Home > Episode Reviews, Kamisama Dolls > Kamisama Dolls Episode 5 – Anger Management Issues

Kamisama Dolls Episode 5 – Anger Management Issues

One side effect of having the largest demographic interested in manga be teenage males is that you regularly get plots which reflect the fantasies of that demographic, regardless of how much of  suspension of disbelief that may require. Even antiotaku approved series like Full Metal Panic think nothing of having high school age men (and women) in combat positions, piloting mecha, gaining incredibly destructive superpowers, or otherwise being given a green light to kick the crap out of stuff, often in life-threatening situations.

For some reason, passing out weapons of mass destruction to people suffering through puberty never seems like a bad idea to the adults in the room—assuming there are any in the first place. Kamisama Dolls treads a little bit into this territory with this episode, but contains two glaring exceptions to the rule. The first is the show, as it is aimed for an older demographic, avoids high schoolers and instead has either has adults or elementary age children controlling Kakashi. The second is that the perils of children controlling Kakashi comes across early and often in this episode.

Despite the admonition of all parties not to let the Kakashi be seen, Kirio and Utao fight out in the open. This isn't something that can just be covered up

Last episode ended with Utao meeting her twin brother Kirio for the first time, and completely flipping out over it. She attacks him without thinking, and after he deflects the attack with ease, Kirio uses it as an excuse to press his advantage. Before long, the fact that both of them are here for the same purpose (to capture Aki) is completely forgotten, and all their attention is directed toward each other.

Utao’s reactions in particular strike me as quintessentially childish. She’s losing, and badly, but despite Kyouhei’s pleas for her to have her concede the fight and have her Kakashi warp out, she keeps going on. Like a kid who just wants to score one good hit on a better opponent, she just can’t quit without hurting like she’s been hurt, and so the damage just piles on. It’s the reverse of the standard shounen formula: Greater determination does squat in the face of a more talented and powerful foe.

Utao is completely outmatched, and sees Kukuri injured again and again. But each time only drives her to fight back harder

Kirio suffers from a similar problem. Even when he’s made his point about who is superior, he can’t quite leave it at that. He has to push as far as he can, so when Kukuri inexplicably reflects an energy attack (I really hope we’ll get a proper explanation for that later), he winds up with a broken Kakashi too. His partner Koushirou has to bail him out, leaving the adults to resolve the issue.

What’s particularly interesting is that childish bursts of anger don’t seem to be limited to Kirio and Utao. There’s some implication from dialogue (admittedly from the Hyuuga, who have reasons not to like them) that the Kuga family has a history of poor impulse control. Aki, also from the clan, seems to have it, and Aki in turn is convinced Kyouhei has it, and occasionally even the mature, controlled Kyouhei seems to lose it.

We get some idea of the inner workings of a Kakashi this episode, but no explanation as yet how they can fly or shoot energy beams

But, of course, this is what marks Kyouhei as an adult. Except under the stress that would make most men break, he remains in control of his emotions. The show might take the effort to break that control, but it has to make an effort: Kyouhei isn’t the hotheaded teenage boy (ok, technically he is still a teenager) that is the staple of these shows. And when he does finally snap (as we can be sure will happen eventually), it will be a sight to behold.

Unfortunately, this particular episode has severe mood whiplash in its second half as the show tries to cram two, maybe three manga chapters into one sitting. With both Kakashi damaged, Utao and Kirio have to return to the village and the hunt for Aki put on hold. Both their return and some deeper plotting by the head of Hyuuga family vie for attention in the latter half of the show, but neither quite match the standard for dramatic intensity that was set during the opening.

In the village, Utao is almost viewed as a god herself, while Kyouhei gets treated like crap. Neither seem to enjoy it

Of the revelations, the predictable one is that Kirio is heavily abused by his adopted family within the Hyuuga clan. The more interesting one is that the reason they adopted (or stole, or whatever happened) him from the Kuga was that either he or Utao, or perhaps both, seemed able to control Kakashi even from the womb, without a direct blood link established. The Hyuuga were hoping to bend such talent to their will.

The Hyuuga clan head has deeper schemes involving a particularly powerful yet seemingly uncontrollable Kakashi—most likely, I would guess, the same one which nearly killed the young Kyouhei a decade or so prior in the flashback that kicked off the series. If that disaster set the pieces in motion that let to Aki’s violent breakdown and Kyouhei’s retirement from being a Seki, then the logical narrative end for the series is to have Kyouhei confront the monster yet again at the finale. Aki is likely not the final villain after all.

Amaterasu, the bound Kakashi, is kept underground. For a non-sentient automaton, it looks pretty mean

Kamisama Dolls is still a genre offering, but like Deadman Wonderland before it, it’s a genre offering that manages to break out of the usual narrative bounds, and to maintain great quality even when staying within them. The fact that this time, the target audience allows the show to have a greater level of maturity, in both its protagonist and its storytelling, is even better.

You can watch the episode here.

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