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The World God Only Knows Season 2 UK Anime DVD Review

10 min read
The World God Only Knows Season 2 UK DVD
The World God Only Knows Season 2 UK DVD

More girls, more demons, more fire engines!

What They Say:
The God of Conquests Returns! Every otaku’s favourite dating sims champion is back! And Keima still has his adorable lost soul-hunting, demon cutie with him! Together, they continue their pursuit of finding escaped lost souls who are hiding within beautiful, young school girls. But how to release these trapped spirits? Why, they have to get the girls to fall in love of course! And this time when lost souls turn up in everyone from the school’s bully to the school’s hottest new student teacher, Keima finds even his romantic powers are going to have to be working over time. And when a giant loose soul turns the entire school into a group of love-starved zombies, it s a good thing a new demon shows up to help Keima and Elsie! It’s two times the adventure, two times the excitement, and two times the romance in The World God Only Knows Season Two!

The Review:
Audio/Video:
There were no notable errors in video or audio quality throughout the series in either language, whilst the subtitles are clear and easy to read.

Menu:
The menu design for the second season of The World God Only Knows is almost identical to that of the first season; static images, a very pink background and, for some reason, a loop of the first season’s opening theme on the home page. Why they continued to use that I don’t quite know as there’s a new theme for the entire second season. The new theme isn’t even that different to the old one, so it wouldn’t seem out of place. First disc contains an option to play all the episodes, an episode selection screen with selectable episode titles (no images for episode selection, again) and a setup menu with options for 2.0 English or Japanese dub. The second disc also contains an extras menu with links to various bonus features. The home menu features a large key art with Keima, Elsie and the various girls which the season focuses on  whilst the other menus feature individual characters, with Elsie on the episode selection screen, Chihiro on the setup screen and Kusunoki on the extras screen.

Extras:
There isn’t that much in the way of extras available for this release, there’s the usual textless opening and ending credit sequences, plus a couple of trailers and TV spots used to initially promote the series’ airing. Also featured is a series of short clips advertising various products related to the series, such as character song singles, an album for the idol character Kanon from the first series and other similar merchandise. None of these features exceed a couple of minutes in length though, plus they aren’t particularly interesting or imaginative. Considering there’s been a spinoff OVA episode released since the airing of the series (and far before the release of this DVD) it would have been nice to have it included as an extra here, but no doubt it’ll either never make it overseas or it’ll be sold individually for a ridiculous price.

Content:
Season two of The World God Only Knows (TWGOK) starts off following the same structure and story of the previous series, with Keima and Elsie continuing their hunt for loose souls hiding inside young girls. As the characters are already introduced, the series delves straight into the first arc, focussing around Kusunoki Kasuga, a member of the school’s martial arts club and somewhat infamous for being aggressive. However, she has a suppressed cutesy side which finds things such as teddy bears and cats adorable, a side of herself which she has been trying to keep under wraps since her childhood in order to focus on becoming strong and making her dojo proud. Her character especially brings to mind Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh actually, or maybe Cure Sunshine from Heartcatch PreCure!. Then again, TWGOK has always been about taking basic archetypes and using them as obstacles for Keima to overcome, and this series is no exception to that rule. Eventually her feminine side starts to manifest itself as a physical form whenever it’s in the presence of something adorable, and it’s up to Keima to help Kusunoki bring it out so she can fight her weaknesses in a martial arts fight, because that’s totally how these things work. How do they do this? They go on a date, of course.  Things go down, her weaker side emerges, everything ends up resolved and the loose soul is released after a kiss, just as with the other arcs up to this point.

This is where things change a little and the series starts playing with a few different ideas. The following arc actually doesn’t have a target, because there’s a loose soul that’s already been let out of its host and is now causing havoc around the school, gaining more and more power. Turns out it was accidentally lost by a new character named Haqua du Lot Herminium, another demon who was Elsie’s friend back when they were at school in the underworld and her supposed superior. To be honest, I found Haqua to be quite annoying, although a lot of people seem to think she’s one of the series’ best characters. After a bunch of searching around, failed attempts to catch the loose soul and other events, it makes itself apparent by possessing the bodies of numerous students and it’s up to Elsie and Haqua to work together to stop it at last. After this is concluded, Haqua takes her leave… but not for long. She turns up again in a few episodes and seems to be set as a regular character to appear now and then. The following two arcs are back to winning girl’s hearts, but with a bit of a twist. The third arc, that of Chihiro Kosaka, revolves around Keima working out how to fill the heart of a girl who has no standout features by pairing her up with another boy, revealing that it doesn’t necessarily have to be Keima himself who fills up the holes in the girls’ hearts, whilst the final arc focuses around Jun Nagase, a student teacher who’s just started working at the school. Once again, this route doesn’t take the usual path and also has Keima dealing with her making moves on him with a completely different agenda to what he has in mind for her.

