The World God Only Knows

The World God Only Knows

The World God Only Knows anime series cover art featuring Keima, Elsie, and the four heroines
The World God Only Knows Cover Art

Overview

The World God Only Knows is a harem rom-com from 2010 animated by Manglobe, the studio which created one of my favorite anime, Samurai Champloo. But, as you could probably tell from the initial description, this series is about as far from Samurai Champloo as it’s possible to get.

This series follows the conquests of a high school boy known online as the “God of Conquests,” a fitting name, I know. He’s basically a loser who plays dating simulation games all day long and is known for being able to conquer any dating sim heroine.

One day he receives a challenge from an anonymous source online saying that if he truly is the “God of Conquests” as he claims, then there are some girls in need of conquering and he’s the only one for the job. Obviously he accepts, but as it turns out, these girls aren’t the heroines of some dating sim, they’re real.

He also gets a companion by the name of Elsie who’s a demon sent from hell to capture the lost souls which have become trapped in these girls. The reason our protagonist, Keima, is needed, is because the only way to free the lost souls from the girls’ bodies is for him to romance them.

I get it, the plot doesn’t really make all that much sense, but trust me, it works. The fact that Keima and Elsie are capturing lost souls doesn’t really matter at all. Instead, the focus of the series is on how absurd it is that Keima’s experience with dating sims actually helps him to romance real girls.

Oh, and after a particular girl has been conquered, which typically means Keima has kissed her, she loses her memory of the time he spent trying to woo her.

Main Characters

Our series protagonist is Keima Katsuragi, a high school student who’s completely enveloped by the 2D world of dating sims. Whether he be at home or at school, all he does is play dating sims on his PFP (a bootleg version of the PSP), and ignores the real world while doing so.

However, despite being completely out of touch with the real world, he’s somehow still able to win the love of any real girl he wants. This is because all his years of dating sim experience have turned him into the God of Conquests, a being who can read any (dating sim-like, romantic) situation with ease.

But, if something occurs that wouldn’t be found in a dating sim, or if a girl acts in a way that doesn’t align with dating sim heroine tropes, then Keima is effectively paralyzed. He has a strange dichotomy between his personality in regard to games and the real world.

Elucia "Elsie" de Lute Ima from the anime series The World God Only Knows
Elucia “Elsie” de Lute Ima

Elucia “Elsie” de Lute Ima is the female lead of the series and the demon who works with Keima to capture the lost souls trapped within the various heroines of the series. But, before getting into her character, the first thing I want to mention about her is her character design.

From the first time I saw Elsie, I knew Akio Watanabe was the character designer for this series. You may be familiar with his work on my favorite anime, the Monogatari series. While the other characters in this series don’t really have that many similarities with those from Monogatari, Elsie looks extremely similar to Tsukihi Araragi.

And, in many ways she acts like Tsukihi as well. Both girls are relatively care-free and, to a lesser degree in Tsukihi’s case, airheads. It would be more apt to say that Elsie is a combination of Tsukihi and Aqua from KonoSuba. She physically looks like Tsukihi, but her magical raiment and personality are more Aqua-like.

I should also point out that Elsie was created before Aqua, so it would be incorrect to say she was influenced by her. If anything, Aqua may have been influenced by Elsie.

Elsie’s also my favorite character in the series so far simply because she’s the cutest and most entertaining. She also loves firetrucks.

Heroine Arcs

Over the 12 episodes of the first season, there are four different character arcs, each with a single, non-arc episode afterwards. The heroines for these arcs are Ayumi Takahara, Mio Aoyama, Kanon Nakagawa, and Shiori Shiomiya respectively.

The first arc conquest lasts only a single episode and involves Ayumi, a star of the school’s track team. She has a lost soul trapped inside her body because although she made the team, the upperclassmen think she’s trying to upstage them and so she purposefully performs worse than she’s able to.

Arc number two is also only a single episode in length and follows Mio, a girl from a formerly wealthy family. Once her father died, her family lost their wealth and status, but Mio still puts on the appearance of having money while at school. A lost soul has entered her body due to her life being a lie.

The third arc is when I felt the series decreased in quality to an extent. This arc was three episodes long and followed the conquest of an idol named Kanon. Kanon is desperate for attention and is always looking to others for affirmation of her self-worth, which is why she has a lost soul in her.

I think the fact that this arc was three episodes long is the reason I felt it wasn’t as good. Compared to the first two arcs, this third one felt like it was dragging on for too long, especially since it was probably the most predictable of the arcs.

The fourth and final arc was also three episodes in length, but wasn’t quite as bad as the previous arc. This one followed Shiori, a quiet girl who spends all of her free time working in the school library. She has a lost soul in her due to her inability to speak up against her classmates who want to throw out books to make space for a media room.

Conclusion

Overall I feel that The World God Only Knows is a 7/10, but it seems that the second and third seasons are generally rated even higher than the first. If the worst season of a show is still a 7, then that’s a pretty good sign.

I also do plan to watch and review the next two seasons, as well as the specials, but I currently don’t have a time frame for when my next review for this series is going to come out. There are a lot of other series for which I still have sequel seasons to watch and review, so this isn’t at the top of my list.

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