Keima Katsuragi, known online as the legendary "God of Conquest," can conquer any girl's heart—in dating sim games, at least. In reality, he opts for the two-dimensional world of gaming over real life because he is an unhealthily obsessed otaku of galge games (a type of Japanese video game centered on interactions with attractive girls).
When he arrogantly accepts an anonymous offer to prove his supremacy at dating sim games, Keima is misled into aiding a naïve and impish demon from hell named Elucia "Elsie" de Lute Ima with her mission: retrieving runaway evil spirits who have escaped from hell and scattered themselves throughout the human world. Keima discovers that the only way to capture these spirits is to conquer what he hates the most: the unpredictable hearts of three-dimensional girls! Shackled to Elsie via a deadly collar, Keima now has his title of "God of Conquest" put to the ultimate test as he is forced to navigate through the hearts of a multitude of real-life girls.
#1: "Koi no Shirushi (コイノシルシ) feat. Ayumi Takahara" by Kami no Mizo Shiri-tai featuring Ayana Taketatsu (ep 1-2) #2: "Koi no Shirushi (コイノシルシ) feat. Mio Aoyama" by Kami no Mizo Shiri-tai featuring Aoi Yuuki (ep 3, 5-6) #3: "Datta Ichido no Kiseki (だった一度の奇跡)" by Tomo Sakurai (ep 4) #4: "Happy Crescent (ハッピークレセント)" by Nao Toyama (ep 7) #5: "Koi no Shirushi from Elsie (コイノシルシ from Elsie)" by Kanae Itou (ep 8) #6: "Koi no Shirushi (コイノシルシ) feat. Kanon Nakagawa" by Kami no Mizo Shiri-tai featuring Nao Toyama (ep 9-10) #7: "Koi no Shirushi (コイノシルシ) feat. Shiori Shiomiya" by Kami no Mizo Shiri-tai featuring Kana Hanazawa (ep 11) #8: "Shuuseki Kairo no Yume Tabibito (集積回路の夢旅人)" by Hiro Shimono with Oratorio The World God Only Knows (ep 12)
It's funny how trends, tastes, and even perceptions can change over time. Less than a decade ago being called a geek, nerd or otaku was considered an insult, and while those terms have maintained their derogatory status to a degree (especially in Japan), the steady march of technology has dictated the rise of the "Beta Male", and nowhere is this more apparent than in the entertainment industries.
In 2001 the PC and Dreamcast game Comic Party was adapted and released as an anime, and with it came the birth of a totally new genre - the otaku comedy. Since that time there have been numerous manga and anime that have utilised the theme in some manner, from the romanticised look at otaku life that is Genshiken, to the insane classical stylings of Nodame Cantabile's heroine, Noda Megumi. These days the number of titles that have some involvement with the genre is on the rise, and while some take a decidedly rose-tinted view of the subject, there are others (NHK ni Youkoso!, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (no, seriously), ChäoS;HEAd, etc), that allow glimpses into the darker side of otaku life.
There are also those that approach the subject of otaku in an imaginative, yet decidedly tongue-in-cheek manner.
Kami Nomi Zo Shiru Sekai (The World God Only Knows, or KamiNomi), tells the story of Katsuragi Keima, the "king" of bishoujo games (galge), and dating sims, who is better known throughout the internet as the "Capturing God". He is content to live his life in the virtual world because "reality is just a crappy game" where the girls are impossible to deal with. All of that changes when he answers a mysterious e-mail addressed to the God of Conquest (another one of his monikers), and subsequently meets the demon girl Elucia de Lut Ima (Elci).
The plot attempts to meld several different themes into one continuous narrative, and in order to do this it utilises a number of devices that can sometimes get in the way. Like Amagami SS, the storyline follows the "short arc for each girl" format, complete with the "reset" at the end. This is accompanied by some fairly typical "soul possession" concepts, basic yet still humourous slapstick, and a rather interesting take on dating sims in general.
Unfortunately it doesn't completely work.
The problem is that while KamiNomi is essentially a straight forward otaku comedy, the inclusion of so many disparate themes eventually causes a degree of conflict within the framework of the story. The major issue is the idea that one can use dating sim methodology to form a real world relationship, and while it is possible to learn the basics, this can never replace actual experience. In addition to this is the fact that the viewer is supposed to believe that a notorious game addict like Keima can suddenly turn on the charm when dealing with real girls, many of whom he initially can't stand to be around, and this in itself raises the question of suspicion on the part of the girls.
