Keima Katsuragi is a high school student better known online as the "God of Conquest," the man who can obtain the heart of any dating sim girl. In his opinion, real life is an awful game; three-dimensional girls are annoying and false representations of how a real girl should be.
One afternoon, while taking a break from cleaning duty, he stumbles across a strange message that goads him to conquer a girl. On a whim, he accepts, and his consent summons a girl named Elucia "Elsie" de Lute Ima, a denizen of hell tasked with capturing runaway spirits that have festered in girls' hearts. Keima is shocked and tries to escape, but Elsie tells him that failure in fulfilling the newly-formed contract will result in the termination of his life!
Tasked with capturing the runaway spirits, Keima uses his expertise and knowledge of dating sims to obtain the hearts of girls in real life.
On the week of January 13th to January 19th, 2009, the third volume of Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai became the fourth highest-selling standalone book on the Oricon Comic Chart with over 50,500 copies sold.
There comes that one manga you find at the corner of your eye to where you can enjoy it whether you like the genre it consists of or not, all in the essence of parody and satire. Parody can be an extremely difficult comedic flavor to pull off perfectly. Not only do writers have to analyze the aspects of the things that they are trying to parody in the first place, but they have to make all of the things that make a good comedy work. These things include great comedic timing, sharp jokes that don't feel forced, and great pacing in-between comedy segments. For
manga that is focused on comedy, it can be quite a herculean task; but luckily with manga, you can go buck wild with the stroke of your drawing utensil and think of what works best. It takes a man like Tamiki Wakaki to make it seem like a pure cake walk to envision a perfect parody with The World God Only Knows.
The two things that best describe how the parody really works in The World God Only Knows comes down to the writing and the actual artwork that Tamiki has within his talent. Jokes all span out dealing with every day otaku tropes that are funny and also quite insightful in how it dabbles into gaming culture at large. Other times it pokes fun at it to the point of almost mocking it without it being too facetious with its own jokes, and they all add so much great humor within them. One reason why the artwork comes into play with the dialogue's humor is how Tamiki's style of drawing has a very wacky ascetic to his character designs that feels simply magnificent. Similar to how you see chibi-style designs in something like Aria whenever a comedic moment happens, The World God Only Knows plays with the same formula and never loses its steam throughout the manga.
Although the manga is generally a comedy, it does have its great share of drama mixed in. That is not to say it still pulls in satirical themes into those segments, at least in the first arc of the story. In the beginning, we follow Keima and his partner in crime, Elsie, as they try to collect "Loose Souls" from within their psyche. It is very straightforward and generally formulaic at face value, but what makes it work is just how tongue-in-cheek the character interactions are and the dialogue involving how Keima plans his tactics based on his gaming otaku logic. Even when its being dramatic in the arc, it still doesn't lose focus of what it originally intended to be: a parody of dating sims where you get to the confession scenes in those games. It is a rare instance where genuine drama and wacky humor feel close at home together in one great package.
As the story goes on to the 2nd arc, where Keima has to awaken the five goddesses, we are quickly put into a scenario where there is a minimal formulaic structure than beforehand. Like I said before, the comedy is still hilarious throughout the entire manga with memorable scenes that all go down into straight up hilarity. The story is still quite strong and even emotional in some places, introducing a heartwarming romance between Chihiro and Keima and great chemistry between Haqua and Keima when they both become buddies for the time being. But then after that plot arc is done and we get to the last two arcs, it all goes a little downhill in terms of pacing and comprehension. I have the feeling that Tamiki didn't really know where he wanted the story to go, so he just pulls up random plot conveniences that don't really add up once you sit back and think about it for a second. Though the later plot arcs were not terrible by any means, there were also new characters that were still funny, they do not follow up as anything other than weak.
For a story that wants to be self-absurd with an atmosphere that wants to be fun and energetic in its humor, characters should be the one characteristic that should reign most important. The World God Only Knows manages to not only give us a wide range of characters that exceed way above 20+ of the main cast, but they actually give each and every one of them great development and personality to make all of them equally memorable. Normally a story that attempts to bring a large main cast have a habit of not having an equal amount of focus for some characters, making them forgettable in the long run. While someone could make the case that the manga does that in the later arcs, where we're mainly following the other main girls in Keima's conquest, that shouldn't be a negative in the sense that we've already had enough development for those characters from the very beginning where they were introduced.
Now here's why The World God Only Knows sets its greatness to new heights is its lovable, but also hated in a few cases, protagonist, Keima Katsuragi. With great clarity and logical precision in how Keima is written, he is by far one of the best harem protagonists just from the sheer value of heart given to his role. Even when there are moments where Keima might act irrational against what many would consider normal attitudes towards how romance is like, we still want him to succeed in his conquest. One main reason why this is so is because of how Tamiki writes his dialogue in really silly ways that make him so full of charm and wit to how he grows as a character; both in terms of a comedic and general character.
As for Keima's main sidekick, Elsie, she has great chemistry with Keima with her cutesy personality that manages to stay consistent and not overbearing to the point where she becomes a nuisance after several chapters. The other soul capturing buddy is the hilarious tsundere devil, Haqua. Almost as equally lovable as Elsie, but with a different twist: She's smarter on the level of Keima's intellect. For that reason, Keima and Haqua actually prove to have a little better chemistry with one another than Elsie because of the fact that Haqua still becomes the bumbling sidekick despite her intelligent stature compared to Elsie's.
This manga is one of those instances where even if you are not a fan of the harem genre in general or if you love it to death, there is still many elements to The World God Only Knows that can be looked at with great enthusiasm on either side. Its wonderful characters leave a wondrous joy ride into hilarity thanks to the fact that they all have their own unique characteristic to enhance their significant presence in the story. Plus its satirical nature adds so much depth to the layer of comedy that can be conceived in this manga, even though the plot never reaches that same level of greatness as one could've hoped for with the first arc building up so much potential. But all in all, there is still plenty of wonderful humor to be found in The World God Only Knows and all in the name of the God of Conquest.
It's hard to find a series where you feel really invested. The kind that even after finishing an arc, there's a little moment of reflection. The World God Only Knows is no exception.
The setup of the story has a very solid foundation because it tackles one of the subjects fans can relate the most ─gaming. BUT, some people will have a problem in terms of relation because the genre of choice is not that popular ─galge (a contraction to gal gaming).
For those who don't know, visual novels (another name for galges) is a type of game where it's mostly story. The "game" part is where
you, the player, decides how the story will go through the choices you've made. As Arkada would put it, it is like an interactive book and that's it. The story of these galges are usually about love and romance ranging from sweet and innocent to HOLY CRAP-disturbing.
Going back, the story of an otaku getting an intervention about his ideals by having encounters to "3D girls" sounds like an interesting manga. The series is hysterical in some scenes while also having some scenes of drama. The best of both worlds.
Though, I have some little complaints about the story. In some long arcs, the story moves as slow as molasses. "But Cludensyo, that's the meaning of 'long' in long arcs". NO. I got into the latest chapter when this series was still ongoing. And when reality struck me that I "finished" it, I looked back and said "Wow. That arc took that much chapters? There could have been less". There's also some plot holes that are not resolved at the end of the story and foreshadowings that confused me (I'm looking at you, Elsie). And let's not forget, there are some questionable moments on how Keima got into this whole mess which I won't discuss any further.
The universe in this manga feels alive thanks to the creative mind of the author giving it details. Also, the girls, which serve as representatives of standard "maidens" in galge, have character profiles written in the chapters which really makes it feel like you're playing a visual novel.
Speaking of characters, the one that's developed the most is the main character, Keima Katsuragi. I like his ability to be zen in tough situations. I like how he's quiet and serious most of the time but transforms into a firework when in comes to games. Preaching they have superiority against reality.
I felt depressed when this series ended. Sure, it's not perfect. Sure, it gives a bad first impression on the first chapter. But if you get past that, you are then introduced to one of the best manga this time around. A dead serious recommendation.
Before reading this reviews, please keep in mind that I have an erratic way of scoring. SO THIS PROBABLY GONNA BE ME FANGASMING.
Just kidding, the humor is great especially if you like visual novels.The story is an epic tale of an otaku king conquering all the chicks with all the generic quirks while battling for the fate of world itself(this actually happens)
The girls look ok but what makes the manga is the art of the setting. It becomes a little no game no life at the end with strategy and shit. The transitional in art style reminds me of how erratically monogatari
Keima all the way. He's probably one of the most likable protags (besides soma).His wit and pure craziness is what drives the story forward. I'm sure everyone has their best girl(mine's chihiro) but they all pale in comparison to the one true god,KEIMA KATSURAGI.
