The World God Only Knows

aka “Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai”
Genre: Harem, Comedy, Meta
Score: Very Good

Keima plays dating sims and eroge with exceptional dedication; in fact, he’s known as the Capturing God for his ability to woo any 2D girl. An email arrives offering him a contract to “capture” girls, which he assumes is a game – but the email is actually from a demon. Now Keima must “capture” real life girls by making them fall for him, something he has no interest in at all.

This series has a wonderfully backwards concept. Keima not only isn’t interested but actively disdains real women, preferring to reside in his perfect 2D world. Each girl he must target is supposedly host to a runaway spirit from Hell – explains the incredibly cute demon Elsee – and to expel it from her heart he must somehow make the girl fall in love. With a kiss the runaway spirit will be recaptured and the girl will forget all about him.

He ruthlessly applies his game knowledge to each girl in turn, pointing out the clich├ęs and rehashed plots, the character archetypes and the correct strategy to proceed. In an attitude reminiscent of Light or Zero, he’ll declare partway through the story that he has seen the path to the end. Rather than being desperate, he generally employs a strategy first of being noticed for something outrageous, then of acting aloof and letting the girl come to him.

Despite the deception, this is actually a quite sweet and innocent series. Each girl’s seduction ends with a kiss, so there’s no fanservice as such. Keima wishes them no harm, in fact he personally wants as little to do with them as possible. And Elsee is the sweetest little demon ever (she cheerfully introduces herself to Keima’s mother as “your husband’s illegitimate daughter”).