I remember I was worried about something at the end of the last episode of TWGOK, what was it? Oh, right, that demon chick didn’t leave at the end of her arc, and now they are going to make me care about the supernatural elements of the show, and turn it into a fighting anime where Elsie and Haqua beat evil spirits to death with the power of friendship, and Keima is going to become irrelevant. I want Keima seducing normal girls in normal ways (well, dating-sim inspired ways really but w/e). I didn’t mind Haqua’s two episode arc, but I wanted them to leave it at that. Well, let’s watch episode 5 of TWGOK and see how badly they’ve ruined everything.
…thirty minutes pass…
Living in America is like being in a dating sim IRL. America owns!
So it seems she left after all! Thank goodness. Unfortunately, she leaked some information to Keima that he was really better off not knowing. Now that he knows that his efforts are part of a much larger group, he is inclined to slack. A classic collective-action free rider problem, and Keima is not a part of the demons’ culture, so he isn’t going to be able to be brought into line by soft social norms. That’s what happens, Elsie! You should consider incentive pay, or something. I guess you are trying to bind him to you in friendship and control him that way, but it doesn’t seem to be taking.
This episode was really excellent, I’m hype as hell for this arc. Seeing Keima try to deal with real, ordinary, hypocritical, human girls would be a nice change of pace. He’s a romantic at heart, that’s why he escaped to games in the first place, because dating sims live up to the romantic ideal that everyone secretly cheats at in real life. It would be fun to watch him try to apply his dating sim technique to just a random, indifferently romantically pure girl.
It looks like maybe that’s not where they are going with this? It’s fine, I enjoy stories of heroes recovering from their philosophical crises too. And now that he’s vulnerable, I guess they’re bringing in a (real?) girl to pass through the tiny hole in his otherwise ironclad defenses. Maybe we will see the other side of Keima, how he is when he isn’t fully in control of the progression of the game’s branching tree structure. I’d also be interested in that.
The artistic direction in this show is something else again. I dunno how much of the amazing visual metaphor originated in the manga, but however it got to my screen, the scene of his breakdown and everything following it belongs in a hall of fame.