Keima tries to accelerate a quick route to conquest at the school festival, but Ayumi hates him and Chihiro keeps showing up at the worst times. After failing to form an alliance with Chihiro, he seeks out Ayumi, but Chihiro gets to her first. Vintage, led by Lune, launches a coordinated attack on the goddesses, capturing all of Keima’s past conquests along with Keima, Chihiro and Ayumi.
The trio is rescued by Haqua, who was quietly smuggled out of Hell by her boss Dokuro and charged with stopping Vintage. Katsuragi lets Ayumi leave but takes Chihiro and Haqua home, where they find Kanon missing. Diana appears, having not been kidnapped, and she and Haqua argue over who’ll launch a potentially suicidal assault on the Vintage base at Point Rock. Keima decides the best route is to continue his conquest of Ayumi, release Mercurius, and unite the goddesses as planned.
This is the second time in two days we’ve dealt with an episode in which the bad guys execute a stunning and devastating move that puts our heroes’ backs up against the wall. Last week, Keima was uninterested in the miscellaneous affairs beyond his conquest of the goddess hosts. This week, he has no choice, as Vintage forces the issue, threatening not only his original (and relatively small-scale) mission, but also New Hell and Earth itself.
Last week’s diversion to Point Rock was a little flimsy, but the raised stakes work here. Not only that, the episode pulls Haqua from out of nowhere and suddenly has us actually caring about her. Turns out her boss wasn’t a crook after all, and makes sure her most trusted officer is on Earth where she can be of the greatest use. If it weren’t for Haqua, it would be Game Over for Keima. But both she and Diana want to start a war with Vintage; a war Keima doesn’t believe either of them can win on their own.
In addition to making things we hadn’t deemed relevant relevant, the episode balanced action and exposition with a fair amount of comedy, as Keima digs a deeper and deeper hole for himself versus Ayumi, until all hell breaks loose, and in the chaos, Keima completely abandons pretense and tact. He mutters things out loud that he’d normally only think; he tries to get Chihiro to “form an alliance” (and gets pummeled for it); and at episode’s end Chihiro is essentially his (very confused) hostage.
But in the end, he’s the cooler head who rejects going out in a blaze of glory, as Haqua or Diana would do. He’s getting his game back on the rails, and will not deviate. He’ll release that last goddess from within Ayumi or die trying – in which case the world may well die with him. You gotta work with what you know…and he knows how to win the girls.
Rating: 9 (Superior)