Pleading the Case for The World God Only Knows

Is my title proper grammar? I said it in my head about a million times until “plead” didn’t even sound like a real word anymore. Oh well.

 

If there’s one thing I’ve come to acknowledge about myself, it’s that I tend to disagree with popular opinion quite often. I don’t do it purposefully to be all hipster or anything, nor do I do it to play Devil’s Advocate. I actually, genuinely, just don’t agree with popular opinion a lot of the time. There are exceptions; I like Madoka as much as the next anime viewer, but it seems like I disagree more often than not.

I was genuinely surprised when I found out most people didn’t like The World God Only Knows (at least from what I’ve seen in the aniblogosphere). Obviously I knew some people wouldn’t like it, but the sheer disgust I’ve seen people write about it absolutely boggled me.

So, I decided to explain some points that a lot of bloggers complained about, since it might offer a different perspective on the show. Unfortunately I read these a while ago, so I can’t attribute points to specific bloggers, but I’ll try and cover everything I remember. Also, I was originally going to write this content into my review of the second season, but I thought it’d be better spent in a post of its own (plus I’m impatient as hell).

Will this change your mind about the show? I don’t know, probably not. My goal isn’t to say, “YOU’RE WRONG, THIS SHOW IS AMAZING AND YOU’RE AN IDIOT,” all I want to do is offer a different perspective on certain points.

Before I start, I think it’d be a good idea to link this post right now. Now, Eternal made that post quite a while ago (I may be a relatively new blogger, but I’ve been lurker for much longer), and I’m linking it for two reasons. First, I’m going to be covering similar content, so I might skip over some points that he already addressed in more detail. Second, some of the people who posted a comment saying they were sold on the series are some of the people who ended up hating the show. It just confused me even more.

Anyways, I’ll get straight to the points because I’m starting to ramble (*shock and awe*). I’ll bold each point before I start it, and I’ll try to underline the more important parts in each point. I know how a lot of you love to skim, and I love to ramble, so I thought it’d be helpful.

 

1) “All of the girls are generic or cliché.”

This is by far the biggest complaint I see against the show. And you know what’s funny? It’s absolutely correct. The girls are supposed to be that way. Eternal mentioned in his post about the series also being parody, but didn’t go too in-depth with it. I’ll do so instead.

You see, The World God Only Knows is also a parody of galge. The explanation I’ll give is somewhat wordy, but I’ll try to make it as understandable as possible. Basically, the fact is that galge sells very well in Japan. Even people who don’t play it know about it (who HASN’T heard of Key?), it’s just that popular. This obviously means that people believe it has merit, or it wouldn’t sell so well. If you’ve ever played a galge (especially one that doesn’t focus entirely on the porn), you probably didn’t see much wrong with it, unless it wasn’t your kind of thing. You went through the different routes, did the different choices, etc. and possibly enjoyed it.

However, The World God Only Knows takes these concepts and applies them to reality (or, close enough to it). The concept of taking a girl’s personality, classifying it into the closest archetype you know, and then interacting with her based on that classification is something that people don’t so much as bat an eye at with galge, but once applied to reality, it becomes ludicrous. I mean, do you guys remember this scene from the first season?snap1

snap2

Talk about corny, right? No girl would take this seriously, they’d just laugh. But what actually happens?snap3

She just falls for him some more. This scene is practically ripped straight out of a galge, and by doing so, people realize how silly it actually is.

The character archetypes are also really only there to be made fun of. The main point to regard with the girls isn’t really how they currently act, but what caused them to act this way. That’s where the originality seeps out from the show.

I guess I could basically sum this up with a little clip from the wiki article for the series: “Aside from focusing on Keima and Elsie’s adventures on capturing spirits, the series also makes fun and parodying common and popular cliches about dating sims, anime character stereotypes, and pop culture.”

No, it doesn’t change the fact that these archetypes and such are there, but the point is that there’s a reason they are.

 

2) “Elsie is a dumb moeblob.”

Again, just like last time, you’re exactly right. The same concept with the heroines also applies to Elsie: she’s used to parody moeblobs.

Have you noticed how with most shows with moeblobs, nobody really seems to notice at all? They don’t question the character’s actions, they just shrug it off and everything continues on. However, in The World God Only Knows, everyone is very much aware of Elsie’s airheaded-ness. Keima berates her nearly every episode for something. It becomes even more prominent when Haqua shows up, whose refined and prideful personality is practically Elsie’s polar opposite despite the fact they’re friends.

