「死神ゲーム」 (Shinigami Game)
Subarashiki Kono Sekai the Animation was definitely a video game adaptation that was on my wishlist back when it came out. Although it took an upcoming installment in the series to bring the anime into the fold, it was a delight to revisit The World Ends With You and check back in with its stylish yet horrifying take on Shibuya as Shiki has to reluctantly ally with partners to survive the dire Reapers’ Game.
The first detail that stood out was how impressive the animation ended up being. It did a great job at replicating the game’s art style and retaining the spirit of a youthful punky Shibuya. It’s also nice that many of Takeharu Ishimoto’s compositions made it into the anime. My heart skipped a beat when they played “It’s So Wonderful” during the point where Shiki enters the fray, taking me back to when I powered through the game a decade ago. The Noise themselves might not be anything to write home about, but all I could expect for a TWEWY adaptation is to give me that intense nostalgic feeling, and it delivered with aplomb.
Neku also has a bit of a boost in the adaptation with the anime positioning him as a reluctant hero. This might be a double-edged sword since his standoffish “emo” behavior doesn’t come off as strongly as it did in the game, but it does remove a little bit of the charm from Neku being overbearingly obnoxious in his hatred for any kind of company. It makes it odd that Neku would get consumed with enough negative energy that he’d choke Shiki if you’re not conditioned to find him to be an unscrupulous cold-hearted jerk that hates the attention he gets.
At the same time, it’s nice that they were able to get most of the first few sections of the game right by virtue of focusing on how the more minute details like focusing on other civilians will yield you better results than charging head-on for a goal without an inkling of what to do next. The fights again were a bit of a slag considering all the CGI Noise, but it does remain true to all the swipes the players have to do in order to defeat them on the Nintendo DS touch screen.
There is plenty of potential for Subarashiki Kono Sekai the Animation. I’m hoping that we see more of the pin collecting that the game has to offer alongside the terrific Tin Pin Slammer, the only Squaresoft/Square Enix mini-game to rival Final Fantasy VIII Triple Triad. I’m also looking forward to seeing the reapers with each of the bosses having fun, quirky personalities. Overall, I’d say that I was pleasantly surprised that the anime adaptation’s first episode didn’t feel like it merely threw together some cheap junk and slapped “The Animation” onto the show as many video game adaptations do.