The Big thing that makes the third season of The World God Only Knows so great isn’t its amazing premise, nor is it the added depth that nearly every character in the story has received, but rather its that the series continues to ask the right questions at the right times, and puts forward some truly amazing, exciting and heart pounding events.
I feel extremely bad that I haven’t covered this week by week, as this third series of TWGOK deserves waaay better. The series is literally firing on all cylinders, and each episode is truly filled to the brim with content. The pacing is lightning fast but extremely tight and well done. Honestly, While I was a huge fan of TWGOK, I never expected the series to reach such greatness… ever.
In many ways, the Megami-hen has slowly and surely been eradicating all my issues with the franchise as whole. Taking these 5 episodes as an example, I’ll slowly and steadily point out what those said things were, and why Megami-hen is so amazing. I think that really is the best course of action after arriving to the party so late.
So… Issue Number one. I’ve always felt, until the Megami-hen chapter, that while the various conquests and girls that Keima interacted with were interesting, they really were nothing more than archetypes of popular Anime and Gaming Characters. I never really felt a lot of depth with a lot these characters. The girls each had some sort of trauma in their lives, some problem, and Keima would solve said problem and conquer them. It wasn’t a bad idea, but the whole concept was lacking some reality to it. People are never really that simple after all.
It is ironic that is these last few episodes themselves that demonstrate this fact. In a way, it feels like both Keima and the series as a whole is growing up, maturing and seeing the world through a much more nuanced lens.
Looking back at these episodes, Keima’s actually covered a lot of ground since I last wrote about this series. He’s conquered, released and leveled up all but one of the goddesses.
The added depth I’m talking about, comes from each of these conquests. Tamiki Wakaki-sensei is amazing, since he keeps his old setups and breaths some new life into them. Tsukiyo’s is the first and quickest conquering, but that’s where things definitely start to improve at a startling pace. Tsukiyo is a character that’s always been content being alone and being obsessed with cute-ness, sure, but the added twist is that she actually not only remembered Keima, but realized that he didn’t love her in reality, and tried to forget him.
The whole issue between Keima and Tsukiyo revolves around her new found obsession with him, and trying to deal with that rejection that Keima unintentionally threw her way. The whole question of being in love with someone like Keima, the very anti-thesis of everything Tsukiyo loves, is the central question that the story throws at her. Keima, especially from her lens, is anything but cute, pure or beautiful, and yet she’s in love with him. This conundrum and the whole idea of her coming to terms with both her feelings and growing as a person, is some really powerful stuff.
Her “I love cute things” archtype is definitely thrown out the window, and a much more nuanced character emerges, one that is also pretty relatable. It also makes sense that she can’t help but still love Keima, even though both common sense and her own goddesss advise against it. On a subconcious level I suspect, Tsukiyo realizes that while Keima’s feelings for her might not be what she wants, he does care for her and wants to protect her. Ironic that Keima, for all his attempts, finally gets through to Tsukiyo when he gets desperate and adds a bit of truth into the matter; “Just love me for a little longer, otherwise I can’t protect you.”
In essence, its debatable whether Keima actually LOVES the girls he conquers, but he DOES care for them, and doesn’t want to see any of them hurt. In fact, Keima himself isn’t really sure what he feels, and given his situation, he doesn’t have time to ponder it either. At least not then.
That brings us to complaint number two, which is that Keima always seems in control, always ready to deal with any girl even though all he does is play video games. In many ways, this is the element of the plot that has asked readers/viewers for some serious suspension of disbelief. For those of us that are fans of The World God Only Knows, we’ve done as the series has asked. I daresay, its worked against the series though, as the story works so much better when Keima is confused, perplexed and not in control.
Once you complicate the characters, and add some real human depth to them, conquering them and interacting with them doesn’t get any simpler either. The complexity that Keima has to deal with now is pretty intense. There’s a huge amount of stress put on him, as he repeatedly finds himself unable to be able to control the situation. Interestingly, things have worked out for him till this point, mostly because he accidentally ends up doing the right things anyway.
Its really interesting, funny and very clever of Wakaki-sensei to constantly have Keima fumble around, and have both Keima’s own beliefs combine with his constant focused struggle yeild the results. Keima through his weakness, vulnerability and lack of control becomes a protagonist that one can root for, despite what he’s having to do.
The Conquest of Yui is perhaps the best example of Keima totally being thrown for a loop. Yui has thrown Keima off balance before, but he shrugs it off and dives in forward, trying his best to appeal to what he thinks she wants, what he knows she wants, and then still wanting to be the conqueror rather than the conquered. The constant oscillation that Keima has between being the conqueror and conquered is pretty interesting. Not only that, but its really interesting to see him utilize the classic tropes that from games and anime to try and appeal to Yui.
Yui is definitely a girl with issues, and a bit of a contradiction in herself, and the rather weird way inwhich both Keima and Yui fumble towards each other, trying to connect, is something that seems a lot more real than any of Keima’s past conquests.
Moving on, one thing that’s been bugging me personally, is how isolated Keima’s attempts have been, and how there’s not been much spillover from his actions. This arc, in itself handles this part of the thing beautifully. It definitely started with Kanon falling for Keima, and announcing it to the school, but the Shiori part of the story takes the whole idea a step further.
It is pretty interesting to actually have Shiori see Keima cross dressing for Yui, and then react to it. Not only that, but Keima kind of has to roll with it. What makes Keima really cool, is that he doesn’t let anything shake him.Whether its because He can’t afford to or whether its just part of his whole: “This is part of the plan” mentality, its nice to see Keima have to deal with the consequences of the extreme actions he takes.