Yes, her moeblob attitude is used for jokes occasionally, but they’re more for laughing at her rather than with her.

 

3) “Keima is NOT the second-coming of Lelouch!”

If there’s one thing I regret, it’s that Keima was hyped up to be Lelouch. Don’t get me wrong, he certainly does have his fair share of Lelouch moments when he shows off his incredible analytical thinking, but that’s not what he always is. Keima has an extravagant, nearly flamboyant personality. He yells to stress his points a lot, and gets shown in chibi-form a lot to add emphasis to whatever he’s doing.

It’s hard to pinpoint why he’s like this, but I’d say it’s due to the gaming. I’m a big gamer myself, and I acted a lot like Keima does in high school. Hell, I still sometimes do it. I don’t know what it is about being a gamer that does it to you, or if it’s related to gaming at all, but I can affirm that Keima’s personality isn’t baseless.

Also, another point to make about Keima is his whole interactions with girls in the show. Since he had been hyped as being nearly Lelouch status, most people figured he wouldn’t give two figs about real girls. So when he blushed and such during the first episode during his interactions with Ayumi, quite a few people were upset.

The fact is, he doesn’t care about real women. It wasn’t a lie.

For the most part, he only blushes during situations when he’s surprised, though there are exceptions. The reason there are exceptions is because while his heart is certainly dedicated to the gaming world, he’s still a teenage boy, people. His body and brain does not agree with his heart (or, wait, should brain and heart be reversed?). The point is, expecting him to be completely asexual is a bit unreasonable.

 

4) ” The humor in this show is terrible. Just a bunch of yelling.”

This is a point that’s impossible to argue. Everyone has their own sense of humor, so you can’t prove to someone that something is funny when they don’t think it is. However, the reason I’m addressing this is because the basis for the humor is actually not what people thought it was.

I already pointed out in the last one that the yelling and most extravagant moments were not actually comedic moments, but just Keima being Keima. I mean, sure, you can still find it funny or not, but the point is that it’s just Keima’s personality at work. It’s similar to Panty from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt swearing all the time. They weren’t meant to be comedic moments, Panty swearing in English all the time is just part of her personality.

The main humor in the show comes from the parodies, and other general humor that’s played out quite well usually. Though, obviously, it always comes down to personal taste.snap4

snap5

snap6

 

 

ENDING COMMENTS:

I hope this post has maybe shown people a different perspective to the series. Of course I don’t expect people to suddenly start loving the show, but I just wanted to address popular opinions floating around. I also may have missed a few points. However, that is what comments are for. If you agree, disagree, or have a different point to make about the show, go ahead and do so. I’ll address anything asked/stated, and if it’s a big point, I can add it into the post.

Though, I do have somewhat of a plea for people who don’t like the show or who have dropped it to give it another chance. I said earlier that the heroine personalities are for parodying purposes, but the further in you go, the more original they get and the less predictable the actual capture sessions play out.

So if I could make a request, start watching the second season starting when Haqua shows up and maybe a bit of Chihiro’s arc. If you don’t like what you see, then fine. But at least give the show another chance for when it starts relying more on originality rather than parodies.

Haqua should show up halfway through the second episode at the soonest, and the third episode at the latest.snap7

The useful thing about the story is that (at least for now) you can jump in at any point and not feel like you really missed anything.

 

Join me next time on “Riyoga Disagrees with Popular Opinion and Pisses People Off!” when I preview Dog Days!

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8 Comments on “Pleading the Case for The World God Only Knows”

  1. Marina says:

    Well, I think you chose to write this post at the perfect time with the airing of the 2nd season. I can see a lot of people already avoiding it because of many of the same ideas you raise and address in your discussion here. I actually avoided the first season for quite a while because I was turned off by the galge/harem aspect, but finally tried it out when I saw how much people liked it. I found it surprisingly entertaining with its parody. Sadly, my interest only held up for the first part, as I became less riveted with the following story arcs and annoying females.

    • Riyoga says:

      Ugh. The first part. Mio was my least favorite heroine. In fact, the first three heroines were all violent towards Keima now that I think about it… Pretty much none of the heroines afterwards are like that.
      The current heroine, Kusunoki, is actually also strong physically, but she never really abuses her strength, unlike the previous ones.

      I’m not kidding when I say each arc is better than the last, though. Kind of a given, since authors naturally improve, but from this point on, the heroines and captures get pretty interesting.

      Wait, did you actually finish the first season? If you did, I’m surprised you didn’t like Shiori.

      • Marina says:

        I did finish the first season, though I think the number one thing that annoyed me was that I could see no closure in sight. I wasn’t aware until the very last episode that a 2nd season was already scheduled, so I was kind of in panic mode about the open ending–thus ruining a lot of pleasure at the end with the Shiori arc. Now that I think about it again, I did like Shiori a bit, and definitely more than Mio or Kanon. Perhaps some other reasons for why the opening struck me more than the end included novelty, as well as strong female personalities (even if annoying, at least they act instead of sit passively). If there’s something I can’t stand, it’s an unmotivated character who watches the world pass by.

        This is also probably why Shiori greatly annoyed me at the start. I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop being such a mouse. I approved of her near the end of her arc when she finally gets a little bit of courage and starts speaking up. I’m a shy, bookworm girl myself, but I’m not afraid to voice my assents/dissents when necessary.

        I quite like the current heroine, Kusunoki. Though she’s currently narrow-minded about the “weak,” I approve of the way she attacks her fears head-on.

        • Riyoga says:

          Hmm… it’s not often I meet someone that liked the first arcs more than the later ones. They definitely were assertive, there’s no denying that.

          The author tries to tackle all kinds of character types for the series. It’s kind of funny, because a lot of the time in the extra manga chapters he talks about how certain characters are based on people he met in his classes at college. He said this for at least half the heroine cast.

          I used to have a fear of being misunderstood, just like Shiori, which is why I liked her so much. That and the now-famous Kana Hanazawa “AHOOOOO” and “BAKAAAAAAAA.” Though you do bring up a nice point. One of the biggest appeals for me is how the author takes these archetypes and finds ways to have characters get over them. Honestly, just that is probably what keeps me going. I’ve always been big on psychology and such.

  2. Vincent says:

    hm… i agreed with your points but the first season sucked anyway…

    In the first episode Manglobe change the first scene (in the manga is much funnier) and the final scene.
    In the second episode they cut the explanation for why loose souls attacks only girls.
    In the third ep they cut the scene where Elsie is jealousy of Keima and Mio
    the episode 4 and 12 was too long and a bit boring
    the changes in the episode 8 lost the true meaning of the fillers
    the Kanon and Shiori arc should be 2 episodes (god, 3 eps for them is so wrong) and the Kanon’s backstory and the memory scene (after the love song) in the end in episode 7 was stupid and unnecessary.

    The first ep of this new season was very good i hope Manglobe dont screw up

    • Riyoga says:

      I’m surprised that your arguments mainly deal with adaptation itself, because Manglobe has actually been very faithful in regards to this. A lot of the scenes literally look like manga chapters with color.

      1) Really? If you mean the scene with the teacher, that was very minor. They still kept the punchline. And I don’t recall the last scene being any different.
      2) They did, but it’s not really relevant since that never comes to pass. It’d be easy enough for them to add in the explanation if that situation ever does happen.
      3) Her being jealous wasn’t really even necessary. They kept the essential dialogue in.
      4) I’ll admit 4 dig drag on pretty long, but it was still amusing. 12 was actually one of my favorites, being a gamer myself. The ending also had me laughing for days.
      5) They did change the meaning, but I forgave them because they gave another two perspectives when the manga didn’t. It made it more amusing.
      6) Shiori in only 2 episodes? BLASPHEMY. And you read the manga, so you should know why they spent so much extra time on Kanon and gave her extra scenes.

      Even if you’re that conservative when it comes to the manga, I don’t see how those points are a big enough deal to make the first season suck for you. But hey, opinions are opinions, so who am I to say that?

  3. […] of real girls, as if they’re just as shallow as galge characters.  I suggest reading up on Riyoga‘s defense against many of the main complaints. You would cry, too, if you knew you were […]

  4. […] getting back on track. Remember back in the day when I wrote a post defending The World God Only Knows, saying why it wasn’t a bad show even though most people I came across said it was? Well, […]


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