After teasing us with the decidedly fast and imminent return of Aki at the end of the first episode, this third instalment of Kamisama Dolls kicks off with a rather more graphic and prolonged portrayal of Aki's escape from his captors.
This dark and violent tone is soon seemingly forgotten as we return to a dose of slice of life-esque fluffiness, courtesy of Utao's attempts at working as a waitress to help out the Shiba family who are kindly putting her and her brother up. The next thing she knows, Utao finds herself being teased mercilessly by a friend of Hibino's, before Hibino invites her for a day out (coupled with some training in her use of Kukuri of course) the next day.
It's here (after another dose of "oops, I messed up" led comedy involving Kukuri) that things start to get a little serious again - the returning Aki bumps into Kyohei, leading to a conversation that peels away another layer or two regarding their relationship as well as the shared events that set the two of them down their disparate paths. Ultimately, this meeting also leads to the unveiling of another Seki who seems to have joined the race to recapture Aki, while it appears he isn't the only one as a mysterious appearance elsewhere leads to an accident that is only prevented from becoming a complete tragedy thanks to Utao and Kukuri's intervention. To top all of this off, Kuuko makes an appearance - as well as being up to her usual less than legal tricks (she's clearly angling for a job with News International), it appears that she's about to be caught well and truly in the troubles which are increasingly swirling around Kyohei and his sister...
Although its extended "oh, look how adorable Utao is" section was a pretty hefty waste of this episode's running time, we do at least get the feeling that Kamisama Dolls is going somewhere at last - aside from her depiction as a clumsy kid Utao is at least proving herself to be somewhat proficient as a Seki, while there's a big bundle of intrigue now surrounding the truth about Kyohei and of course the entire question about the goings-on in the village of his origin also loom large. That seems like plenty to be getting on with it, so hopefully Kamisama Dolls can get a handle on these points and begin to impress where it has conversely disappointed thus far - its potential is building; one can only hope it improves alongside Utao's skills with Kukuri.