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ANIME REVIEW | “God Only Knows” Why They Skipped Around For Season 3

By
Posted on August 4, 2013 AT 06:00pm

The World God Only Knows is the type of show that, on paper, sounds like a bad premise. Take a dating-sim expert, have him unwittingly sign a contract to find Loose Souls with the help of a cute Spirit Hunter, and then use his gaming skills to make girls fall in love with him so the souls will exit their bodies and be captured by his new partner. The odd thing about The World God Only Knows was, despite said premise, it was one of the best-written anime comedies to come out in years. So when word got out that a third season was to be out, I got very excited.

Four episodes in, and my excitement for the show hasn’t just weaned, it’s comes to a resounding halt.

The third season of the show begins with its main protagonist Keima brushing up on what has happened in his life, from the appearance of Spirit Hunter Elsie to the conquests he has made in order to capture these Loose Souls. He also mentions how once the souls have been captured the girls who were falling for him would have their memories erased, a sort of deus ex machina to make the show (and original manga) flow better. Suddenly Keima starts talking about conquests that this reviewer didn’t quite remember. Rather, these were storylines I had never seen.

Had I missed something? I watched the first two seasons, plus the OVAs, and these conquests that Keima were talking about weren’t ringing a bell. It wasn’t until I did some detective work when I discovered why I didn’t recall most of what Keima was reminiscing about: Studio Manglobe had decided to skip a huge chunk of Keima and Elsie’s adventures in order to get to what is known as the Goddess Arc. This huge chunk consisted of many important elements that led towards this specific arc, with only the Tenri/Diana goddess backstory explained in animated form via a two-part OVA.

This leads me to ask Studio Manglobe one simple question: WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!

For Studio Manglobe to skip these important elements just to do the Goddess Arc is a huge mistake, as it will leave international fans (i.e. those outside of Japan) of The World God Only Knows out of the loop for a larger portion of the series. I understand that because it’s a Japanese show that it’s geared towards the readers of the original manga. However because only the anime version of The World God Only Knows has been licensed in the US, UK, and Australia (which, if you do the math, makes these three countries’ fanbases bigger than Japan’s) the majority of the total fans who watched the first two seasons will have no idea what’s going on when viewing the third.

So what’s happening in this Goddess arc? Apparently there are a group of demons known as Vintage that wish to wake up the Weiss, a powerful being that wishes to conquer the three realms of Earth, Heaven, and Hell. In order to wake it up, they must capture several goddesses that have somehow have — conveniently — latched themselves into the bodies of Keima’s past conquests. Because of this these women’s memories have returned, with pop star Kanon being the first to rediscover her feeling for Keima.

Before she can reveal her feelings to Keima, Kanon is stabbed by Lune of Vintage while in her Apollo goddess form. This gives Keima, Elsie, Diana, and Haqua one week to round up the rest of the goddesses to save both Kanon and Apollo. In order to round them up Keima must once again use his dating-sim skills to win over the other girls’ hearts, which thanks to them getting their memories back is going to be easier said than done.

Because of the skipped arcs I have found myself scratching my head as to what’s going on. What was once funny has left me confused since Studio Manglobe made Swiss cheese out of the plot. Also since Elsie has been out of the picture for most of the current season, as she’s posing as Kanon while the real one is trying to be saved, the comedic dynamics of The World God Only Knows has shifted solely on Keima’s shoulders, as Haqua isn’t the least bit entertaining. Most of the first two seasons’ best humor depended on Keima’s straight man antics to be paired with the adorably funny personality of Elsie, so to have to see Keima try to carry both sides of the coin can be very hit-or-miss.

Sometimes it can be funny, as evident in Episode 3 where Keima discovers a short story written by past conquest Shiori. In it the protagonist falls for a character that’s quite like Keima, only to have him get killed off unexpectedly. This leads Keima to try and rewrite the ending, only to have Shiori re-kill him over and over again. It’s one of the few moments in Season 3 that had me laughing out loud, as it captured the magic that worked so well in the first two seasons.

However because of the plot jump-around (along with the lack of Elsie) this season has so far been bland, confusing, and — above all — not very good. There are some bright spots, yes, but because a good portion of the plotline depends on the knowledge of these arcs that have not been seen or read outside of Japan, the show tends to suffer a fate that it didn’t deserve. The World God Only Knows: Goddesses is perhaps the dumbest move that’s been made in the anime world since someone over at Kyoto Animation uttered the phrase, “Hey, let’s animated the Endless Eight arc! That’ll really go over well with the fans!”

Story: 3.5/10
Animation: 8.5/10
Voice actors/actresses: 7/10
Soundtrack/score: 5/10
Final Grade: 4.75/10

The World God Only Knows: Goddesses can be viewed on Crunchyroll.

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008 where he is a contributing editor and co-host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck




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