Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen – 09

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When Keima is about to kiss Chihiro, she tells him it’s her first, meaning she isn’t hosting a goddess. Shocked by her unexpected declaration of love, Keima rejects her outright. Ayumi saw how he treated Chihiro and kicks him. While bathing, Diana tries to get Keima to “love Tenri more” so she’ll sprout wings; refuses. While at school with Elcie, examining their school emblem starts him on a route that discovers an enormous plot involving Vintage raising loose souls beneath Point Rock, but drops the investigation and gets back to his conquest of Ayumi.

So, the show did pull the twist and make Ayumi the host. Again, not particularly surprising. Once Keima realizes kissing Chihiro won’t release a goddess, his calculating mind decides to slam on the brakes and make a quick u-turn, running right over Chihiro’s feelings. It’s a cruel and not totally-out-of-character move by a guy who has said many times he’ll never fall for a real girl. He does consider Chihiro’s feelings – briefly – in his mind, but in the end, he ignores his conscience and brings the hammer down, hard.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Chihiro now hates his guts, meaning he ruined a potential post-goddess arc romance not sullied by the supernatural. But hey, apparently he doesn’t want that, so on with the mission! About that: while he couldn’t have known Ayumi was spying on him, he could have helped his cause much better had he not so harshly and mercilessly rejected Chihiro. In doing his u-turn, he obviously forgot the two are close friends, and Ayumi isn’t just going to leap in his arms because he says he loves her. Now his job to conquer her will be that much tougher.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We think Ayumi went a bit too far following and spying on Keima and Chihiro. It felt like the plot needed her to see Keima reject Chihiro in order to complicate things for him later, so…there she was.
  • We liked how all of her celebrity treatment has rubbed of on her to the point she’s started acting and talking like one. 
  • We lost some respect for Keima for so deeply hurting Chihiro, but gained a lot back when he started that convoluted sidequest…only to drop it immediately. He can’t be bothered to worry about all that supernatural Vintage conspiracy crap…just like us!
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Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen – 05

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Keima thinks the goddess within Goidou Yui is intermittently controlling her, making her vulnerable to discovery by Vintage, so he makes Yui his next target. Because she acts like a player character, he dresses in drag and plays the role of heroine, as letting her conquer him will have the same result. As Yui grows closer to Keima, the goddess Mars appears in her reflections, vowing to support her.

Yui and Keima go on a date to an amusement park, and Keima has Haqua help him set up a scenario whereby he is kidnapped and must be rescued. Mars emerges and defeats Haqua, and Yui and Keima kiss, fully awakening Mars. Keima fills Mars/Yui in on the situation, telling them to lay low until the other goddesses are awake.

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As we’ve said, we skipped the arc in which Keima initially switches bodies with Goidou Yui and conquers her, but we still like the Yui character because of how much she differs from the others, and not just in her choice of wardrobe. Her tendency to act as conqueror rather than conquered forces Keima to reverse his strategy in order to awaken her goddess, and it’s a lot of fun to see the girl being the one with the initiative.

Of course, because Keima is aware of what Yui wants – his heart – his strategy is specifically tailored to get him what he wants as well – an awakened goddess. Mars and Yui are also of similar minds once they get to know each other: strong women who are ready and willing to stand up and fight for the sake of weaker men. But that same aggressiveness makes her a very visible target for Vintage, necessitating restraint.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We’re somewhat surprised Keima is able (and allowed) to walk around school dressed as a girl, not to mention Yui being allowed to dress as a boy. You’d think a student disciplinary officer or teacher would have an issue with such behavior.
  • We’re also surprised more of Keima’s friends and acquaintances don’t notice him; only Shiori catches sight of him, and only when he’s laughing really loud like an idiot.
  • When Mars calls her exploits on the battlefield “ancient history”, she’s not being euphemistic!
  • Keima even tricked us; we thought the person who captured him was a real member of Vintage, not Haqua, who is once again relieved of her clothing.
  • Elcie, whose five-day absence we greatly appreciated, returns, preparing another hellishly disgusting feast for her exalted brother.

Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen – 02

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After being stabbed by Lune, Apollo escapes from Kanon and sends a warning to the other goddesses. Haqua determines that Kanon has about a week to live unless they can clear the ancient demon magic, which Diana says will require the remaining four sisters. Keima forms and operates under the theory that the goddesses are all within his former conquests. He narrows the list down to Kosaka Chihiro, Takahara Ayumi, Goidou Yui, Kujou Tsukiyo, and Shiomiya Shiori, approaching them one by one to gauge whether they remember him and confessing his love to them, with varying results. By the end of two days, he concludes that all five remain potential hosts for the four remaining goddesses.

This episode operates under the assumption its audience knows a formidable amount of backstory on all of Keima’s former conquests. Some even happened in OVAs we haven’t watched, but that’s okay; one is some astronomer, and the other is a rich girl who is now acting like a boy. As for Chihiro, Ayumi, and Shiori, we know them. It’s interesting to watch all the girls’ reactions to Keima as he undertakes his most challenging mission yet: re-conquering all five of them simultaneously in an effort to summon the remaining goddesses to aid Diana in saving Kanon’s life. This is a tall task even for someone used to multiple simultaneous conquests in the gaming world.

That’s because all the girls he means to re-conquer inhabit the same space, so he has to re-conquer them without any of them getting the idea that there’s a fourth-party beyond him and Kanon to deal with. While in most harems, the guy in the middle is an oblivious milquetoast, Keima is very much aware of the danger of creating love polygons, and his intricate strategy depends on him being able to keep the girls separate as he works on them. Keima is relying on Haqua to assist him in this and other things, and in their interactions Haqua’s opinion of him improves (despite his walking in on her preparing for a bath) as she sees just how resolved he is to save Kanon.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

The World God Only Knows III – 01

Apollo / Nakagawa Kanon

When not playing dating sims, Katsuragi Keima continues to extract loose souls from troubled young women with the help of the demon Elucia de Lute Ima. After summarizing his past conquests, he heads to school with Elsie and is stopped by his neighbor and childhood friend Ayukawa Tenri, who suddenly grows a halo and changes demeanor. It turns out the goddess Diana is possessing her, and wants Keima to marry her so she can gain power and restore the balance between heaven, earth, and hell that’s currently off.

Meanwhile, J-pop idol and Keima’s classmate and former conquest Nakagawa Kanon is a vessel for Diana’s older sister Apollo. As a result of the presence of these “Jupiter Sisters”, both Tenri and Kanon remember everything about their romantic exploits with Keima. Kanon latches on to Keima in the middle of a test, fearful of someone chasing her, and Apollo comes out, having recieved a boost, and then withdraws. Apollo is then captured by Lune, a demon, member of Vintage and part of the movement to restore hell to its former glory.

While sometimes our opinions of various anime can vary wildly, we pride ourselves on being mostly consistent. So we went back to the review of the last episode of TWGOKII to re-familiarize ourselves with our thoughts on the close of that series:

“Keima is simply doomed for life to make girls fall in love with him and then lose them”

“For all the girls whose lives he’s changed by releasing them from loose souls, Keima remains stubbornly static”

“None of the relationships he forms ever have any lasting emotional effect on him”

“If another season is just going to continue the by-now tired formula, it’s going to be very hard to watch”

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Once Keima learned that none of his conquests would stick once the loose soul was extracted, he stopped caring about the aftermaths of those conquests. And why wouldn’t he? The girls went back to the way they used to feel about him. The reset button was pressed, again and again. For Keima, emotional detachment was the key to avoiding getting his heart broken every time.

This inclusion of the Jupiter Sisters, while seeming a bit tacked-on, and the resulting restored memories of his conquests, may be the kick in the pants this series needs to regain some freshness – and our interest. It also helps that there are no other series we’re watching that air when it airs, otherwise we’d definitely give it the boot.

