Is The World God Only Knows pro-dating sim or anti-dating sim? On one side of the argument the anime's geeky protagonist has been chosen by some high-powered deity to save the world from runaway demonic spirits. The other side of the argument, however, has the protagonist using what he only knows from dating games; sometimes resulting in more harm than good. Nevertheless the series -- known in Japan as Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (神のみぞ知るセカイ) -- manages to give its viewers a nice dose of entertainment that's nothing short of funny.
The protagonist of this new anime is Keima Katsuragi, and calling him an avid dating sim player is an understatement. He eats, sleeps, breathes and thinks dating simulation, so in-depth that he is dubbed the Capturing God; he also has no interest in real women. Too bad for him, as a misread contract with an unknown sender leads him to making a deal with the Devil. His objective: capture all the escaped spirits that reside in various high school girls by helping to heal their hearts, and if he fails his head will come off. One problem: Keima has never talked to a real woman before; and for that matter the process of capturing demons is something he's not quite acquainted with. Fortunately he receives some assistance in the form of Elise, a cute demon girl that sometimes causes more chaos than good.
I will kind of admit that I was a bit turned off by the show's concept, as I'm not really a fan of dating sim-based games. Yes, many anime series are based on dating sims (H2O - Footprints In The Sand, Tayutama: Kiss on my Deity, half of the anime series that come out every year), and some are pretty good and others are quickly forgettable. To create a series (which is based on a manga by Tamiki Wakaki) that focuses on a NEET that only deals with 2D girls sounded, well, creepy, so I didn't really want to watch it as it probably would've been nothing but fan-service. Then I sat myself down and watched an episode, and I could not stop laughing.
The first episode dealt with Keima trying to get the spirit out of his classmate Ayumi, and he tries to swoon her with the knowledge he received from playing those video games. Ayumi doesn't so much fall for him, as she more beats the living bejesus out of him. Fortunately Keima finds a way into her heart, and helps release the spirit. Thanks to deus ex machina she (and future targets) have their memory erased, not remembering a single thing about what had happened. The second episode (the first part) has Elise introducing herself to Keima's Mom...as her husband's illegitimate daughter. Hardcore hilarity ensues. I don't want to talk about episode four, other than the fact that it deals with a glitchy dating game. You need to see this one to realize how funny a premise like this can be.
What's good about The World God Only Knows is that it knows how to write a decent dramatic element to a series. Episode 2.5 and three deal with Mio, a girl who appears to live the luxury life, only to be discovered as a poor little poor girl. There's is some stereotypical cold heart-warming moments in this story arc, but at least there's some good emotional elements that the voice actors and actresses bring to the moments. I also would like to add the chariot gag was side-achingily funny.
There really isn't anything new to the anime world in The World God Only Knows, but that doesn't stop it from being a silly good time. Give it a moment of your time on Crunchyroll, and see why the adventures of Keima and Elise will fill your belly with laughter.
**** ½ (out of five)