The World God Only Knows Review
If you were to ask me to give you a list of shows I thought would have never got a Western release The World God Only Knows would be right up there with the rest of the more “Otaku centric” shows. Now that it has been localised dubbed and released here in Australia how well does it hold up?
The World God Only Knows is about 17 year old protagonist Keima Katsuragi who is famously known as the God of Conquest because of his adept ability at beating dating sims. Keima is constantly enveloped in his gaming world and habits and shuns the real world and real girls for being “irrational” thus he does his best to avoid them. However, things change one afternoon when he replies to an Email that challenges him to conquer some girls, it turned out that he signed a contract from hell that requires him to capture loose souls from real girls by making them fall in love with him.
He gets help from an interim Loose Soul Hunter called Elsie who poses as his little sister for convenience sake. Keima must now conquer all these girls in order to avoid getting his head severed despite the fact that he has never had any proper relationship with them before.
At first glance the show looks like a typical Harem but that would be far from the truth. It puts a spin on the concept of the harem genre by making each conquest separate from the rest, whenever he conquers a girl she conveniently loses her memory of the time they spent together effectively wiping the slate clean. Instead of coming off as a cop out for the writers to shove in as many female archetypes as possible some of the events have consequences later on in the show so it is certainly not episodic at all.
As you all may know I really love shows with Otaku references and TWGOK is chock full of them. Keima occasionally references video games and anime stereotypes in order to successfully accomplish his goals. At one point in the show we even get to see his room which is covered with all sorts of consoles and games, trying to figure out what games were being parodied is a lot of fun and will definitely take most viewers on a nostalgia trip.
The show does a pretty decent job at making you care for its romance plot, The romance is not particularly the centerpiece of the show but the short stories told are quite compelling. As Keima goes through each arc you see his character grow little by little and his perception of the real world and real females slowly changes for the better. The stories core message is quit literally coming out of your shell and I certainly found that very compelling.
This show is moe and moe at its finest, thats a good thing because the character designs are a delight to look at, there really isn’t any fanservice in this show which is also a good thing because this is one of the only “harem” comedies that would be accessible to younger viewers as well. I think TWGOK is a great entry point for anyone still new to moe and its tropes, Keima occasionally explains common anime tropes and while this may work well as comedy moments for veterans its a good teaching mechanic for any viewers that are not familiar with tropes such as tsunderes and the like.
Keima is such a great character to watch his monologues about the differences between the real world and gaming are like something out of a “S*#t Gamers Say” tumblr blog and it is absolutely hilarious everytime. Its very fitting that Sentai got Chris Patton to play his character in the dub, he does an amazing job as Keima he really stands out. Luci Christian also plays Elsie really well she sounds just as cute in English as she does in the Japanese but its Luci Christian we expect nothing but the best from her. All in all, the dub is decent nothing to jump out of your seat for though.
Due to the episodic nature of the arcs i.e having Keima go from girl to girl, conquest after conquest, the formula starts to get a little bit tired once you get to the third arc. The fact that one of the arcs is an excuse to shove in as much music as they can to obviously promote the show is a little bit frustrating too.
The extras are also a pretty weak, consisting of a mish mash of all the insert songs mixed together to make one huge music video and standard textless Opening and Ending Themes.
Final Verdict: Try It! This show is a really hard sell because unless you are either a hardcore gamer, like moe, like harems or just generally well versed with Otaku Culture you might not get most of the jokes and references. That said it is really great fun for anyone that is the target audience. I say give it a try if you are skeptical but most definitely buy it if you are part of the demographic I listed above.
The World God Only Knows is now available on DVD from Madman Entertainment.