I could watch keima in almost any kind of series whether it be in fighting devils, time travel or reviving goddesses. Oh wait that kinda already happens in the manga spoilersss...
Well, it's about time I wrote a manga review. And which manga did I start with? Why, with 'The World God Only Knows' ofcourse. Why this? Because I recently finished this gargantuan manga. But first, a confession. I HATE the Harem genre. I could make a list if I wanted to, but I guess I'll save it for later. Let's dive in.
Story - 8/10
Now this has to be the one section that stands out. This what drew me to THIS Harem manga in particular. For those who watched MatPat's video about how Dating Sim game can actually help you find love, you'll find this manga
quite mindblowing (EAT THAT MATPAT! THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR IGNORING MY COMMENTS). I do find some parts of the manga as needless filler, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. However, you will find plot-holes in the most uncanny of places. Like, what happened to that bitch from ten years ago? Funny, because you won't see her again in the future, thus rendering her irrelevant to the plot, and thus mentioning it does not count as a spoiler.
Art - 9/10
Behold, the strong point of the manga, the art-style. We are looking at Tamiki Wakaki's magnum opus (in my opinion), the guy ended up collaborating with Team Ninja (YES, THAT Team Ninja) in Dead or Alive 5 Last Round and designed the Senran Kagura and Deception-Themed outfits. The characters look pretty gorgeous, making it difficult to determine 'Best Girl'. My favourite part HAS to be the use of chibi art-style to help convey emotions like joy and 'AWWW MAAAN' moments. In terms of character design, I liked Keima, Tsukiyo, Ayumi, Chihiro, Haqua And Elsee's (Or Elucia) design much better. But Elsee's a winner in my book, she looks 'adowable' and troublesome at the same time.
Character - 8/10
It's about time I addressed one of the problems of the Harem genre, and this section gets hit by it the hardest. In Harem, it is downright DIFFICULT to nail a good character development, let alone a character arc. Let's say, you did a character development for a girl who is sun-shy, next you did a character arc for a girl who is secretly a lesbian, but along the line, when the manga run is over, you realized, that you forgot about the girl who collects baseball cards as a hobby and the perverted classmate, who has feelings for said lesbian, even though she has a boyfriend. It is difficult to keep track of these characters, and it gets worse as the roster expands. TWGOK does not do that. Each character is well defined with their own quirks and charms and the character arc does not leave them out of the spotlight. Hence making the characters more memorable.
Take for example, Keima Katsuragi, he is a gamer who denies reality and lives in his fantasy world. Chihiro Kosaka is a girl who, after being released from her runaway spirit, wants to make her a dream a reality, no matter how much of a novice she was at the guitar. And then there's Elsee, my favourite, who is carefree, gives Keima hell, even though not intentionally, but wants to be the best little sister through and through.
Oh, and she loves Fire Twucks (Fire Twucks has never been so adorable).
*End of Spoiler*
That's what I like about the manga, good character arcs. However, there are some characters, whose motives we are never disclosed to. Like that Vintage devil from the later arcs (Do-M, as they say), or that aforementioned Bitch from ten years ago.
Enjoyment - 8/10
Overall, I enjoyed the manga. Other than the fact that it is a Harem manga, it had great characters, a good premise, and a lesson for everyone to take home. I have to admit I was drained from reading a whopping 271 chapters in approximately 11 days. I have to admit I enjoyed a good chunk of it, and I wasn't afraid of discussing it (I even discussed some memorable scenes in Chapter 121 and 207, in particular)
Overall - 8/10 (Raw Score - 8.25)
Do I recommend it? If you like the harem genre, Definitely. If you're tired of the common harem genre tropes, HELL YES!! Just be careful, you might find a trope or two, but that's what it is, a trope or two. The lesson I learned today,
DON'T READ AND ACCEPT SUSPICIOUS E - MAILS!!!!
Yeah, Didn't see THAT life lesson, did ya?
We love cute couples and following the development of their relative relationships in our favorite manga series. But let's turn up the heat, and see what happens when characters have more than a singular love interest. Let's enter the wild world of the harem manga!