In a subtle but clever parallel to his new situation and impending role this season, before shutting down his game center, he saves all of his in-progress dating sims. The goddesses serve as memory cards for real life, having saved the conquests Keima believed to be deleted. But it brings up a potential fatal flaw in this resurgence: if the goddesses leave the girls, surely they’ll take the memories too. We’ll see how it goes…for now.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • This episode summarizes Keima’s conquest of Goidou Yui in the manga, as well as his conquest of Tenri in an OVA we never got around to watching. We got the jist, though!
  • Every time Keima’s conquest lost her memories it hurt a little bit, but we really liked Kanon’s arc, so we’re glad the series starts off with her remembering everything.
  • Way back, we also said the reset button prevented Keima from being in a harem situation, since only one girl liked him at a time. But that would no longer seem to be the case. It will be interesting to see how Keima, who’s played dozens of dating sims at once, deals with a real-life version of that situation!

The World God Only Knows II 12 (Fin)

I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece, and I was expecting just an isolated, mostly irrelevant slice-of-life episode that drove home Keima’s ideals once more (like last season’s finale), and I shouldn’t have expected the series to resolve itself in just one episode, but I was still pretty disappointed with this final week. Last season’s finale was more unhinged. This one was kind of recycling ideas, and the presentation of his ideal dating sim was a major let-down. It just felt kinda lame, and the horribly-drawn character just seemed like an excuse to…horribly draw something.

There’s a semi-serious mention of the show “continuing” for yet another season, which explains the filler-like nature of this episode. After all, Keima and Elcie still have collars that bind them together until a certain number of souls are caught. Now, considering the number 50,000 has been tossed around, perhaps their contract will never be fulfilled, and Keima is simply doomed for life to make girls fall in love with him and then lose them.

And that’s the flaw of this season: for all the girls whose lives he’s changed by releasing them from loose souls, Keima remains stubbornly static. He just goes through the motions. He hasn’t changed one bit. This season resolved nothing. At the end of every arc, he seems to dump whatever emotional investment. I can’t help but wish he’d develop a little more beyond discovering new schemes for conquering. But he doesn’t care about reality, and so none of the relationships he forms ever have any lasting emotional effect on him.

It’s a shame, and if another season is just going to continue the by-now tired formula, it’s going to be very hard to watch.
Ah, screw it. It’s just good, dumb, light entertainment. I’m actually glad that something deeper and more serious isn’t being attempted; I can go elsewhere for that…and I will. Whether I watch next season totally depends on how much is airing that’s better than this. Rating: 2.5

The World God Only Knows II 11

This week’s cold open is a stark contrast to last week’s. Both are of Nagase in her apartment; last week’s was full of confidence and energy, while this week’s was full of doubt and lethargy, feeling that she can’t do anything right, that she’s a bad teacher; that she can’t fix Keima. But she doesn’t head to school, she heads to a wrestling match to clear her head. Of course, Keima is waiting there for her with a ticket for the exact same seat, courtesy of Elsie. This was a deliciously devious way to get Jun on the same level as Keima, by basically giving her no choice but to share the narrow seat with him.

During this intimate match, Keima starts to get why she likes it so much; it’s a total effort. Not just the wrestlers, but the officials, staff, and spectators all contribute to create a passion you don’t often see elsewhere. Having been to numerous sporting events, I can vouch for the excitement of being among as many as 70 thousand fellow fans. Ideals do exist in the real world – and these events are one of them. Things are black-and-white; one side is good, the other evil; and if you don’t win, you lose.

For most of the episode, Keima is just upsetting Jun, but there’s most definitely a method to his madness. Jun puts her class out by entering them all into a marathon, and when they balk and deride her excessive care for them to bond, she accuses them of being selfish. This reinforce’s Keima’s theory that like the basketball team in the past, Jun is always “crushing” people with her ideals, and they’re always balking at the pressure she puts on them. But Keima doesn’t think she should change – he thinks she should keep doing it. Why worry what others think? He doesn’t.