And of course, Shiori’s monologue shows a girl that’s actually quite smart, but who just doesn’t have enough experience with actual human interaction. Her musings and wondering about her feelings for Keima as well as her problems writing feel pretty genuine and real, I suspect self-introspection from the mangaka himself. Its also pretty gratifying to see at least one girl openly admit that she likes Keima.
Of course, once Keima is able to gather four out of five godesses, things get really interesting. That brings me to what truly makes TWGOK’s third series so special; The questions it asks that drive right into the core of the premise.
One could argue that Keima has been conquering all these girls, for their own good. To save the world, to save Kanon who is about to die, Keima has to do some extreme things. He has to do the despicable thing of conquering 5 girls at once, and basically lead every one of them on.
It makes sense, and as an audience member, I can forgive Keima for what he’s doing because, at the end of the day, it is for the greater good, and for the girls themselves to survive.
So what happens when Keima doesn’t have all these reasons to fall back on? What happens when Keima ends up conquering a girl that actually just… loves him?
BAM! That whole question, that whole premise, is thrown right at us when Keima has to deal with narrowing down the final goddess from Ayumi or Chihiro.
This whole arc is one gutt punch after another, to Keima, to the two girls, and to the viewers watching the show. This is where TWGOK ends up making you “feel” some serious emotions.
Speaking at the point we’re at right now, which is episode 9, Keima is in quite the effed up situation.
Keima begins trying to conquer Ayumi by having her visit him when he’s sick, but Chihiro ends up coming over to see him as well. The two girls being friends, and both clearly having feelings for him, are in a truly awkward position. Keima can’t have either girl know about his advances, because he can’t afford to hurt either at that point. At this point, is where Keima ends up screwing up.
Its really quite amazing to see, as Keima finally fails just like any “real” person. He gets swept up by the fact that Chihiro seems very into him and interested in him. He ends up hurting Ayumi in the process, and without intending to, has her back off in respect for the ongoing love between the man she loves and her best friend. Ayumi, unlike Keima, does the noble thing and backs off. Keima meanwhile, making headway with Chihiro ends up wrongfully gambling on the idea that Chihiro might be the final goddess candidate.
Turns out, Chihiro really does flat out actually like Keima. She’s not the goddess candidate either, and Keima realizes this as he’s about to give in to, what are definitely valid feelings of love for Chihiro as well. For the first time in a while, Keima actually gets an actual relationship, one that doesn’t have anything to do with his efforts, his tricks or moves, but rather its just genuine love from a girl that does most of the leading in the relationship.
And when Keima realizes this, just as he’s about to kiss her… He freezes up. He gets confused, and he ends up trying to rationalize a way out of it. He ends up hurting Chihiro, not because its to protect her, not because he’s saving the world, but because he’s genuinely afraid of what’s happening. In that moment, Keima ends up backing away, and trying to distance himself.
He ends up hurting Chihiro, Ayumi ends up seeing it, and he of course, totally kills himself and his motivation. The whole master plan crumbles, as does his own stability. Keima is left having to think about what he’s done, and for the first time, the series explores the idea of what Keima’s actually been doing. He’s been playing with fire, and he’s actually been hurting quite a few people as well.
And sad as it is… He still tries to press on and lie his way out of the situation with Ayumi to no avail. Failing that, Keima is, for the first time, totally at a loss for what to do.
For the first time, after Keima hears it from Ayumi, he realizes that he has been actually hating himself for what he’s been doing. The weight that this whole thing has been putting on Keima really shows, and Its the animation, voice acting and writing that clearly combine to present an amazing moment of introspection.
Of course, the whole introspection is interrupted by Tenri and Dianna. And while I’d have preferred for the moment and question to continue, The added depth to Tenri and Dianna doesn’t hurt either. Tenri’s whole love for Keima makes a lot more sense after this whole conversation. She actually loves the Keima who’s happy, being aloof and playing his video games. In essence, The guy she’s fallen in love with doesn’t exist as he is now, conquering girls and saving the world and all that, while being super stressed and worried all the time. Dianna herself doesn’t understand Tenri’s love, and wants to get closer to Keima as well, having fallen for him. Its all quite well thought out and put together.
And its Tenri, being her shy and wacky self, that gives Keima the breather to pick himself back up. In a way, Tenri does understand and love the true Keima more than any of the other girls.
And if this premise weren’t enough, there’s more juicy plot happening in the background. Haqua runs into her own share of problems trying to identify Vintage, and is branded a traitor. Its hard to say whether the head of the Loose Souls Team is part of Vintage, or whether Nora is. Regardless, Haqua ends up getting Vintage’s attention and is set to be executed.
Added to that, Keima discovers that not too far from his own school, is the breeding ground of Vintage’s Loose Souls.And while he does, its even more interesting to see that Keima’s homeroom teacher is somehow a wild card as well, and who knows what side she’s on… still. Added to that, Keima makes sense of the fact that the school’s insignia and therefore even its purpose is tied to the Goddesses as well.
All of this and more, makes for one hell of an exciting point in a story that I never expected to see go to the places its gone. All I can say is that, if you aren’t watching The World God Only Knows at this point, and if you somehow read through everything I wrote above, then you’ve got to admit that this is pure gold that you’re missing out on.
For those that have followed the series, but are reading this, what do you think?
I’m excited top see where this series goes from here, and its one of the rare series that I clearly have no idea or guesses about. What will happen next? Indeed, what will?
Seems like Things are coming to a head as Vintage gets more aggressive and Haqua makes her return!
Tags: goddess arc, Kami nomi zo Shiru Seka s3 episode 4, Kami nomi zo Shiru Seka s3 episode 5, Kami nomi zo Shiru Seka season 3 blog, Kami nomi zo Shiru Seka season 3 episode 9 review, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai megami hen episode 9, the world god only knows, the world god only knows goddess arc, the world god only knows megami hen blog, the world god only knows season 3 blog
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