「世界はアイで動いている」 (Sekai wa Ai de Ugoiteiru)
“The World Runs on Love”
It’s a bit unusual to see Manglobe take on a series that can easily come off as a high school harem series, but that’s exactly the what we have with “The World God Only Knows”. The only other series they led the production for with character designs even close to the ones seen here was Seiken no Blacksmith. Of course, it’s not like I mind when they’re pushing out quality animation that leaves me wondering why they don’t take on more of these type of shows. For the introduction on this series, I’ll refer you to Fall 2010 Preview for the quick rundown if you haven’t read it already. As for this first episode, it quickly introduced us to Katsuragi Keima and the demon girl, Elusia de Lut Ima, sent to assist him after he made a contract with hell to help recapture runaway evil souls, i.e. kakedama. The two of them quickly move on to their first target, the track and field team’s Takahara Ayumi (Taketatsu Ayana), when Keima learns that he’s going to lose his head along with “Elsie” if he doesn’t win Ayumi over and force the evil soul out of her heart. Needless to say, he’s stepping far out of his comfort zone.
My immediate impression of the characters is that Keima doesn’t come off as conceited as he did when I skimmed over the manga, though he’s pushing it at times with the way he thinks he can play his “PFP” in class since he gets good grades and it doesn’t bother anyone. He still kind of rubs me the wrong way with how he prefers 2D over 3D just because the former behave according to how they’re pre-programmed to, and it definitely doesn’t help with the way he looks down on the real-life version of the opposite sex. I realize it’s meant to be funny and can enjoy it as such, but I can’t help but see it as a geek’s way of feeling superior in the world despite how anti-social they may be. On the plus side, having Shimono Hiro play him makes it hard for me to perceive his character too negatively, especially considering how he’s forced to (successfully) make cute girls fall for him against his will. (Hmm… maybe I do hate him more.) As for Elsie, I can’t help but see her as the cuteness of Akai Ringo, minus her cunning manipulative side, given how Itou Kanae voices her. I love that innocent side of her character, which is kind of ironic since she’s supposed to be a denizen of hell after all. (Her curvaceous figure is a bonus.) Last but not least is Ayumi, who had me wondering if this is what it would be like to make Azusa fall for a guy. Curse these seiyuu-honed ears. They are a double-edge sword at times.
Progression-wise, this premiere went through the first chapter’s sixty or so pages really quickly and skipped right to the chase to conclude “Ayumi’s route”, which would seem to suggest that’s the pacing they intend to go with for this adaptation. If it isn’t apparently already, the pattern is pretty much involves Keima going after a girl, making her fall for him, forcing the evil soul out for Elsie to capture, and then the girl losing her memories of it happening. Rinse and repeat. I gather there will be more to the series later on, but it appears to be a recipe for success given the manga’s ten volumes and hundred plus chapters in a mere two years. Let’s just say they know how to appeal to their target audience (…of lonely otaku). For a high school romance, I actually like seeing how some of the scenarios play out in real life though. For one, Keima has to cut the cheese PRETTY thick with lines like, “You’ll always be first place in my heart”, which I admittedly find embarrassing to watch yet can’t peel my eyes away since they get the job done. Now if only someone would tell Keima that he has it easier than he thinks. If he really knew how “real girls” were like, he’d be happy with the anime/manga ones he has to deal with. 😛
– From what I gather, each girl will have their own ending theme to go with their arc, though it remains to be seen if each will get an actual ending sequence to go along with it.
– Crunchyroll translates “Otoshigami” as “God of Conquest”, which isn’t a bad way of going about it. I referred to Keima’s title as “God of Players” in the preview, since it has a double meaning in English.
– Incidentally, they also translated “Kami-sama” as “Divine One” rather than “God”. Ha, that’s nice.