Posted by psgels on 22 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

Manglobe is quite possibly one of the top five of best production companies out there (for me, at least). They’ve produced some truly unique and engaging series, but unfortunately those turned into a commercial flop. Especially Michiko e Hatchin and Sarai-ya Goyou didn’t sell well at all. So yeah, they’re also making mainstream moe shows now.

The World God Only Knows, at first sight I wasn’t really looking forward to a show that starred a guy who was the world champion of playing dating sims, but really: it’s not a bad show at all. Its big problem however is that it’s completely redundant in just about every way. “Underwhelming” is the best way to phrase this show.

This first season consists out of four main arcs, all separated by a side-story episode. The side-stories are meant to flesh out the cast and look at the nature of dating sims, while the main arcs feature Keima, the protagonist, as he has to try and get a kiss from a cute girl that has some sort of problem. They form the main meat of this series, and therefore it’s a big problem that most of them just aren’t interesting. The idol and rich girl arc in particular are very poorly characterized, with shallow developments. The the first one is probably the best, and the last one has its charms, but also leaves a lot to be desired. At first sight, these girls all try to be different from the usual stereotypes, but half the time they don’t get anywhere.

All of this isn’t really helped by a dull lead couple. Keima at first sight looks like an interesting yet eccentric character, but his delivery feels just uninspired. His voice acting is bland and lacks subtlety and the only part at which he’s really interesting is in the very first episode. Elcea, his female co-star is a terrible character, though: she’s the only thing about that series that’s genuinely bad. Her whining never seems to stop. She’s a completely annoying klutzy airhead with no likable traits whatsoever. The creators also try to use her in an attempt to parody the moe genre, but completely fail at this, playing everything she does straight, from trying to “bond” with her brother while bathing, having terrible cooking and tripping and falling at random moments. A parody actually requires a good joke to work, dear series!

In the end, what keeps this series afloat is its structure: it doesn’t forget what it is, and is constantly comparing the world of games with the real world. The characterization may leave a lot to be desired, it does bring some interesting stuff to the table. In particular there is one very impressive episode that analyzes broken games that is by far the best episode of the series. This solidness is what kept me from dropping this series and what actually might make the second season better. Still, anime needs to stop making these series that only suffice to build-up. There are plenty of ways that you can make your story exciting while building up at the same time.

Storytelling: 7/10 – With the occasional exception, slow and dull delivery.
Characters: 7/10 – Mediocre voice acting, shallow characters, really annoying Elcea.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Without a doubt, this is the ugliest series that Manglobe ever produced. The animation not bad and has its moments, but those are few and far inbetween.
Setting: 8/10 – The attention to dating sims saves this series from being a complete waste of time.

NHK ni Youkoso
White Album
Kuchuu Buranko

19 Responses

  1. Avatar Solaris says:

    Well, very well indeed. You said the first episode is actually the best one, but i actually found it pretty terrible. I wonder how bad would the others would be now.

    it doesn’t forget what it is, and is constantly comparing the world of games with the real world
    About making fun of games, i can’t say anything about this serie, but an actual attempt that resulted pretty well is Oreimo. That serie had other major big flaws, but often it’s played as a game with choices and such or portraying what’s actually happening via game sequences, and that was really interesting.

  2. Avatar Firechick says:

    Meh. I never really felt that this series was worth getting into for me. No offense to fans. Like he said, looks a bit too moe and redundant for my tastes.

  3. Avatar Angela says:

    Although I am a huge fan of the manga, I’m not happy at how this turned out. My god, could they make Elsie any more of a moe blob? Ugh. Just ugh. But there are moments for me where the show does shine through, but nothing that really kept me watching the series. It’s really relying on its manga counterpart to keep the fanbase going, IMO. I doubt that the second season will be any better, but luckily the characters that Keima interacts with get more interesting, so there’s something to look forward to.

  4. Avatar Sapphire says:

    “Mediocre voice acting, shallow characters, really annoying Elcea”

    And you rate it a 7/10? :O How about 4/10, it fits your description better.

  5. Avatar Sapphire says:

    “Mediocre voice acting, shallow characters, really annoying Elcea”

    And you rate it a 7/10? :O How about 4/10, it fits your description better.

  6. Avatar Solaris says:

    Sapphire, didn’t you learn anything about Psgels crazy ratings? Just ignore them and stick with its judgements XD

  7. Avatar c160 says:

    I didn’t continue watching this series since I’m reading the manga too,but did Elcea get more screen time in the anime or something? Since in the manga she’s still around but usually just barely noticeable in the background helping Keima out by using her robe thing.Or is it just me who kept ignoring her 0.0

  8. Avatar Monad says:

    I love Manglobe animes. Samurai Champloo, Ergo Proxy, and Michiko e Hatchin are masterpiece for me. I want a new original manglobe anime! T_T

    The Sacred Blackshit is the worst manglobe series (lame story) but I really like Sarai-ya Goyou and The World God Only Knows and I can’t wait for season 2.

