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The World God Only Knows: Goddesses Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

The World God Only Knows Goddesses Blu-ray PackagingSometimes you have to replay the game.

What They Say:
Dating Game master Keima Katsuragi’s skills at conquering hearts in the virtual world have translated into real life so well that he and Spirit Hunter associate Elsie have already captured 14 of the runaway spirits attaching themselves to the souls of different girls. But is even the God of Conquests up to the task of romancing six REAL Goddesses?

The fate of the world may depend on it, because if Keima can’t do it six more times, a renegade faction of demons will use the Goddesses power to unleash an even more dangerous and powerful group of demons. That could mean the devastation of both Heaven and the Earth! (Not to mention Keima losing his own head.) And if the situation wasn’t difficult enough, it seems that the Goddesses’ souls are hidden inside girls that Keima has already had to make fall in love with him before. As part of the magic spell, they’ve all forgotten about him… or have they?

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is pretty solid as it gives us a bilingual release with both languages in stereo using the DTS-HD MA codec to give us a pair of lossless tracks. The show has a very good forward soundstage design for a lot of it where the dialogue feels rich and warm where appropriate while the action has a certain magical feeling to it. Dialogue is well placed and scenes with depth and placement are done very well. The show has a couple of standout moments to it, especially when it comes to the music and the idol segments, but the majority of it is very fun and well executed dialogue and incidental bits that play out well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2013, the transfer for this twelve episode series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The series is spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second with the extras. The show has a very bright, clean and smooth look to it and the transfer captures it really well. There’s some very distinct colors used throughout it with the pinks from Elsie’s outfit being very prominent but also just the blue skies figuring into things strongly. The transfer for the series is in great shape and looks really good throughout outside of some very minor shimmering you see in a few areas when there’s some mild panning/zooming going on. It’s not from encoding issues but source issues. The transfer really shines here overall and definitely makes for a very enjoyable experience.

Packaging:
The third season of the series is presented in a standard Blu-ray case the has the discs against the interiors of it with no hinges included. The front cover is an appealing piece as we get Elsie and Kanon together laying on the clouds which is done with a good combination of white and pink to give it a very otherworldly feeling. The designs look good and there’s a lot to like with the look of it, but it’s amusing as well because these two have some of the smallest roles in the season overall. The back cover continues with the white and pink look which works well as it adds in some of the other characters with light roles in the season as well as a few shots from the show as well. The premise is well covered and we get a solid breakdown of the discs extras, production credits and the technical grid that lists everything in a clean and easy to read way. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for the series is very, very simple where it just has character artwork that’s static with no music or sound effects used for it, keeping it from properly setting the mood. The main menu of the first disc has the character artwork from the front cover of Elsie and Kanon along the left side with some pinks and purples giving it a soft but pleasing feeling overall while the right side has the breakdown of episodes by number and title, using both greenish blues and pinks to drive it home. Language selection is also included here in a submenu of its own with the disc reading our players’ language presets. It’s certainly not a bad menu but it falls short of some of the better menu designs done for Sentai Blu-ray releases lately and lacks any real personality to set the mood and atmosphere for the show that you’re about to watch.

Extras:
The extras for this release are decent as we get the basics with the clean versions of the opening and closing segments.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After two very fun seasons, flaws and all, The World God Only Knows returned with a new season, and one that does something fairly radical by leaping ahead about twelve volumes or so in the manga to focus on a particular arc. The Goddesses Arc was a lot more current for fans of the manga and certainly more appealing there. But with so many shows and manga, this one included, where you could skip character stories and not have any significant things lost in terms of story progress, I can’t find myself being all too concerned about it. In the end, it’s all back to Keima and his fun of being caught in this little situation.

Thankfully, we do see some nods to past storylines that haven’t been adapted yet and they’re done as cute film reel flashbacks that help to deal with some smaller aspects of things that have gone on with other women that he’s had to deal with. In the end, we do discover that Elsie and Keima have managed to deal with fourteen lost souls, which frustrates the hell out of Haqua. Elsie is fantastically lucky with who she managed to partner with since Keima, resistant as he is to helping her deal with lost souls, is able to do the job very well and there is a thrill to it that he does feel. Haqua’s partner is a study in contrasts since it’s a middle aged woman who seems barely ambulatory.

With the opening episode, we get these kinds of bits throughout, but also more of the large stage setting that’s going on as we reconnect with these characters. Kanon seems to be a bit on the crazy side these days as she’s carrying on conversations with a more outgoing version of herself in the mirror and Tenri, who has moved in next door to Keima, has a higher power that shows itself through her to him and makes it clear what she’s doing and that he damn well better treat her better. The conversation with Tenri on the way to school opens up a lot of what’s going to go on in this season where she makes it clear that what he’s been doing with the lost souls may have opened up something else as there’s the possibility that within the girls who hosted the lost souls, a goddess may have existed as well, and they may be free at this point, which could be what’s causing some of the local area problems they’ve been having.

The season moves quickly to take Kanon out of the picture, which doesn’t bother me much, and sets Keima on the path to revisiting several of the girls that he’s had to deal with before. With the possibility that some of them may contain goddesses within them, and a threat of an organization known as Vintage in the background for most of this season, it takes its time to get to that big event in the final episodes where the confrontation happens. So much so that outside of Haqua’s mild investigation that goes horribly awry just before the finale, Vintage is a largely off screen threat that gets talked about a little bi. Most of what’s focused on here is the quest to wake the girls though, some of whom are coming alive on their own and interacting with their hosts as well, which is a little unusual.

This is where the show both works and doesn’t in a way. It works as we see how Keima has to go back to these girls that he’s spent so much time with and play through a new route with them, to get them to fall for him again in order to power up the goddess inside – if she actually has one inside of her. Since the girls don’t remember the previous time he played the game with them, it’s fresh to them but familiar to him,w hich adds a layer of complication to it for him because he can’t do the same thing but he knows some of the tricks and is trying to manage it as best as he can. With his motivation to make sure none of the others get taken down by Vintage like Kanon was, and working under the deadline of Kanon’s own life at stake, he’s certainly feeling it in a way that wasn’t presented in the other season.s And that helps to give it the kind of drive it needs.

But it also feels familiar in going back to these girls that we spent so much time with before. I like them, such as Shiori and her stories she writes in the library and the time spent with Chihiro and Ayumi, which really dominates in the last several episodes as Keima tries to figure out if either of them have goddesses inside, but there’s still that too familiar aspect. What drew me in with the previous seasons was that we got a couple of episodes for each of the girls and it gave us time to really know them. With them being familiar here, it cuts to the heart of the matter much quicker and that removes a lot of the real infusion of empathy and connection with it. Each of the stories flow well enough with what it does have to do here, and it has the mild twist of what’s going on, so there’s still enjoyment to be had. But the season still mostly comes across as weaker than the previous ones for me.

In Summary:
After the first two very enjoyable seasons of the series, the third season rolls the dice in animating an arc further along than where we left off. That makes sense by playing to a more fan favorite arc from within the work itself, but it left me wanting to know more of what happened between the two seasons. Part of what also hindered this season for me is that Elsie was mostly out of the picture and Haqua’s time didn’t measure up with her. The show does what it does best when it comes to the game playing that Keima has to do and he’s definitely good at it, though frustrated by certain aspects of how this all plays out and some of the twists in others such as Yui along the way, but something just didn’t click for me with this season overall. This release is well put together overall and it’s definitely a great bit of continuity overall with the previous releases, making it an easy pickup for fans of the show.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

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

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widecreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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