You know what? You’re alright, Chihiro.
|Damn it, KamiNomi you had it all. Keima engaged to the best girl going into the big finish, needing only to conquer his own cynicism to achieve victory and true happiness. And you blew it, throwing it all away set up for the (third) worst. Fuck you, Japan.|
Basically the high point of the episode. It was (almost) all downhill from there.
So after all that build up, Ayumi’s capture ended rather poorly. Keima punted, giving up and deciding just to ask her to help him. That’s not what the god of conquest is supposed to do at the climax. And Ayumi went along with it. What was her motivation there? Considering she just recently found out she was being played and that he didn’t love her, I’m a little doubtful that she would be particularly trusting of him. Even if it was told by her best friend, Ayumi was still so kept in the dark that I couldn’t really buy her going along with him so easily. It made as little sense as Chihiro teaming up with Keima a day after he broke her heart. I reluctantly swallowed that last week, but I think my belly’s too full at this point to accept any more such plot conveniences.
The rest of the episode was messy as well and pretty much explained nothing. This was exactly what I had worried about, that Manglobe would have to rush to fit everything in the final episode and half-ass every conclusion. Diana got her wings with the only explanation being something Tenri said off-screen to her. Kanon/Apollo was saved by her sisters from her watery sleep, but that dream sequence earlier with Keima was dropped. The goddesses were saved from Vintage in about 10 seconds, and it took about that much more for them to put a stop to what Vintage was doing at that rock. Considering it’s been about 10 episodes since we last heard much about the role of the goddesses, a little more setup before they pressed the Win button would have been nice. And what did Maijima Academy and its seal have to do with them? Akari randomly turned out to be a demon from the loose souls team, which conveniently popped out all at once to defeat Vintage’s forces (they didn’t do that earlier because…?). Yuri-sensei said hi to LC, but with no explanation of why she was keeping tabs on her (like I wondered 2 weeks ago, wouldn’t it have been a better use of LC’s time to directly help Keima?).
As video game developers have proven time and again, light bloom makes everything look pretty, and using more of it can only make things look prettier.
After seeing an entire season of Keima working his ass off to free these goddesses, this wasn’t the payoff we were looking for. Manglobe told us at the beginning that the goddesses were critical to defeating Vintage, but when it came time to show us, they dropped the ball. This was supposed to be the season that broke free from the pattern of partitioned stories of conquests, and it couldn’t put it all together. In some ways it did worse than prior seasons, since it ran through the same girls again and only had time to spend one episode each on most of them.
Though I actually really liked the concert scene. Sure, it was no Live Alive (which was SEVEN years ago! I would have thought such animation would be standard for concert scenes by now!), but the raw emotional energy was there. You see me hating on Chihiro, but you know what, the way the story set her up for the true end was pretty good, and that moment when she saw a glimpse of the goddesses was magical. Then there were her tears, followed Keima’s. It kills me inside that the story abandoned Ayumi’s route for her, but this path isn’t a bad one to take. As the odd girl out this season, Chihiro built up some good chemistry as Keima’s helper toward the end, even if I was rolling my eyes at the contrivance. Though I preferred to see them more like siblings due to their hair and eye styles.
It’s a shame the ending put such a damper on this season, because for the most part, it was the same old KamiNomi I’ve come to know and love. When it was back to its slapstick antics and awkward sitcom situations, I was laughing as hard as ever watching this series. But it didn’t fulfil the promise of actually putting together a connected story that tied together the various conquests in a coherent and satisfying way.
I like to believe that a good director can fit any story into any length of time; the excuse I hate hearing the most from apologists of bad shows is, “It just needed more episodes!” *coughangelbeatscough*. But… it needed more episodes. Fitting 4 captures into one season along with the whole goddesses plot surrounding it was a doomed endeavor from the get-go. Stretching it out to 24 episodes wouldn’t have alleviated some of the problems that existed due to the story-based time limit – Ayumi’s and Chihiro’s convenient behaviors in the final arc being the main culprits – but it could have strengthened the individual arcs, by giving the 1-episode girls more screen time, as well as the overall story, by spending the time to tie together the loose ends at the end. As a bonus, we could have had a proper denouement showing us what each of the conquered girls was up to (are their memories intact?) and setting up for Chihiro’s true end.
I liked it well enough that I would be happy to see a 4th season, following up on some of its many loose ends, including that hint at the end that Keima may be starting to seek the outside world over his games. Stark contrast from the end of the first season which literally showed Keima getting sucked into his world of galge. Considering how rare it is these days for late night shows like this to get even 3 seasons like this one, I’m not holding my breath, though.
Also, it bailed on giving Ayumi that true end. So, once again, fuck you, Japan.
Here are some screenshots of what I consider to be the best parts of the season. I wonder if you’ll agree.