WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? – Mid Season Anime Review
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Synopsis: The fleeting and sad story about little girls known as fairy weapons and an associate hero that survived. This is a world after it was attacked by unidentified monsters known as beasts and many of the species in the world, including humans, had been destroyed. The species that had managed to survived left the ground and were living on a floating island called Regal Ele. Willem Kumesh, wakes up above the clouds 500 years later and couldn’t protect the ones who he wanted to protect. Actually, he was living in despair because he was the only survivor. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: WorldEnd opens with a potentially unique premise. Willem, the last man on Earth, finds new cause to live as he helps a band of young girls survive a harsh existence. The trouble is WorldEnd’s more unique take gradually comes to mirror near every other fantasy light novel adaptation by introducing elements that peg Willem as the sole hero that can save these girls, a common trope in the medium. As the series enters its back half, we’re introduced to a plethora of reveals that take WorldEnd from its unique position and set it right among the rest of the classic fantasy anime fare. It becomes like all the others– a power fantasy where the lead is the only one truly capable of saving the day. And while it’s important the hero remain relevant and at the center of the story, Willem becomes the center of the world.
Linny: It is indeed disappointing how WorldEnd goes from being this crazy universe brimming with mystery to becoming like almost every other fantasy post apocalyptic story where the male lead is the centre and solution to everything. Also, at this point, it’s become clear that the doomsday scene at the very start of the show was a flash forward. So one would sort of expect one of the main points of WorldEnd’s story to be about making Willem and the audience grow fond of the girls so that the tragedy shown would have a lot of impact when it finally happens. Unfortunately, the show does a horrid job of that, barely developing any of its characters besides Willem and Chtholly and making it hard for the viewer to care about everyone’s ultimate fate. WorldEnd also decides to randomly give you an episode full of exposition and answers mid season in the most crude manner ever, making the episode feel like a poorly executed exposition dump than an informative and shocking reveal.
Tom: Despite it’s failings, WorldEnd’s setting remains interesting. A world that exists past the fall of man and struggles with its own potential apocalypse leering on the horizon. Trouble is the story isn’t content with that, seeking to tie Willem into the very foundation of this new world, making all of his past experiences and troubles the very ground work for what’s wrong with this world. So focused is WorldEnd on making Willem Omni-important, it takes focus away from the more emotional beats. There’s a big development in episode six, hinted at in episodes prior, but the focus is so shifted away from it that the emotional impact is non-existent as barely any time and dramatic attention is afforded to the characters rather than building the series’ increasingly Willem centric setting.
Linny: WorldEnd had a lot of potential as a mystery but I cannot decide if it’s clever storytelling or horrid storytelling that leaves so many questions up in the air about its world and characters. Also, WorldEnd does such a poor job of answering those mysteries and what answers it does give are so cliched, you’re likely to be left unimpressed and wishing they’d remained mysteries.
Tom: Chtholly, our lead heroine tasked with fighting back the terrible monsters plaguing this world’s population, grows increasingly needy and childish over the first half of the series, losing her more independent aspects in favor of her budding relationship with Willem, one that straddles the line between seeing him as a father figure or a lover. It’s a struggle the series never really sides one way or the other on, making her intimacy with Willem confusing or even off putting. The rest of the girls get so little focus, so little exploration, that they start to feel more like window dressing in order to flesh out the morbid, depressing atmosphere or perhaps even act as shocking stock deaths for later on when we finally reach the events of the flash forward from episode 1.
Linny: It’s clear that the other girls in the show are meant to be window dressing like Tom said just from their appearances. Most of the little girls seem to have the same colour hair as their dresses and the most basic of designs and features. Considering the show shafts all of them in favour of developing Chtholly, it’s disappointing to see her devolving into this needy and bratty girl whose main ambition now is becoming Willem’s lover. In her defence, there is of course this other plot line about her discovering new and scary things about herself, which should hopefully turn out to be more interesting than her chasing Willem. It also doesn’t help that, like Tom said, Willem keeps switching between mentor, father figure, friend and lover roles making the whole romance feel more creepy/weird than heartwarming.
Tom: Overall WorldEnd is a good idea done poorly. So much focus is put on making Willem relevant that he becomes omnipresent, a crucial figure in the very formation of this world that exists hundreds of years after his life ‘ended.’ He turns into a classic fantasy anime hero who the entire world revolves around, damaging the initial appeal of the series. This is coupled by too much focus on world building and not enough on the emotional core. While the world remains interesting, it’s usually the characters that keep an audience engaged, but without the proper follow up, none of these emotionally impactful developments actually hit home.
Linny: WorldEnd starts off brimming with mystery and flaunting a unique world and society. However, as its mysteries are unraveled, the show reveals itself to be full of cliches that are abound in similar stories. Its reveals are executed poorly, which further ruins their impact, leaving viewers with a story they’ve seen before and characters they can’t bring themselves to care about thanks to either generic, bad or non existent development. If you’re someone who just cannot get enough of these stories set in troubled times and in a fantasy setting, WorldEnd might still entertain you as it does have all the staples of one. But if you are tired of omnipotent heroes and apocalyptic fantasy worlds, WorldEnd might be best left off the watch list.