r#117 – the world god only knows

I think I have somewhat of a mixed opinion on harem anime, coming from a person who loves the romance genre. Derived from Japanese dating simulator games/visual novels, there are many harem stories to come across. But now that I think about it, the usual narrative of one guy being surrounded by a bunch of girls competing to see who will give the most love and affection to the main character … it’s not my cup of tea. However, there are some unique harem stories that I’ve experienced and loved in the past, and I’d like to talk about one of them today.

synopsis.

Katsuragi Keima is whom you call a “ladies man”… at least not in the real world. Keima is your average otaku who prefers staying inside playing video games; more specifically he’s an avid player of dating simulators and has even gained the title of “The God of Conquest” from online communities since he wields the ability to successfully build a romantic relationship with any 2-D girl and essentially ‘conquer’ their heart. His otaku obsession has even lead him to disregard reality entirely and also act cold towards real-life girls, as he has absolutely no feelings for them.

One day, he’s met with a challenge by an anonymous online user, doubting Keima’s supposedly god-like abilities in dating sims. Keima —and the arrogant attitude he has— decide to accept this challenge in a heartbeat. However instead, a cute-looking demon by the name of Elsie appears out of nowhere and explains to Keima her mission in the human world; to capture the evil spirits who have escaped hell and now hide inside the hearts of human girls, feeding off of their negative emotions in order to regain their powers to become demons once again. The only way to fulfil Elsie’s mission is to kiss these girls in question and ‘conquer’ their hearts, something Keima would never even think of doing.

But now shackled with a deadly collar on his neck, he tries to put his immense hatred of 3D girls aside and use what he has learned in dating sims in order to help Elsie with her objective.

script.

One of the big things I noticed KamiNomi does well is that they take a romantic comedy set in the real life, and combine it with a dash of supernatural/fantasy elements. I’m not really a fantasy lover or someone who enjoys stories that are set in imaginative worlds, at least I haven’t watched that genre of anime, or general media for that matter. But the fantasy part of this show isn’t overpowering, they express it in a pretty simplistic and minimal way … now that I think about it. In this show’s case, supernatural things like the character of Elsie or the spirits of demons invading the real world are present in this narrative, but it blends together with the real-life setting pretty well. While it is mainly a story about a guy falling in love with five different ladies, the concept of Keima having to capture these demons that reside in said ladies is expressed frequently and it’s clear that there’s something more to this show rather than just your plain old harem romance comedy/drama.

Speaking of romance, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai is considered by many as one of the best romance harem anime ever made … and I think I understand why. But first, let me talk about the romance in general; I actually really liked it for the most part. There are the typical romance progression stories you see in harem anime or romance drama/comedy shows before such as trying to get a tsundere to warm up to you in order to let you into her heart. However I think the combination of Keima’s personality and how he ends up trying to connect with these girls on a romantic level, it really makes for some intriguing and heart-warming narratives to watch.

Going back to what I said earlier, I can see why KamiNomi is ranked high on the overall list of harem anime, one reason being that it’s essentially a great example of what harem anime is all about. One guy being surrounded by multiple girls, and ending up starting romantic relationships with one or even all of them. But KamiNomi seems to be significantly different from the others when it comes to ‘formatting’. This show tells the way of Keima developing a relationship with one girl at a time in an ‘arc’ sequence, rather than how a show like Saekano executed the idea, where all of the female romance interests are in love with the main protagonist at the same time. KamiNomi’s format is very similar to shows like Amagami SS, Seiren, or even Clannad; and to simplify it even more, the show’s format is similar to dating simulator (for your information, both Amagami SS and Clannad were visual novels/dating sims before being an anime).

Having individual storylines when it comes to a romance anime dealing with one guy and multiple girls, it feels more like a natural romance story rather than a hectic setting of a bunch of girls fighting over one guy. Most of the arcs, I’d say, were entertaining and even had the ability to evoke some emotion into you. But while the dating simulator format of KamiNomi was enjoyable, I think there were some particular narratives that could’ve had more substance in order to make it more memorable or a more entertaining story overall (e.g. Takahara Ayumi’s arc).

Lastly, the comedy in this show is not bad. It can vary from slapstick comedy, mainly thanks to Elsie and her ‘airhead’ nature, or things like otaku humour such as Keima comparing human girls to his 2D waifus in the dating simulators he has played. Me being someone who adores comedy anime with more silly antics, I enjoyed what this show had to offer. But other people may see it differently.

cast.

I think what makes KamiNomi very unique and entertaining for its viewers is definitely the character and personality of our main protagonist, Katsuragi Keima. Keima is nowhere near your typical romance anime protagonist. Rather than being that shy and dull main character you used to see in other romance narratives, Keima is almost the complete opposite. Remember, he HATES human girls. He strongly prefers his 2D love interests in video games, and genuinely believes they aren’t attractive, they aren’t realistic, and even aren’t worthy of being around … that’s not something you usually see in a romance drama or comedy, right?

But I really did like how Keima handled Elsie’s objective and the ways he fell in love with these ladies, and surprisingly he can be a real gentleman. However, despite being forced to fall in love with these ladies, Keima didn’t really change one bit. Even after experiencing the different backstories behind them and finding out what they were hiding from the outside world, that didn’t really change his viewpoint on human girls or even romance as a whole … and that’s actually okay. That’s what makes Keima who he is as a character and the whole reason why he’s a lovable character to the fans of this show. I think if he did end up changing as a person, it would be a bit too weird and maybe even cliche to see. I mean, it would seem a bit too easy to change a stubborn and arrogant person like Keima THAT drastically. As for Keima’s extreme otaku personality, being someone who stays in his bedroom playing video games all day, you can definitely get a giggle out of his antics and the things he says.

