First Look: WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?

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Alternative title(s): Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?, SukaSuka
Light Novel Adaptation by Satelight
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

500 years ago, humans were wiped out in a war against the beasts, who know control the world. A man thought to be last surviving human takes a job as caretaker of a group girls with powerful abilities. That’s about all I can figure out from the first episode.

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Jel’s verdict: What do you do when there’s a bad season? Do you settle for an average show? Will it save us?

I’m grading on a curve as we get late into our Spring season First Looks, but I guess this was OK? A show based on a light novel that managed to pique my curiosity and avoid grossing me out seems noteworthy at this point, so credit where credit is due. The episode accomplishes this by following our favorite “show don’t tell” rule of good storytelling. The very first thing you see is an intense battle where presumably all the characters are dying, with no further context. Was this the battle the humans lost in the past or is this a glimpse of some horror in the future? That question isn’t answered, and so right away you’re concerned for the cast as you meet them.

The world itself is also a bit different than what we’re used to. We are thrust into a strange fantasy setting where humanoid animals and monsters make up the majority of the population and humans (or those that look like them) are shunned. Again, only some very basic information about some kind of war 500 years ago is given but no real explanation about who was fighting or how things have turned out the way they did. Normally I try to avoid this much recapping of the episode, but I think that’s the best way to explain why I thought WorldEnd was interesting: you’re given clues and a reason to care about putting them together.

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Of course just being “interesting” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”, and I do forsee some potential issues. For one, the main character is acting as some kind of father figure for a group of very young girls. Something about the idea of a lone male figure coming in as the guardian and savior of these poor helpless females rubs me the wrong way. There’s also the whole “last man on Earth” angle that just lends itself to making the girls want him. I hate that I have to be cautious when these kinds of situations pop up in anime, but would I be shocked if this tried to turn into some kind of harem situation? Probably not. To be fair the only romantic implications were with the oldest girl who seems to be near adult age, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

My bigger concern is that while I appreciate the “less is more” storytelling and interesting premise, the setting still has a generic fantasy vibe to it. The character designs are pretty bland and the visuals are your typical anime interpretation of historical Not-Europe. I felt like my brain was on auto-pilot watching it and I kind of got bored through stretches of the episode. WorldEnd catches your attention early but they’ll have to step things up to keep it in the long run. Maybe the story will be strong enough to work past the possible pitfalls, but for now I will cautiously check out another episode and see how it goes.

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6 thoughts on “First Look: WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?

  1. There’s definitely a wait and see element to this. While I was pleasantly surprised by the first episode and quite enjoyed it that was more likely a reaction to the fact that I was expecting another round of Light Novel lameness similar to several other shows I’d already endured first episodes of.

    • Yeah, like I said I might have just been worn down from all the bad shows I’ve seen this season. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. I’ve seen many different outlets calling this interesting and worth checking out/ wait-and-see, but for the life of me I can’t get behind a show whose otaku-assigned portmanteau is SukaSuka

  3. “last man on Earth” premise, light novel adaptation and a harem? Red flags errrrywhere. I’ll pass and let you lads do the sifting. If you are still on this show after 3 eps I may give it a chance.

    • That might be me being overly cautious, the first episode doesn’t go down that road at all. But I can’t rule out the possibility that it will eventually either.

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