When the Sun Goes Down
Ok. Let’s skip the introductory part of “I love the manga and have been really excited for the adaptation” and get right to the final minutes of the episode. Here’s the main thing I have to say about it: why the hell did they change who stabbed Kanon?! That said, I’d better leave my ranting to the end of the post and get my writing back in order.
Now that I got some of my frustration out of the way, let’s start from the beginning. I’ve been following this manga for a little less than 3 years. And I absolutely love it, with the “absolutely” part having nothing more than the Goddess arc to thank for its presence in this sentence. Having a season being announced under this name would normally be great news…. if I didn’t know there was a bunch of material that would have to be skipped to reach said arc. And that’s what ended up happening.
The episode started with a recap of unaired material, telling the viewers about the relevant conquests Keima made in between the events of season 2 and the Goddess arc. And as much as it is definitely disappointing to have some of my favorite conquests (Yui’s for instance got me laughing non-stop and is generally full of awesome moments) packed into just a few seconds, the recap itself was handled nicely when one considers Manglobe just adapted 70 chapters worth of content into 5 minutes of animation. It’s also not hard to conform myself with what I got since Manglobe just made their most desperate move to make continuing this adaptation possible: “we adapted the last two seasons faithfully and they didn’t sell so let’s skip straight to the best part”. Whether or not that was a good move, I don’t know, but I do know I can’t blame the studio over the consumers for it. I never saw anything wrong with the way Manglobe adapted Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (from now on referred to as Kaminomi in all posts), and with it being a rather popular manga, the anime selling so poorly can be described as nothing but a ridiculously strange phenomenon.
The recap over its back, the episode moved on to the beginning of the Goddess arc, the event that starts it all: Kanon being stabbed by a member of Vintage. In adapting the actual material it went for, this first episode actually did a nice job.
As repeated in the first 5 minutes of recap in this episode, Keima’s conquests don’t remember a single thing about what happened when he conquered them since their memories are modified by New Hell. However, this doesn’t stand true for the hosts of the Goddesses, since the Goddesses memories will complement theirs. And that’s what he’s told by Diana when she asks him for help to find her sisters, much to our God of Conquest’s exasperation, since his forced participation on the hunt for Runaway Spirits is already taking more than enough time away from his beloved dating sims. It’s easy to see he’s not a fan of the idea at all, but the events that follow pretty much force him into taking into interaction with one of the Goddesses – Apollo.
Apollo is the Goddess hidden inside Kanon, and manifests herself to her in a similar manner as Diana first manifested herself to Tenri: through her host’s reflection. With a much less assertive personality than Diana but still extremely careful about her situation and involving outsiders into the Heaven vs Hell struggle, Apollo’s appearance comes to further even more the idea that the Goddesses, just like the Demons, aren’t exactly what you’d expect from hearing the name. And we haven’t even gotten to some conversations with the whole group. Now that’s gonna be a whole lot of fun.
One other relevant and interesting point in this episode is how they explained the workings of Heaven, Earth and Hell in the Kaminomi universe through the words of Tenri, who offered the aforementioned explanation to Keima. The history of Hell and how Old Hell tried to harvest the energy from human souls for themselves and get the monopoly on the three realms, leading the Demons who wanted to keep the “regular” order to ask for help from Heaven (the Jupiter Sisters in particular) to reform Hell, thus creating the New Hell Elsie and Haqua are from, is going to be an important point in this arc, so make sure you pay attention to it. Same with her brief mention of how the Goddesses regain their powers through love, an example of which we can even see in this episode as Apollo becomes able to switch with Kanon toward the end of it.
Other than that, the episode is mostly focused on Kanon as she struggles with her memories of her conquest and her love for Keima as well as thinking she’s losing it out of exhaustion. I mean, seeing one’s reflection lecturing oneself in a cheerful mood is bound to be disturbing. And even more disturbing is the fact that she feels like she’s being followed around. Unfortunately, that does turn out to be more than a simple feeling as she’s attacked as she’s returning home one day. With no one else to turn to, after a rather scary spotting of her follower while in the bathroom at school, she goes to Keima, the one person she knew being somehow involved with the supernatural and the one person she loved.
And now forgive me for going on a tangent here, but I find it either interesting, or rather, potentially off-putting, that two relevant points in this episode were adapted in OVA and nothing else. One was the hint Kanon remembered Keima, which is in the seemingly filler but instead foreshadowing filled chapters 54 and 55 of the manga adapted in the Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: 4-nin to Idol OVA and the other is, of course, Tenri and Diana’s presence and the whole Goddesses issues, since Tenri’s arc was also adapted in an OVA. Since these OVAs are often considered extras and skipped by viewers, having things of such importance in them may not be a good idea, though I’m not sure how relevant that ends up being. Just sharing my reflection about it here.
That little tangent done with, let me get back on topic. Scared and wanting someone to help her, Kanon goes to Keima in the middle of a class. Actually, pardon me, in the middle of a test, no less! Either way, the idol everyone’s talking about confessing to the most unpopular guy in the class at such an inopportune time obviously stirs up the whole class and suddenly everyone’s forgotten about the test and are simply looking at them in awe and shouting nonsense about Kanon being in love with Keima (which, let’s be honest, is not all that much nonsense). To avoid the crowd, Keima takes Kanon to the school hall, where she tells him she’s being chased. However, Apollo switches with her before she can say anything else and leaves a surprised Keima behind as she takes the matter into her own hands in the name of protecting uninvolved people and turns around to pursue her excellent idea: running. Well, as the brilliancy of such an idea might have made obvious to anyone watching, she’s easily caught by the hooded figure who’s been following her, a Demon from New Hell who presents herself as Lune from Vintage …right after stabbing Apollo in the abdomen, without the later having even been able to put up much of a struggle.
And this is where my main problem with the episode lies. “Lune”. Why Lune? It was supposed to be Fiore! And my main concern isn’t even the fact that they changed who stabbed Kanon. That couldn’t be more irrelevant. My problem is how this might mean the entire Fiore subplot will be cut from the adaptation. Which is something I’d definitely not be happy with. At all. It’s one thing to skip some captures to get to that which is arguably the best arc in the series, but it’s another thing altogether to cut parts from that same arc. If you’re adapting an arc because it is good, at least adapt it properly, Manglobe. I hope I’m wrong about this, but I can’t really see any other reason for them not introducing Fiore here other than skipping her subplot entirely. Since it was a fun subplot with many interesting moments. Since it was a nice subplot that focused on Haqua’s naivety and set up her character development. And… I’m so going to miss JustTits and Pencil!
With this first episode, I’m not entirely sure what to expect of the third season of Kaminomi, specially when taking into account it’s adapting my favorite arc in the series. Skipping ahead was honestly expected, so I’m not too disturbed by it, but already changing things as big as character roles in the first episode of the season? My guard is definitely up for this adaptation. The positives? Since this first episode really lowered my expectations, anything this pulls off right will be very much welcomed by me. Also, the OP was really good as expected from a Kaminomi OP. The lyrics also capture the feeling of the arc well enough. And if you’ll allow me to end this rather pessimistic post on a positive note: