The World Ends With You
The World Ends With You is an adventure RPG set in a fantasy version of Shibuya, Tokyo.
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Story & Themes
In the first part, Neku awakes in the famous Shibuya Scramble crossing intersection. He has no memories, but meets a girl named Shiki and must form a “pact” with her in order to fight the mysterious Noise (bad guys) that are attacking them. While exploring this strange version of Shibuya with Shiki—and growing closer to his new friend—Neku discovers that he has actually died, and he and Shiki are in the Underground (UG). They are being forced to play the Reaper’s Game, a game in which they must fight for the chance to return to the living. They have one week to do so.
Spoilers ahead! Unfortunately, after defeating the Boss, Neku awakes once more at the Shibuya Scramble. Shiki is not with him, because she was returned to life—however, because she had become the person Neku valued most, she was taken as an entry fee. Neku meets a new partner, Joshua, who is very much like himself—antisocial, and a loner. In the beginning, the two get along, Neku feeling that he has finally found a comrade who “gets” him, but he eventually grows suspicious. He begins reclaiming his memories, and they show Joshua shooting him.
It comes to light that Joshua is not actually dead, but rather he is Neku’s killer and he has hacked into the game. In the end, Joshua sacrifices himself to save Neku, though, and clearly cares for him.
Once again, Neku awakens in the Shibuya Scramble. He must find a partner quickly. He teams up with Beat, a young man with rough edges who had originally joined the Reapers—the ones who created the game. Although Beat had tried to kill Neku, Shiki, and Joshua many times, he appears to have defected. Neku finds out that Beat is on a mission to rescue his little sister, Rhyme, and decides to aid him in his quest.
Neku is briefly reunited with all of his friends before being separated and forced to fight what he believes is the Final Boss. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when it is revealed that this boss was the only opposition to the true enemy of Shibuya—Joshua. Joshua gives Neku a choice, and Neku refuses to shoot him. Instead, Joshua shoots him once again.
This time when Neku awakens in the Shibuya Scramble, he is alive. He meets up with all of his friends, now living, and reflects on everything that’s happened, and how much he’s changed. Joshua is seen watching them from the top of a tower, jealous of their bond and wishing he were with them, despite his sins. However, he has opted to save Shibuya from destruction; seeing Neku’s transformation over the past three weeks has restored Joshua’s faith in humanity.
Themes include the value of friendship, sacrifice, and love. Neku starts out emotionally distant and unlikable. He’s a bit of a jerk, to be honest. But his new friends help him grow and learn, and he comes to appreciate and value those connections. Betrayal is also a consistent theme, but forgiveness comes with it. In the end, everyone has the capacity to change for the better.
- Friendship is obviously a really important message in this game. Do you think friends can really change a person? Is this always a positive thing?
- Would you have forgiven Beat and/or Joshua for their wrongdoing? What's different about their situations?
- What makes Joshua the way he is? Is he a good foil for Neku, being so similar? What would you do if you met someone very much like you but they ended up being a source of negativity?
Action/Adventure, Role-Playing (RPG)
Interests / Subjects:
Art (Painting, Drawing, etc.),
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