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Kamisama Dolls: Complete Collection Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.970Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese & English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: Yellow/White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-MA (VSD)
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 325 Mins.
  • Studio: Sentai Filmworks
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 19, 2013
  • List Price: $69.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4.5/5]

Based on the manga by Yamamura Hajime, Kamisama Dolls (神様ドォルズ) is a sci-fi/action anime series with elements of mecha that follows young controllers of wooden “gods” from an isolated village. The main character, Kyohei, has left the small Kurakami Village and moved to Tokyo to escape an incident from his past, thereby giving up his responsibilities as a “seki,” those from the village born with the power to control the kakashi, or the wooden “gods” with their minds. Attending university in Tokyo alongside a girl from his village, Hibino, who is unaware of Kurakami’s history with the kakashi and their power, Kyohei almost feels like he has finally escaped the village’s grip and its hierarchy. But one night while out drinking with Hibino and other friends he leaves, walking Hibino home, the two are thrust back into the dangerous world of Kurakami Village and the kakashi when an old acquaintance appears, Aki, trying to drag Kyohei back into the darkness. Aki, who had been locked up for years in the village and stripped of his seki powers because he was a danger has somehow escaped and is now set on involving Kyohei in his plan to destroy Kurakami Village. More complications arise when Kyohei’s younger sister Utao arrives. Now in clumsily in control of Kyohei’s old kakashi, she informs him that she has been sent to Tokyo to capture Aki. The two of them, along with Hibino, move into Hibino’s father’s home, and begin the challenge of trying to catch Aki, but it won’t be easy, and the awkward living arrangements make it especially difficult for Kyohei and Hibino who are somewhat attracted to each other – and Utao who’s jealous of anyone getting too close to her big brother! Things really get dangerous for Hibino when another seki arrives, the yamato nadeshiko Mahiru-sama, and unleashes her uncontrollable obsession with Kyohei.

Kamisama Dolls is an interesting series, if not wholly original. There are some parts of it that feel a bit cliché, we even get the obligatory beach episode, which is handled rather uniquely I have to say. While it isn’t “mecha” in the strictest sense given the nature of the kakashi, there is no denying that it certainly has its roots there. That said, that whole element is also handled rather differently and the series never becomes one long machine-on-machine battle. It manages to incorporate the mechanical “gods” and still maintain an interesting level of true character development and backstory. We slowly find out why there is so much tension between Kyohei and Aki, we learn why Kyohei wanted to abandon the village so desperately, and, not to give any spoilers, but the reason is very much connected to Aki’s seemingly untamed hatred for the village as well. The series also gives us calming shots of domesticity, some cute comedy, and just a hint of romance. It makes for a quite well rounded experience all boosted by pretty solid character designs that often look like they could be lifted right from a comic.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

This is yet another release from Sentai arriving with a less than optimal 1080i/60 AVC encodement. That being said, I didn’t really notice any very glaring issues concerning combing artifacts during transitions and so forth, but one does feel that the image could have looked a little crisper had it been 1080p. That said, there are issues with banding that have nothing to do with the transfer being interlaced, and colors at times look just a little washed out. Overall, however, it is far from the worst I have ever seen.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The original Japanese and an English dub are offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit). There is little difference in sound quality that I could find between the two, both offering clean dialogue, a reasonable amount of dynamics, and good stereo separation. As seems to be the usual case with these Sentai Filmworks releases, the English subtitles very closely mirror the English dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

A fine bit of funny and somewhat fan service-type OVA shorts are included alongside more promotional materials for the series.

The supplements:

  • Shorts:
    • Hibino Works Out in Her Swimsuit ~ Kamisama Diet! (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:58)
    • A Date with Utao (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:02:02)
    • Mahiru’s Private Lesson ~ Mistress, Please Stop! (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:02:07)
    • Utao Cosplay Photo Session (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:59)
    • Utao Shows You Around Tokyo in Her Swimsuit (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:02:30)
    • A Yukata-Clad Mahiru at the Fireworks Display (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:02:26)
  • Japanese Promos (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:05:08)
  • Japanese Commercials (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:06)
  • Clean Opening & Closing Animation
  • Sentai Filmworks Trailers
  • English Disc Credits

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Although I was a bit let down that Kamisama Dolls was a 1080i transfer, I was not let down by this series as a whole. This being the first time I’ve come across this series, I was thoroughly entertained by its characters, writing, voice acting (Japanese) and storyline.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Kamisama Dolls: Complete Collection (3 Disc) - 3 Pack - Blu-ray Disc

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]


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