What better way is there to get an unmotivated gamer to start a task in the real world than putting someone he actually does care for in the verge of death? Yes, because it’s not a game anymore. Keima now has a good reason to search for the Goddesses and will put his all into it, even if it means becoming the Devil of the gaming world by dating several girls at once. Not like that’s not common occurrence in dating sims anyway…
From now on there will be an “Adaptation Reflections” section at the end of all my Kaminomi posts. It will still be spoiler free, but I’ve decided to include it separately so anyone who’s not interested doesn’t have to read through my complaining rants. (Conversely, anyone who’s only interested in the complaints can skip right to it^^’)
The second episode of the Goddesses arc anime adaptation starts exactly from where the first one finished: with Apollo having been stabbed by Lune, she sends out a warning to her sisters with her remaining energy before falling unconscious. Said warning consists of a strange magic-cicle-like square floating in the sky, which according to Diana is a message written in the ancient language of Heaven. Afterwards, Lune proceeds to finishing the job, but judging by the fact Kanon is still alive by the time Keima and Elsie find her, the job was all but finished, probably due to the passive intervention of Nikaido, Keima’s homeroom teacher. Why a demon would be afraid of a simple school teacher and why a school teacher would be so calm and not act after seeing such a scene is anyone’s guess, but I can say that was some nice foreshadowing on the anime’s part.
With Kanon having been taken to Keima’s house, Elsie, Diana and Haqua gather around her, with the later trying to break the spell of the dagger Kanon had been stabbed with. It’s worth noting this is the type of booksmart knowledge Haqua is supposed to be good at, yet she can’t get any close to breaking said spell and getting rid of the miasma that’s enveloping Kanon. This is because, according to Diana, that magic is from Old Hell, assassination magic used by the Weiss which has been banned from New Hell, hence the knowledge about it being so limited. This is when Haqua notices the mark engraved in the dagger, which she explains is the mark of Vintage. And thus this arc’s antagonists are finally named. Vintage is an organization in New Hell which seeks to revive the ways of Old Hell and the sealed Weiss. That their existence appears to be fairly common knowledge, yet they go unpunished is an interesting fact to note, as one could speculate quite a bit about the reason for this.
The exposition out of the way, the one other highlight of this scene, or should I say the highlight of this scene, was definitely Keima’s behavior throughout it. During the girls’ attempts at breaking the spell, he remained quiet and away from it all, yet more than being thinking things through, he appeared severely disturbed by what was happening. What it has always seemed to me and I think the anime captured it quite nicely, was he was trying to clear his head and get himself together during that time. And he gets back to his rational, calm and confident self right when it is needed – when everyone else is starting to run out of options. He admits it isn’t a game. He’s determined to do what he has to for once, but he has his priorities straight in wanting to collect information first and proceed with efficiency. This speaks volumes of Keima’s character and can arguably be seen as the initial set-up for the emotional development we’ll finally see him going through in the Goddesses arc.
Keima’s request for information reveals him that Kanon has around a week to live – this is his new time limit in finding the four remaining Goddesses. It also triggers Diana’s explaining of the message Apollo left in the sky. The Goddesses having been warned to “trust no one”, it’ll be a harder task for Keima, not necessarily to find their hosts, but to bring them out. Although, as Keima himself said, that’s still for the best, considering it also means it will be harder for Vintage to find them, since they don’t have the indirect mean Keima has that requires no contact with the Goddesses whatsoever to find them – the hosts’ memories of their conquests. As a side note, I’ve always found it hilarious Diana expects Keima to find her sisters without ever telling him how many there are until he asks her. And she really was about to leave when he does so. A definitely amusing fault in her exposition.
Furthering the notion of Keima’s determination this time is the fact that as soon as Tenri leaves the room, he starts putting the plan into action ….with idol training. And so we enter a less serious part of the episode.
As the stage is set for the character roles in this arc, with Elsie being given the chance to impersonate the person she so admired (it really is a stroke of luck Keima had Elsie, who knows all of Kanon’s songs by heart) and an awesome temporary partnership of Keima and Haqua being born, our God’s plan moves to the next stage: figuring out who the hosts are. The only hint he has is that the girls remember their conquest and are still in love with him, but thanks to Kanon’s sudden confession in the front of the entire class having naturally turned into a school-wide rumor, that’s more than enough. Chihiro and Ayumi’s behavior is clearly suspicious in this regard, considering how angry they appeared to be, with the former splashing some hot coffee into his head and the later kicking him into a wall. After the reactions from both of his classmates, Keima goes to check on his other previous conquest targets.
The main thing that made this episode different from the premiere was the fact it showed a little of most of the girls, albeit some with less detail for obvious reasons: the fact that they Keima came to the conclusion they didn’t remember him at all. His theory is that the ones most close to him are the ones who hold the Goddesses. If reality were a game, that would probably be true, but seeing as it’s not, there’s no way things would be set as conveniently, right? Well, wrong. As self-centered as Keima’s theory on being chose to be a Buddy because the Goddesses were close to him, it actually seems to be right on spot considering how the girls closest to him were the ones who, in their own peculiar ways, showed signs of remembering him.
