The previous season of The World God Only Knows was pretty entertaining. It had a nice plot that combined romantic comedy with some shounen elements, had a cast of very likeable characters, a pretty good soundtrack, and excellent animation. I had a lot of expectations for the second season, and I was not disappointed.
The story of The World God Only Knows is about a guy named Keima who has been employed by the devil to track down loose souls, which apparently only manifest themselves in teenage (though sometimes older) girls who have identity problems or something along those lines. Which makes sense, because teenage girls certainly are the perfect vessels for a demon to live out of. Angsty and emotional, I can understand why we don’t see any male characters being taken over by loose souls. But I digress. Keima is a gamer, specifically, a dating simulation connoisseur. He runs his own website about them as he beats a couple a day and is even asked for advice by dating simulation developers. Using this knowledge, he attempts to help the girls who have loose souls inside of them by filling the space the soul occupies with himself. He does this through pushing them through tough times and basically getting them to fall in love with him. When the loose soul leaves, Keima’s sister and demon buddy, Elsie, captures them.
The plot, as I stated in my first season review, isn’t totally exciting but it’s melting together both shounen and romantic elements makes it have a wider appeal to a wider crowd of people. As a fan of romantic comedies, I found it to be fun and I found the shounen elements to liven it up a bit and give it more flair.
That’s not to say that the shounen elements are really good. In a particular arc one of the loose souls winds up becoming ultra-powerful and this leads to a big fight. The fight wasn’t exciting, nor was this arc that great, but I admired the fact it was taking something that most people would think girly and made it appeal to guys looking for some action.
The plot is marked with two filler episodes like the previous season. This time, the roles reverse. The first filler episode is pretty good and funny, while the last one (the last episode) isn’t that exciting.
The animation is just as good as the previous season. While there were no metaphorical sections that really wowed me like last time, it still managed to have good character designs and smooth animation throughout.
The sound is the only place in the entire second season where I’m going to have to downgrade the points. This season suffers from a lackluster opening and closing, as well as no stand-out music during the show. Kanon does make an appearance with an uninspired song that lasts a few seconds, but otherwise she’s lost. I was hoping she would be in the background more so this season and her songs would play on radios or in stores for some added fan service, but she isn’t utilized and it just leaves the show with a big hole in the sound department. Voice actors still play their roles well though, so sound isn’t bad, it just doesn’t shine quite as much as it did last season.
In the character department though, I found that this season had better heroines for Keima to conquer than last season. I felt that they were a bit more complex and a bit more different from what you typically see. The four of the first season were somewhat generic, but as I said, they had a reason to be. This season gives Keima a lot more of a challenge though as the heroines aren’t conforming to his games as much. This really adds to the drama and makes the show so much more fun.
The two main characters are of course Keima and Elsie. As I said in my previous review, Keima comes off as a complete ass to Elsie, but is a genuinely nice guy to everyone else it seems. Elsie is just plain cute and adorable and you just want to hug her and have her as your little sister. She isn’t too deep, but she serves her purpose of being the complete opposite of a demon and the complete opposite of Keima well, as well as playing the role of little sister nicely too. She’s fun and funny.
The conquests start with Kusunoki Kasuga, a martial artist who is trying to suppress her inner female and act as if she were a male. Her character isn’t all that complex but she is very likeable in her ideals. She doesn’t want to show weakness so tries to stay away from cute things and showing affection. She’s the weakest of the conquests of this season, but she is still much deeper and much more enticing than the four girls of the previous season.
The second conquest is Chihiro Kosaka, which is probably my favorite of all the conquests in the entire series. She’s just normal. She’s average at everything, she looks average, and she tries to quell that averageness by asking out and being rejected by every hot guy she sees. The metaphorical take on her feelings is not awe-inspiring or anything new, but it is good. Everything leading up to the end of her story arc is well constructed, and I thought that the end of the arc was really well done and came across as truly heartfelt.
The third and final conquest is Jun Nagase, a student teacher. This is the second best conquest of the entire series. Her plot and feelings won’t come across as truly understandable unless you have been a student teacher or know someone who has. She, like student teachers, goes in idealistic and wanting to help people. The problem is, nobody wants her help and she’s kind of in a place where she isn’t respected, no matter how hard she tries to be. It’s a fantastic arc specifically for those emotions that are rooted very much so in reality. She feels like a failure because she isn’t able to get the kids to respect her as a friend; they treat her more as an enemy and an adult than someone they can hang out with. She’s a very good character and her arc is quite touching as I know someone who has gone through student teaching and became a teacher recently. The emotions he conveyed to me when telling me about his time as a student teacher are pretty much those of Nagase.
So all three conquests are great characters, Another character I need to mention is Haqua, another demon like Elsie who was at the top of her class but has become akin to a failure. She’s a decent character and fun for the little time she’s around, but her past is a little cliché and her character isn’t as well made as the conquest characters.
The World God Only Knows II is actually better than its predecessor in almost every way. It’s wholly entertaining and surprisingly heart-felt at times. While it’s not deep, nor is it really that smart, it still maintains a good balance of different elements that combine into a very fun ride. It may not be the best thing out there, but it is a very good thing. It’s not bogged down by a lot of cliché and elements that have come up a hundred billion times. It’s sometimes smart, sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, and sometimes romantic. It’s everything in a nice little package.