The World God Only Knows: Goddess Arc
After releasing fourteen girls from the grasps of runaway spirits by making them fall in love with him, Keima has proven himself to be the Capturing God of both the 2D and 3D worlds! But a new challenge awaits as Diana, the goddess possessing Keima's neighbor Tenri, tasks him to find her siblings, and his only clue to their whereabouts resides with past conquests who still retain their memories. Now Keima is on the hunt in hopes that these divine beings might finally release him from his contract with Hell. But with the shadowy organization known as Vintage out to kill these girls, it becomes a race against time to put a stop to their plans and restore these goddesses to their former power!
It was tempting to take my review for the first two seasons of this particular series (also available on THEM) and then add my comments for this new series as an addendum to my original comments. I've got to admit, if it were appropriate I would have done just that. I hate reviewing second, third, fourth, etc seasons of series I have already reviewed because I can only say “What I said in the previous review still applies” in so many different ways. That is the reason why I have previously reviewed series with multiple seasons as a single review. However, The World God Only Knows: Goddess Arc is not a normal case. It has all the same characters and the same basic set-up as previous seasons but it veers so dramatically from the pattern of previous seasons that it deserves and will receive its own review.
So what is the big deal? The first two seasons of TWGOK were more or less the same idea: arcs based around a particular girl or conquest split up by one-off “filler” episodes that ranged from dull to laugh out loud hilarious. The key difference here is that the Goddess Arc is one continuous story about Keima dealing with a whole group of girls at once, as he works through his past conquests to discover the whereabouts of the Goddesses and sort through all the complications that this brings up. In a sense, this is TWGOK coming full circle: no new girls are introduced; instead the old girls are brought back, further developed and consequences of a life spent cutting and running after every romance (justified in context) are finally brought to the fore. In any case, there is enough that is different here to warrant its own review and so here it is.
TWGOK: Goddess Arc is great. TWGOK has been a series that has maintained a forward momentum for quite a while now; it started as a slightly above average series with some quality episodes, some bad ones and then finally found its rhythm by its second season with a higher quality of plot arc and general comedy. Goddess Arc is probably the climax of that momentum. Pretty much everything works here. The key characters are more potent and empathetic than ever; Keima finally comes into his own and actually starts to show signs of humanity that he has previously lacked. The larger cast is well used, the humour is as spot on as the more emotional scenes and a brisk, exciting pace makes it compulsively watchable.
The only bad thing particular to this series is that this may just be TWGOK's “jump the shark” season. It is very hard to see how the series could get better than it is here and everything after this is surely a step down. The romance was just right, the absurdity was just at the right level to be hilarious and it was as exciting as it probably could possibly be. Don't misunderstand, this is not to say that this is the greatest TV show of all time, it is far too trivial to be at the top tier of entertainment, but there is so little to add or take away to make this noticeably better than it is (as limited by the inherent limitations of plot, characters and premise).
That said, there are a couple of nitpicky issues. Firstly, the villain of the arc was not particularly strong or interesting. This is mainly due to profound lack of development for the character or her motives but I suppose she is menacing enough to do her job. Secondly, how much you enjoy this series is based inherently on how much you enjoy Keima as a character. While more is shown of his character, he is still as abrasive as ever and despite the fact that his otaku rants are far more restrained and rare, he is still a character that can irritate some viewers. However, if you've already made it through two seasons of this show then it is likely you have already made peace with his character if that was necessary at all. Thirdly, this arc is strongly in the favour of Haqua fans over the Elcie fans, the latter barely appearing in this show while the former takes over her practical role in the series. That is good or bad depending on your preference.
Ultimately, there is no claim here that this is high art, deep or meaningful. TWGOK: Goddess Arc is just a fun series hitting its stride the best it could possibly manage, a bit like Puchimas but longer and with much more emotional resonance to satisfy the need for something other than laughter from your entertainment. If you find the premise to this show even vaguely interesting, or even if you don't, try giving it a shot. It takes a couple of seasons to get here but the trip is fun and the ending is more than worth it.
It is a very well made and enjoyable show. If you don't enjoy Keima as a character then remove a star or two. He's at his best here but he is still Keima for better and for worse. — Aiden Foote
Recommended Audience: There is some inexplicit nudity but it is not particularly objectionable. It should be fine for teenagers and above.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital source.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
The World God Only Knows: Goddess Arc © 2013 Tamiki Wakaki / Shogakukan, Kaminomi project, TV
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