And so the controversial 3rd season of The World God Only Knows is finally over. You’ve heard me rant about this show on the first post, then say it improved in the 2nd. While the direction doesn’t improve past the 2nd 1/3 of the series, the story reaches the highlights of what made this arc special. And if you’ve only seen the anime, that should be enough.
What really makes it so great is that these last 4 ep encompass the two highlights of this arc: Chihiro and Keima’s development. Chihiro has followed several guys before, but this is the one time she’s genuinely caring about a possible relationship. And when it’s revealed that she doesn’t have the goddess, it honestly fits with her relatively realistic character. This also makes her rejection that much more tragic, as she’s the only girl that fell in love with him with zero memory of her conquest.
Despite this, it’s Chihiro’s dedication to her friend Ayumi that truly made her a standout character. We know that she feels really bad that Ayumi is now getting the attention of Keima, but she still encourages her to act upon her feelings and not let her misfortune get in the way. In fact when Chihiro finds out about Keima having to conquer Ayumi just to get the final goddess, she straight up destroys his previous plans so he can get her not through game mechanics, but through his honest emotions.
But what really surprised me is how effective Keima’s state of mind was. Despite the messy execution, It’s quite clear that Chihiro’s form of love is not what he expected. Even in the game world, he’s stuck to an analytical process when it comes to capturing the heart of girls. He even mentions this when we get to the awkward conquering of Ayumi. So to see him actually cry over the missed opportunity of pure love without conditions brings a human element to Keima that was unseen in his character until now.
Having said that though, I personally label this as a dissapointment. I’ve re-read the goddess arc twice before this came out, and there last 4 ep have reminded me a basic fact that is very simple: this could’ve been a masterpiece. The problems i’ve mentioned in previous posts end up stacking on top of eachother, and while none of them end up destroying the plot, it ends up diluting the emotion I felt for what’s still a great story. On top of that, it also ends up making me care less about the side story on demonic war.
If you haven’t read the manga though, I don’t think you’ll have much of a problem. It may feel abridged, but the highlights are just as effective if you can ignore the stuff they skipped. I’ve heard from friends that read the manga that simply accepted that this wasn’t great, and they still had enough investment to cry at Chihiro’s rejection. I’m nitpicky about this because I love this manga so much, but I’d still recommend it for everyone else.