Hein (fub) wrote,
Hein
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Finished series: The World God Only Knows

We've just finished watching The World God Only Knows. My first episode review is here.

Keima is always looking at the screen of his PFP, even when in class. He is always playing a dating game -- his specialty. On the net, he is known as the 'capturing god': he can reach any ending he wants, and plays every game through until he has seen them all. He prefers the world of his games over the real world, because it makes so much more sense -- everyone else just thinks he is an anti-social four-eyed nerd.
One day, he inadvertently makes a contract with a demon. The demon Elsee appears, and together they have a mission to catch 'loose souls' that have escaped from the underworld and have nestled themselves in the hearts of humans. It will be Keima's task to make the girls (because obviously he can only 'catch' girls) fall in love with him -- which will drive out the souls, so that Elsee can catch them.

And so Keima is forced to 'capture' 3D girls -- much against his will. (However, he now wears a neckband that will remove his head if they don't make any progress!) He goes about it in a dating sim way -- which doesn't really work. But since he studies these girls so intently, he gets to know them quite well. It is only when he sees them as a person with their own problems, that he manages to win their hearts -- if he had been cold and calculating all the time, it would have been creepy. Instead the usual tactics fall completely flat and he has to invest himself into their 'capture'.
Luckily, the girls themselves forget all about him at the moment the loose soul is forced out, which makes it easier to simply move on to the next girl.

So, it's a parody of dating sims. But it's a very well crafted one, written by people who know the genre very well and love all the conventions therein. But it also shows how things just don't work like a dating sim. (Quote from an epilogue of an episode: "Things in dating sims don't happen to people who play dating sims.") Which makes for a really amusing mix -- if you know the genre (either through the games or through the anime based on them), there's much to recognise and like.
Not every episode is about Keima's capture of a girl. There are some 'off-time' episodes too, which focus on Keima's relationship with his mother and Elsee. These are amusing as well -- the last episode is quite epic.

Visually, the series is quite nice. I really liked the style of the opening animation. The backgrounds are detailed and nice, evoking the mood of the various locales where the action happens. The voice acting is nice (except when Keima throws a tantrum and gets all shouty). There are, though, many, many, many songs. Some episodes give the impression that they use an insert song as filler -- or they simply want to sell CDs to the dating sim otaku?

Good things:
- Amusing;
- Written by people with a good grasp of the genre conventions;
- Nice animation.
Bad things:
- Too many insert songs!

This series certainly isn't for everyone, but if you know the genre conventions a bit, you might find it amusing. I'll give it a 7 -- I enjoyed it, but it lacks the comedic appeal Squid Girl has, for instance.
Tags: anime, full review
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