Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen – 12 (Fin)

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Haqua battles Lune, while Keima (and Chihiro) race to Seaside Park, where Ayumi is waiting for him. She tells him she doesn’t care about his flags or strategies; she decided to fall in love with him on her own. Upon kissing him, Mercurius is awakened from within her. They’re instantly surrounded by Vintage agents, but Akari appears with a loose soul team squadron, while Diana carries Mercurius away. As the goddesses and demons battle Vintage at Point Rock and destroy their loose soul nursery, Keima and Chihiro walk home to grab her guitar.

She asks if he took her on a date because she had something inside her; he says she wasn’t involved. She’s relieved, and they exchange very heavy goodbyes. The next day, the school festival closes with a concert, including the “2B Pencils”, consisting Chihiro, Miyako, and a late Ayumi, Yui, and Elcie, plus Kanon joining in. Chihiro sings straight from the heart, and the concert ends with her in tears. Five days later, Elcie reports that everything is back to normal, including her exalted brother, but he still seems troubled…

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In an episode laced with epic battles between goddesses and demons trying to literally bring about hell on earth, it’s the solemn, quiet little conversations between Keima and Chihiro that had the most impact. Once Mercurius had been awakened from Ayumi, Keima’s job saving the world was complete. All that was left for him to to was go home and let the others take care of business. But Chihiro just happened to leave her guitar at his house, so she comes along too. By the time they’re home the sun is coming up, and in their final encounter of the series, things don’t go according to plan for Keima. In fact, he didn’t have a plan. He says something that makes Chihiro think he wants nothing more to do with her, now that the game is over.

But the next day at the concert, and then five days later, Keima doesn’t just hit a “reset” button on his feelings – like the previous two seasons. He looks more like he wants to apologize; that what he said to Chihiro wasn’t what he meant to say, and that he can’t leave things where they did. Even when we see him up in his room playing six games at once, and Elcie says he’s back to normal, there’s something about his body language that tells us he’s still in love with a real girl, one who genuinely fell in love with him without the circumstance of goddess possession. He may have found the ending to the Goddesses Arc, but the Chihiro Arc remains unresolved.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

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Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai – 01 (Revisited)

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Antisocial high school student and self-styled dating sim “God of Conquest” Katsuragi Keima unknowingly signs a contract with a demon from hell, Elucia “Elsie” de Lute Ima, to assist her in the retrieval of loose souls, which embed themselves within the hearts of troubled girls. To release the souls (and for Elsie and Keima to keep their heads) he must take their place in the girls’ hearts, i.e., make the girls fall in love with him. Their first target is his classmate and track team hopeful Takahara Ayumi, who looks down on Keima, calling him a “dweeb.”

Keima commences a campaign of intensive cheering for Ayumi, who initially thinks he’s mocking her. When her senpai accuses her of getting cocky after a fluke performance, Ayumi trips on a hurdle intentionally to take her out of the meet, so she won’t cause them trouble. Keima encourages her and confesses his love, and when he starts to fall down the stairs, Ayumi catches him and they embrace in a kiss, releasing the loose soul, which Elsie captures. Afterwards, Ayumi wins a medal at the meet, but has no memory of the “conquest.” Elsie enrolls in Keima’s class posing as his sister.

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With only one week until the completion of its third season, we thought we’d look back on the episode that started it all. We first watched and reviewed this episode way back on 8 October 2010, and gave it a 3 out of 4 on our old rating system, but aside from that date and rating, we decided not to read what we wrote back then until writing about our impressions this time around. From the perspective of those now very familiar with the franchise, you’d think we’d find highly introductory (by necessity, as it’s the first) nature of this episode would make it a bit of a bore to watch. Not so. On the contrary: we enjoyed it more the second time.

We were always impressed by the guile and confidence with which this series got out of the gate, which parallels Keima’s confidence in throwing himself into his very first mission, despite having never even held a real girl’s hand. We forgot that Ayumi was first conquered in just this one episode – a breeze compared to Keima’s present struggles in the Goddesses Arc. We also forgot that Elsie was prepared to give up and die with Keima after learning his experience was limited to dating sims, but Keima said ‘screw that’ and stepped up, not just to save his own head, but Elsie’s too. And the rest is history.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)