There is an attempt to rectify these issues, but this relies on the tried and tested method of memory manipulation rather than an explanation of how a social recluse is easily able to communicate with others. That said, the series utilises some well placed visual gags to divert the viewers attention away from any plot holes or conflicts, and the story is interesting and humourous enough to make it accessible to a much broader audience than one might initially expect.
When it comes to looks, KamiNomi is pretty much back to basics in virtually every department, with one area of notable exception (we'll get to that in a moment). That said, while the degree of genericism in the visuals is high, there's also something slightly more subtle at work as well. The character designs are taken directly from the manga by Wakaki Tamiki, and what's interesting about this is that while the mangaka made a conscious effort to allow the comedy to flourish, he also tried to show what each character is, rather than simply trying to define them as individuals.
Confused? I'll explain then.
The plot is partly derived from that of the common or garden dating sim or galge, and as regular players of these games will know, characters of a specific type will share certain visual features. Wakaki has attempted to incorporate some of these into the design of the girls that Keima goes after, and this in turn defines their personalities as they have been created to fit a specific mould. In addition to this, because the player is usually faceless in these games, Wakaki chose to parody a few of the better known "genius" characters from anime for his "God of Conquest", in particular Lelouch vi Brittania and Yagami Light.
So don't be fooled by the simplistic looks.
The area that really stands out is the effects, in particular the variety, timing and imagination that has gone into making them. While the rest of the anime may look colourful yet average, KamiNomi is surprising for the quality of a number of its visual set pieces, but it's the audio choreography that changes those scenes from simply being pretty into something worth watching.
In anime, as in life, timing is everything, and in this respect Manglobe have a very good pedigree. But then what else would one expect from the studio that brought us Michiko to Hatchin, Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy (unfortunately they're also responsible for the abysmal Sacred Blacksmith, but we won't go there). While this is very clearly a comedy series the studio has made the effort to deliver a quality show, and because there's little that can be done about the design of the visuals, a lot of effort has gone into making this anime sound great.
The opening sequence is indicative of this ethos at work, and features some clever imagery that is well timed to match the changes in the theme song (God Only Knows, performed by Elisa). The ending sequence is a bit more complicated as there are actually four tracks and sequences on offer. The main ED, Koi no Shirushi, is a fairly average J-Pop track, but for the majority of episodes the female leads take turns singing it (while the rest perform backing vocals). As for the remaining tracks, Tatta Ichi Do no Kisei by Sakurai Tomo (episode four), along with the visuals, is meant to be a play on the average ending sequences of dating sims and galge. On the other hand Happy Crescent by Toyama Nao is supposed to be a "live" idol performance, so it's a shame it's such a generic song.
To be honest, the best of the EDs, is the final one, Shuuseki Kairo no Yume Tabibito, which is sung in a completely amateurish and off key style by the lead man himself, Shimono Hiro (with support from the female seiyuu who apparently are collectively known as Oratorio The World God Only Knows), and is very much in keeping with the slightly delusional and slapstick comedy of the series.
Unfortunately there's one big flaw in KamiNomi, and that's the lack of character development. Normally this shouldn't really be an issue for what is effectively an otaku comedy/parody, but because of the inclusion of certain plot themes, aspects like characterisation and growth become more prominent.
Basically, the more complicated a story is, the better the characters have to be.
While there is some development due to the soul possession aspect of the story, it never really impacts on the overall narrative due to the "reset" at the end of each girl's arc. This has the effect of nullifying what has gone before, and even though Keima and Elci aren't subject to it as a rule, there is very little given over to their growth over the course of the series.
The real strength of the characters comes from the comedy side of the show, and in this respect the seiyuu are pretty good. Shimono Hiro (Keima), and Itou Kanae (Elci), are great as the proverbial "Odd Couple", and while there are some great skits from the other leading ladies, their timing and delivery, especially with each other, is sometimes a joy to behold.
Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai is a strangely mixed bag that works on certain levels, but ultimately it would have been better off trying to weave fewer themes into the plot. Individually the concepts behind the series are imaginative and somewhat inventive, but the complications caused by trying to blend several ideas together sometimes creates a quagmire in the storyline, and inserting a joke to brush over it is nothing more than papering over the cracks. That said, the series is enjoyable enough to warrant at least one watch, and viewers should also keep in mind that this twelve episode anime is nothing more than a prelude of things to come, especially as the manga has already gone beyond the 100 chapter mark.
While the incomplete nature of the story may put people off, the fact that a sequel is on the horizon may signify that all hope is not yet lost. Then again, they may simply "cop out" by ending the series before the real storyline begins.
'Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai' ('The World Only God Knows') is about a self-claimed "Otoshigami (Capture God)" who can "capture" the heart of any 2D girls in dating-sim games. One day, he unknowingly signs a contract with a demon through email, and ends up in a quest to capture real-life (3D) girls in order to collect runaway souls residing within their hearts.
The first season of 'KamiNomi" involves the capture of 4 girls, with 3 filler episodes.
Katsuragi Keima is an interesting character. He's full of confidence in front of the PFP screen and calls himself "Capture God", backing up his claim with godly galge gaming and analytical skills. What's more interesting is that he applies eroge logic and theory to real life, disapproving people, objects, and events in reality as having "unrealistic settings". Keima is a reluctant hero in this show as he's only interested in 2D girls, and he received very little character development, but that's just fine because it shows how dedicated he is to gaming, and his "modern samurai" way of life. Filler ep-4 was a great display of his game philosophy and dedication.
Elsea is a demon who looks and behaves like a typical clumsy 2D girl. Her character development was very poor despite having a filler ep-8. Her very existence and costume/accessories is probably more suitable for 'Soul Eater' series, but her character is one of the best eye candy ever, and she's a package that makes the absurd premise possible.
Takahara Ayumi was the first target, a Sporty Cool. She was given only a single episode, but served well as an introduction to the premise.
Aoyama Mio is next, a Tsundere Princess. She seemed like an common archetype at first, but our Capture God finds out that she was no longer what she claimed to be. Her arc was an introduction to Keima's standard gaming strategy: Encounter, creating chances to meet often, formation of negative impression, and turning the negative impression into positive impression.
Then comes Nakagawa Kanon, a Yandere Idol. Her insecurity as a solo performer leads to unhealthy obsession with Keima because he shows zero interest in her. Her arc was rather draggy, but features quite a bit of insert songs and slapstick comedy.
Best was saved for the last with Shiomiya Shiori, an introvert librarian. The story's pace suddenly slowed for her arc, which turned from a slapstick-heavy comedy to serious artsy anime. Her character made this a very interesting arc. We as viewers can hear her "speech in the mind", but Keima who's used to be in our position suddenly realizes the difficulty in her capture because he had to work to draw out the inner voice. Shiori's character development was done very well with her gradual curiosity in the trouble maker at the library, and Capture God's eventual understanding of his target. It is extremely difficult to make slow, mesmerizing pace work, but the amazing direction and production had done just that. The atmosphere in the library and art house camera movement / perspectives were phenomenal, and painted a world of its own.
The final episode was a filler. While it was somewhat corny, it further establishes the protagonist's character and devotion to video games, and the pure absurdity of it was hilarious. The near-full use of 8-plus-minute oratorio also featured as OP was a nice touch that intensified drama. It also ended with a cliffhanger by introducing a new girl demon character, and hinting a sequel season.
Comedy was quite inconsistent. Sometimes intelligent, such as stating 3D girls' flaws with 2D logic, parodies, and God's Teachings. Other times, it's plain stupid, like Elsea tripping randomly.
Overall, the story and characters are very interesting, but as a fantasy comedy, it's filled with improbable situations, gimmicky story developments (like requiring the target to fall in love, girls losing memory after Capture), and the inevitable corniness that comes with it. Character development for all the heroines were done in a frantic speed as an arc-format anime, but every one of them were more than the typical 2D heroines thanks to numerous plot twists, and they were captured in unconventional methods that never gets tiring.
It is apparent that the ending was produced with another season in mind. In fact, at least 24 episodes may have been decided from the start, so it may still be a bit too early to judge its story and character development just yet.
