The World God Only Knows (series)

All posts tagged The World God Only Knows (series)

The main male protagonist, still the best character in this anime.

In my previous post, I’ve mentioned that I will add Gosick to replace either Fractale or Moshidora in the ‘Anime of the Year 2011’ audition, with the decision of ‘which one to be replaced’ to be made by the time this post was made. Well, Moshidora is out and not only Gosick comes in, but also the second season of The World God Only Knows series that will be reviewed today. The review for the first season is located here, which you should read before continuing with this post. My motivation for choosing this anime for the 8th review in the ‘Anime of the Year 2011’ audition is actually the same as why I watched Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!! (that particular animation technique), therefore read on to see whether this second season has it or not.

And the sweet-talking motherf*ck*r ensnared yet another victim in this brand new season.

Continuing from the first season where the main male protagonist has to charm his way into the hearts of 4 girls to extract demon souls out of them, he now has to do the same with another 3 girls. Plus, he also has to deal with a brand new demon character that is plagued with crisis of confidence.

Apparently the info I mentioned in the review of the first season that there will be 5 girls in the second season is wrong. There are only 4 girls in this season inclusive of the new female demon. This is definitely a good thing for the second season because it exclude the girl with the worst conquering arc in the manga in the time of writing. There is a bad news though, a third season of this series probably not come, which means that the best conquering arc in the manga will not be animated either.

And just like what I have mentioned in my review of the first season, I’ve said that the arcs in this second season will be inferior to the first one. This indeed has turned out to be correct, with the best arc in this season (Chihiro’s arc) is nowhere as good as the first season’s best arc (Shiori’s arc). Well, that’s to be expected if the manga is any indication, but what I found weird is that the extensive improvisation seen in the first season are not duplicated in this season. This means that none of the arcs animated in the second season will be able to improve the way Kanon’s arc does in the first season (the manga arc is just average, the anime version is better) has managed to.

This scene isn’t in the manga.

It doesn’t mean that there are no changes between the arcs in the anime and their corresponding arcs in the manga version, it is just they are very minimal, maybe some changes to some dialogues and minor scene changes or deletions. The first arc in the second season is a testament for this phenomenon, where the differences between the two version are minimal. Unlike in the first season, the conquered characters in the second season doesn’t use their mini-chapters omake, which for me is another part where the second season has regressed from the first one. But what hasn’t changed between the two seasons is the spot-on pacing and also the smooth plot developments within the arc itself. Actually I feared that the pacing may be quickened because of minimal improvisations and lack of omake adaptations, but this isn’t the case fortunately.

Just like in the first season, the second season also made references to other games and anime or manga et. al. as seen in the screenshot below. Plus, the anime also animated some (but not all) of the manga filler chapters that is seen straddling the 4 manga main arcs in the second season. The final episode was capped with a teaser consisting of characters that will never be animated, but then again the ending was structured to accommodate a new season. I heard that there will an OVA, but that’s it. No third season planned.

Character development has improved compared to the first season, even if the prevailing plot hasn’t appeared yet. The main male protagonist (still the best character in this series) has more meaningful character development than he was in the first season, especially in that student teacher arc. The main female protagonist also has more of then compared to the first season, especially during the Haqua arc. The lack of a third season means that all character developments will stop prematurely then, which is a pity because the gains made by the main male protagonist in this season would have been useful in a certain arc down on the road.

A Nintama Rantarou parody. This is a very good comedy ninja title.

Character Design:-
My comment from the same section of the first season review still applies.

Voice Acting:-
The main male protagonist voice actor is more consistent now than he was in the first season, while the main female protagonist has no improvement at all. As for the girls, only the voice actresses for the karate girl and the student teacher are good (the latter is the outstanding performer in this season), while the voice actresses for the other two girls are falling behind them. A regression from the first 4 girls whose performances are uniformly good.

The multi-genre OST in this series is one of the defining aspects of the whole series, and it is still as good as ever without any regression at all. Unfortunately, you cannot say the same thing about ALL the OP/ED themes and also the insert songs. At least a couple of songs from the first season is actually good, while none of them is in this second season.

The first season doesn’t have this shit! Why Japan?

