“The World God Only Knows” – chapter 112. Suggested to me by a friend of a friend, I didn’t trust this manga much at first. The theology is convoluted (and, to Christian understanding of basically anything, flawed), the tactics are overblown, and there are boatloads of cute girls with little development on the part of the main character, Keima.
But finally, around chapter 112, we’re getting some development and I remember why I kept reading this series even after a tricksy virus infected my computer while reading it on MangaFox. (Note: Never click anything on a box that asks if you want to navigate away from this page. TaskManager, close browser, restart. DON’T CLICK.)
Keima is a hardcore galge (dating sim type) player, with no interest in flawed real women. Blah blah blah, stuff happens, collared into “capturing” the hearts of real women to free them from evil spirits. It is a harem manga, but for once, it’s drawing out the emotions of the male protagonist rather then beating down the skirt-chasing pervert (i.e. Love Hina, Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku).
It’s been done, of course, but TWGOK is unique in that Keima has no affections for any one “real” girl in particular. Like none. Like, no sex drive, none.
But, as Akari notes in the latest chapter, “you have no control over your emotions.”
And this gave me pause.
The emotional stunting brought on by playing dating simulations, and being allowed to emote freely and connect with “girls” without the possibility of being truly rejected, has left Keima with no control of when he feels things that don’t help him. In games, there is time-lapse, there is an infinite lull of when and what to choose to say.
His successes with previous captures have left him feeling confident in himself and his abilities, but when faced with his own (not women’s) unpredictable emotions, Keima throws fits or hesitates. It becomes “the world god only knows” because Keima is the only one living in a world where emotions can be parsed out over time, letting him plot the next move.
And when he doesn’t have that time, it becomes the world that traps him.