God Only Knows 4, Kuragehime 2

There are no new girls in The World God Only Knows 4. Instead, in an odd, disjointed but often funny episode, Keima takes on the challenge of beating the unbeatable game.

You'll see this moment a lot.

It’s not that the game is hard, it’s just unplayable. It’s got so many bugs in it that it is impossible to complete. Keima takes this as a personal challenge. This is confusing because in the first couple scenes (after an atmospheric glimpse inside the game) it looks like business as usual. Keima playing his PFP, Elsie tagging along, concerned, just like the other episodes. We’re waiting for this week’s girl to show up. It takes a while to realize there will be no girl, except for the one within the game.

This is what happens if you order the curry.

But then we get a great scene. We switch to Keima’s view within the game and experience the loops and scene jumps with him. Quiet piano music plays, the girl says a line, he responds, something surreal happens, and they’re back to the quiet piano music. The girl never changes, but the bugs get more surreal, and Keima gets more beaten and frustrated every time it happens. It’s quite funny.

Keima’s motivation to get past the bugs and loops isn’t just pride. He sees the girl in the game as someone to be rescued. The gamemakers have gone out of business, there are no new patches coming. If he can’t get to the end and make the girl happy, no one will. You can call this either pathetic or sweet, or maybe both, but it suggests that Keima is kinder and more sympathetic to others than we were led to believe. By the way, I bet you can predict the ending.

Kuragehime is an amiable enough show but I hope each episode isn’t going to be about hiding Kuranosuke’s true identity.

The first part of episode 2 is all about that, as Tsukimi deals with getting Kuranosuke out of the building while not making the others suspicious. To complicate matters the wig’s in the hallway and the girls want Tsukimi’s attention. Kuranosuke is completely clueless as to what the fuss is all about. In fact, that might get a little old, too. And when he does get out, we don’t see it. He’s just out on the street with Tsukimi. But at least the scene is over.

Precisely the wrong thing to say.

Things get much better. The girls shop for their weekly hotpot feast, and we get to see what a close-knit group they are. They all look forward to the event and choose the ingredients together. Alas, Kuranosuke crashes the event and ruins it. In spite of every indirect (and in Tsukimi’s case, direct) message they send him that he’s not welcome he stays and makes everyone uncomfortable. I must say I am not warming to this character. It’s not just that he is unaware that the girls fear fashionable people as much as men. He just doesn’t see any problem with coming in, unannounced and uninivited, and eating people’s food.

Well, he does make it up to them, and we begin to see why he might enjoy spending time with them, or rather, the Tsukimi. As for her, the heartstrings are starting to play that melody. So she’s going to be dealing with conflicted emotions for some time. I just hope it doesn’t lead to more frantic hiding scenes with quickly made-up lies. This agreeable series is capable of more than that.

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