No one can tell you how to live your life, and if you want to live it by trying to push and fire up and motivate others to follow your ideals, so be it. There are costs, of course; not everyone will respect or even like you, but life is full of challenges, and like Jumbo Tsuruma, one cannot back down from them, but must push forward. By comforting her when she needed it most and restoring her faith in herself and her ideals, Keima helps Jun Nagase end her student teaching stint on a high note. He also nicely sets up a scenario in which she could see him as something other than a student (literally when she’s done the stint), thus making it okay for her to kiss him, something she couldn’t do while at school. This releases the loose soul, and ends a final conquest arc that was as unique as it was enjoyable. Rating: 4

The World God Only Knows II 8

Since there are only three official “conquests” shown in the opening sequence, I knew this second season would go one of two routes: longer arcs, or buffer episodes. I watch this series to see Keima scheme and conquer women’s hearts using his knowledge of dating sims. So any time an episode fails to deliver that, I fear I’ll be disappointed.

Mind you, this could have been worse; Elcie is actually quite a bit more tolerable browsing through a game store than she is cooking or baking, which was the low point of last season. And Haqua is similarly tolerable with her not-so-modest modesty and strained excuse to show back up (shouldn’t she have given a report weeks ago?) So tolerable, but just. Mostly, it just made me wish there were more than three girls to conquer this season. Rating: 2.5

The World God Only Knows II 6

This week Keima regains his composure, as he discovers that it isn’t necessarily Chihiro’s heart he must conquer. But the fact that his words and actions continue to “trigger events” convinces him she isn’t just a background character. So instead of trying to make her fall for him – he will coach her on how to conquer the heart of her crush, some random kid she just happened to zero in on. This means intricate diagrams, stacks of research, and intricate schemes to interact with said crush.

Chihiro is initially dismissive of Keima’s credentials, but we know the facts: Keima has successfully won the hearts of no less than five real girls, one of them a freakin’ famous teen idol – by applying the same methods as he uses in the gaming world. On the other hand, Chihiro, like Haqua, is just talk – having never scored a single boy’s heart. While Keima can’t give her details (as all his conquests have lost their memories), he quickly demonstrates to her that listening to him yields quick and favorable results: her crush now knows she exists and even talks to her.

Also interesting in this episode is the presence of Ayumi, Keima’s first conquest, who is friends with Chihiro and wants them to make up. Ayumi pairs them the two for after-school cleaning duty that leads to them making up and forming an alliance. Keima muses if a perhaps some of Ayumi’s memories of loving him resurfaced. Elcie surmises that because Keima filled the emptiness of her heart (and removed the loose soul), it stands to reason she’d be a different, more chipper Ayumi. Similarly, there’s a lot of evidence (see pic above) suggesting Chihiro may end up falling for Keima after all (ejecting her loose soul in the process), which would be a nice twist. Rating: 3.5

The World God Only Knows II 4

The Haqua mini-arc reaches a somewhat underwhelming conclusion, for no other reason than Haqua herself didn’t turn out to be that interesting after all, and the big bad was essentially a giant cotton ball, with strings connecting it to more than a dozen (the number kept changing) troubled students. The whole practical procedure for capturing loose souls is also a little hokey, what with the giant glass jar. How hard could it be to hold onto a jar and tug when it starts sucking the soul in?

Yet apparently Haqua, who studied hard and tested well in school, isn’t up to this task, which is why the soul has gotten so much bigger. Also, while usually Keima had to win the hearts of the loose soul-infected girls, not only are none of the students individually addressed here, but Keima has absolutely nothing to do (they even cut to him a couple times so he can say this). When Haqua herself allowed the loose soul to possess her, it’s up to Elcie, not Keima, to cheer her up and snap her out of it. While Elcie told Haqua what she needed to hear, it’s kind of silly how easily he released her, considering the extent of the loose soul’s power and the depth of Haqua’s angst.

I’d like to think Haqua has grown here, but if she returns, I’m sure she’ll still have a smug, superior attitude towards Keima and Elcie, despite evidence to the contrary at the end, when Keima thanks them and admits she misjudged them. After all, that is her character: she’s the high-and-mighty section cheif, while Elcie was just her school acolyte, and Keima is a useless human. But if she is a little more humble, I’ll be surprised. Next week, I hope Keima has something to say or do. Rating: 2.5