  9. Avatar Roldan says:

    yeah i dropped it when they were on Kanon. I mean i’ve really started started to hate anime with a j-pop song in them. I don’t mean when they insert it like if someone is alone and starts sings, no i mean when you get a concert and everything that usually happends there and we can all blame K-On! and its huge success.. Also Kanon had some of the creepiest fans, did we really get an old guy with a mustache that should’ve been that rich girls butler as a fan. Are there really 65+ fans out there in japan that dress like an otaku? Btw i liked the opening, not the music but the video’s pretty interesting.

  10. Avatar Scruffy says:

    @Sapphire, The fact that it wasn’t dropped suggests that it’s going to get more than a 5. I don’t think this was a bad anime, but it wasn’t as good as it could have been. Plus that last episode was just wierd :S

  11. Avatar akani says:

    @Roldan I actually liked Kanon’s arc a lot. The ending in particular was really beautiful. I don’t get why you’d hate concert scenes just because of K-ON!. Also, Kanon is an idol, and every idol is bound to have otaku fans because they appeal to that type of audience.

  12. Avatar akani says:

    @Roldan I actually liked Kanon’s arc a lot. The ending in particular was really beautiful. I don’t get why you’d hate concert scenes just because of K-ON!. Also, Kanon is an idol, and every idol is bound to have otaku fans because they appeal to that type of audience.

  13. Avatar akani says:

    Crap, I double posted. Ignore the above.

  14. Avatar dthiswhtuseek says:

    well, i liked a good deal of the series, but then i’m about as judgmental as a toe stub, either way, i’m a manga reader of the series and i’m quite looking forward to season two. But manglobe is also going to be animating Deadman wonderland so i’m pretty worried about over all production quality of both series at this point

  15. Avatar Bear says:

    Man, I don’t know what it was about this show but it’s been awhile since I’ve found getting through one short series so painful. I’m sure it’s a matter of personal taste, but for me this series doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Squid Girl, let alone get such a close score. The only good part of the series for me is that Kana Hanazawa voiced one of the characters… everything else was bleh.

  16. Avatar Marlon says:

    Heheh.. I kinda liked the premise of this anime, but Elcea as been working in my nerves so badly that I wonder if I’m actually gonna bother with a second season

  17. Avatar TempestGarden says:

    I stayed with this series and finished it. I was mostly underwhelmed by it overall. In all honesty, I think the worst thing about this series is that there is going to be a second season. Why must these studios prolong mediocrity?

  18. Avatar gandalf8 says:

    I’ve been an avid follower of the manga, but I just stopped watching it after episode 3 or 4. By most peoples comments, it seems I did the right thing. If the 2nd season continues like this one without any improvements, I’ll just concentrate on the manga then.

  19. Avatar Cicero says:

    Well… I think there were two major flaws with the anime.

    One is left over from the manga, in that it took the author a few arcs before he figured out what the heck he was doing. The interesting part of the story doesn’t start until the Haqua arc (when Elsee has to do the capturing). After that there are a whole assortment of interesting twists, such as Keima having to play the distressed damsel instead of the hero. Then there’s when the early girls all start popping into Keima’s life again and giving him a headache. The recent part of the manga were he decides he’s had enough of these loose spirits and dealing with them one by one- he is going to become proactive instead of just reacting. Or the aggressive girl that completely unnerves him.

    Because the anime decided to be a faithful adaption we got all the early arcs, and they aren’t as interesting as the later ones. Plus we didn’t get to the Haqua arc which all the manga fans were in agreement had to be the most logical ending point for a first season.

    The other problem is that they toned down Keima jerkass screw-the-world attitude. Keima isn’t a normal protagonist that you identify with. He’s more like Ferris Bueller, and we are all Cameron Frye. We find him irritating and yet, intriguing. We roll our eyes at him, but we can’t stop watching.

    The Keima in the anime only shows that level of jerkass charisma occasionally. Partially this is because Madhouse decided to develop the girls more instead of focusing on Keima (that and they moeified Elsee from being a parody of moe to actually being moe straight). It makes for better arcs, but leaves us without the interest in seeing what trouble Keima gets up to next.

    Bluntly, I think Madhouse was a little too focused on exploiting the merchandise potential. Not that I’ll mind if it generates enough profits to get us deeper into the story and on too the good stuff. But I’ve been hearing that sales are not that good.

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