God’s Dolls 7 – But Where’s the Explodey Stuff?
So I guess this is a different traumatizing flashback than the one with all the exploding shit we saw in the first couple of episodes? I will laugh if we get another rainy day flashback episode to tell that story.
This flashback concerns the story of how Aki got jailed for life and Kyohei went “Wow, fuck this shit” and quit being a Seki. The episode pushes more of the sinister nature of the village, and also puts Kyohei and Aki through trials they were not yet mature enough to endure. This isn’t a bad theme to work with, and it actually could have been good if the actual content of the episode and its execution weren’t so silly and ham-fisted.
The biggest problem is that it seems like Brains Base hired Jun Maeda to write this episode. All it needs is Kyohei weeping in the snow, and the transformation would be complete. The low point is the teacher’s backstory before coming to the village, which is just laughable: She sleeps with an unmarried man, who happens to be the father of one of her students. Said student walks in on them (awkward), freaks out, runs outside and is hit by a car. Oops! Really, the whole thing is an excuse to making her a walking, talking tragic sexual hang-up and provide a silly Freudian excuse to fuck Aki so that he’ll protect her from the big bad bullies who are straight out of some crappy ’80s teen flick.
The lead bully, whose name I have already forgotten for obvious reasons, is a crude version of James Spader in Pretty in Pink or another like movie. He basically exists to be an entitled jerkoff who sexually abuses women and gets owned by the hero. The guy is utterly forgettable otherwise. He’s an object for Aki to become some sort of tragic hero who has continually been wronged by the village to the point where he strikes out with violence (though the series makes a point of noting that Aki had been at least somewhat unhinged his entire life). The bullies are coddled, and Aki strikes back because it’s all So Wrong. And it would be wrong if it felt real at all, but it doesn’t; it’s just a drama bomb assault.
It’s a shame, too, because I do think the end themes could have been interesting. Tales of outsiders to in-groups can be interesting if approached as such, and Aki and Kyohei being forced into adulthood before their time is something with potential as well. But it seems like the story writers (whether the original manga author or the folks at Brains Base) didn’t have confidence enough in the characters to let the story grow organically from them and instead resorting to the drama nuke.
If there’s one thing I agree with folks like Digiboy when it comes to how much sway plot should have in a work of fiction, it’s that too much plot can be a detriment if not written carefully. There’s such a thing as stirring up too much drama for the sake of conjuring up sympathy for characters rather than having them earn it themselves through their actions. I mean, I don’t hate Kyohei; I could get behind him were it not for the random bits of stupid sprinkled throughout the series and the concentrated doses in this episode. Same with most of the other characters in the series.