The OP in 'KamiNomi' can only be described as a "Masterpiece". The animation quality, atmosphere, song quality, song choice, originality, transition flow, audio-visual harmony, appropriateness, effectiveness as OP, wow-factor... I would rate 10/10 for every aspect of it.
The art in this series is generic anime style drawn to perfection. Unique design for the protagonist, and Elsea must be the cutest anime girl ever. The supporting characters are generic but easily distinguishable designs, this works to support the plots where Keima predicts girls' personality based on appearance. Dynamic movements, funny chibi-forms, artistic representations, and great use of CG. The presentation was done exceptionally well with bunch of creative cuts, background effects for comedy and mood setting. Above all, the amount of detail is staggering, with the sheer number of objects in the background, books with pages of real texts, reflections on various surfaces, and attention to imperfections and stains on walls and floors. Characters also have up to 3 degrees of shading versus the typical 2. Despite the generic style, art work in this series is so outstanding that it can no longer be considered ordinary.
Seiyuu cast was excellent. The protagonist's voice had a wide range, from the absolute confidence while talking about eroge theories to humorous screams. Everyone else also sounded like they should, full of emotions.
BGM was really sophisticated and lively, complementing the story by enhancing the atmosphere of every scene. Different sets of BGM were used for each arc.
Kanon's insert songs were incredibly well done. Yes, they're moe pop songs, but the level of production was so high that it's hard to believe they were written solely for anime inserts.
Regular ED is a light pop song in good contrast with OP accompanied by a creative theme.
'KamiNomi' had a fantastic pacing and offers comedy, drama, and emotional attachment. All of it was backed by a masterful presentation that was incredible to the point of over-production. Despite its inherent corniness, I found this show to be extremely enjoyable. It is the series with a sense of highest degree of completion among all series I've seen so far. In fact, the production value in this series rivals that of theatrical anime movies.
I really liked the way they presented the empty feeling you get after the girls forget Keima's involvement after the kisses. It must be devastating to be the only one having the memory of their time together even if he wasn't interested in 3D girls. Nevertheless, our samurai hero will stand strong and keep the memories of "The World God Only Knows" in his heart as he continues on to fulfill his mission of capturing girls' hearts in the second season. I will definitely be there to hear the demon's "dorodorodoro" detection of another wandering soul and witness the Capture God`s miracles. read more
So, this is my first Review on my favorite manga and anime, KamiNomi!
I'll try to keep it short and clean c:
-Story & Overall-
What I would like to announce, this is not your regular average harem anime. It has a good plot and idea to it, actually and it does make sense in the world it was created into!
The way that the main character has to wear consequences and plan out his actions is just entertaining (as are the dialogs) and it definitely made me sit down and read/ watch.
KamiNomi does not try to be more than what it is and keeps going at it's own pace, always introducing different situations and new challenges the main characters have to face.
Well, it is drawn by none other than Watanabe Akio - the designs, actually. If you watched and are fan of the Bakemono/Nisemono series, you already noticed this.
It really depends on the taste, though - I enjoyed watching the Art style for KamiNomi, however being a great SHAFT studio fan, I would have preferred (and as with many other shows I enjoy) if they had put in more visual effects like turning around and basically what Shaft does... *trails off*
The uniform designs are unique as hell - I seriously haven't seen anything like those before and it makes me want to wear them as well~!
Music wise, can I say that the Openings are epic? Have you seen an anime with Orchestra music yet? I mean really?
Whenever I listen to it, I feel like I am going to watch some church/Religion anime -- But the fact is, the music is heavenly. That s the only way to describe it.
Oh the characters...
We have two main ones, Elsie and Keima.
Keima, your average gamer boy who hates reality to it's last bits. His character is simple - in a way, yet very well handled and developed to make the series to what it originally is. He is a very likeable character (not like some douches from other harem animes *cough*Makoto*cough cough*)
Elsie, your kind demon who comes from Hell and guides Keima to fulfill their mission! (Not spoiling much)
Very naive and innocent, Elsie is seen to be closed into people's heart quite easily. She is silly and her obsession with trains--
Scratch that, those were fire trucks, I'm sorry!
A big thank you Zaraquiel99 for pointing that out!
