams, he stumbles upon the classic mood killer of a bloody corpse in an elevator; an incident which unravels Kyohei’s past and the fantastical secrets of his former town, where certain individuals called ‘sekis’ possess the ability to control ancient gods through mind powers.
At least, that’s how it begins. Once you’re beyond the opening episodes, Kamisama Dolls quickly buries itself in branching plot lines and additional characters. There’s Kyohei’s younger sister Utao, who’s struggling to control her ancient god pet; some business types trying to unearth the secrets of said gods; Kyohei’s past and twisted connection with a deadly assassin called Aki; the awkwardly handled romance between Kyohei and Hibino; then a random twin brother to Utao turns up but is quickly forgotten about to make room for everything else.
It’s frustrating, because the show can be enjoyable when honed to its core. A flashback episode revolved around Kyohei and Aki halfway through the series proves memorable purely because it trims the excess and doesn’t throw plot lines towards the audience at random. After this highlight however, Kamisama Dolls descends wildly into a convoluted mess; losing any intrigue under its lofty ambitions and the exhaustive tonal switches between comical fun and clunky melodrama.
While often all too common in anime, there’s also some cringe worthy camera lingering on some of the female characters. Most notably on Hibino San, or as she’s commonly referred to by others in the show, ‘the girl with the big tits’. The bad taste hangs beyond the main show too, with a baffling DVD extra of her working out in her swimsuit for a few, awkward minutes.
What feels promising at the outset of Kamisama Dolls soon dissipates underneath muddled plots, irritating characters and a poorly executed finale. There is certainly something here to salvage from its opening few episodes if a second series materialises, but in its current form Kamisama Dolls is best left to your imagination.
Special Features: Shorts / Japanese promos / Japanese commercials / Textless opening and closing / Artwork gallery / Trailers
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