Home > Episode Reviews, Kamisama Dolls > Kamisama Dolls Episode 9 – The Inescapable Past

Kamisama Dolls Episode 9 – The Inescapable Past

Only a couple episodes ago, Kamisama Dolls illustrated why both Aki and Kyouhei wanted to leave the village behind them and never come back. Of course, just leaving behind your past isn’t something people can do, particularly when the past is following you around. Hibino’s father has reflected on how his own attempt to escape the notice of the village has ended in failure more than once. For once honored Sekis like Aki and Kyouhei, the pressure is far greater.

Externally, that conflict is illustrated by Kyouhei being followed out of the village by Kirio, Koushirou, and Moyako. Although the three are technically there for Aki, their lives become intermixed with Kyouhei’s yet again, as each has a compelling reason to stay in contact with him. And he has a reason to contact them as well, as he tries with Kushirou’s help to work out the tension between his younger siblings.

Most anime shows assume adults are idiots or absent and leave high schoolers or middle schoolers to solve their own problems. Kamisama Dolls is wise enough to let the "adults in the room" solving problems be actual adults

Yet Kyouhei’s work to reconcile Kirio and Utao, as well as his own efforts to be a brother to his newly discovered sibling, aren’t the central narrative advance of this episode. That comes from Aki, who earned his freedom yet again, but can’t escape from his past. Were I him, I would use Kuramitsuha to rob some stuff and then use the money to flee to Hokkaido or someplace else the village, with its limited resources, couldn’t track me down.

But Aki is still broken, which is why he is still hiding in Kuuko’s apartment and steadfastly immune to her attempts to seduce him (which, along with hacking into her father’s police account, is her main method of digging up info on Kakashi). He can’t feel anything, or be motivated to do anything; he’s lost too much to care. He’s still trapped in the village, no matter how throughly he’s escaped it.

Kuuko is genuinely confused how Aki can remain so blase in light of her advances. Then again, Aki wasn't that much more enthusiastic when Chihaya seduced him

This leads him to the conclusion that his only method of finding peace is to return to his home and destroy it, wiping off the map the place which tried (and nearly succeeded) to take everything from him. It’s a horrifying decision, yet I can easily see why he would make it. Killing is the only thing he knows how to do now.

He might get distracted along the way—Kuuko still has some plans for him, and knowing Kuuko I doubt they’ll be morally edifying. But for now, it looks like Aki will remain the primary antagonist. With Kirio and Utao on speaking terms and the Hyuuga clan head’s machinations a distant threat, he’s the only menace on Kyouhei’s radar, not to mention the only menace that particularly cares about Kyouhei in the first place.

Kuuko and her companion say they have a proposition for Aki. I'd be shocked if it turns out to be legal

Well, maybe not. Just as Kyouhei and Koushirou successfully patch things up between their younger charges, they are interrupted by the third Seki of the Hyuuga clan, the teenage Mahiru. Not much is known about her, save two things: First, she’s the girl who shows up alongside Kyouhei and Aki in the brutal flashbacks from their childhood. Second, she treats Kyouhei like the pair are already married, demonstrating an affection both possessive and reciprocated (even when the latter is obviously untrue).

I really, really hope there’s more to Mahiru than meets the eye, because if she really is taking the obsessive childhood friend/love interest spot, the fact that she’s voiced by Kana Hanazawa will not be enough to make up for it. One of the things I’ve liked about Kamisama Dolls is its willingness to avoid or at least subvert many cliche anime stock characters, particularly with regard to romance. Utao’s brother complex aside (and it isn’t even a major part of her character), most of the relationships in the show have struck me as nuanced and realistic. Mahiru’s fawning attitude is not going to preserve that record.

The fact Mahiru uses "-sama" whenever speaking Kyouhei's name signals all the wrong things about her devotion to him. Of course, her behavior toward him is another clear sign

Of course, it’s equally possible that Maihiru will wind up being just as developed, once all the cards are on the table, as the rest of the show’s cast. I suppose the only way to find that out is to watch the next episode. Since I picked up a subscription to Crunchyroll this season, I can do that now.

Even for those of you without such a subscription, you can watch this episode here.

One thing that's sure to be important later: The move Utao used to defeat Kirio last time they fought was something only Kyouhei could do before she did. Odds are that Kyouhei is still the only one who did it

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