Here’s where things start to get nasty, folks. If you’ve been wondering why Neku and company have been blasting through most of the Reaper’s Game in two episodes, here’s your reason. Erased is a climactic episode, with several moments of crushing defeat, disappointment and fear. Yet, really, The World Ends With You is just getting started.
Erased is a hell of a roller coaster. We go from some relatively calm chatter between the two remaining pairs, to a non-stop horror show that doesn’t end until the credits (with a new ending theme!) roll. There’s a lot of spoilery material here, which I won’t get too into.
But suffice to say, some really bad stuff goes down, and that leads to some possibly sinister foreshadowing. I can’t remember that plot point from the game (ten years is long!), but we’re going to see a different side of Beat, I’m sure. After the drama, most of the episode is taken up by a final boss fight of sorts, against the forebodingly-dreadlocked Game Master Yodai Higashizawa.
The show’s limitations kick in at this point, and what should be a big, exciting showdown ended up draining on my patience. Higashizawa turns into a big cow demon, Berserk style, and that leads to a screen full of CGI. In the spirit of fairness, the team running the show did find some ways to make Neku and Shiki’s powers remain interesting to look at. However, there was so much visual noise and barely-choreographed action that I definitely zoned out. The finish was alright, though.
Also, there was no “Calling” scene this episode. So much for that! Perhaps expecting the regular fight scene song on a big boss episode wasn’t the best approach.
The Reaper’s Game has ended, and that was kind of weird for a three episode show, huh? Of course, this isn’t over by a long shot. We get hit with more sinister knowledge about the Reaper’s Game and its malicious rules as Neku is strong-armed into going for a second round.
The World Ends With You’s fourth episode will definitely be a restart of sorts, and as this episode hints we’ll get more time with more characters. It’s the second arc, to use the term loosely here, and things only get wilder from here. Erased was perhaps the most oddly paced episode yet, but there was a respectful effort to blend some action and even comedy between the exposition and narrative cruelty.