After all of the hype, the opening episode of The World God Only Knows left me pretty deeply disappointed - it looked pretty average visually, and even worse it introduced its premise and characters in a decidedly dull and run-of-the-mill way.
I suppose the advantage of such a lacklustre beginning means that things can only get better, and despite the ultra-clichéd plot twist (if you can even deign to call it that) of Elsie turning up in Keima's class under the pretence of being his sister things do thankfully take a turn for the better as this instalment develops. If nothing else, we actually get some humour worthy of the name as Elsie's story to Keima's mother to get herself integrated into the family's home goes horribly, horribly wrong. Things aren't exactly going better for her in regard to Keima though, who refuses to see her as a sister for numerous reasons, some of which are vaguely sensible while others are clearly demands which have come from the world of the dating sim.
Eventually though, Keima realises that logically speaking he has no choice but to accept Elsie's role for now, and similarly he has little option but to help her in tidying up the area's Loose Souls to free himself from his contract. It doesn't take long until we meet the next subject of Keima's "skills" - A girl named Mio Aoyama, your typical spoiled rich kid from a wealthy family... or is she? While Keima's theories about how easy it should be to crack her outer shell and make her fall in love with him are quickly (and violently) shot down, it soon becomes clear that Mio's personal circumstances are very different indeed from those she assumes in the presence of others. What that means for Keima's strategy is, of course, left for the next episode...
At last, after being left cold by last week's opener, I can finally see a little of why The World God Only Knows in anime form has been so hotly anticipated. Although it does still tend to take the path of least resistance far too often when it comes to rolling out the clichés or opportunities to impress the viewer with fan service alone, this instalment also proved to be much sharper in the humour department, landing a few decent gags and scenes which worked very well indeed. What's more, Mio is looking like a far more interesting character for Keima to pit his wits against than Ayumi last week, complete with a twist to the tale that succeeds in bringing that additional interest to the table. I'm still not completely won over by this series, but at least it's now showing some of its potential for all to see.