Kamisama Dolls (Kamisama Doouzu) (2011)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 19-Jun-2013

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Trailer-Japanese Promos (4:56)
TV Spots-Japanese Commercials (1:03)
More…-Textless Opening Song (1:28)
More…-Textless Closing Song (1:28)
Gallery-Photo-Artwork Gallery
Trailer-x 5 for other anime
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 300:29 (Case: 325)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Seiji Kishi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Nobuhiko Okamato
Leraldo Anzaldua
Ai Kayano
Monica Rial
Misato Fukuen
Hilary Haag
Ryohei Kimura
David Matranga
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Masala Nishida
Chiaki Ishikawa


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Kyohei Kuga (voiced by Nobuhiko Okamato / Leraldo Anzaldua) comes from Karakami Village, a remote village in Japan which is the home of some special people, called “seki”, who can with their minds control doll like gods called kakashi. But after a tragic experience in which people died, Kyohei renounces his seki powers and moves to Tokyo where he attends university, hoping to put the village behind him. At the same university, and from the same village, is Hibino Shiba ( Ai Kayano / Monica Rial) and one night after a drunken party Kyohei and Hibino find a mutilated body which they believe has a connection to their village.

     Later than night Kyohei is visited by his younger sister, and budding seki, Utao (Misato Fukuen / Hilary Haag) with disturbing news: Aki (Ryohei Kimura / David Matranga), the unhinged seki who had created carnage in Karakami Village and who had been captured and imprisoned by Kyohei, has escaped and made his way to the city. Utao has taken over the kakashi named Kukuri from Kyohei when he renounced his powers and is still learning her trade. Indeed, before very long Aki seeks out Kyohei and Utao, and the conflict between their respective kakashis results in the destruction of Kyohei’s apartment. Kyohei and Utao move in with Hibino and her father Shingo (Atsushi Ono / Mike Yager), but it seems that other seki from their village have arrived in Tokyo also seeking Aki, including Koushiro Hyugo (Katsuki Murase / Adam Gibbs) and the mysterious child Kirio (Yumiko Kobayashi / Luci Christian). When the kakashis of Kirio and Utao fight and Kukuri is badly damaged, Kyohei, Utao and Hibino return with it to Karakami Village.

     In the village, while Kukuri is being repaired by the unaligned Utsuwashi clan, including the rather dominating female Somaki Moyako (Ayahi Takagaki / Kris Carr) and her sister, it is confirmed that Kirio is in reality Utao’s twin brother and had been hidden away in the village by the Hyugo clan, who are the rivals of the Kuga clan. While in the village Hibino also finds out about the background of the conflict between Kyohei and Aki, and the tragic story of the village school teacher. When they return to Tokyo, the search for Aki continues, although it becomes apparent that other, unseen, evil forces are also in play. Kyohei must face his past, and his destiny, in order to protect those he holds dear.

     Kamisama Dolls (Kamisama Doouzu) is based upon the manga by Hajime Yamamura that has been published since 2007 and has, as of this year, run to twelve volumes. This film maybe tries to take in too much as the plotting and structure is very uneven. For example, a number of sub-plots such as those involving the very loud and annoying fellow student Kuuko (Miyuki Sawashiro / Maggie Fleckmoe) and her police detective father really go nowhere, while a massive plot shift and a major new character, the powerful female seki Mahiru Hyuga (Kana Hanazawa / Genevieve Simmons), who has a crush on Kyohei, are introduced in episode 9, right at the end of this series.

     I guess that the intended audience of this anime is likely to be adolescents, as there is a lot of gawkiness in the tentative relationship between Kyohei and Hibino, and attention is drawn frequently to her prominent breasts, but on the other hand the preteen Utao is written quite comically in her attempts to master her kakashi and be the clumsy little sister while at the end of each episode there is a section involving puppets, pointing to a younger audience. However, there are also some adult aspects to the show including an attempted rape and the cowardly treatment of the female teacher in the kakashi village which starts the train of events. Some of the violence is quite bloody so that the show is rated MA, but I feel that the older teens could find the rest of the series all a bit juvenile.

     This series of Kamisama Dolls ends with little resolved. It is true that Kyohei has finally got to kiss the girl but the relationship between Aki and Kyohei, which has really been at the centre of the principal plotline, has not really been developed. Presumable, this story arc, plus the “monster” kakashi and the secrets within the village were to have been developed in series two, however as far as I know a second series of Kamisama Dolls has not been made.

     This two DVD set of series one includes episodes 1-7 on disc 1, episodes 8-13 plus all the extras on disc 2. Note that the title sequences are in Japanese – at the completion of episode 7 and episode 13 English language credits are added.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Kamisama Dolls is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio.

     This is an anime which uses a fair number of shortcuts such as static backgrounds. The drawings are reasonable sharp and the colours during the title sequences, and during some of the kakashi fights, are bright and vibrant. Elsewhere the colours are more muted, especially the city backgrounds although the pastel greens and blues are nicely rendered. There is no issue with artefacts and blacks and shadow detail are fine.

     It is anime and lip synchronisation is very approximate in either audio track.

     The English subtitles are in a yellow font in US English spelling and while some of the grammar was a bit clunky I noticed no obvious spelling errors. From the set up menu you can either select English audio or Japanese audio with English subtitles, but the remote can be used to switch between languages and turn the English subtitles off and on. So you can watch the English dub with subtitles. During the opening and closing songs of each episode the subtitles alternate between Japanese language Western script, and English.

     The video is not in the top level of anime, but neither are there any issues.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio for the series is a choice of Japanese or English Dolby 2.0 both at 224 Kbps, surround encoded. The level of recording and effects seem similar in both audio tracks.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The surrounds were used for music, weather effects such as rain, and some noise during the kakashi battles. I did not notice any sub-woofer use.

     The English language dub is OK, but I did think the Japanese voice acting was stronger, so preferred that audio track.

     The original music by Masala Nishida was nondescript and seemed to favour jaunty tunes during serious moments. The opening and closing catchy songs were by Chiaki Ishikawa.

     The audio track did what is required without being anything special.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     All the extras are on disc 2.

Japanese Promos (4:56)

     Three separate promotions for the anime series. One is a bit of an explanation of who is who, the others really trailers.

Japanese Commercials (1:03)

     Actually 4 TV spots for the TV shows, plus the DVD and Blu-ray releases, which advertise bonus features that are not on our release.

Textless Opening Song (1:28)

     Opening song without the credits.

Textless Closing Song (1:28)

     Closing song without the credits.

Artwork Gallery

     Twelve anime stills. Silent, use the remote to advance to the next still.

Trailers

     Trailers for other anime releases: Persona 4: The Animation Collection 1 (1:42), Freezing Collection (1:15), Puella Magi Madoka Magica Vol. 1 (1:26) and Mayo Chiki! Series Collection (1:41).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US release of Kamisama Dolls is a three DVD set, but is listed as being in a 4x3 ratio and not 16x9 enhanced. There is no Region 2 UK version listed. In Japan their Region 2 releases are split into 6 volumes, each with a couple of episodes and they are not English friendly. For English speakers, Region 4 is the pick.

Summary

     Kamisama Dolls has a very interesting premise but is indifferently plotted and structured. It does not seem to make up its mind about the target audience and introduces characters and subplots that tend to take the series away from the far more interesting basic plot line of the secrets within the kakashi village and Kyohei’s destiny. With series two not on the horizon, this series one is not really satisfying.

     The video and audio are fine. Extras are minor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE