The final verdict is that I’m glad that I have watched World End. Admittedly, the show was far from perfect, but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. However, I don’t have any plans to watch it again (ever).
The Pretentious Babbling
While this anime had a lot of great scenes, these were overshadowed by the bad parts. There’s no denying that this could have been a gem, rather than the chaos it ended up being. Its inconsistency both story-wise and character-wise was, probably, its biggest flaw. And the existence of a filler episode in a one-cour series (which was the point where the series hit rock-bottom). Although the series made a miraculous recovery after episode 5, the damage had already been done and I had already suffered.
The colours that were used for the animation were mostly pastel colours, which I adore (who doesn’t like pretty colours?). Special attention goes to the backgrounds, since those were stunning at times. Especially the dream-world in which Elq lives is amazing. It reminded me of a toned-done, low-budget version of the Mononoke series (Okay, this comes across as criticism rather than the compliment it’s supposed to be). The way the mental disintegration was portrayed was cliché, but well executed, and I liked those little sequences a lot. The only thing that bugged me about the animation were the eyes -or rather; the inconsistent eyelashes. For close-ups they were a collection of lines, but for greater distances they were a thick black line. Which is fine if you pick one and stick with it (and don’t change suddenly between two frames because the distance is increasing and apparently we just crossed the assigned distance for them to change). Oh, I shouldn’t forget the CG spaceships, now that I think about it. Sometimes those amazing CG spaceships filled the screen leaving me in awe or horror (awestruck in a bad way). Either case; it was bad enough to be noticeable.
Story and Characters
Story wise, I think that episode one, two and six up to ten were good. Starting from halfway through episode six up until episode ten, the atmosphere of the anime was very tranquil and peaceful (with the occasional bit of mental disintegration), which was absolutely fantastic. However, this part which I had wanted a lot more of, was surrounded by over-the-top drama and episode 5 (which was the worst episode I had the pleasure of watching since those detective filler episodes in Bleach) happened too. Fantasy stories with an isekai-like protagonist aren’t my cup of tea, probably because I’m not in the target audience, but I do like a good romance story. And I’ll be honest, while it felt forced at the start, I started to root for Willem and Chtholly after a while (somewhere in episode 6, to be exact). Then those last two episodes happened in which everything went to shit, but okay, I got 5 great romantic episodes out of it, which was absolutely wonderful.
Automatically that means that I had grown quite fond of both Willem and Chtholly too (and a lot of the side characters, because a lot of them were equally great and also deserved a protagonist spot in my opinion). because compared to Phyr almost every character is well-written and nicely fleshed out (I’m not harbouring a grudge or anything). I wouldn’t call them great characters, but I enjoyed watching their antics, which is the most important thing for me.
I’m not the sharpest crayon in the box nor the sharpest tool in the shed, so I always like it when series take that into account and give me some information and clues on events and the world itself. World End showed great skill in overexplaining the things I didn’t care about, while keeping me in the dark about the things that were important to the story (that’s called suspense, I have heard (although suspense of disbelief might be closer to the truth in this particular case)). I still don’t know why they didn’t purchase a big can of pesticides to deal with the plants.
On a more serious note; while world building doesn’t hinge on the amount of explaining done, World End just omitted the explaining-part completely in order to force as much of its source material in those 12 episodes as was humanly possible.
The Last Episode
In my opinion, the last episode is incredibly important, because that’s an excellent opportunity for an otherwise great series to leave a bitter aftertaste. World End didn’t have to worry about that, since episode 11 had made crystal clear that I was probably in for food poisoning on top of that bad aftertaste.
I’m not sure what to think of the last episode, since it was an appropriate ending for a series, but I still dislike it. Mostly because I hate bad endings. A lot. A super lot. So, I would totally want my money back if I had invested any in this, because bad endings simply aren’t acceptable (objectively speaking, it was a decent ending. The person who decided to drop a cliff-hanger right at the end there should be fired, but other than that it was a solid last episode).
I’m going to leave a comment here on your review since it seems like our timezones are the complete opposite so I rarely see you around in discord :o
I really liked reading your review after all the other ones, including mine, had slightly more… red scores. Especially because SukaSuka has a decent rating on MAL and I wanted to see that score justified. I cut it out of my review and replaced it with a short sentence instead, but I originally had a whole paragraph talking about how I really wanted this series to be good. Every single episode there would be little bits and pieces of something really cool. I think your review does a great job of portraying those little pieces of good that this series did have.
I find it interesting that you say you dislike the ending because you hate bad endings. I’m usually a fan of bad or bittersweet endings and I didn’t like the ending either. It’s not a bad ending because of the post credit scene and it’s not a happy ending because, well, it just isn’t. It’s like they ended up satisfying nobody by being so wishy-washy about it.