Lately, I’ve been watching an anime called “The World God Only Knows” (referred to as TWGOK from here on in). For anyone who hasn’t seen or heard of it, I’ll give a brief plot explanation, without any spoilers (or, without anything you won’t learn in episode one). The anime follows the story of a “professional dating simmer” (this guy plays dating sims all but 24/7), Keima, who has become known famously online as “the god of conquest” for his ability to “conquer any girl”. In hell, some “souls” have escaped, and a demon, Elsie, is sent to capture them. Thinking the “god of conquest” is her best chance, she invites him into a contract – he, thinking it is a game challenge, accepts. Only after she explains what the reality is does he understand what he’s agreed to.
Bound by a contract that must be completed (or they will die), they have to find these loose souls and capture them. The problem is, these loose souls hide in people – people with spaces in their hearts (in the show, all females). Those spaces have to be filled – by love – before the soul will be pushed out and can be caught. Naturally, as a guy who lives on dating sims, the main character has hardly spoken to a real woman (and prefers those in his games). Yet, he has no choice but to help complete the quest.
Perhaps it’s my brain’s ability to make weird connections to things, but watching this anime, I can’t help but be reminded of our call as Christians to save the lost, and also the reminder that we are not battling an earthly enemy, but a spiritual enemy.
In TWGOK, the souls that inhabit people with emptiness in their hearts are meant to be those of demons. If left long enough, these souls can gain strength and manifest in the world. Ironically, this is fairly similar to how demons work, as far as we can understand from the Bible. Naturally, demons have one purpose – to aid the Devil in drawing us away from God. It is far, far easier to attack someone who has an “emptiness” in their heart, than it is to attack someone who has no room for a demon to get their foot in the door of your life.
The Devil knows each person’s weakness, and when someone is struggling it is like they have a temporary “emptiness” in their heart – that makes it that much easier for the Devil to find a way into their life. That “emptiness” can even be seen as not just a temporary struggle, but perhaps could be more representative of our lacking completeness if we have not accepted Christ. That doesn’t mean we don’t stop sinning once we accept Christ, or that we no longer ever have days where we feel “empty” and Satan starts to get his foot in the door again. However, like how the loose souls have to leave their host when their host begins to fall in love, Satan’s hold on us loosens the stronger our love for Christ becomes.
Another similarity between TWGOK and reality is what happens to those who are plagued by these demons. In TWGOK, someone who is hosting a loose soul tends to manifest strange habits or skills based on that loose soul. For example (MINOR PLOT SPOILER), one girl has the ability to split into two “people” (one is more of a ghost version of part of herself) because the loose soul clings to the emptiness she faces in feeling like two halves of her are at war. In reality, we can often see the outward signs in people’s lives when they have let Satan take control. For those who struggle with anger, we can see them either being angry all the time, or becoming two-faced – kind to those they wish to impress, angry towards others. For those who struggle with self-worth, we may see them begin to seek it in all the wrong ways – sleeping around, becoming vain or narcissistic, not eating, working out obsessively, etc.
In TWGOK, Keima (the male protagonist) is the reluctant hero. He hates that any time is taken away from his dating sims, and does not adjust well to the idea of interacting with real women. He instead tries to apply his dating sim logic to real girls in an attempt to fill their heart with love, thus releasing the loose soul so Elsie can capture it. Through all the episodes, though, his “PFP” (basically a PSP) comes with him everywhere. However, over time, he begins to find the accomplishment in helping the girls actually brings him some form of satisfaction – despite the fact they all forget him and he receives no thanks. I think we can all identify with him, to some degree, in our own “quest” as Christians to “save people from loose souls” (or basically to bring “lost” people to Christ). We all have our own lives. We all have our own hobbies. We all have plans when we get up for what we do and don’t want to do that day – and, by nature, those plans tend to be selfish. When dealing with the awkward debates, tense conversations about faith, and perhaps painful arguments we go through while attempting to lead people to Christ, I’m sure we all have times like Keima, where we’d rather just be doing what we want. I’m sure we also all have times where we give up, walk away, and think “what a waste of time. I could have done ____(insert a list of “more fun” things) during all that time instead!”
I’m sure that how Keima is forgotten with no thanks is how we sometimes feel after leading someone successfully to Christ – they perhaps “move on”, socially or to a new church, and don’t show the gratitude you feel you deserve for helping save their eternity. However, I’m also sure that we can be as strong as Keima. Even though he often doesn’t want to, it’s not convenient, it’s thankless, and it doesn’t feel very rewarding, he continues to save the people who are hosting loose souls. I’m sure we can keep on soul-saving for Christ, too, in that case. Sure, Keima had his life on the line – but for us, we have other people’s lives on the line. Or, rather, we have their eternities on the line.