The female characters in focus, all of them had their good and bad qualities. For one, pretty much all of them are your typical harem character archetypes like a tsundere, athletic girl, yandere, shy introvert, etc.. But despite that, they definitely provided us with some interesting backstories and conflicts to watch unfold and be resolved; there were even particular backgrounds of some of these girls that caught me by surprise. But as I said earlier, I felt like some of the storylines in this show need a bit more substance, or a more interesting narrative. I mean one ‘arc’ was literally only one episode long, and made me barely remember what happened in the said arc or even who that girl in focus was.

Elsie, the demon that helps Keima in his quest to capture the demons in these four girls’ hearts … honestly, she was there for comedic purposes most of the time. Her cute appearance, the whole ‘airhead’ shtick she maintained, and her always getting pissed off at Keima for insulting her, she didn’t really add much to the whole story. However, she was still a fun character/sidekick to watch in Keima’s harem journey.

visuals and arts.

KamiNomi’s art style is very simple or generic to me, but it does have some refined fixing here and there. It does look nice overall, I love the different character designs of most of the characters. Watanabe Akio, the character designer for Shaft works such as the Monogatari series, did a nice job bring these characters to life, especially personalities like Keima and Nakagawa Kanon.

But what’s more impressive to me was both the voice cast and music. The group of seiyuu in this show is absolutely stacked, as we have very well-known and appreciated voice actors and actresses such as Hanazawa Kana, Yuuki Aoi, Taketatsu Ayana, and Shimono Hiro. This show may also be one of their earliest appearances in their career, so it’s nice to see how they’ve grown as voice actors and actresses from back then. But back to their performances, they depicted their respective characters really well such as Yuuki Aoi portraying a harsh tsundere or Touyama Nao taking on the role of a popular Japanese idol. Also, I think Shimono Hiro did an excellent job of being an arrogant otaku like Keima.

The opening of this show is super good. The electro-style music, paired alongside the angel-like vocals of Oratorio, it makes for a lovable and memorable opening to enjoy. I would definitely suggest listening to the full version of the opening, it’s incredible to listen to all eight minutes of it. The ending theme is significantly different from the opening, but still enjoyable. The fluffy and lighthearted vibe of it, it’s a great way to end-off an episode. It’s also good to note that each of the main voice actresses recorded their own version of the ending; each and every one of them is beautiful to listen to.

closing – al’s final verdict.

While The World God Only Knows gave me a totally unique way of telling romance stories and not one I was already familiar with, it still made for a very, very enjoyable show to watch and I can definitely see why many people loved it. The fact that the main protagonist in this romance narrative despises women, it’s such an odd premise to think about and you start to wonder how that’ll work in a story setting like this one. But with the combination of storytelling, character personalities and behaviours, and the overall artistic direction of this show, Manglobe made a great anime that’s both entertaining and one that can surprisingly evoke some emotion out of you. KamiNomi is honestly one of my favourite romance anime ever, and for very good reasons.

additional pieces of information.

material resources: sliceofalfredo.blog
official site, AllcinemaANNcrunchyrollOfficial pageWiki (en)AnimeNfoAnisonMAL, and MAL (S1)

* this image is available to be downloaded!

Thank you for reading another one of my reviews! This one was a bit longer than usual, but I believe it’s an anime worth talking a lot about. But that’s I gotta say today, I’ll see you lovely people soon for another post! Subscribe and follow #moe404 if you haven’t, and don’t forget to keep watching anime~

© written by sliceofalfredo
revised by nesha5971
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15 responses to “r#117 – the world god only knows

  1. Good ol God Only Knows, the NO.1 anime tragedy, because out of all the death in most shows, I think having to romance anime girls, then erase their memories is 100% worse!

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  3. Ahhh i was interested of this Anime, but i only watched the first episode. When i have time, i’ll definitely watch this 👍
    That is because, i love HAREM 😍 genres

  4. Heard about this one. Always kept it in the back of my mind since harems aren’t generally my thing. Same with romance which is also a hard sell for me in anime. They feel too similar to each other. I prefer the method this took, and actually goes somewhere with it. Sounds unique enough to standout from the dozens of harem that get made every year.

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  6. I enjoy a well done harem. I don’t necessarily enjoy them from visual novels or games. My favorite harem is still Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki which I watched with my kids when they were young.

  7. As far as I know, the anime has several seasons and a whole lot of OVAs. My question is – how about continuity and story progression? Does the story end in some satisfying way or it’s one of these shows that start adapting manga and leave off after stating the premise but not managing to do much apart from that?

    • Ooh, I’m afraid I can’t give you an exact answer to your question since I only watched the first season of the anime (I really do apologize if it wasn’t clear that this is a review of the first season only, not the entire anime series). I haven’t gotten to check out the next seasons and/or the manga but you got me interested as well in how the story progresses beyond the first season/part and the overall ending of the series. 🙂

      • No, it was clear enough but I thought that you might know something nonetheless.
        Anyway, I look forward to your thoughts about other seasons if you ever attempt to write them down. Being a completionist, I have some bitter experience with shows that start amazing but eventually lose their steam so it’s always good to know more about the entire franchise. Just in case.

  8. I’m definitely not a fan of harem animes either, but…gotta say, you got me interested in checking this out at some point. I like the premise ( you are so right about it being an odd premise in the form of the protaganist lol). And that score…okay..sold! Great post! 😊

    • I believe it’s a romance anime that most fans/viewers should check out, and I’m really glad I could get you interested in it! I’d love to read your thoughts on the show if you ever get to watching it 😀

  9. The World God Only Knows is definitely one of the rare few anime out there that uses the harem tag effectively I think. Great post.

    Now here’s the real question – did the anime succeed in making you want to buy a PSP?
    Haha.

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