As with the first season, there are also a few standalone episodes. One such episode focuses around sending Elsie out on a task after attempting to teach her about dating sims, whilst another has him playing a new game which ends up becoming his idea of perfection despite having abysmally terrible character art, the latter of which has an amazing multiple-minute long Gundam parody which is hilarious. As with season one’s conclusion, there’s a few hints here and there towards a third season which has since been announced, as well as a few hints that there is a major plot coming up in the future rather than just continuing with the arc-based structure.

In comparison to the first season, I would personally say that season two is actually a lot more enjoyable. The pacing seems to be better thought out, and all the arcs seemed to have the right amount of episodes for all the events that were portrayed. The few extra twists on how things can work also made the arcs more interesting rather than just continuing to follow the same pattern for each girl. Whilst still relatively low in regards to character development, there did seem to be a bit more overall depth added to both Elsie and Keima during the series, just to help define them a little more. The level of humour throughout is also fantastic, with numerous funny moments dotted throughout the episodes and generally with good comic timing too, although there are a few occurrences where it feels disjointed and breaks the mood. As expected of a series like this, there are also many Easter eggs and references to other anime and visual novels dotted throughout, usually shown during visual metaphor sequences or when Keima is explaining his ideas based on his gaming knowledge. Alongside the visual metaphors, there are also some montage sequences. I can recall at least two occasions where there are multiple-minute long sequences with nothing but accompanying music and, surprisingly, they actually don’t feel out of place. One such sequence occurs after one of the girls insults Keima to such a level that he doesn’t leave his room for a few days, showing Elsie milling around outside his door for the entire period, with plants and insects growing up the walls and all manner of weird things going on. Whether that was Elsie’s doing or the series pulling another visual metaphor I’m not quite sure, but it had an interesting effect.

In regards to sound and visuals, it does seem a slight step up from the first series. Character designs are very much unchanged, still retaining the same style and a similar level of detail, whilst the soundtrack often utilises the usual generic school type music you’d expect to hear in a visual novel. Actual animation quality is often very smooth and there is very little in the way of juddery animation or off-model frames throughout the series which is good to see. In regards to aesthetics, it does a fantastic job throughout of getting the right type of setting and lighting for each of the key events, whilst things such as the super-gorged loose soul from the second arc look suitably grotesque. A lot of these touches likely came directly from the manga, but the animation studio have either made the right choice to follow it or done a great job in filling in the gaps with a suitable option. There’s nothing quite as spectacular as the climax to Shiori’s arc in the first season, however, but overall it does a great job. The opening sequence is very much similar to the opening of the first sequence, this time titled ‘A Whole New World God Only Knows’ and once again performed by the collective Oratorio the World God Only Knows, and sung by ELISA. Visually it is also similar to the original opening and once again, it does a great job in portraying the type of series that TWGOK is. The ending sequence is disappointing in comparison and, unlike the first series; there is only one ending theme. The only time it isn’t used is in the last episode, which instead uses the first season’s opening theme as an ending. Whilst the original series’ average ending theme was made up for by the visual themes, neither the visuals or audio of the second series’ ending are really worth noting.

Whilst the second season is weaker in regards to ending theme and lacks anything really special like Shiori’s arc conclusion (I really like that sequence, okay?), it does manage to succeed in surpassing the first season in almost every other way. The pacing is far better throughout, there’s some interesting ideas and reveals throughout the episodes, the humour is more consistent and usually timed better and the aesthetics are improved overall. The addition of another demon to the story could also have a significant effect on how the series will play out in the future, plus there’s plenty of hints towards something significant to come and some questions which are yet to be answered. All of this added to the enjoyableness of the series so far should make the upcoming third season worth waiting for.

It’s safe to say that if you enjoyed the first season of TWGOK then you should watch the second series without any hesitation, as it’s essentially more of the same style of comedy and romance, but further refined and built upon. Whilst it doesn’t quite reach the highest points of the first series, it far eclipses the weaker points and adds up to an overall much more consistent piece with plenty of promise for further instalments. Highly recommended for those who enjoyed the first season of TWGOK, and also recommended for those who enjoy such series as Kannagi and OreImo (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute!).

In Summary:
The World God Only Knows is back for a second season, and it’s much more consistent this time round. Better pacing throughout, more variation in the structure of character arcs, better comic timing and humour and continuing consistency in regards to visuals and audio. Keima and Elsie get to know each other more, Elsie’s demon friend Haqua makes an appearance (and messes up) and more loose souls are captured. Whilst it can still be improved further, TWGOK’s second season is an enjoyable piece of entertainment and certainly worth watching if you want some good light-hearted comedy. Recommended for those who want a comedy series with some supernatural and/or romance elements.

Features:
Japanese 2.0, English 2.0, English subtitles, Textless openings and endings, Trailers, TV Spots.

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: January 21st 2013
Running Time:  300 (Series) 7 (Extras)
Price: £18.00

Review Equipment:
23” Samsung HDTV, Creative speakers and Sub, Laptop with HDMI connection.

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