The World God Only Knows II 5

Good to see TWGON2 return to some sense of normalcy – I’m just not as interested in the hierarchy and mechanics of the demon world as I am in Keima hunting real girls. The newest girl, Chihiro, is a bit of a doozy, perhaps his greatest challenge yet. The reason is as hilarious as it is ironic: his illustrious repertoire of simulated dating experience will be utterly useless on her.

Chihiro doesn’t have any qualities that make her stand out. She’s just an ordinary girl. Ordinary girls are never heroines, they only fill up the background. First she flummoxes Keima by liking another guy, to whom she confesses and is rejected. Keima is even more frustrated when she gets over the grief instantly, just as he’s about to comfort her with a clever, ice-breaking line.

No, Keima is out of his element, off the radar, in unknown territory, bereft of his bag o’tricks. Chihiro has the upper hand; her bland, unpredictable nature will make her a tough nut to crack indeed. Watching Keima squirm and think on his feet  to conquer her should prove entertaining, and may yet redeem what so far has been RABUJOI’s lowest-rated spring series. Rating: 3

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

Spring 2011 Season Preview

The Winter 2011 season was a welcome respite from Fall 2010, with only four shows we felt we needed to watch, plus three Fall carryovers. All seven of these shows end when the Spring 2011 season begins, so it will be a clean slate (Bakuman 2 will come in a later season). If Fall 2010’s fourteen (or was it fifteen?) shows taught us anything, it’s to be more discriminate; giving a few decent-to-great shows our full attention is far better than spreading it out amongst more than a dozen or more of varying quality.

To that end, seven to eight shows will be our limit this spring, so a couple of the ten Spring series below may be dropped before their runs end. Which ones, we have no idea; we always go in as blind as possible, let the anime speak for itself, and decide after two or three episodes. And we will have no regrets. The eleven we’ve chosen here are based solely on their initial synopses, promo art, and in the case of some, the fact they’re sequels to stuff we’ve already watched (God Only Knows.)

Similarly, we won’t be watching any sequels to franchises we’ve never watched, and there are many this season that fit that bill (Kaiji, Gintana, Maria+Holic, Chaos;Head, etc.) There’s just too much new stuff coming up to get bogged down in shows that have already established themselves (though lately we’ve gotten into Haibane Renmei; retro wrap-up pending). So here’s the list. Looking forward to April: leaves, sunlight, baseball, and…the following:

Hyouge Mono – Beetrain – April 7 NHK BS2
Ao no Exorcist – A-1 – April – MBS
Tiger & Bunny – Sunrise – April – BS11 / MBS
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai. – A-1 – April – Fuji TV
C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control – Tatsunoko Production – April – Fuji TV
Sket Dance – Tatsunoko Production – April – TV Tokyo Kei
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – SHAFT – April – TBS / TBS BS
The World God Only Knows II – manglobe – April
Hana-Saku Iroha – P.A.Works – Spring
Deadman Wonderland – manglobe – Spring