The World Ends with You, known in Japan as It's a Wonderful World (すばらしきこのせかい Subarashiki Kono Sekai), is an action RPG series developed and published by Square Enix. It was created a team of developers who also worked on the Kingdom Hearts franchise, and some of the game's characters even appeared in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. The character designs are by Tetsuya Nomura and Gen Kobayashi. The distinctive art style is inspired by the aesthetics of Shibuya youth culture at the time. The series primarily consists of a dualogy of two games.
The original game, The World Ends with You, was released on the Nintendo DS in 2007. The original game was remade for both mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch under the names Solo Remix and Final Remix, respectively.
Thirteen years after the first game, a sequel was announced, NEO: The World Ends with You for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC in 2021.
Set in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, the basic stories of both games center on teenage boys who become trapped in a game known as the Reapers' Game. The mysterious Game occurs in an alternate dimension known as the Underground (UG) where other people can not touch, see or hear them, with the exception of the Reapers running the game and the other Players playing it. The boys find themselves working with other Players to solve daily missions and defeat monsters known as the Noise in order to survive the Game's seven days, or else they will be erased from existence.
The story of the series can definitely be considered darker than Kingdom Hearts due to numerous reasons and the games have Teen ratings while the Kingdom Hearts series has Everyone or Everyone 10+ ratings. One of the major themes of the series focuses on death. Other examples of the darker tone is that guns have appeared, blood is shown in the anime, and language such as "dick", "bitch", "damn" and "hell" appear.
The series occasionally has satirical elements and has critical commentary on various aspects of Japanese culture. This includes Internet culture, otaku culture, social media, big businesses killing small businesses, fashion and trends, influencers, stressful high school systems, peer pressure to fit in with society, and ageism (such as by older people against younger people). For example, at one point, protagonists Neku Sakuraba and Shiki Misaki find the exact item they need to complete their mission so they do not die, but an ageist shopkeeper refuses to sell it to them because they are not "baby boom" enough, asking "Aren't you like, Generation... What are they up to, Z?"
The World Ends with You games have received critical acclaim. However, because of the franchise's less popular sales compared to Square's other Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series, a sequel to the original game was on hold for over a decade. For example, protagonist Neku is not as well known as Cloud Strife or Sora. As a result, the series is considered somewhat of a cult classic.
- The World Ends with You (2007, Nintendo DS)
- NEO: The World Ends with You (2021, PlayStation 4/Nintendo Switch/PC)