The Day I Became a God
Episode 1-2

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 1 of
The Day I Became a God ?

How would you rate episode 2 of
The Day I Became a God ?

I have a complicated relationship with Jun Maeda. I was in high school during the zeitgeist of the lauded anime adaptations of his Key visual novels, and as a teen particularly obsessed with an image of maturity that mostly involved skull t-shirts and death metal playlists, I had absolutely no patience for the sappy reputations that preceded Kanon and Clannad. But as an adult who's learned to not take myself so damn seriously, I've come around to Maeda's brand of unbridled, even embarrassing sincerity. Sure, he's yet to make something I really love, but he's a creator who puts his whole heart into everything he makes, rushing forward with sometimes ill-advised concoctions of high concepts, magical realism, and Looney Tunes slapstick with the kind of confidence few people on this planet could hope to emulate. I have to at least admire the artistic ambition he routinely displays, and by god whenever he makes a new anime I know there's not going to be anything else like it.

With that preamble out of the way, let me just say: I have no gods-damned clue where The Day I Became a God is going. As it stands right now the plot is that standard-issue anime protagonist Yota has chanced upon a tiny screeching gremlin dressed as a nun who insists she's an omniscient god sent to warn him about the impending end of the world next month. Understandably doubting this claim, he's nonetheless been roped into her escapades as she uses her godly knowledge for zany schemes to help Yota confess to his crush. Iterations on that idea take up the bulk of these two episodes, and leave me at a loss for anything definitive to say. Sure, it's funny a lot of the time, if only because of how hard the show goes on its dumbest punchlines. My personal favorite was the pitch-perfect Aerosmith soundalike during episode 2's extended Armageddon parody – that's the kind of extra credit it takes to sell such a colossally stupid gag, and by god if it didn't have me rolling. But you and I both know this show can't and won't stay as an absurd comedy – there's more going on here that the audience and Yota isn't privy to, and it's anyone's guess just what will happen when the other shoe drops.

For now though, I'm mostly left to laugh and theory-craft. One idea I've seen floated a lot is that Odin/Hina is destined to die at the end of 30 days, and that will be the (metaphorical) end of the world. That's not a bad guess, but it's so obvious and surface-level that I can't buy into it. The man who made Angel Beats and Charlotte has moved beyond such paltry copouts, and I firmly believe there's going to be an honest-to-god apocalypse somewhere in this show's future. Other than that though I don't really have any inkling of where this train is going. Yota's parents seem to know something about the horrible nun child that's invaded their home, but that's not much of a clue. There might be something hidden in Yota's past that connects to her in some thematically poignant way that's also a metaphor for the human condition, or maybe she really is a god and his parents were part of a cult dedicated to her rebirth to usher in the rapture of humanity. Either is equally likely at this point, and I wouldn't count out it being both.

For now though, what we have is a strange, absurd sitcom that's only gotten wackier as it goes along. As you would guess from the Preview Guide reactions, that humor proved pretty polarizing, but I have enjoyed it quite a lot so far. The end of episode 2 portends a shift into possible domestic drama, and we'll see how that shakes out next week, but otherwise The Day I Became a God has proven exactly the type of absurd and full-assed comedy that made Angel Beats endearing in its early stages. For better or worse, there's nothing quite like a Jun Maeda show, and I'm ready to follow this thing to lord knows where.

Rating:

The Day I Became a God is currently streaming on Funimation.


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