Pleading the Case for The World God Only KnowsPosted: April 13, 2011
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?
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.
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.
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!