|Amazing Story, great character moments, Elevates the franchise to a new level!||Feels a bit rushed, and glosses over some key plot early on|
The World God Only Knows is a franchise that has been consistently good and entertaining. With two seasons under its belt, and the third season being an adaption of of one of the source material’s best story arcs, the third season of The World God Only knows had some lofty expectations to meet.
As is the case with third seasons, a franchise has pretty much established a style and a way of doing things, and the third season is pretty much more of the same good stuff that audiences have become enamored with… or at least generally. The World God Only Knows, in its third season goes from being just “pretty good” to “amazingly powerful”, elevating the franchise to a level that few of its fans or viewers would have thought possible.
The Goddess Arc, features quite the premise. Keima ends up learning that much like Dianna who is inside Tenri, other goddess exist and might be in potential girls who have loose souls trapped inside of them. Things get exceedingly complicated when another of Keima’s old conquests, rushes to him for help and confesses her love, having remembered both him and their past encounter. When said old conquest is attacked by Vintage (an old organization seeking to restore the dread Hell of old), Keima must spring in to action. He needs to find all 5 goddesses before all hell breaks loose. The most important bit though? All the Goddesses are from Keima’s old conquests, meaning there are girls around that remember all that he did for them and with them.
While the premise is definitely interesting, its what the story (and Tamiki-sensei) do with it that’s so exceptional. Not only is Keima stuck trying to conquer five girls at once, but the whole thing actually starts to peel back the layers of protection that Keima has so carefully constructed for himself since childhood.
Conquering 5 girls at once becomes too much, even for the Capturing Kami, and with everyone’s lives on the line, Keima has to begin to come to terms with what he’s been doing to these girls, manipulating their feelings and maybe even his own. Its this exploration of Keima’s psyche, coupled with the fallout that occurs as a result of one of the girls being a dud but still liking him anyway, that results in some of the best drama, comedy and heartfelt tragedy that this franchise has ever produced.
All in all, its quite the achievement for Studio Manglobe, who get all the right beats on there, and convey the essence of some of the franchise’s best moments. And while Manglobe does do a phenomenal job, its worth noting that this adaption isn’t without its share of issues.
The big issue with the series, is definitely that of time. Manga readers especially were somewhat upset (to put it mildly) when they learned that the Goddess Arc would only be animated in 12 episodes. The concern isn’t unfounded, as this series skips a lot of its source material to get the good and juicy parts.
A few of the girls that end up being the goddesses that Keima has to release, actually don’t have their original stories in animated form. A quick recap in the early episodes does its best to get viewers up to speed, and while that does service the plot’s needs, character development does suffer. For Anime only viewers, its hard to really empathize with the girls whose conquest has been shown in only a few minutes.
And while the most important girls have definitely had their debut in animated form, the whole affair puts a blemish on what is otherwise an amazing adaption. And of course, the Goddess Arc itself, is quite large and would have benefited from a few more episodes as well.
Again, while the important parts are not only covered, but covered EXCEPTIONALLY well, its is done at the expense of some minor elements of the story. Some of the franchise building and series plot takes a back seat, especially in the finale, and certain events feel like they should’ve gotten their own episode or two.
Its worth noting that it is really really hard to notice these flaws, which end up being pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. That really is because the third series is just THAT GOOD. Again, a series like TWGOK was definitely what people would term formulaic and very averse to tackling some risky subject matter. The third series, dispels those flaws, and really does bring the franchise and story to a new, more mature and highly emotional place.
And definitely, Animation, Music and Art direction are all exceptional. While its easy to say that everything is the same quality we’ve expected based on past seasons, its hardly fair. Each of the moments that make the story shine, require a level of precision and skill that shows us just what Manglobe is capable of. Everything in this series jumps up to near perfect levels of quality. Nothing feels out of synch.
The Animation and art for example, are definitely a lot more crisp, clear and well done. The art direction in particular is at the series high point in the finale, where some truly smart use of color, nostalgia and what not make the scene even more powerful than even its manga original. Added to that, we get some action anime quality animation from when Haqua is around, and while it does take a back seat to mostly everything else, the action scenes in this show are of top quality.
The seiyuu work, obviously, is at the heart of what makes everything so darn amazing. Hiro Shimono gives his best and most ranged performance as Keima, going everywhere from confident all the way down to truly broken and depressed. And of course, given the events of the last few episodes, its easy to say that Kana Asumi and Ayana Taketatsu steal the show in terms of female seiyuu. Some of it because these three have some of the best lines in the series, and some of it is because they take their lines and these moments to town, but overall, all the voice work in this series is definitely cream of the crop level.
Viewing it as a whole, The World God Only Knows is a great series, and for series fans its an unexpected but welcome surprise. It is not, however, perfect and the tight timeline that the series has to tell its story does end up hurting the overall picture a little bit. While its not perfect, The Goddess Arc is The World God Only Knows at its best, and something that anyone who’s seen the previous two seasons (and OVAs) will want to see. And for those who haven’t seen this franchise yet, we earnestly implore you to do so, if only to enjoy the awesomeness of this very season. While we can’t give this series an A+, it stands tall and mighty with a solid A Grade!
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