“The Game of Love” –The World God Only Knows, Season 1 (anime) – 7/10 Candy Canes

Forget love – I’d rather fall in chocolate! ~Sandra J. Dykes

Genre: Comedy/Romance/Shounen/Harem/Supernatural

Review Status: Complete (12 Episodes/12 Episodes)

Licensed: This anime is licensed in the US

Art/Animation: Decent. The characters seem pretty individual and are drawn nicely, and the colors are nice and bright. Though, you may notice a definite visual similarity between Elsie and a certain girl from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

Summary: Keima Katsuragi, a second-year high school student, is an avid dating sim gamer. He is known on the Internet as “The Capturing God” for his legendary skills to be able to “capture” any 2D girl in games. However, in his actual school life, Keima is known as otamegane, a derogatory portmanteau of the two words otaku (オタク) and megane (メガネ-“glasses”).

At the start of the series, Keima receives an e-mail offering him a contract to “capture” girls. He accepts what is thought to be a challenge, and a demon from Hell nicknamed Elsie appears. She asks for his cooperation to help her in catching the runaway spirits. These spirits hide themselves inside the girl’s heart, and Elsie suggests that the only method to force the spirits out is by “capturing” their hearts—making them fall in love. Appalled by the idea, Keima refuses after clarifying to Elsie that he is only interested in “capturing” 2D girls and that he detests reality. Nevertheless, with the contract already accepted, Keima would have to help Elsie no matter what; if they fail, both Elsie and Keima would lose their heads. (Source: Wikipedia)

Review: I saw the MAL page for this about half a year before it started airing- at that time it started generating a buzz. Some went out and started reading the manga. I was one of the ones who waited for the anime. I have to say, this proved a pleasant surprise- this turned out to be a decently funny, relatively ecchi-less harem title!

The first thing that drew me in was the opening sequence. The music was catchy and rather impressive, and the scenes itself were rather interesting. And then it got into the story. One of the draws to this show was how amusing it was to see this guy who had no interest in 3D girls have to get them to like him. It was pretty funny to listen to him describe the differences in 2D and 3D relationships, why 2D was superior, and to see him attempt to apply the ‘romance skills’ he learned from games to real life. And perhaps the biggest laugh I got was seeing them fail, and then slowly start to win the girls over.

I definitely see how outrageous they seemed- showing up at the girl’s track meet every day, with giant banners and headbands proclaiming love and victory. But at the same time, those are still very sweet gestures. It was easy to see how the exaggerated antics could win the girls over eventually.

Keima and a few of the girls that he met were definitely stars of the show- they all had definite obstacles to overcome, they all reacted in different ways, and his romancing of them were all individual. It was interesting (but also slightly disappointing) to see how these girls fell into his gaming stereotypes.

I enjoyed the first few arcs, but the library arc is where this fell through. That girl was a bit too much of a stereotype, and I just couldn’t get excited or as into Keima’s wooing of her as I had the others. Especially when there was just so little of his wooing- it was mostly her, thinking things over and through as she encountered him once or twice an episode. It may have been more reasonable/realistic, but it just wasn’t half as interesting as the other arcs. Elsie also fell a little flat. She really offers very little in terms of comic relief- she’s a cookie-cutter of all the other comic-relief airhead characters out there. It is a bit of a relief when she’s relegated to the background of a show, though occasionally she does come in useful to the plot.

The episodes were overall well-paced, giving a good amount of time to each girl and her plight, and how Keima was winning them over. Unfortunately, this didn’t hold true to all of the episodes- the library arc seemed a little drawn out, and if I didn’t know that there was a second season, I would have been very disappointed by that last episode. Not only did it not feel like a proper closing episode, but the ending song was just terrible! I don’t think my eardrums will recover from that horrid singing for a while.

Overall, this was overall a fun series, and I will definitely be watching the second season.

Recommended: 13+. Elsie claims that she’s the illegitimate child of Keima’s father, which causes a lot of marital discord (Keima’s father is kicked out and never heard from for the rest of the season). There is a little bit of fanservice when Keima and Elsie end up in the bathroom together. The viewer doesn’t see anything, and the scene quickly passes. There is also a decent amount of skin showing when Keima’s mother is in the shower. This does last about a minute or so, but is about as much skin as a bikini.

Other titles you might enjoy: The World God Only Knows (manga)
The World God Only Knows Season 2 (anime)
Tatami Galaxy (anime)
Welcome to the NHK! (anime and manga and light novel)
Sugar Sugar Rune (anime and manga)
Kanon (2006) (anime)


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