Why you should read: The World God Only Knows

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Rarely do I finish a manga and feel wholly satisfied. I don’t know if it’s the norm for long running serializations, like for example Katekyo Hitman Reborn, but their eventual endings tend to range from mediocre to downright dissatisfying. This is especially unfortunate because some manga start off strong only to die off with a whimper. The manga I mentioned above, Katekyo, was one such manga.

The past week has seen me binge reading different series, some long and some short. One manga called Wolf guy started off brilliantly but ended in a way that left me annoyed. That annoyance was what led me to reread one of my favorite series – The World God Only Knows.

This manga is so. damn. satisfying. From the storytelling to the execution to the ending, it’s like the universe just knew what I needed. I believe this is my second time reading it but it didn’t matter because I couldn’t recall much of the major plot points, I felt like I was like discovering it for the first time.

Story

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The advantage of a being a popular, serialized manga is having the ability to flesh out the story as they see fit. While it might be unfair, a system that punishes its losers as much as it rewards its winners, I can’t help but be grateful for it because it gave us The World God Only Knows.

The story is mostly shown from the POV of our main protagonist, a hardcore enthusiast that specializes in gal games (video games that involve interactions with anime-styled pretty girls) who mistakenly accepts a devil’s contract to find and capture runaway devils. How? By conquering the hearts of the girls these devils hide in.

I wouldn’t blame people for immediately closing their browser after reading that summary. If I didn’t like the harem genre I doubt I’d have even read this manga.

But looks can be deceiving. The World God Only Knows is amazing in that although it uses typical anime tropes and clichés, it puts a fresh spin on it and creates omething special. Here’s a quote by Carlo Santos of Anime News Network on the anime adaptation:

“By most expectations, anything involving ditzy demon girls and gaming-obsessed geekboys and a rotating lineup of high school beauties should have been the stuff of critical derision. Yet the show’s sharp sense of humor, honest emotions, and polished production values prove that working with familiar clichés doesn’t have to result in a clichéd product. With the right prodding and poking, any anime series can indeed become greater than the sum of its parts.”

If the anime can be described as such, I can assure you that manga is twice as amazing. While the story does get slightly convoluted towards the end, I didn’t find it to be that bad overall. The important thing, to me at least, is that it still made sense and tied in to the plot. The mangaka also manages to avoid plot holes and finishes up the story in a spectacularly satisfying manner.

As you can tell already, I’d be sing praises for The World God Only Knows for as long as it takes to get you to read it.

Characters

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The main character is certainly one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever come across in a sea of uninteresting harem MCs.

Keima Katsuragi, also known as the ‘God Of Conquests’ in gaming circles, is one heck of a guy. Unlike your average harem protagonist, he actually puts in the work to get girls to fall for him. Girls don’t throw themselves at him just because he does something nice. Ignoring the fact he romances girls to exorcise the runaway spirits, it’s actually interesting to see him working his way into their hearts with his own brand of affection.

His personality might not be the best, but he doesn’t do things half-assed. Be it school work or devil hunting Keima puts forth his hundred percent if it’s something he needs to do. His analytic nature comes in handy when dealing with threats, and he’s not afraid to get out of his comfort zone (albeit with prodding) to get what he wants. It’s a nice change of pace to have a main character who isn’t ditzy or indecisive. Under the snark and gal games addiction, Keima is a catch, and the girls know it.

Speaking of. Each girl Keima ‘conquers’ has her own arc, and while some come and go, several have bigger and more important roles that tie in to the later part of the story. Another aspect that I thought was well done is the fact that even after their arcs, the manga doesn’t completely forget about them. One may say it’s because of plot, but I still thought it was a good attention for detail.

In addition, each arc is well-written and of varying lengths; some short and others, long. They explore each girl’s personality, and the ones who tie into the later story receive great development, like Tenri, one of Keima’s childhood friends.

Conclusion 

Even if you dislike the romcom/harem genre, I’d highly recommend to give this manga a try. This is an example of a harem done right.

Why you should read: Assassination Classroom

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Koro-sensei, the alien who will destroy the earth and your feels

Assassination Classroom is one of the best manga I’ve ever read. When you read the summary, the premise itself seems absurd. Is absurd. But the execution is brilliant and tells a story I never knew I wanted. I mean, an all-powerful alien that can destroy the earth becoming a teacher for a class full of misfits? Who thinks this stuff up?

In response to my skepticism, the universe delivers– giving my initial doubts a huge stinking finger in the process– because when you start reading Assassination Classroom, you realize that this manga is pretty damn awesome.

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Story wise, Assassination classroom is unmatched. While there were several ‘filler’ chapters those were few and far between. I would even go as far as to say that 95% of the manga is dedicated to plot building, character progression and such as such. Something I found really interesting about the story is the fact that the reader already knows what the ending will be. In the first few chapters of the manga, it is plainly stated that Koro-sensei will be killed.

The beauty of the story is that despite this, you can’t help but want to continue reading. I binge read this manga, finishing it in one night. I’m the sort of person that can’t help myself and things that captivates me can hold my attention until the very end. Assassination classroom does just that! Most of the arcs revolve around Koro-sensei helping his students overcome adversity but there is also a fair amount of intense, action filled ones that involve hitmen, parents and even the freaking army.

The manga also occasionally spoons out dollops of sage advice, especially in the last few chapters. I found myself agreeing with Koro-sensei more than once, and while I don’t have life experience in spades – I believe that the things said are pretty darn relatable. Even with the light-hearted atmosphere the manga doesn’t sugar-coat the advice it dishes out. Another reason to add to the list of ‘What makes Assassination Classroom amazing’.

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Now onto the characters.

The story is great but the characters are even better. I find that most manga fall flat when they have a large cast of characters but Assassination Classroom does not. The students are all developed and what’s amazing is that the development is actually shown. There’s no ‘off-screen’ development so to speak and exposition is rarely used, and this legitimately surprises and impresses me because of how well-thought out the whole thing seems.

I won’t be talking about the main characters since doing so will spoil the manga, its best if one reads it to find out for themselves. All I can say, is that character progression is stellar and well executed. And besides, this manga is infinitely more enjoyable when you go into it blind!

Overall, this manga should be on the top of your to-read list. Assassination Classroom also has an anime, so you can check that out if you prefer anime over manga. From what I hear, the anime is also pretty damn good and stays loyal to the manga, so I doubt that you’ll have any problems there.

10/10