The World Ends With You, the cult classic Square Enix video game, is getting an anime adaption at last! This evening during the Anime Expo livestream, the crew behind The World Ends With You: The Animation assembled in a special roundtable to reveal their progress, answer questions, and most importantly, show the world a bit of the anime for the first time.
During the roundtable, we were given a tour of the animation studio and the animators at work. Separate employees were working on 2D and 3D animation; the series will be a hybrid of both. Most of the main crew who worked on the World Ends With You video game were either recruited to give input or hired to create new content outright. Takeharu Ishimoto, the game’s composer, was one of the latter.
During the roundtable Ishimoto spoke of the limitations of the DS and how fitting songs with a vocal chorus into a significant part of the soundtrack was a challenge. Doing so meant cutting out or reducing other elements, but Ishimoto felt the vocals in the music were necessary for the game’s feel. For The World Ends With You: The Animation, Ishimoto has already composed 90 percent of the music.
The voice actor for Neku appeared in a separately prepared video and confirmed he was returning to perform the protagonist’s Japanese voice, and that the rest of the cast was coming back as well. But he didn’t know everything…he had a question for the crew: would the 2020 version of The World Ends With You take place in 2007, the year of the original release, or in present day?
It was a question worth asking because flip phones factored heavily into the game’s plot. Ichikawa admitted that they tried to strike a balance between what is now nostalgia in the game, and what the Shibuya district of Tokyo (where the game takes place) is like today. BUT there would be no flip phones, and his reason (prepare to feel old) was that he didn’t want to alienate anybody who had never used one.
Finally, the crew confirmed the release date of 2021, and brought out what everyone had been waiting impatiently for: the trailer. The show will look like this:
We’d say they did an undeniably great job, whether there are flip phones or not. The World Ends With You: The Animation launches worldwide in 2021.