internet game, only to discover the he’s actually made a deal with a demon! And not just any demon, this is Elsie, a not particularly competent, young female demon who’s been charged with recapturing runaway spirits that prefer to hide in girls hearts, where they can only be driven out by the girls falling in love. Now Elsie’s got Keima by a collar and he’s got to get the girls or die trying! Romance and dating are the highway to Hell in The World God Only Knows!
The audio in The World God Only Knows is actually pretty good. Sometimes I feel like the voices are too loud in certain parts, but it’s a lot crisper and understandable than some of the other anime I’ve watched. The dub is also quite stellar. All of the voice actors did an excellent job with their lines, and the dialogue is easily on par with the original Japanese version.
The video quality is decent. The God Only Knows uses cooler tones for color, which I think helps make it easier to render in video. Since this is a DVD and not the Blu-ray, the quality is definitely not as good as it could be, but it’s still better than a good deal of standard anime.
The package features a front cover of Keima sitting on a stack of computers designed to look like a throne. Each computer features either a different female character, or a different feature of the same character. The female characters are the ones that Keima must make fall in love with him during the series. The background is a gradient that goes from green on the bottom to blue on top. On the left and ride are the words The World God Only Knows, the anime title, in a digital font that symbolizes this is about video games.
The menu is fairly standard and gives you all the options you would expect. You can select to play the series from the beginning, or choose which episode you would like to watch. There’s also the special feature selection.
The extras featured in are the clean opening and ending themes.
The World God Only Knows is probably one of the greatest harem anime of all-time, and the reason is due to a combination of the story, characters, and setting. Keima is a gamer who’s known among certain circles as “The God of Conquest” due to his ability to conquer any female protagonist in a game. Elsie is a demon who mistakes Keima for a playboy who can seduce any girl. She sends him a request to conquer girls, which he accepts, mistaking it for a game challenge, and that’s how the story starts.
What makes the harem aspect of this story work is how well it has been integrated into the plot. Runaway demons have entered the hearts of young girls who are having problems. In order to get the spirits out, Keima must fill their hearts with love—in other words, he must seduce them so that the demon is forced out and Elsie can capture it. This makes the harem work. It’s not just a random protagonist getting a harem for no reason. Not only does the series require that these girls fall in love with him for the story to continue, but Keima has to work and make them fall in love with him. It helps that the girls forget about him after he succeeds. He can move on to the next conquest without consequence, which means we avoid the cliched “girl fighting over him” trope.
I’ll be honest, the idea of an otaku gamer making girls fall for him is ludicrous. However, it’s this ridiculousness that makes the series so entertaining. Keima is an anti-social jerk who has been forced into a situation he doesn’t like. All he wants to do is play games, but now he can’t because of the contract he unknowingly formed with Elsie. If he doesn’t help her with these runaway spirits, then both of them will die thanks to the collar on Keima’s neck. This forces them into this situation, and because he is doing this against his will, there’s plenty of chances for Keima and Elsie to play the tsukkomi duo.
The relationship between Keima and Elsie is another strong point. Sometimes their relationship seems antagonistic, with Keima doing everything in his power to push Elsie away, but at other times, it seems as if Keima has accepted Elsie as his “little sister” in this. An interesting side note, Elsie came to live with Keima because her boss created a letter claiming that she was the illegitmate daughter of Keima’s father. These two present a strong contrast to each other. The anti-social Keima balances out Elsie’s outgoing personality, while Elsie keeps Keima grounded in the real world to some degree. While they don’t always seem like they’re on good terms, I think the dynamics between them is entertaining.
This series presents itself a lot like a dating sim adaptation. In these anime, the main protagonist will have a several episode arc detailing his relationship with each girl and ending on a romantic note. What makes The World God Only Knows different is that this is not an adaptation of a dating sim. Dating sim anime involve taking different routes each arch. This anime moves linearly. Keima has to make a different girl fall in love with him each arch, but all of the stories are connected. It makes for a far more interesting series because we get to see how all these romantic pairings play out without having to pretend the previous one didn’t happen.
Even the filler episodes in this series are entertaining and have a better purpose than simply filling in time between the manga. There are only two filler episodes, which means we’re not being overwhelmed with filler, and each one serves the purpose of highlighting and further developing one of the characters. The first one deals with Elsie. It does an excellent job of showcasing Elsie’s personality when she isn’t catching souls. The second one is actually the last episode, in which Keima decides to spend the entire day playing video games. Both do a great job of showing our characters thoughts, personalities, and dominant traits when they aren’t catching souls, making them interesting.
In terms of genre, I would say that The World God Only Knows is an incredible example of harem anime done right. It has a unique story in which the harem aspect is integral to the plot, rather than it being the other way around. What’s more, the characters are all quite interesting. Even the females who only get a few episodes have a lot more personality than some female characters I’ve seen in other anime of this genre. It’s definitely worth watching if you’re a harem fan!
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Running Time: 1000 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player