It’s been 14 years since The World Ends With You graced us with its Nintendo DS gaming presence. Billed as a pretty unique JRPG, it featured a lovely 2D art style, great 2D JRPG combat, and the fact that you need to equip fashionable clothing to stay ahead of the competition stats-wise.
The anime adaptation that launched its first episode recently isn’t going to have our main characters play dress up (for now), but it’s a lovely action-packed ride that opens with a battle against creatures called Noise that reside in this “death” dimension our heroes are stuck in.
See, our protagonists Neku (the amnesiac) and Shiki (female protag with a stuffed toy) have to team up and participate in the week-long Reaper’s Game; complete objectives to erase the death timers on their hands and survive the ordeal. The rules are explained along the way through a number of exposition bouts, but they’re kept to a minimum and do not get in the way of the animation.
Coupled with a nifty soundtrack that’s mostly from the game, and you have a shonen anime from Square Enix that gives a good first impression. Nintendo DS boomers will get a kick out of hearing the battle track “Calling” being played in the first-ever Noise battle with Neku and Shiki, myself including. Anime fans looking for an RPG adaptation “isekai” show set in contemporary Tokyo will find a lot to admire visual-wise.
The 3D animation work here is pretty awesome for the most parts, with the talking bits showing off the budget cuts. This is apparent when the Reapers are talking with Neku, Shiki, Beat, and Rhyme mid-episode in a story exposition bit concerning the Reapers’ Game rules. Otherwise, you’re here to see kids battle it out against animalistic Noises in spectacular sync fashion.
And that’s A-OK in my book because I can’t wait to see how the rest of the 11 episodes will pan out. Let’s hope there’s actual character development halfway through. You can watch the full first episode below: