The problem with Fridays is, well, it’s not a problem really. Having bonus time off is pretty awesome. Anyway, after E3 and a long weekend, I’ve been missing the… one anime I’ve been able to keep up with. The World Ends With You is almost over! At this point there’s only one episode left, holy cow.And frankly, it’s kind of a good thing I got to peep 10 and 11 back to back.
Both of these episodes are exactly what everything has been building up to. We get some of the worst challenges yet for Neku and Beat, but we also see our heroes gain new strengths. And for every step forward there’s been a step back, these couple of episodes being no exception. It’s anime time. And more tomorrow. Jeez!
The Countless Wrongs of Our Day
There’s a lot happening in this episode, but most of it is a mad dash to what’s next. Neku and Beat are low on time and information, and all they can see are the zombie-like crowds of Shibuya’s foot traffic. Not only have they been shuffling around, but their eyes are all red and they’re starting to chant.
Shibuya as a place has been a big part of The World Ends With You’s story so far, and the city’s liveliness and diversity has been a focal point. Neku, despite being so reserved, still appreciated the colors and talent such as CAT’s art. But with the people in the real world chanting the same lines about “righting the countless wrongs” of the world, this ain’t Shibuya anymore. And the team is starting to realize it’s something to do with those red pins.
At this point, Neku is still struggling that his idol, CAT, Mr. Hanekoma, is the culprit behind everything. From the Reaper’s Game to everything falling apart inside of it, it’s hard for Neku to accept. We return again to that trust theme, this time we see Neku face a new side of trust; it’s the kind where you so badly want to trust someone despite possible reasons you shouldn’t.
That trust is tested further when Neku and Beat come across Reapers muttering the same chant, showing these red pins don’t discriminate. The mess gets messier when the pair discover a hole smashed through the next barrier, and who did it. Sho is back, and he’s got a clear upgrade and renewed mission to take over. But Beat and Neku also find newfound resolve as Beat reflects on what’s ahead.
Unfortunately what’s immediately ahead are Koki and Uzuki, also victims of the red pins. These tweener Reapers were a point of confusion before, now they’re deadly. This fight serves as a sort of affirmation for Neku that whatever’s happening is wrong, and if CAT’s behind it then so be it. After figuring out all you need to do is remove the pin, Neku and Beat head to the cafe for some answers.
The answer is more questions. A note seemingly left exactly for Neku to find contains a mysterious, yellow keypin and a note that reads, “no matter what, enjoy your life with everything you’ve got.” The plot is more unclear than ever, but Neku appears to understand the note. I think it’s the other side of Hanekoma’s title drop earlier in the story. The World Ends With You, and Neku getting out of here means reaching the other side of his emotional journey as much if not more than winning the Reaper’s Game.
Then we get to close out the episode with one of the coolest fights of the series, with Sho revealing himself as a Taboo version of himself. After what appears to be visual references to Freiza’s arsenal from Dragon Ball, the heroes are battered pretty good. But at the end of the fight they wake up the next day and decide it’s time to wrap things up. Sho is on a mission to destroy convention, and all Beat and Neku want is their friends back. Which resolve is stronger?
The Hour of Reckoning
Now it’s a race to the Shibuya River, where Neku and Joshua previously came upon a mysterious, impassable barrier. Here the three major players intersect: Sho, Neku and Beat and Ironface (who was here the whole time in Beat’s shadow - what could that be alluding to??) confront each other at the barrier, and Ironface shows her true colors. She just wants to be on the winning team, and with the red pins turning Shibuya into a hivemind she believes Sho’s “free spirit” is the key to surviving. And, you know, a promotion.
Boss fight time! Ironface splits into two flying cat/harpy thingies and shows how little she cares about things like physics with a new battle arena. After shrugging off everything Neku and Beat throw at her, it seems like it’s the end of the road. Beat, for a moment, thinks about all the self-sacrifice up to this point. It seems like the only way to win is to push others along at the expense of yourself.
Or, alternatively, you could scream and use your rage-induced surge of power to hit the enemy in the chest with a flying cross chop. Wooo! With all this powerful new resolve and refusal to allow any more casualties, Beat literally drags the adorable little Noise Rhythm out of Ironface’s chest. The fight wraps up as a superpowered Pokemon battle as Beat and Neku use their power to beef up Rhythm.
Then we get the most violent scene so far as Rhythm tears Ironface’s shadow off, and it looks like the silhouette of an animal tearing a sheet of flesh apart. Hell yeah. Ironface is done, and ostensibly the Reaper’s Game is too. Neku and Shiki are finally reunited, but this ain’t over by a longshot. It’s time for the true final boss. Maybe?
While CAT is still nowhere to be seen, it seems like Kitanji is the big bag in this scenario. Or at least, he’s the one who copied the composer’s pin juice to make the red ones. We get the classic “your perspective is twisted!” exchange as Kitanji lays out his goal of saving humanity from bad vibes by brainwashing them all into the same thought process. Never heard that one before.
As the final battle kicks off, we get a ton of thematic payoff and climax as it’s revealed Shiki had a red pin slipped in her pocket. Neku gives a pretty solid hero speech, yelling “having lots of emotions is good!” Before drawing up the coolest weapon to date in the whole series. Kitanji the Noise Dragon is down, so what’s next?
A new Kitanji Dragon with three heads, of course.