The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

The World God Only Knows II

Title: The World God Only Knows II aka Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Company: Manglobe
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 12 Apr 2011 – 28 Jun 2011

Synopsis: After accidentally agreeing to a contract where failure means losing his head, Keima Katsuragi grudgingly continues on his mission alongside his Devil partner Elsie unabated in finding young women who have been possessed by runaway spirits and capturing the spirits before they are reborn. This time around, Keima and Elsie deal with not only Keima’s fellow classmates in their quest, but also his teachers and upper class seniors, alongside all the trouble that comes with Keima floundering outside his element. To top things off they end up meeting an old classmate and friend of Elsie’s, dealing with the problems that arise from that encounter.

The Highlights
Music: Wonderful for a romantic drama score; still lacking in comedic pieces.
Cast: Remains colourful and visually diverse; brings back more of the previous seasons characters.
Direction: Better than last season by a mile.
Chihiro’s arc and the finale: Where the series finally shines through to its full potential, if only briefly.

The previous season of The World God Only Knows had several problems, most of them centring around the comedic side of its equation. This was best exemplified in it’s final episode which manages to miss the point so spectacularly it makes what should have been a comedic situation into a very disturbing showcase of obsessive behaviour. Surely after a run of 12 episodes of trial and error, the staff must have gotten a good understanding of how to accurately convey this romantic comedy?

The outcome in this new season is a something of a mixed bag: the show truly shines when focus shifts to the romantic side of the equation, and it shows very clearly that it is there where the staff feels most comfortable working on. The string of episodes that form Chihiro Kosaka’s arc are the point where the series finally manages to go past the awkward handling of the execution and present a touching tale of a young girl who decides to change herself for the better and stop seeing the world from a defeatist perspective. Not only is drama balanced with some correctly executed comedic moments, but the dramatic techniques employed, set the mood quite well; examples include changing the visual presentation from its usual colorful style to a semi-monochromatic washed out template and having the majority of the arc occur during a rainy couple of days, and the sentimental music. It offers a more powerful impact once we see the aftermath of the confrontation with Chihiro.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of the comedy, which remains the weakest part of the show. While there is clearly a better handle on what is meant to be funny, the results remain hit and miss, and that is mainly due to the soundtrack still lacking in any track that could be described as being comedic in nature. What occurs is that we have light hearted scenes being sandwiched between serious ones, with the former lacking in any background music with the latter scenes being set to very dramatic scores to emphasise the intensity of the situation. The end result is that the comedy falls completely flat and the flow of the tension is distributed unevenly, making the entire event look very awkward.

To be fair, the show overcomes its sound design issues by the end, where it manages to not fall into the same pitfall that the previous season’s finale fell into. Even if the music remained lacking, the staff clearly understood that the best way to present the events here was to amplify the absurdity of the situation and give the episode a tongue and cheek tone so that it can work as a comedic piece, rather than an unsettling display of unhealthy behaviour. Better yet, the finale manages to display what were the better qualities of the show and what made The World God Only Knows a fun series.

In the end, The World God Only Knows II is a clear step up in the right direction from its predecessor with a better handling of the execution and a showing of excellent cinematography, but it still suffers from the same problems that plagued the previous season, which brings it down when it should have otherwise been fine. With the third season being on its way, we can only hope that this time the staff manages to get it right and hit all the right beats so that the show can finally prove itself as being something not mediocre, but very special.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Arabesque


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