Review by: Felicia Day
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
It will take a God to help these girls even if it’s a God of gaming.
It is utter chaos in Hell.
Somewhere in the world of the living, there are souls running loose and jumping into the bodies of several young girls and it will take some kind of miracle to gets things back to the way they were according to none other than Chief Dokuro. Oh, but there’s a small ray of hope for Hell that comes in the form of “the guy who can control women’s hearts” or, as he is better known, the God of Conquest who has the power to win any girl’s heart. As it turns out, this “God” is not what you might think he is in Season One of The World God Only Knows.
Spanning 12-epsiodes, Season One of this romance/comedy introduces us to Keima Katsuragi, a young High school student who is known in the gaming circles as The God of Conquest because he could conquer any girl in any dating sim game. He’s such a hardcore gamer that you will often find him playing on his PFP (obvious version of Sony’s handheld, the PSP) even during class. Sure, he could win any girl’s heart provided that said girl is digital but in the real world he is seen as a dweeb. Well, not that he cares because he’s more interested in the world created by the game rather than the real one.
One day, he accepts a challenge from what he thought was another gamer and – instead – accepts a hellish contract involving the super cute demon, Elcea de Rux Ima (or Elsie, for short) who tells him that together they will find and collect these Loose Souls. Unfortunately, the Loose Souls have inhabited the bodies of young girls Keima’s age and the only way to extract the wayward soul is for Keima to romance each girl to the point that they kiss!
Keima is reluctant to help, of course, but since the contract also included a collar that will behead him and Elsie, they have to complete the mission. The first Loose Soul they encounter has jumped into the body of Keima’s fellow classmate, Ayumi Takahara, who is truing her best to join the school’s track team. So, using all the knowledge he gained from playing hundreds of dating sims, Keima puts his experience with digital girls to use on a real girl until it begins to work.
Convincing Keima’s mother that she’s her husband’s illegitimate daughter and Keima’s little sister, Elsie comes to live and go to school with the God of Conquest. She comically calls him her “Divine Brother” or “Divine One” even in front of classmates and pair goes on a search for other Loose Souls. Think of them as a cuter version of Bleach’s Ichigo and Rukia and you get the picture.
They find another Loose Soul, this one in the body of a lovely blonde named Mio Aoyama who is known throughout the school as the richest girl in the city since the Aoyama clan is a powerful one. Elsie sees it as a challenge to win this little ice queen’s heart since Mio is not only unapproachable but also sees everyone else as commoners. As it turns out, however, Mio has a secret that surprises Elsie and Keima. So, little by little, Keima slips into Mio’s life until his presence has a positive effect on the girl.
Next, Elsie discovers that a Loose Soul is hiding in the body of her favorite new young pop idol by the name of Kanon Nakagawa who also happens to go to their school. Kanon has a huge fear that one day all her fame will just go away and she will, once again, become invisible to the world. This might make her seem like a shallow person but there’s more to Kanon that meets the eye and Keima recognizes this immediately. Interestingly enough, Keima uses a different approach to reach Kanon’s heart and that is to come off as uninterested in anything the cute girl does. As a result, the girl will stop at nothing to get him to notice her.
It’s not an easy feat to get the Loose Soul out of Kanon especially since the girl is not only afraid of losing her fame but is also riddled with guilt over playing a venue that she knows her former band wanted to play together as a group. This story arc is actually a bit longer and, as a result, makes the payoff in the end a satisfying one and more so if you like cute J-pop tunes that you will hear plenty of throughout the story arc including a mini-concert.
Finally, there’s another Loose Soul and this one happens to inhabit an introverted girl named Shiori Shiomiya who also happens to be the school’s young librarian. Elsie believes that Keima has finally met his match with this one as the girl has trouble communicating her feeling to the library council as well as Keima who does his best to press her buttons especially when it comes to books … something she adores. In fact, both Shiori and Keima share similarities. One becomes absorbed in the world of video games and the other prefers the world of books. This is certainly not going to be an easy one and just like the Kanon story arc, this one requires more than just one episode.
The World God Only Knows also has a charming sense of humor as the series concentrates on the funny and endearing relationship between Keima and Elsie. While Keima finds Elsie’s presence in his life rather annoying, he can’t help but recognize that Elsie is now a part of his life. Meanwhile, Elsie tries hard to receive praise from her Divine Brother whether it’s making him weird lunches or attempting to bake him a cake using dragon eggs. She even helps him when Keima attempts to conquer a game with a glitch that doesn’t let him reach the end. Elsie is also the only one he lets into his gaming lair.
As far as the performances are concerned, I love the Japanese voice cast and enjoy the high-energy performances from the likes of Kanae Ito and Hiro Shimono but – then again – Luci Christian always adds the right amount of cuteness to character like Elsie and Chris Patton is always stellar.
What we have in Season One of The World God Only Knows is an anime series that is delightfully funny and even endearing enough to make it enjoyable enough that you will actually be looking for a second season. Elsie and Keima are a likeable pair and watching Keima come up with different tactics to woo each girl is one of the show’s highlights. There’s more than one season of this series in Japan so here’s hoping Sentai Filmworks will bring it to us.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
When Hell finds out that Loose Souls have found their way into young girls in the living world, they send a cute demon named to join a human boy named Keima who is a master of dating sim video games. Together they try to get the Loose Souls from out of a number of girls by having Keima romance them. It’s not going to be easy to romance a shy librarian, an icy cold rich girl or a popular pop idol.
VIDEO QUALITY: A-
The DVD version is not bad on the eyes at all and even more so thanks to the colorful and lovely animation. Sure, the character models are nothing to write home about but they’re still pretty cute … especially Elsie and her grotesque lunches.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
As far as the score and opening and closing theme songs are concerned, they’re handled well and the theme songs are actually very catchy. The voice acting in the series is top notch as well no matter your preference but – for my money – the English dub cast is nothing short of stellar and more so thanks to Luci Christian, Brittany Karbowski, Chris Patton, Hilary Haag and Shelley Calene-Black just to name a few of the talents.
There are a few extras in this collection that includes Sentai Filmworks trailers, the clean opening and closing theme songs and a the Kanon songs like “All 4 You” in a music video format that is actually quite awesome since there are a few long versions of songs heared throughout the Kanon story arc.
A genuinely funny and likeable series that doesn’t do anything completely different, Season One of The World Only God Knows is still amusing enough that you will find yourself enjoying it from start to finish. Both Keima and Elsie make a cute team and they’re a blast to watch. If anything, I’m certainly looking forward to another season of this series and that’s saying a lot right there.
Review copy provided by Sentai Filmworks