Let me begin by saying that I have never tried to review an anime before, and this might not be very well structured, seeing as how I never actually read a full anime review before in my life. That is very unprofessional, but I’m just trying to have a good time, and I want to talk about the dub to one of my favorite animes of all time, The World God Only Knows!
The World God Only Knows stars Keima Katsuragi, the God of Conquest. Except he is really just a teenage boy who likes to play dating sims, and has inhuman capabilities when it come to them. From his ability to focus on multiple games at one time, and still fully understand their plots and ends up conquering a few maidens every day. And while maintaining a website for the games and serving as a massive strategy guide to those who are lesser than him. But one day Keima “Pseudo-Traditional Gender Roles” Katsuragi, get a visit from a 300 year old demon who looks like a witch right down to the broom, appears to be physically 14, is mentally 8, and is known as Elsie. Elsie is, to put it bluntly, a good natured idiot who assumed that Keima “The greatest virgin pimp in Anime” Katsuragi was referring to actual women. You see, some souls got loose from hell, about 60,000 if I recall, and they prefer to hide within women who desire something in their life.
However, Keima “Antisocial” Katsuragi never even held hands with a woman other than his mother, so he naturally declines. But Elsie informs Keima “That cocky bastard” Katsuragi that the contract that he signed to assist her has the side effect of slicing both of their heads off due to magical collars. But Keima “The directionless one” Katsuragi, decides that he should try to help and win the heart of Ayumi, a girl who is trying out for track, but is being put down by her upperclassmen. After hijinks that were caused by Elsie’s magical powers and scarf thing, including a scene where the female track team’s knickers became bloomers, which comes off as funny, rather than pandering, Keima “Replaying his favorite dating sims before his death” Katsuragi enters the last of the seven days he was given to conquer her. By which, I mean smooch out of love! But by using knowledge that he accumulated from about 15 years of playing dating sims, he found Ayumi’s stereotype, and filled her heart with understanding and other mushy junk. And Ayumi leaves for her track trials, no longer holding the knowledge of Keima’s conquest of her. While Elsie captures the loose souls to send them to new hell, long story. And the conquered girls lose all memory of Keima “Love you and leave you” Katsuragi, or do they?
From here, Keima “Live, Sleep, Game” Katsuragi is told that this will go on for a long time, and that Elsie will be his father’s illegitimate daughter, which is played for laughs. That’s what I like about the show, the fact that Elsie refers to Keima as Divine One, would often make it creepy, but add the fact that the show is about a man’s conquest of women, whose hearts he must enter. The show follows a pretty basic structure of stereotypical girl who has a unique feature being introduced. Elsie’s loose soul scanner beeping with its signature Doro sound being a lot fainter in this dub. Keima “A man among men” Katsuragi must then throw himself at teenage girls and engage in encounters until he learns what ails them, wait for their relationship to reach a certain level, and then declare love.
Then him and Elsie do something unrelated that offers character development for one or both of them. It is formulaic, but every one of the four girls that are shown in this season, remain interesting enough to watch, especially the rather dim bibliophile, Shiori. Whose story I love, due to the amount of social fear that I can relate to in some fashion, and the fact that shy girls are always adorable when they are drawn. But even the rich girl Mio has is a lot more interesting than I would have thought. In a spoiler that I do not wish to reveal. And Kanon remains as one of the only pop idol characters who I genuinely enjoy watching. But that might be because I mentally added the Jew after someone said she was an Orthodox. And maybe I am just a prick, but I just love the idea of taking the most sheltered people and mutating their personality so they become psychopaths. Oh, and I know that I may be spoiling a bit, but the last episode is a beautiful introduction into Keima “Waste 3 years in an hour” Katsuragi’s mental state, and it reminds me a bit of The Catcher In The Rye, but with lovely music, very nice dream sequences, and awful singing from his Japanese voice actor. Now, as someone who watched the subbed version, is reading the ongoing manga, and now the dub, I am a bit bias to the stories featured in the first season.
