Well color me surprised. I had all but given up on the notion of this series returning to true form, but the last two episodes definitely went back to the good stuff.
Its hard for an ongoing manga franchise to really have an ending, or a true air of finality, but the third season of The World God Only Knows came pretty darn close. As the one commentor mentioned in episode 10’s review, the whole thing between Chihiro and Keima was definitely addressed, and that in itself had the series end on a really high note.
But there was more than just that in these last two episodes. I think Keima’s depth was brought back in full force, and I could really see the cracks in the armor he’s constructed for himself. Keima desperately clung to his persona of the gamer, and even got into a pretty stupid and silly argument with Ayumi will trying to conquer her.
If Keima was indeed interested in Ayumi, it would make sense for him to just apologize, come clean and admit everything. The fact of the matter though? Keima did not love Ayumi (or so he thinks).
The one question answer that Keima allowed was used to glorious effect, and the response was pretty stunning. It makes sense that Keima can’t allow himself to be attached to the girls he conquers, as his own sanity depends on it if he has to keep conquering girls and freeing loose souls.
Still the concrete answer was pretty helpful, and peels off more layers of our already pretty complex protagonist. Its kind of sad in a way that Keima doesn’t allow himself to like Ayumi, because the two have definitely got some great chemistry.
The marriage ceremony was pretty grand too, and I guess Ayumi is the only girl that’s gone as far as marrying Keima. I guess she was his first conquest, and it made sense that her story resolved with a nice big grand moment there.
I liked the rather hilarious scenes regarding marriage and Ayumi. It made the most sense, because the interactions between Ayumi and Keima are more akin to a married couple than anything. There’s a sort of freshness in Keima’s interactions with Ayumi, where he truly does go back to being his true self as much as possible.
Their bickering about love, marriage and how serious Keima was pretty entertaining. The hilarity was brought up to eleven with the inclusion of Ayumi’s parents, who went from “what the hell?” to “Screw this stupidity, we’re going back to bed”.
And while its pretty much laid out that Keima’s feelings about Ayumi revolved around freeing her goddess, the fallout from his whole interation with Chihiro was the truly powerful stuff.
Its obvious that Keima not only regrets what he said to Chihiro, but he actually did indeed fall for her too. The effect this has on him is staggering, as it should be.
I think Keima has a lot of chemistry with Haqua, Dianna/Tenri, and of course Ayumi, but the raw emotion that erupts out of both Keima and Chihiro is heart breaking. Keima’s quiet, guilt ridden tears on the bench, and Chihiro’s deep tears as she sings her heart out were THE moments for the series. Everything came full circle and Manglobe did an amazing job of bring life to those emotional scenes and doing so while wrapping up everything else.
Its this level of drama and emotional intensity that elevates TWGOK from being a simple harem show, to a show that truly deals with some complex ideas of current japanese gamer otaku mentalities and actual romantic relationships.
The true tragedy is that, Keima and Chihiro do indeed like each other, but both decide to part ways, never truly understanding the other. Chihiro never ends up hating Keima, and understands that he did care for her, because all evidence points to it. Keima has the pick from Chihiro, and their exchange right before she leaves his house is probably all the evidence she needs. Yet those strong words that Keima uttered while trying to save the world… well those keep making her doubt genuine affection for another brand of Keima’s general kindness.
Keima on the other hand, regrets what he said to Chihiro, and believes that he “screwed up” once and for all there. Did he? Probably not. If he were a normal guy, he could actually go and apologize to her and repair the relationship. Of course, Keima is hardly a normal guy, and has a lot more issues to work out before he can truly be with someone.
And sadly, since he’s still stuck Conquering Girls and freeing loose souls, he can’t really be in love with a girl. Unfortunately, for Keima, being in love is the most dangerous thing, given his current life.
In closing, I like that the whole ordeal with Chihiro does not just get swept under the rug in any shape or form. At the very end, where we get the montage of what happened to people, Keima is shown depressed, even when he’s surrounded by all his games and game heroines.
Its a powerful moment, and one where Keima decides to turn the games off, and head towards the outside world. He’s definitely a changed man. Whether this final scene is actually in the manga, or an anime original like the first and second seasons, doesn’t matter. What matters is that its a truly perfect moment for the series to end, and give a good amount of closure.
Will there be a fourth season? Who can say? I’d say that there’s more ground to cover, but its also possible for the anime seasons to stop right here. If not, there’s always the whole issue of Keima’s teacher being part of the Loose Souls Team, Nora’s promotion, Haqua still hanging around, more loose souls e.t.c.
And of course, Keima still got a lot of growing up and maturing to do. In some ways his whole ordeal with Loose Souls is the reason he’s been able to experience real love and the pain that comes with it.
I will say that, while the ending episode felt a bit rushed (another episode would’ve been nice to flesh everything out), I kind of didn’t mind. Sure, as many manga readers will point out, the Goddess Arc or Megami-Hen being adapted in just 12 episodes sounded like blasphemy. At the same time, I really liked how the whole “The Goddesses save the world!” thing was kind of glossed over.
In all honesty, its not that important in my eyes. What makes TWGOK truly special is the character drama, and the exploration of galgae tropes and real life human relationships. Another save the world thing taking up half the episode would’ve just ruined all that emotional buildup for Keima’s and Chihiro’s big moment.
The one thing I do regret missing, is Haqua’s battle with green haired chick (what was her name?). While it would’ve been nice to see, again, TWGOK isn’t really that kind of show.
And considering the time frame, I think all the extra series plot points were wrapped up pretty well I’d say.
Whether this is the end for the anime, I’d say that Tamiki-sensei has definitely elevated his story (and manga) to something truly exceptional, and leaves me both appreciating what we got this season, and wanting more. Here’s hoping for a two-cour, season four if it ever gets made!
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