It has been a wondrous ride following this series for so long and looking back at how The World God Only Knows has impacted the anime community, it’s not far off to say that it changed harem anime as we know it. Showing that you don’t need to show girls in suggestive situations all the time in order to provoke entertainment or emotion into your harem. Sometimes all you really need is genuine emotion and intelligent comedic writing to create a meaningful love story. Or in this case multiple love stories.
Now the story has focused on the Goddess Arc of the manga, which a lot of people have criticized this aspect due to the fact that it skipped a large portion of the manga to get to this point. Which brings up the point that should always be said when judging a show based on a source material: Always judge a show based on its own merits rather than how well it follows the source material. What’s more important is how it keeps telling the story in a concise and detailed matter that is true to the spirit of the manga rather than how specific scenes followed the manga well. In Megami-hen’s case, the pacing and how they develop the story, while not necessarily perfect in some areas, compliment each other extremely well in terms of emotion and clarity. While it does jump around in certain areas a little too fast, especially in the later episodes, it doesn’t deter the show from having an emotional impact whenever it is on-screen.
As always with each passing season, the art and animation is spectacular to look at. Tamaiki Wakaki has always had a creative eye when he draws his manga and to have his drawings come to life in animation is both a perfect representation of his drawings and a very cute and enjoyable watch with great easy-on-the-eye animation. The characters look wonderful with the colorful backgrounds that compliment each other with great excellence and creativity in a limited scope of the Moe and Slice of Life genre.
One thing that I’ve always admired The World God Only Knows, both the manga and anime versions, is how it is able to pack in so much depth and development into every character that you come across in just a short amount of time. In this season, the characters are now fully developed after two seasons and after all this time, not a single inch of charm is lost in each one of them. Keima is still the cynical but often hilarious protagonist that we’ve all grown to love but also kind of hate at the same time. His sense of courage and intelligence make for an enticing protagonist and a larger than life character in general. It is now at this point in the story where we finally see a bit of humanity in his character. It is portrayed with immaculate maturity and pure excellence that makes Keima a three-dimensional character rather than this one-sided gamer otaku that he is often depicted most of the time.
The girls, once again, are as cute and charming as ever. Now that Elsie has replaced Kanon in order for Keima to find the other Goddesses in the girls he’s conquered, Haqua is now Keima’s buddy and man do these two make for such a hilarious duo of detective and partner. The only slight problem I do have with this is that they don’t really go far enough in showing us Haqua and Keima’s relationship develop further as they go through these conquests. Despite this, they do a great job of adding a lot of chemistry between our two main leads regardless of the amount of screen-time they get.
As for the rest of the cast, not all of the girls return from previous seasons. Only a select few are able to have the honor of getting the most out of the story. For what it is, the girls and the comedy that they bring on the table can still be quite enjoyable to anyone who appreciates great parody in their spare time. One in particular is Shiori, who is trying to write a story of her own that she got inspired by her own conquest by Keima. What results is them bickering by writing to each other with them together that create a funny parody of how people tend to criticize how people typically write a story in context with the show.
Now we turn to the girl who has the most important presence in the season: Chihiro. Her own personal development with Keima couldn’t be anymore heartwarming than any anime character relationship story in recent years. Heartbreaking and sentimental as it might be, there is still this aura within Keima that completely changes him and morphs him into a new kind of way that we’ve never seen him as before. It is times like this that make The World God Only Knows a very skilful harem show. In that it treats the subject matter in a parodied manner but at the same time is able to emote these heartwarming scenes that not only work in a writing standpoint but also in a pacing one.
Music in The World God Only Knows have always tread in the territory of J-Pop, what with Kanon’s songs in Season one and other character songs in the past. The songs in Season 3 are just as good as previous seasons even though they don’t necessarily step on any new ground in terms of instrumentation. The opening to this is oddly enough sung in English by Saori Hayami, who actually does it very well! Her pronunciation of the English language is spot on without much awkward attempts at sounding both Japanese and English, or Engrish as it is often called in slang term. Unfortunately, I felt the ED was largely forgettable after repeated listening. All singers do there jobs well, but other than the voices I found myself often skipping them most of the time.
As for voice acting, which is often the bright spot in the series, the Seiyuus all do a fantastic job in their individual roles. Hiro Shimono is as charismatic as ever as Keima, the always beautiful Saori Hayami does a fantastic performance as Haqua, and a surprise performance by Kana Asumi as Chihiro who completely owns her role through the later half of the show. Though it could’ve shown more of Itou Kanae as Elsie; I mean come on when you have her on the show, you kind of want more of her sexy voice on-screen.
There will no doubt be a lot debate with this season in particular. Whether you agree that watching the show and criticizing it for not following certain things correctly in the source material is a valid reason of not liking it or not, you have to set aside that in the back door and appreciate the show on its own merits. This is what all the seasons were building up on and the build was most definitely worth the wait. There are moments in the anime that will make you remember certain moments for years to come whether it was something that made you laugh with exquisite delight or cry with overall genuine emotion. For me, this one line in the show is the one that will stick with me for years after watching it: “You don’t need a reason to fall in love.” Words of wisdom by Chihiro.