What They Say:
Get ready to rock, roll and duck deadly spells all night as Dating Game master (and now real-life romance wizard) Keima Katsuragi and his spirit-hunting partner Elsie are dragged kicking and screaming into their wildest set of adventures yet. Things get off on a strange foot when Chihiro convinces Elsie, Ayumi and Miyako to form a band. Unfortunately, they’re really not very good and their quest to get rehearsal space from the school somehow escalates into a challenge to score perfect 100s on their English tests.
After coaching them through that, Keima should have earned a peaceful vacation, but instead of spending the time playing dating games, his plans are seriously derailed by a forgotten childhood friend, a rogue team of Hunters, and some very nasty cases of possession by evil spirits. Finally, the magic goes from dark to light when the only thing that can save idol singer Kanon’s fans is for her to become a REAL magical girl!
Contains OVA episodes 1-4.
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.
Originally released between 2011 and 2013, the transfer for this four episode run is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is very much like the TV Series itself as it 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.
The packaging for this release is presented in a standard Blu-ray case the has the single discs against the interior wall. The front cover is an appealing piece as we get the 2-B Pencils group of characters together doing their performance in the club room as they look out at the viewer, which has a good feeling to it. The designs look good and there’s a lot to like with the look of it, and there’s a solid bit of detail and strong color design to it. The back cover continues with the white and pink look which works well as it lets Tenri get a couple of shots here that are cute while being separated by several shots from the show itself. 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.
The menu design for the property 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 disc has the character artwork of the 2-B Pencils group together with their instruments in hand and with big smiles across their faces 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.
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)
Having enjoyed the three seasons of The World God Only Knows across the last few years, I lamented throughout them that we didn’t get the OVAs at the time. But that’s now been all taken care of as the two single OVAs that came out as bookends and the two parter in the middle have all come together in one nice release. In a way, getting this after the end of the Goddesses season works even better because it’s like a nice capping off of things in a light, friendly and amicable way as there’s not a ton of substance here. But what we get is time with the various girls of the series, and a little with Keima as well, so that it’s not all about the bigger struggle. Though a little action and Loose Soul material does sneak in during the release overall, so there is something to tie it all to the main seasons itself. And they take place amid things, so there’s no serious material brought into play for the most part.
The opening piece is pretty much my favorite of the three stories that we get here as it focuses on the girls of the 2-B Pencils group that’s formed. While they’re kind of just now settling on that name, what they’re doing is believing in themselves to a big degree. Which is good, because they actually sound really horrible when they get their first group practice in a rental space that’s lovingly soundproofed. While they think they did great, the playback makes it clear that they’re awful. So with the intention of going forward with the group, they know they need real club space to play everyday, especially with all their awkward schedules. So they have to get a room, but to do so requires them to ace a test that their potential club advisor is giving. Which is a greater challenge than normal considering how bad some of them are at school. It’s a fun episode that has the girls showing their pluck and playing up the Light Music Club thing in anime that is still sadly a thing, and it has Keima providing for some good tutoring moments in dealing with the girls while hoping that his secret is safe with what he’s done with them in conquering them.
The second and third OVAs are a two part piece that delves into the character of Tenri, showing her arrival in Keima’s life here in the present. With it being summer break, he’s all intent on 41 days of playing games, but Tenri’s arrival changes that since she’s not “normal” with what she has, which isn’t a Loose Soul but Something Else. But because she’s not normal, she ends up attracting the attention of a couple of others from Hell that are looking to deal with her and the being inside of her doesn’t want that secret out yet. So we get a fun little adventure that the two get put on while having Keima trying to remember her from their childhood since she claims they spent time together. This adds a little bit to their background, but it’s fun because we get Keima calling out the whole Childhood Friend route for what it is and that she’s not playing it properly. It does get a little out of hand with secret tunnels and the like, but this helps to expand on Tenri a bit and makes me like her more from what we’ve seen of her in the series proper.
The final story is one that plays to an area that works for a lot of fans, though more Japanese fans than Western fans I suspect, as it delves into the character of Kanon. While she had a brief appearance in the first OVA, here it’s all about her as her production is looking to hire a little sister for her act and a lot of kids are trying out for it – and Elsie too, though she doesn’t get far. But it turns out weird for Kanon as it progresses as a touch of magic gets in the way and she’s reduced to a child herself and participates with the others before it just gets truly crazy in a magical girl kind of way. This doesn’t really reveal anything new about her, but we see a kind side of her in dealing with the kids that are there and that she gets to see how she’s viewed by the kids. This doesn’t soften her towards them as she’s always been friendly and bubbly, but it makes her feel more endearing towards them which is nice. It’s a simple story that’s silly, but I still struggle to find Kanon a compelling character since I’m not buying all her music and merchandise.
The World God Only Knows was highly enjoyable in its first two seasons and faltered a little bit for me in the third, partially because it had skipped so much material. With the OVAs that were released over the years, we essentially get a couple of side stories with a little bit of fun that will mostly delight fans and add a little more color and context to the overall storyline. It’s enjoyable, silly and fun in all the right ways while also playing up the strengths that sells the show and its merchandise for many, with the 2-B Pencils group stuff in the first one and a heavy Kanon episode at the end. It’s all good, clean fun and definitely a welcome addition to the collection overall, thereby extending a massive marathon session that fans can now have.
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: May 5th, 2015
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widecreen
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.