Two other good points were definitely the shower scene, or rather, the scene which, by some twist of fate, included a shower segment, and the confessions to Chihiro and Ayumi. The shower scene was interesting for how it showed Keima seriously pondering about his options, about everything he could do to solve the current predicament. He was so absorbed in it he even forgot someone else was taking a shower. Of course Haqua wasn’t too happy with that, making that the second out of three times Keima gets smashed into a wall in this episode. The good part is that he did have the time to make his triumphant announcement (with a pose parodying Lelouch from Code Geass included) he’d become the Devil of Conquest. The confessions were interesting for the simple fact they showed the work Keima does behind the scenes. How his entire conversation was scripted and how he had split choices for different reactions, covering all possibilities.
With all the most relevant heroines showing up, all the roles already properly assigned and Keima’s revelation of his plan for multiple afterschool events meant for conquering five targets at once, everything is set for the arc to truly begin moving. And it’s not hard to see this will be a challenge for Keima. Not only do his targets want nothing with him right now due to the Kanon rumors, some of them are truly problematic on their own. The special mention here has to go to Yui, the only one who isn’t angry about the aforementioned rumors, yet definitely a really hard one to deal with, since the simple fact of not being angry yet admitting she loves Keima, coupled with her proactiveness, makes her a completely unfathomable character to Keima, who’s used to chasing girls, not having girls chasing after him.
Overall, I’m not exactly happy with how much content was once again packed into one episode, but the fact Manglobe still managed to cram this much content in one episode without it feeling hopelessly rushed is actually a point in their favor this time around. And the preview for next episode is in fact looking good, so I’ll for now remain neutral and enjoy the good moments the adaptation has to offer.
Here’s the new section I can use to rant at will. Let’s get this started!
So… while I can say I’m satisfied with how Manglobe handled this episode pacing-wise when considering the content they put in, I’m definitely not happy with how much content was put into one episode. This episode alone adapted the content from the last pages of chapter 116 up to the end of chapter 125. As you can probably see without me having to say it, this is a terribly huge amount of content to have in one episode and resulted in having many scenes cut. The biggest sacrifice here was obviously the comedy, as it’s the least important thing plot-wise, but considering the nature of the series, that’s definitely not something I’m fine with. I’ve missed the “Elsie is a genius!” scene and I definitely don’t like how some of Keima’s exposition regarding his theory about the Goddess hosts was presented, foregoing the “in games” puns completely. Haqua’s snarkiness was also majorly lost in the adaptation and that in particular is a huge negative in my eyes.
But while the comedy was definitely the aspect to suffer the most with the cuts in content, it was unfortunately not the only one. I think I’ve ranted enough about the Fiore/Lune swap last episode, but unfortunately there happened to be more. I can’t say it was unexpected, since it wasn’t mentioned last episode either, but the fact the anime isn’t even mentioning the Goddess sensors is… not cool at all. Thanks to that, the exposition about Vintage isn’t as clear either.
One other thing I’d like to say is how certain scenes just don’t have the same impact without the knowledge of previous unadapted arcs. For instance, I’m left wondering what anime-only viewers thought of Yui. It’s explicitly mentioned that she was a shy rich girl and Keima’s conquest had some lingering effects on her since they swapped bodies due to the Runaway Spirit inside her, but it was never shown, and I can’t help but think people won’t really understand it as well… The same can be said about the shower scene. The contrast between this scene and the “poker-face shower scene”, as I like to call it, which wasn’t adapted into anime either, shows some difference in Haqua’s behavior, though in part due to the circumstances. I found that pretty interesting, but the comparison is lost here since we only got this one.
And now that I got the complaints out of the way, there’s something else I’d like to talk about. In my last post, I said that having the Goddesses arc being rushed like this wasn’t completely Manglobe’s fault, since their adaptation was pretty faithful and it’s close to a miracle we’re even getting a third season considering the first two seasons’ very poor sales (about 2k each volume). While I stand by my opinion on that, I can’t overlook a certain something. The pacing for the first two seasons was exceedingly slow. Not to mention they even adapted the manga fillers in those. And yet now they’re left with only one cour for a huge arc and went from a snail pacing to a rocket one. They slowed down what they could actually have rushed (or done decently, really – Tenri’s arc was adapted in two episodes in the OVA and was bigger than all of the previously adapted capture arcs yet most of those were three episodes long), and are now rushing what is arguably the best part of the series and deserved a faithful adaptation. There’s only a word for that: frustrating.
However, in the end, it’s as I saw someone comment in another blog – this seems like a gift to the manga fans and nothing else and they’re not caring if anyone else understands it. Whether that’s Manglobe’s intention or not, that’s actually what I’ve decided to do. I’ll take the good parts as they are and enjoy seeing my favorite scenes animated. For whatever isn’t there, I’ll always have the manga to re-read.