Just like Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!, the main reason why I watched this anime (my original plan is to watch it a few months in the future at least) is to prevent a sixth consecutive title being categorized under the blurry animation technique tag. After all, the first season doesn’t use it either, just like the first season of Highschool of the Dead. Unfortunately, as shown in the screenshot above, the second season for this series DOES USE IT. As usual, one point will be docked off the final evaluation of this anime.

Sixth consecutive anime titles and running. When will this madness stop?

Ignoring the regression above, animation quality in this second season is still good, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography now exists in the second season, but they are just average. The director is guilty of not repeating the great quality-inducing improvisation methods he used in first season, but still managed to keep the presentation aspects okay.

It is just unfortunate for the fans of this series (me included) that we will not see further collaboration of this two characters being animated in the future.

6 out of 10.
Inferior storyline when compared to what you can see in the first season, and the usage of the blurry animation technique means that the second installment of The World God Only Knows series is going to be inferior to its predecessor.

And it is also unfortunate for me personally, to not being able to see the best conquering arc in the manga version of this series, being animated in the future.


The main male protagonist, also the best character in this anime.

2011 starts with my review of the extremely high priority title The World God Only Knows, and with this entry, my plan to watch either Katanagatari or The Legend of Legendary Heroes will have to be postponed for a little bit. You will know why I called this title an extremely high priority one below. A 2010 anime, it will then compete with ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ current incumbent that is K-On!!

And this is him with one of his target in the first season.

Our main male protagonist, a dating simulation freak that is beyond help, were duped into signing a contract with Hell to find and capture escaped demon souls. With the undeniable fact that all of those escaped demon souls hides within the heart of women (so that it can be reincarnated when she give birth), the hero will have to apply his ‘experience’ gleaned from those dating simulations in the real world as he makes various girls fall in love with him, again and again.

The main reason why this anime has extremely high priority is because the manga version of this anime is on my top tier reading level, alongside Umi no Misaki and also Tonagura. Titles in this level are important enough, that I idled in the scanlators’ IRC channels so that I can read the latest chapters the very minute after they were released. The titles are not necessarily the best, but exciting enough for me to want them more. As of writing, there are 126 chapters of this manga available. This manga (yes, the manga) has a very quirky element in it that may or may not harm your perception of its anime version, and this will be explained below.

The first season of this anime (second season has already been confirmed) deals with the first 4 of the 16 girls he has conquered in the manga version. Stacked in the favor of this anime’s first season is that two of the best three conquering arcs in the whole manga can also be watched in the first season. But the first positive highlight I gleamed from this anime is its presentation.

Unlike Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, this anime doesn’t follow the manga to the letter. Only the main gist of the manga storyline are retained, while various scenes in the third and fourth arcs are modified, deleted or replaced with new ones. But unlike many manga-adapted anime titles out there, the director actually managed to pull off the execution of those changes very well.

A good example is the third arc, which essence has been completely modified to include the elements of the omake for main female character of the said arc.  The original flow of the plot from the manga barely remains, as huge modifications are made for the anime version while still retaining the end results seen in the manga. That of course results in the very well-executed final debut concert for the arc’s female protagonist, that is not shown at all in the manga. The director need to keep doing this good work in the second season because story-wise (assuming that the next 4 girls will feature in it) the second season is not going to be as good as the first. In other words, the second season will have to rely more on slick presentation like what you can see in not only the third arc, but to a lesser extent, the fourth arc too.

She will get her chance to do just that, if this anime reaches 5th season or so.

Returning to the storyline, the anime itself is still at the point where the prevailing plot still haven’t take shape yet, therefore there is nothing I can comment about this anime storywise. But as mentioned in the paragraph above, two of the three best arcs in the manga are being shown here, which is the second arc involving the prideful girl and the fourth one that involves the librarian with speech impediment. The second arc itself escapes major modifications, making it quite similar to what you can see in the manga. The fourth arc has more modifications than the second one, but not as radical as the third arc. All four arcs uses their respective omake mini-chapters, but only the third arc uses it in a significant way, while the others uses them to pad up their ending. FWIW, the second and fourth arcs has good stories within it be virtue of being good in the manga version, but the modifications in the third arc somehow managed to elevate that arc not far behind them. The pacing and the flow of the plot in each of the arcs are great too, which adds up to the good presentation aspect of this anime mentioned above.

Next, I want to highlight the aforementioned quirky element that the manga have and has been manifested in episode 4, 8 and 12 of this anime, and that would be what you and I will commonly refers to as ‘filler episodes’ (popular in Naruto/Bleach/One Piece anime). The problem is that those episodes are not fillers that in the spirit of the same thing that you can see in Naruto/Bleach/One Piece. Instead, those episodes originates from the manga, subjected to the same modifications that the major arcs has, therefore making it a canon part of the series. For people who hasn’t read the manga, those ‘canon filler’ episodes may piss people off, because after all, they damaged the continuity between the major arcs. The filler chapters in the manga (they are stupendously numerous – doesn’t advance the prevailing plot but do help in character developments) is definitely the Achilles heel of the whole franchise. Even Naruto or Bleach, for all of their anime filler episodes, doesn’t really have a manga filler chapter. Not even one.

She should try one of those new-fangled things called an iPad or a Kindle.

Character developments are still in their infancy for the first 2 volumes (or 16 chapters) of the manga that has been adapted in this anime. But the main male protagonist is definitely the best character in this anime by a million miles. If the 4 girls per season rate holds, meaningful character developments and existence of a prevailing plot will only happen in the third season. That’s why the second season, barring any miracles, is going to be inferior than the first one because the plot in the next 4 arcs is inferior to what you can watch this season. But maybe if this anime take a lesson from K-On!! and doubled the length of the second season, the plot quality problem can then be mitigated. Just like in the manga, references to other games, manga and anime are made too, although understandably, the sets of titles referenced in both manga and anime are different. See below screenshot for an example of a parody seen in the anime.

edit (13 January 2011): I have just found out that the next season will at least feature up to Kujou Tsukiyo arc, which means that there will be 5 girls in it (as opposed to 4 in this season). And inclusive of the introduction of Hakua, there should at least 6 major arcs in it for next season. And of course, there are at least 3 or 4 filler chapters too. If the news that there are 5 girls in it (therefore having 6 arcs), the second season cannot be 12 episodes only (the episode count should at least be doubled), or else what happened in Nodame Cantabile: Pari-hen will also happen to this anime's sequel. I am also concerned by the fact that the second season will end with the Kujou Tsukiyo arc (assuming that, just like the first season, the chronology in the manga is used), because her arc, as of today, is the worst conquering arc in the whole manga IMO. Therefore, the skills of the director that is shown in the third arc of the first season will really be needed in the sequel, or else the second season will end in a low note.

I do hope a third season will come though, because not only the prevailing plot will start there, but the Ikoma Minami arc, which is the best conquering arc in the whole manga to date is in it too. Her arc, as of today, is the only story-driven arc (apart from the prevailing plot of course) that you can read in the manga, as opposed to the character-driven arcs that comes before and after her arc. Cannot really wait to see her in the anime :)

A parody of Black Jack, a title far superior in quality than this series.

Character Design:-
Character designs in this anime is great, especially for female characters. As a homage to all dating simulations out there, black hair is a endangered species though. A positive aspect for this anime.

Voice Acting:-
The voice acting gigs in this anime is uneven though, especially with the main male protagonist inconsistent performance (he is good at times, and below average at other times – definitely need more improvements). The main female protagonist fared only a little bit better, but fortunately all 4 girls in their own arcs has strong performances. The librarian (with her dialogue-laden arc) and the poor rich girl are the ones who performed really well here.

This metafora literary device is common in the first half of the manga, before fading into obscurity after the prevailing plot appears.

Another highlight of this anime is definitely the prominent multi-genre OST that was deftly employed differently depending on what arc is playing. They are very well done, as if you are playing a dating simulation yourself. Meanwhile not all theme/insert songs are good, with only the ED theme (excluding the one that plays in the 4th and final episode) and the first song sung by the third arc’s female protagonist in her debut solo concert are good. The latter in particular, is excellent.

The animation quality in this anime is good, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography in this romantic harem comedy is not applicable, at least for the time being. The director has done really well with his presentation and reconstruction efforts, which will be needed in the second season. A positive aspect for this anime.

The anime got the timeline wrong though. This arc was supposed to happen before summer, not in winter. Let just see how this fact will be reconciled in the future.

8 out of 10
, which is a strong start for this series. K-On!! will keep the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title for the time being. The one that will come next will be either one of Katanagatari or Legend of Legendary Heroes, so keep your eyes peeled on this blog in the near future.

Quoted For Truth!