Original Run: April 11, 2017 - June 27, 2017 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance Based on the Series Created By: Akira Kareno and ue
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for WorldEnd – What are you doing at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?. Reader discretion is advised.***
After being trapped in ice for centuries, Willem Kmetsch (voiced by Ryouhei Arai) returns to a world where humanity has been wiped out, and the surviving races live atop islands that float above the clouds. Below, the surface is plagued with gigantic beasts that occasionally wreak havoc on the citizens of the sky.
To fight these monsters, Willem is sent to supervise a military weapons warehouse. However, instead of finding guns and bombs, Willem meets a group of young girls living happily and peacefully. Or, that is what it seems.
One of these girls is Chtholly Nota Seniorious (voiced by Azusa Tadokoro), and she tells Willem that she and the others are the weapons he must care for. Chtholly is the oldest of the beings known as Leprechauns, and their sole reason for existence is to die while battling the surface beasts.
Willem, though, refuses to accept such a situation, and he quickly becomes a father figure for the Leprechauns. And for Chtholly especially, Willem develops feelings he thought he lost long ago.
Deep breath now:
WorldEnd – What are you doing at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? (WorldEnd) was…it was…it was.
Sorry for the hesitation, but to be completely honest with you, I’m still not sure if I liked this show or not. Don’t get me wrong, there were aspects to this series that were excellent, and there was nothing about it which was an utter mess. There were moments during my viewing where I found myself fully invested in everything that was happening, and I can’t say I was ever bored.
However, I can’t say I was ultimately satisfied with WorldEnd either. I always felt I was missing something crucial; almost as if I had skipped something I shouldn’t have. I’ll return to this point later in the review, but I do ask you to be aware of it as you read the following.
What I do know with certainty, WorldEnd looked and sounded terrific. In that respect, this series was extremely well made, as well as very visually focused. Although action was apart of the story, over-the-top, flashy battles weren’t a priority. Yeah, fights – when they did occur – were pretty cool, but there was more to them than epic moves and big explosions. These scenes had much more meaning, and they were more pensive than they were exciting.
WorldEnd concerned itself on creating a somber atmosphere. This allowed this show’s world to be more engaging without it needing to rely on constant movement. This series’ pace was on the slower side of things, and that worked in its favor. After all, there is a difference between a story which takes its time and one that doesn’t move forward. And believe me when I tell you, this story definitely moved forward.
That was sort of the problem, but again, we will sit on that for now.
Aside from solid visuals and powerful music, WorldEnd’s best feature was its characters. To get straight to the heart of the matter, it was this show’s two protagonists Chtholly and Willem who led the charge. It was this pair that made this series as good as it was.
For Chtholly, you could see how a life of fighting and the weight of her impending demise affected her. For as long as she could remember, Chtholly had to watch as the people she cared the most about went off to die. Thus, when it became “her turn” to meet the same fate, her only option was stoicism. What made this tragic to watch was knowing how Chtholly’s supposed maturity was just an illusion. An illusion which Chtholly fell for the hardest.
Then when someone like Willem came along and said that way of thinking was a mistake, Chtholly, naturally, couldn’t accept such a notion. It meant everything she had done was wrong and the people who gave their lives before her had done so in vain. Conversely, when Chtholly did accept Willem’s words, she was trapped in a spiral of guilt. Why did she deserve happiness when others were never given a chance to find their own. And on top of that, what exactly was happiness?
With Willem, he was the byproduct of someone who not only fought their entire life but saw everything that was struggled for crumble away. He was alone with crippling regret, and for a long time, there was nothing to give his life meaning. Willem was a remnant of a forgotten past, and he was disconnected to the world he found himself in.
Therefore, when Willem came to the weapons warehouse and met the girls who lived there, he found something he was sure he had lost long ago: A place to call home. Then there was Chtholly who was battling on behalf of a world that saw her as an expendable tool and who was willing to sacrifice everything because she thought it was the only thing she could do. Given all the things he couldn’t protect and all the promises he was unable to keep, Willem attached himself to this person who didn’t know there was more she was capable of doing.
Willem saw in Chtholly, and she within him, a ray of hope for something better; something more meaningful. Something worth living for.
Watching these two characters grow closer together was what made WorldEnd a fascinating series to watch. Unfortunately, they were stuck in a story that was pretty damn hard to follow.
My dissatisfaction with WorldEnd came from its narrative. When I said this story was hard to follow, I didn’t mean it didn’t make sense. Instead, what I’m getting at is, if you were to tell me there was a prequel series to this show, that would explain a lot.
Almost from the very beginning, it felt as if there were aspects to WorldEnd that we, the audience, needed to have preexisting knowledge of, or things were simply missing altogether. That is why I could assure you this story never stagnated since it was something that can be far more annoying. It was constantly moving forward and leading us in a certain direction without fully explaining where it was going and why.
For instance, there was this child Chtholly would see in her nightmares. WorldEnd gave the bare minimum of explanations as to who this child was, but in doing so, it left many doors wide open. For every answer this show gave, ten new ones would come up.
Since I have never read WorldEnd’s original light novel, this is only a guess, but my gut is telling me the source story was far more detailed. I gather as much because, again, this show’s animation did illustrate a world that appeared filled with depth and personality. There was a history, and it seems as though the anime just glossed over it all.
To put it another way, think of WorldEndas someone explaining their road trip from Los Angeles to New York City. Right away, you know the general gist of how someone could get from one point to the other, and thus, it is okay if the storyteller takes big jumps along the expected route. However, when this person starts talking about what they did in London without explaining how they got there or why it’s important to the main story, how could you not get lost?
For WorldEnd, its leap to London can best be seen in the series’ final scene. What was shown must have had some sort of meaning, but nothing like it had been mentioned in the story before, and there was no context that would have made drawing conclusions possible.
WorldEnd, undoubtedly, had many positives to its name. Sadly, those positives were part of a narrative that made sense only to itself.
I’m not sure what to do.
On the one hand, this show was not bad. In fact, it was quite good overall and downright excellent in certain areas. The animation was beautiful. The music was lovely. The characters were interesting and well-crafted.
And yet, on the other hand, the story was easily the weakest link in this chain. But I suppose the narrative wasn’t broken, and that is important.
Therefore, I will be recommending WorldEnd – What are you doing at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise WorldEnd – What are you doing at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.