The World God Only Knows is strangely entertaining and surprisingly good for a twelve episode romantic-comedy. I’ve been having bad luck lately with finding a romantic-comedy that isn’t crap and thankfully The World God Only Knows has some decent merits that pushes it above some of the competition. It has some great comedy elements, a good idea for a plot, and some interesting characters that are really enjoyable to watch. While this is not a genre defining or fresh series, it is good for what it is.
The series is about Keima Katsuragi, a guy obsessed with dating simulation games. He carries his PFP around, always playing something. He is considered the God of Conquest for his ability with these games and his continual updating of a website chronicling his exploits leads to his getting a message from Satan. He is hired to capture loose souls and meets his partner in this mission: Elsie, a cute, clumsy demon girl. Using his dating simulation knowledge, Keima actually has to interact with real girls, solving their insecurities or issues in order to release the loose soul. This always involves his making the girl fall in love with him. The thing is, after he releases the loose soul, the girl will forget what happened.
There are four girls that he gets together with through the course of the twelve episodes. The first half of the series isn’t as good as the second. The two girls Keima attempts to conquer in the first half aren’t all that exciting and the series seems to just be a generic mish-mash of characters trying to get together. The second half isn’t much different in the character department, but the two girls Keima saves are a lot deeper and much more likeable. While the second half does contain a terrible filler episode, the two conquests are enjoyable to watch and the final episode is freaking hilarious. I’ll dig deeper into the four girls Keima goes after later on, though.
The animation is pretty damn good. There are some scenes in the show that are breathtaking. The library scene where Shiori is being crushed by the books in the building was quite beautiful. There was a lot going on, and the animation flowed. The metaphoric scenes are typically the most awe-inspiring. The rest is good though, characters look nice and animation is smooth.
The sound is good. The opening grew on me, at first I didn’t much like it but I guess it isn’t that bad. The ending is meh. During the show the sound is pretty excellent. The voice actors are great and the music during the show ain’t bad. There is an idol character that Keima helps out and she sings about three songs. Her first song is meh, her second Happy Happy Crescent song grew on me, and her last, slow song that she sings during her big concert was really good. Overall though, it had some pretty good J-pop relegated to a minor character.
The characters are pretty good. Keima is decent, but I always found him to be a complete asshole. He always plays his games and doesn’t pay much attention to anyone. I mean, he is a good guy and does some genuinely nice things, but his actions toward Elsie, who eventually becomes his sister, are horrible. Elsie is a good character, sweet and cute. She’s the opposite of a demon, which goes without saying from the moment you lay eyes on her. She gets treated so badly by Keima though, and she doesn’t do anything to him. In fact, she’s always trying to help him and really seems to care about him. I just found myself really hating him whenever he interacted with Elsie but liking him anytime he interacted with other girls.
On the subject of Elsie she is not a new character but she is so much fun that it doesn’t matter. She’s cute, funny, and really likeable. She has some problems of her own that she needs to fix and those I am sure will come into play in future additions to the series. The only part about her I didn’t like was the cooking. Of course the moment she said she was going to cook a meal I knew it would be God-awful and lead to some generic running gag. And it did.
The conquests start with Ayumi. She is an athlete and there really was nothing to her. Her issue wasn’t all that exciting and she didn’t even get as much attention as the future conquests. After her is Mio who is the generic rich girl. Again, she doesn’t get as much attention as the next two girls. Her part is funny but her character isn’t that exciting.
But that’s the point about the series is that the characters are supposed to represent those you see all the time in dating simulations and visual novels. It is effective, and I have a really hard time rating characters because they are supposed to be rather generic.
Kanon, the idol, is different though. I’ve never seen an idol used in an anime (that’s not to say they aren’t in anime, I just have never seen one with an idol) and I quite enjoyed her. Now, this may have to do with my everlasting love of Miku Hatsune and her autotuned Japanese chipmunk pop. Kanon was really, really cute and her arc was my favorite of the show. Her character was a little vain, but I understand her problem and emotions. And I also, as stated, liked her singing sections, especially the last one.
Finally there is Shiori, who is my second favorite of the conquest girls (Elsie is my favorite character of the whole series). She loves to read. She’s read every book in the school library and will protect the books at all costs from being thrown out so a media room can be built. She is the typical shy girl who can’t speak or have a conversation without getting scared. Her character isn’t bad and she develops nicely, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a PSA about how wonderful books are when she talked about her love for them. “They take you to new worlds and let you be a different person” sounds like something my first grade teacher told me. On top of that, the section where she grows wings and flits about, opening books reminded me of the timeless lyrics “Butterfly in the sky, I can fly twice as high” and LeVar Burton telling me about how pyramids were constructed. But that’s just me.
Overall, the characters fit the show well, and the fact that each character goes through some development, though forced, is decent pay off. None of them are particularly outstanding, but they are all good.
The World God Only Knows isn’t bad at all, in fact it is very entertaining. It has a decent plot, great animation, good music, and some fun characters. There is not a deep or long-standing romance, but the romantic moments are effective and the drama of the different conquests is good. It’s a fun ride. The first half may be a bit rocky for some, but the second is where the series hits its stride. It may have one episode of filler that is bad, but that is negated by the final conquest.
The World God Only Knows is a 7/10.
Oh Kanon. I never knew I could love a character with only three episodes to her name.