Home > Episode Reviews, Kamisama Dolls > Kamisama Dolls Episode 8 – What are Little Gods Made of?

Kamisama Dolls Episode 8 – What are Little Gods Made of?

It would be hard for Kamisama Dolls to trump the angst and tragedy of the last episode, so it doesn’t bother. Instead, this episode starts off with what, I assume, is meant to be comic relief, before returning to the generally sinister atmosphere that characterizes the show at its best.

Like episode five, this episode is another time when the transition from manga to anime has combined two different stories within the bounds of a single episode. It’s not quite as bad this time, however. For while tone of the two parts vary radically from each other, the theme throughout is constant. The first half of the show gives answer to the question posed in the second.

There's a brief farewell to the village where Utao tries to reconcile with Kirio, only to have their mutual immaturity ruin it. At least nothing gets broken this time

The first half consists of Kyouhei and Hibino, freshly back from the village, taking Utao to the sea for the first time. To keep the episode from heaping out massive amounts of fanservice, they happen to arrive in time for a hurricane, and are thus stuck in a leaky, not entirely safe beach house. When they lose power and a wall falls on their host, it’s up to Utao and Kukuri to save the day. Sort of.

What’s hammered home in the section is how limited the Kekashi really are. Sure, they are powerful, tough, and capable of superhuman feats. But they also are only as good as the humans wielding them. Kyouhei has to accompany Kukuri out in the storm to the generator. Why? Because someone needs to carry the flashlight. Utao, and thus Kukuri, can’t see in the dark.

Another obvious problem: Utao can only see what Kukuri sees. Something covers the eye, and she's stuck

Although the show’s characters constantly act as if the Kakashi have personalities and feelings, this mostly seems to be anthropomorphism. Putting aside the supposed untamability of Amaterasu, the gods of the show are, as the title suggests, dolls, human creations moved at their whim. When Utao panics, Kukuri’s movements become equally erratic. When Utao trains, Kukuri becomes more responsive. “He” really is nothing more than a puppet which dances at Utao’s commands, so long as she can master them.

Yet somehow—and I suppose this is a very human thing to do—everyone feels an impulse to treat them as real people, and even as gods. They are seen as entities with their own desires, feelings, and personalities. They are tools, yet no one from the village (save perhaps Kyouhei) can see them as just that.

The show does throw in some basic fanservice, but it tends to be very brief (Kyouhei doesn't even see Hibino in her swimsuit). I half suspect events like this were caused by the manga writer throwing in occasional cheesecake at his editor's direction, but his heart just isn't in it

When Utao and Hibino run into Aki by accident at the library, he expresses a similar view, but with a twist. Kakashi, in his view, have murder and destruction as their only proper uses; not because of what they are, but because of what their human masters inevitably do with them. While this says much more about him than it does about Kakashi, it clearly affects Utao, who has an appropriately childish breakdown later when Kyouhei provides a trigger.

Kyouhei explains, correctly, that Kakashi reflect nothing more than the will of their Seki; Utao’s own actions to save others earlier in the episode confirms this. What he leaves out is that humans have very untrustworthy instincts, and having a a tool like Kukuri at one’s disposal allows those instincts a great deal of leeway. We’ve seen time and again the damage a Kakashi can cause, and every time it’s because human malice is given a unique power to act.

Well, malice or clumsiness, but Utao has gotten much better at controlling Kukuri. Most of the time

Kyouhei himself gave up control of Kukuri, I think, because he didn’t trust himself with that much power. (Among other reasons.) That’s fine as far as it goes, but that hardly solves the problem. Someone is going to be serving as a Seki for Kukuri. And from my perspective I’d rather have that person be one with a hard-earned humility and distrust of himself, as opposed to a grade schooler.

Kyouhei hasn’t come to that point yet, but he will. Regrettably, with this installment of Kamisama Dolls limited to 13 episodes, we likely won’t see that this time around. This show has taken plenty of time to highlight how easily Kakashi can be abused. But with this episode in particular, the takeaway is that this isn’t inevitable. Kakashi are tools of men. So it’s what men do with them that matters.

For all Aki's talk of death and his threats to Hibino, he doesn't actually do anything to harm either her or Utao. He hates the village with a passion, but Kyouhei and those he cares about get a pass, whatever Aki claims

You can watch the episode here.

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