"Reality is a shit game!"
'Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai' ('The World Only God Knows') is about a self-claimed "Otoshigami (Capture God)" who can "capture" the heart of any 2D girls in dating-sim games. One day, he unknowingly signs a contract with a demon through email, and ends up in a quest to capture real-life (3D) girls in order to collect runaway souls residing within their hearts.
The first season of 'KamiNomi" involves the capture of 4 girls, with 3 filler episodes.
Katsuragi Keima is an interesting character. He's full of confidence in front of the PFP screen and calls himself "Capture God", backing up his claim with godly galge gaming and analytical skills. What's more interesting is that he applies eroge logic and theory to real life, disapproving people, objects, and events in reality as having "unrealistic settings". Keima is a reluctant hero in this show as he's only interested in 2D girls, and he received very little character development, but that's just fine because it shows how dedicated he is to gaming, and his "modern samurai" way of life. Filler ep-4 was a great display of his game philosophy and dedication.
Elsea is a demon who looks and behaves like a typical clumsy 2D girl. Her character development was very poor despite having a filler ep-8. Her very existence and costume/accessories is probably more suitable for 'Soul Eater' series, but her character is one of the best eye candy ever, and she's a package that makes the absurd premise possible.
Takahara Ayumi was the first target, a Sporty Cool. She was given only a single episode, but served well as an introduction to the premise.
Aoyama Mio is next, a Tsundere Princess. She seemed like an common archetype at first, but our Capture God finds out that she was no longer what she claimed to be. Her arc was an introduction to Keima's standard gaming strategy: Encounter, creating chances to meet often, formation of negative impression, and turning the negative impression into positive impression.
Then comes Nakagawa Kanon, a Yandere Idol. Her insecurity as a solo performer leads to unhealthy obsession with Keima because he shows zero interest in her. Her arc was rather draggy, but features quite a bit of insert songs and slapstick comedy.
Best was saved for the last with Shiomiya Shiori, an introvert librarian. The story's pace suddenly slowed for her arc, which turned from a slapstick-heavy comedy to serious artsy anime. Her character made this a very interesting arc. We as viewers can hear her "speech in the mind", but Keima who's used to be in our position suddenly realizes the difficulty in her capture because he had to work to draw out the inner voice. Shiori's character development was done very well with her gradual curiosity in the trouble maker at the library, and Capture God's eventual understanding of his target. It is extremely difficult to make slow, mesmerizing pace work, but the amazing direction and production had done just that. The atmosphere in the library and art house camera movement / perspectives were phenomenal, and painted a world of its own.
The final episode was a filler. While it was somewhat corny, it further establishes the protagonist's character and devotion to video games, and the pure absurdity of it was hilarious. The near-full use of 8-plus-minute oratorio also featured as OP was a nice touch that intensified drama. It also ended with a cliffhanger by introducing a new girl demon character, and hinting a sequel season.
Comedy was quite inconsistent. Sometimes intelligent, such as stating 3D girls' flaws with 2D logic, parodies, and God's Teachings. Other times, it's plain stupid, like Elsea tripping randomly.
Overall, the story and characters are very interesting, but as a fantasy comedy, it's filled with improbable situations, gimmicky story developments (like requiring the target to fall in love, girls losing memory after Capture), and the inevitable corniness that comes with it. Character development for all the heroines were done in a frantic speed as an arc-format anime, but every one of them were more than the typical 2D heroines thanks to numerous plot twists, and they were captured in unconventional methods that never gets tiring.
It is apparent that the ending was produced with another season in mind. In fact, at least 24 episodes may have been decided from the start, so it may still be a bit too early to judge its story and character development just yet.
The OP in 'KamiNomi' can only be described as a "Masterpiece". The animation quality, atmosphere, song quality, song choice, originality, transition flow, audio-visual harmony, appropriateness, effectiveness as OP, wow-factor... I would rate 10/10 for every aspect of it.
The art in this series is generic anime style drawn to perfection. Unique design for the protagonist, and Elsea must be the cutest anime girl ever. The supporting characters are generic but easily distinguishable designs, this works to support the plots where Keima predicts girls' personality based on appearance. Dynamic movements, funny chibi-forms, artistic representations, and great use of CG. The presentation was done exceptionally well with bunch of creative cuts, background effects for comedy and mood setting. Above all, the amount of detail is staggering, with the sheer number of objects in the background, books with pages of real texts, reflections on various surfaces, and attention to imperfections and stains on walls and floors. Characters also have up to 3 degrees of shading versus the typical 2. Despite the generic style, art work in this series is so outstanding that it can no longer be considered ordinary.
Seiyuu cast was excellent. The protagonist's voice had a wide range, from the absolute confidence while talking about eroge theories to humorous screams. Everyone else also sounded like they should, full of emotions.
BGM was really sophisticated and lively, complementing the story by enhancing the atmosphere of every scene. Different sets of BGM were used for each arc.
Kanon's insert songs were incredibly well done. Yes, they're moe pop songs, but the level of production was so high that it's hard to believe they were written solely for anime inserts.
Regular ED is a light pop song in good contrast with OP accompanied by a creative theme.
'KamiNomi' had a fantastic pacing and offers comedy, drama, and emotional attachment. All of it was backed by a masterful presentation that was incredible to the point of over-production. Despite its inherent corniness, I found this show to be extremely enjoyable. It is the series with a sense of highest degree of completion among all series I've seen so far. In fact, the production value in this series rivals that of theatrical anime movies.
I really liked the way they presented the empty feeling you get after the girls forget Keima's involvement after the kisses. It must be devastating to be the only one having the memory of their time together even if he wasn't interested in 3D girls. Nevertheless, our samurai hero will stand strong and keep the memories of "The World God Only Knows" in his heart as he continues on to fulfill his mission of capturing girls' hearts in the second season. I will definitely be there to hear the demon's "dorodorodoro" detection of another wandering soul and witness the Capture God`s miracles.