My reaction to The World God Only Knows

December 14, 2010

Prompted by Author's entry:

A story like TWGOK generally lives or dies based on how interesting you find the character of the week (or couple of weeks) whose story is being explored, and so my initial interest was because the first girl that Keima had to deal with had an interesting story. The second character looked promising, but I dropped the show shortly into the third episode when I wound up feeling that she was an unsympathetic idiot and I didn't care what her story was or what happened to her.

(The bigger story of TWGOK concerns Keima and Elsie, but you have to get through the girl of the week before you get to it. This is much like magical girls shows with their monster of the week and slow character development for the protagonists, just with more angst. If I had thought of this analogy ahead of time, I might have realized that I was never going to stay with TWGOK; constantly wallowing in someone's angst is fundamentally actively disinteresting to me.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2010-12-15 09:08:27:

I've been reading the manga for a while, so I tried out the anime, but it's such an exact recounting of the manga it's impossible for me to tease the two apart, and I can't even judge how the anime stands on its own.

In the manga, I'd say about half of the girls-to-be-conquered are interesting and about half are blah, but the manga has slowly drifted from girl-of-the-week as the mythology and Keima's character have developed, but who knows what the anime will do.

That said, is it really character-of-the-week? My vague recollection of the anime structure is:

ep 1: first girl

ep 2,3: second girl

ep 4: no girl

ep 5,6,7: third girl

ep 8: no girl

ep 9,10,11?: fourth girl

It's still an episodic "character of the week" structure in one sense, but there's enough time spent on each one that, I dunno if that's maybe oversimplifying.

- nothings

By cks at 2010-12-15 11:03:20:

This is the point where I wave my hands, because what it comes down to is that it feels like a 'girl of the time interval' show (sensibly broken up by episodes where we do not have to be dealing with someone's angst). I think that a good part of this is that the girls don't stick around after their episode(s), and they seem to basically be interchangeable in terms of what's wrong with them. Yay, another girl that has another daemon because she has some hidden angst or trauma.

I kind of want to write something coherent comparing this aspect of TWGOK with Bakemonogatari, which partly has the same structure but is, to me, much much more interesting. My current short summary of the differences is that first, the girls in Bakemonogatari stick around and (vastly) influence further stories, and second, what's 'wrong' with them varies a lot.

From at 2010-12-16 02:38:40:

I think that a good part of this is that the girls don't stick around after their episode(s), and they seem to basically be interchangeable in terms of what's wrong with them.

Both of these become less true over time in the manga, though. (Unfortunately just saying this is technically a spoiler, but hopefully not a significant one.) But it seems like it would take many seasons of anime to get there (i.e. never). So if you don't like it as is it certainly wouldn't be worth waiting for.

And certainly the basic structure of a new-girl-of-the-interval with some problem for Keima to tackles remains common for quite a while, even if the way he tackles them gets some variety, and the excursions from that structure last longer. (A quick checkpoint: the third girl arc ended in manga chapter 10 and anime ep 7; scanlations are up to chapter 124. I really don't remember when we started getting things like the girls returning somewhat, the backstory, and the other less girl-of-the-week elements. It could have been chapter 20 or chapter 50 for all I know.)

Written on 14 December 2010.
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Last modified: Tue Dec 14 22:34:12 2010
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