Anime Review: The World God Only Knows Episode 1

(Originally published on Livejournal on 10/22/10)

Anime Review in a Minute:
The World God Only Knows Episode 1

Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about. — Watching all the anime shows so you don’t HAVE to!

tl;dr review: Master of erotic video games must put his virtual-world skills to real-world use; Who knew a pact with the devil could be so much fun?

The Skinny: Keima Katsuragi is a geeky social outcast in the real world, but when it comes to playing erotic video games (eroge) and dating sims, he is the undisputed master. One day he confidently accepts a request, quickly to learn that it’s actually a challenge from the Devil himself. A cute demoness named Elcea is sent down to help him and explain the basic rules of the challenge: In order to capture escaped souls trapped in troubled hearts, he must win various girls over with his self-professed skills at love. When Keima scoffs at the idea, saying he prefers 2-D women and doesn’t want to have anything to do with flesh-and-blood women, Elcea explains he *must* win the challenge or they will both be killed. In his first challenge, his sights are set on a classmate and track star Ayumi, who is under heavy pressure from her upper classmates. Putting his video game skills to work only seems to infuriate her, however. Then Ayumi injures herself in practice before the big track meet, and only Keima is observant enough to notice she tripped on purpose, faking injury to avoid they smothering pressure. Keima wins over Ayumi in a fleeting moment, Elcea captures the escaped soul, Ayumi wins her track meet, and the next day Keima’s conquest is forgotten by Ayumi, with Keima wondering who the next conquest will be.

My Thoughts: I’ve never had any experience with dating simulation-type games, but I can certainly understand the appeal of them. For someone unlucky at love in reality, they can immerse themselves in a virtual world specifically designed for them to succeed as Loverboy Supreme. Of course, this leads to an exceptionally skewed world view, where the rules of how the virtual world operate diverge greatly from the real world — so what happens when the “King of 2-D” tries to apply everything he has learned from simulation games to living, breathing women?

I would expect hilarious results, as Keima tries one ridiculous video game move after another and they fail miserably. I expect the bulk of the comedy would come from these antics. But if the first episode is any indication…the exact opposite is true? In the end, his crazy skills…work. Really? Hm, well, that sort of threw me for a loop.

That aside, this show is nothing special. A few mild laughs – though it’s more of the slapstick variety than the ‘clever’ variety; a cute if somewhat-ditzy sidekick; does *every* leading male in an anime comedy show *have* to be a loser? Just by the very nature of the show, I suspect that many of the jokes will be a bit ‘inside baseball’, relying heavily on well-worn tropes and anime conventions.

I vacillated back and forth whether to give this a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and ultimately decided that any show that was “in limbo” should get the nod to advance to the next round. I can see the comedy potential, I guess it whether I continue watching it depends on just how well the situational comedy sketches are played out.

For more info:

Random Curiosity Review: h
Wikipedia Entry:
Opening video sequence:

The Verdict: – My decision put off until the second round.

The tally for Fall 2010 season first episodes so far:
Passing Grade: Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute

Failing grade: MM!, Star Driver, Iron Man

Up Next (not necessarily in this order): To Aru Majutsu no Index 2, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Bakuman, Yosuga no Sora, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Psychic Detective Yakumo, Arakawa Under the Bridge x2, Motto To Love-ru, Fortune Arterial, Shinryaku Ika Musume, Sora No Otoshimono Forte, Tegami Bachi Reverse, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls, Yumeiro Patisseire Professional, Otome Yokai Zakuro, Kuragehime

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