Anime slipstream: The World God Only Knows

Elsie and Katsuragi in The World God Only Knows

Elsie and Katsuragi search the city for a girl with a loose soul.

The World God Only Knows adds a clever twist to the romance genre by turning a video game otaku into the hero. This review covers the first season of 12 episodes.

Although this series doesn’t add anything especially new, the clever combination of character types really set this apart from the same old boring romance stories. Unlike Toradora, this series is a breath of fresh air and it never follows the same redundant formula.

It opens with a high school boy named Keima Katsuragi. He proclaims himself as the god of conquests for his ability to make any girl in a video game fall in love with him. When he receives an e-mail challenging his reputation as the champion, he accepts the request. Unbeknownst to him, he actually ended up accepting a contract with Elsie, a young demon from hell.

Katsuragi must now help Elsie capture loose souls from other girls. In order to release the loose soul from the girl’s body, Katsuragi must make the girl fall in love with him. If he doesn’t help Elsie, a ring around his neck will explode, blowing his head off.

Katsuragi meets Mio

Katsuragi encounters the flustered Mio as she leaves her low-budget apartment.

Despite the grim premise, this show is an well-produced romantic comedy that works on many levels. Katsuragi and Elsie meet a wide variety of girls who fit many of the stereotypical anime roles. For instance, he starts a relationship with a snobby rich girl who acts like very much like Toradora. He also makes a goofy J-pop idol with a taser gun fall in love with him. Half of the fun in this anime comes from witnessing how Katsuragi will manage to attract these weird girls with social issues.

The two entertaining lead characters also take over the show with their unique personalities. Katsuragi is an geeky mastermind who acts as ridiculously cool-headed as Lelouche in Code Geass. His partner, Elsie is an airhead who has plenty of bizarre magical tools that make this show much more unique than one might expect. For instance, her skull hairpin hums whenever it detects a loose soul. She can even use her mystical scarf to manipulate the surrounding environment to her partner’s advantage. She even cooks bizarre food for her partner with the decapitated demon parts in the underworld.

The first season is a fun journey through plenty of satisfying romance stories. It’s a shame that all the girls lose the memory of their boyfriend after Elsie captures the loose souls. All of the girls are surprisingly well-developed as anime characters. I would have liked to see how a long-term relationship with Katsuragi would play out.

Thankfully, Elsie and her partner carry a pretty strong chemistry to make up for the short story threads. I’d definitely like to see how the plot plays out in the second season. This is definitely one of the hottest new shows to watch out for. I’m sure that many anime publishers will want to bring this show to the United States as well.

Image courtesy of photobucket.com

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Filed under romance, The World God Only Knows

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