I really like The World God Only Knows’ manga, but the animated adaptation has fallen flat for me. One of the reasons, I feel, is that a lot of the humor has been lost in the transition to television. The creators of the TV show seem to think that capturing the girls is actually important: in the manga, it comes across more as simply a device (and a stupid one at that) to make fun of Keima and galges, at least until the latter chapters which this series hasn’t gotten to. I don’t care about the girls Keima is capturing, I want to see what idiotic things Keima will do. How is it even possible to take luring out loose souls to stuff it into a giant vacuum bottle seriously? The only part of this season that I found funny was the last episode, especially the Gundam parody.
The second issue I see with the anime is the pacing. It just feels like they could tell the entire story in half the time. Do they really need three episodes for every single girl, especially when they aren’t using the time to make me laugh about Katsuragi? They seem to feel the need to dedicate at least one episode to each girl’s internal monologue about her problems. This is said so often I’ll risk sounding trite, but “show, don’t tell.”
Lastly, the characterizations of Keima and Elsie seem off to me. Particularly Elsie: in the manga she is a complete joke whose only valuable functions are holding the capturing bottle and drooling over fire trucks. Here, again, the creators seem to want to take her seriously. Part of the problem is that she’s even more annoying when she actually has a voice. For Keima, again, they try to take him too seriously, but another issue is his casting. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but his voice just doesn’t fit my image of him.
Whining about how the manga is better aside, the biggest problems are that the show just isn’t all that funny, drags on and on, and in terms of a plot, nothing really happens that isn’t reset within three episodes. There are some good points to the series, just don’t set your expectations too high. The second season was better than the first, if only for the addition of Haqua. If it’s an option, I’d recommend reading the manga over watching the anime.
- Plot / Script – 6 / 10 – Too slow and not funny enough.
- Characters – 7 / 10 – God is not extreme enough, Elsie is annoying, all the supporting characters get a few episodes and get ditched.
- Production – 6 / 10 – Very underwhelming.
- Overall – D
Recommendations – Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, Welcome to the NHK