But as far as dubbing goes, it is pretty good. There are a few hiccups, meaning that some things, like how they call fire trucks, fire engines, or just some questionable wording of things can make it feel off at times. Meanwhile, the actual voicework for Keima “The Miggidy, Miggidy MacDaddy” Katsuragi is good at portraying a reality loathing, and incredibly determined character, but sometimes I have difficulty buying that he is 17, simply due to the way he sounds. It is not a bad performance at all, but I keep on thinking that the dub takes place in a college, and not a high school. This can be applied on Elsie to a certain extent, while she does a good job at portraying the cute little girl character who I enjoyed in everything but the pilot chapter of the manga, where she had a ghastly expression and double Ds. However, I was more or less expecting a higher pitched, and more “Kawaii Desu” sounding voice for the cute look of the character. But as long as the actors sound like they are trying, I can let it slide how Ayumi often sounded like a valley girl, which is not what I originally perceived, and I don’t think fits what her character will become later on in the series. As for Mio, Kanon, and Shiori, they all did a good job, although I would have liked to see the dub for Kanon actually do some singing, but I understand having a budget and niche audience, so that is also forgiven.
And moving to the visuals, The World God Only Knows has never been that great in the artistic department, it looks very smooth and clean, but there is little to make it memorable, outside of the times when it decides to copy the Peanuts cartoons for a reaction shot. But a lot of reactions are very lively, and it does grant a few points because of that, but the characters do not set my world on fire, Elsie looks cute, but she could be from nearly any other light hearted anime, and she would fit in as well. Meanwhile, Keima “Mr. Perfect Grades” Katsuragi, is just a guy with longish brown hair, a skinny figure, and glasses. The only really unique character design is one of Keima’s teachers, who has a massive chin, squinty eyes, and the perfect voice for the role. Actually, most of the supporting cast tend to have just the voice that I expected, which is worthy of some props, because none of them seem to phone it in. But shifting back to the animation, it remains competent, and looks nice, but I was spoiled by Gurren Lagann, Dead Leaves, Lucky Star, and Panty and Stocking, all of which had a very unique animation style. Oh, and trust me, I cannot wait to get back into Panty and Stocking! Although, the opening deserves a mention for being both trippy, beautiful, wonderfully voiced in lovely Engrish. But the ending credits bit, it has the female characters of the show painting Keima’s face with their feet, yeah, it’s pretty odd.
And moving to the music, the last part I really have to talk about, it is pretty damn good. By itself it is catchy, especially the wonderful opening song that is in delightfully odd sounding English. But the atmospheric pieces and even the J-Pop songs from the enjoyable idol chapter strikes my fancy in terms of audio, but as long as it fits or has a good beat, it tends to meet said fancy.
But I think that the strongest part of The World God Only Knows is just how lighthearted and fun it is, if you replace the act of kissing with sex, it becomes an extremely uncomfortable to even listen to, just like Master of Martial Hearts, which, yes, I do plan on reviewing, probably to end this year. And by the way, do not look Master of Martial Hearts up, it is not fun to watch! However, I really want to document my thoughts on why nobody should watch it, ever. But what you should watch is The World God Only Knows, because of just how much fun it is if you can buy the BS that Keima “Winning women like carnival prizes” Katsuragi when he is plotting the personality and routes of real people by using scenarios from games, and the fact that it works. Then you are in for a fun ride, that can actually get deeper if you get into the deeper traits of the the Bibliophile and Pop idol conquests. And yes, they are called conquests, it is hilarious because of that! I say, watch up until the Rich girl’s chapter ends, and even though I did not mention it, it is pretty cool to see the scenario in which she is put in, partially because you can actually see it happening in real life, like with nearly every conquest in the series.
I really have nothing to criticize, because I heard the story thrice, and still very much enjoy all the chapters it covers. The great mix between wonderfully awkward situations, like where Keima is assaulted with a whip, are played for laughs, and the darker undercurrent just makes the fun and lighthearted tale of a man manipulating women into falling in love with him, only to give them selective amnesia, and maybe a new lease on life. From the solid animation, and lovely soundtrack, I’d recommend starting with this dub, and then check out the Manga online if you enjoyed it. Oh, and if you have any gripes about that, nobody licensed it into English yet, so there is literally no harm done. We have an Italian version for crying out loud, let me buy it in English! And by the way, I will review the second season as well, but not until September or October.