La...la...la la la...Though those words mean nearly nothing on paper, they represent the haunting melody sung by a robo-god whenever that said god, which is owned by a pubescent girl, happens to materialize out of the floor.
In new anime Kamisama Dolls, there exists a hidden village where some are chosen to become Seki, special people who leave their souls inside robotic gods called kakashi to control them. However, wimpy protagonist Kyohei Kuga has traded his Seki rights for a normal life as a university student in Tokyo, but it unfortunately doesn’t last long. His younger Seki sister, Utao, follows him to tell him that Aki, a dangerously powerful Seki that has rather odd affections for Kyohei, has escaped from his prison cell. A series full of magical action and mystery, hidden meanings, and the all-important character development, Kamisama Dolls is a captivating piece that makes a twenty-three minute episode seem like just a few.
Kamisama Dolls opens to a bloody picture of destruction to bewitch its audience (which it certainly does), but when the story properly introduces itself, its warm charm can instantly be felt. Its concept of Seki basically owning gods as their pets may sound a little strange at first, but when you see cute lolita girl Utao trying (and mostly failing) at controlling her kakashi, the series just spews out an irresistible, magical charm. However, Kamisama Dolls also has a significantly darker side to it. No matter where Kyohei goes to escape his village, it seems like “they” always know where he is and will come after him when necessary.
This could debatably be a satirization of cults, but this added conflict in combination with the use of magic creates great potential for amazing action later in the series. In addition, the aforementioned robo-god owned by Utao, Kukuri, sings an unmistakable tune whenever it pops out from the floor. The melody is so ominous, so haunting, yet almost cute depending on the circumstances that it almost becomes a representation of Kamisama Dolls itself. It perfectly reflects what comes across as the series' intent.
Despite the lovable, classic feeling of magic in Kamisama Dolls, the small nuances and hidden meanings, if picked up on, enhance the series into something more than something just simply good at face value. For example, the rather geometric opening uses lines and colors exquisitely; the changes in color and pattern as the lines dance across the screen seem to say that their is more than one side to everything in this world, possibly hinting at the secret of the Seki and other characters’ untold stories. Kyohei himself also seems to have some sort of past with the kakashi, and snippets of whatever it may be are scattered dramatically throughout the episodes. Though they don’t say anything by themselves, these small moments collectively hint that Kyohei may have a darker side to him than what he portrays, but Kamisama Dolls won’t hand over the answers to anyone so simply.
A key element to a good anime is a cast of dynamic, developing characters, and Kamisama Dolls doesn’t forget that. What makes the character development in this series rather special is, despite any magical powers, the characters are all quite ordinary. There are no characters who have the highest sense of valor, no characters with enough wisdom to replace a library, nor characters who have already learned the ways of the world and seek to guide others. They’re all, quite frankly, regular people. Though that may seem like a rather bland cast at first, it makes watching these characters develop and grow as people even more amazing to watch. Kyohei seems to be your stereotypical weakling from a cheesy rom-com at first glance, but when he is with Utao, a stronger, braver version of himself comes out. Likewise, when he is with his crush, Shiba, he seems almost pathetic at first, but he begins to evolve into a better person as the days he spends with her go by. It is this maturation in not just Kyohei, but all the characters that makes Kamisama Dolls so enthralling.
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As of this writing, only two episodes have premiered and so far the best way to describe Twin Angel is that it’s everything you expect a magical girl series to be. By that I mean that most anime fans would be able to recognize just about every trope and influence that Twin Angel borrows from. Considering the origins of this particular series, it’s probably no surprise that the character designs came first and a plot was simply written around that.
The story thus far is as simple as you can get. Haruka and Aoi are Twin Angel, magical schoolgirls who must protect one of seven sacred relics from a duo of Victorian, Team Rocketesque thieves and shenanigans ensue. As par for the course we get glimpses of Haruka and Aoi’s school life with their eccentric friends (i.e. every standard schoolgirl stereotype you expect) followed by the villain’s antics of the week before the girls henshin and send them blasting off again. Did I mention that when the girls get in a pinch, they get their help from Tuxedo Ma…I mean Misty Knight? And let’s not forget the bits of fanservice the animators like to throw in every frame or two. Yes, it’s that kind of series.
As more supporting characters start making their way into the fray, the direction of this show is still up in the air. Given how the original OVA took a much different route in subverting magical girl conventions, Twin Angel still has time to really carve out an identity for itself. Whether it decides to keep up the parody route or throw in an unexpected twist, all we can do is wait and see what these Angels got.
The Soul Reapers in the World of the Living have lost contact with the captains in the Soul Society. Meanwhile, the revelation of Nozomi being a Mod Soul surprises Ichigo and his friends. Kon is particularly shocked, and is now unsure of how to interact with Nozomi.
Hey, I'm president of the Amusement Club, Toshino Kyoko! Just kidding. (Snap, wink) Now that we're finally an anime, I thought I should establish my character! (You don't need to do that. by Yui) The second episode goes in a different direction. The student council that quietly supports the school is on the move. We'll take on the student council like any good school anime! Come with me, Yui and Akari! And Chinatsu-chan, leap into my arms!
Did you know Osamu Tezuka has an interesting habit of reusing the same characters and placing them in different roles depending on the stories he writes.. This is known as Tezuka's Star System, and is fairly noticeable in the Black Jack manga.
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