-- is just so out of nowhere, it is almost creative. I never saw a character with such interest, really now.
The rest of the cast is not shunned or put into a corner either - they each have their own backstory, flaws and emotions, giving us a deeper, in-depth look to them and not being handled as some harem-element.
I see quite a lot of people who enjoy and like KamiNomi.
I even buy the volumes that I can get my hands on - it is the most bought manga I have in my room, which consist of 5 vols already.
I really do want to support Tamaki and his work, so I do not regret spending my money on this manga. At all.
He deserves it.
And that was my short review~ I hope I could convince you at some point... ; - ;
Please just give it a try at least! >/////read more
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai, The World God Only Knows, is an anime that centers on an otaku gamer's life. When I first found this series, I researched on it a bit on Wikipedia, found it somewhat unimpressive in plot, character and art, and didn't even bother reading the manga. I have to say that I was wrong to judge this series by merely the front cover of its Wikipedia article. After the anime came out and my anime savvy friend directly recommended this to me, I found that I was drawn into the story, something that rarely happens for an ardent critic like me. This anime aims to set a standard for humor and adventure, and I believe that it achieves both.
The art is great. Although I've seen better and more creatively drawn animes, with regard to the context of this anime, the art is drawn very appropriately. For example, during the comedy scenes, the art is drawn chibi but with some elements that further resonates the humor, whether it be a small action or item in the background. The art never hinders your enjoyment of this anime and even improves the experiences with elegantly drawn characters like Elsie.
The World God Only Knows is about the life of a 2-D "Game God" Keima. He is known throughout the web as the conqueror of all visual novel, bishoujo games. One day he unknowingly signs a contract with the devil, mistakenly taking the contract as a challenge to his Otaku God position, to help a demon girl Elsie collect escaped souls from hell that hide within the empty space in girls' hearts. Should he not comply with the contract, both he and Elsie will lose their heads. Literally.To exorcist the evil soul, he must make the girl fall in love with him and kiss him. The only problem is that everyone in real life calls him an otaku and avoids him for his addiction to 2-D girls and games. This story incorporates comedy right into the base and still embodies an objective to be achieved throughout the course of the series... all while giving the viewers some LOLs in the process.
Although I do not usually comment on the sounds, I did notice that certain things were outstanding. This anime does not have a particularly "addictive" opening and ending theme, but it has creativeness that far surpasses some addictive-themed animes. In episode 4, there is an extra opening and ending that really personifies the storyline and shows diligent planning that went along with it. This ability to creatively adapt to the content of each episode with compatible musical compositions is what really separates this anime from others and also earns the music producers some well-deserved kudos.
The characters in this anime are exemplary. Keima, especially, was someone who really stood out from the mundane, long list of modern anime characters. Although he doesn't embody the cold, taciturn personality that I usually look for in male protagonists, he is clearly distant from the level of backboneless "male" (sometimes I really do question their gender) protagonists that get beat around by the females. What I like most about Keima is that he establishes his ideals and is determined to do what he believes in. He overcomes many embarrassments and obstacles and always seems to plan for the worst (I hope some people in real life would learn that). Other times his dedicated assertions, like "Life is just a crappy video game" and "Real life girls suck. 2-D girls are better", were really similar to mine and gave me some lulz. As someone who likes to relate to male protagonists, I really felt that I could connect with Keima and understand his ideals - part of the reason why this anime drew my attention. Elsie, the pretty female protagonist, was also a very likable character. She embodies the "kawaaiii" personally and really tries her best to help Keima (despite the fact that some efforts have opposite effects). She is never arrogant or unpleasant and always tries to care for Keima to act like his "little sister" (although there definitely are some love feelings between them).
The World God Only Knows is a great anime overall. It combines humor and adventure successfully into a masterpiece that many previous animes have tried and failed to attain. For someone who had such cynical and critical attitudes before watching, it took only 10 minutes of the first episode to turn me and my ideals 180 degrees into zealous enjoyment. If you're looking for a funny anime that still has a good story played out by likable characters, The World God Only Knows is definitely an anime that you should put on your list. read more
The term otaku is often used in the West to refer to anyone interested in anime. But is that what otaku really means? Learn about the history behind the otaku phenomenon and how different anime have reacted to it, as well as anime fandom in general.