Thursday, June 15, 2017

WorldEnd: The Tragedy of Hope (Paper Shredders Engulfed in Lava)

Let me start out by saying that this is a tough series. We know how this is going to end. We know that our hearts are going to go through a paper shredder. Things are going to go to shit, and what's worse is the series tries to sugarcoat it at times and give us hope. The paper shredder is on fire now. Did I say fire? I meant immersed in fucking lava. Also, Pac-Man is an anime character apparently.

Image result for worldend animeWe meet these beautifully tragic girls, destined to die, born without a will of their own. In the opening sequence, right off the bat, we see our main female character, Chtholly, taking a nose dive out of an aircraft. She talks about someone she loves (Willem), is surrounded by the other girls in the house (they might be dying, I don't know, probably), and then it cuts away to the beginning of the series. So yeah, we know that everyone is probably going to die, and it's sad, and Chtholly will go through mental disintegration completely, and things are fucked up. They might live, it's pretty out there at this point, but things are not looking good for us.

Image result for worldend animeThe major theme that makes this series stand out so much is the existentialism. We see these girls, fifteen years old and younger, who were lost souls plucked out of the spirit realm and forced to live again in order to fight for the greater good. They have no sense of self-preservation and have been breed to die. We see one of the girls severely injured after a fall and it doesn't even phase her, the damage to her body seemingly unimportant. But as the series progresses, Chtholly begins to question the sort of life she is leading and begins to grow as a person, wanting to leave some sort of impression on the world before she dies. At a certain point, she decides that she wants to actually live and enjoy the time she has left in the world. But the other characters so far haven't really shown any firm will to live. They have all accepted the fact that they are nothing more than tools and weapons for military use, they will die ignorant of the beautiful things of the world. One of the more disturbing parts is when the little kids are just messing around in Episode 6, while Chtholly has her mind deteriorating. They just so casually remark that the reason Nyyglatho is upset is that Chtholly is "broken." They have become o completely detached from normal human feelings, they don't even register negative feelings that well. So far, Chtholly has been the only one to experience the deep feeling, probably because she has found a reason to want to live, so her existence now has meaning. But the other girls are so indifferent to their suffering, and what's going on around them. The way they talk about being broken also makes a reference as to how they're more machines and tools than living creatures.

Image result for worldend animeThe other theme I want to bring up, which is an extension of the previous one in a certain sense, is their struggle with individuality. Yes, they all have very different personalities, but this is more about their past lives. We see Chtholly struggle with the person that she used to be, and who she is now, and will she even exist once her memories are gone, which is fucking horrible because she doesn't know who she is anymore. I also believe that she's feeling a sense of guilt at pushing away her past life. While it's completely okay for her to do that, as if she doesn't she'll break, she also feels bad for the person she used to be who has to be forgotten. A better example for this individuality is Ithea, my favorite character so far. Ithea actually went through mental disintegration, and then the person she used to be surfaced and took over her body. I found this concept pretty interesting, the fact that the former life takes over, but that's another topic. The old life, feeling guilty for ruining Ithea, reads her diary and decides to pose as her and continue Ithea's life as if nothing had changed. My heart broke when I heard her story, because both Ithea and her former life had lost their sense of self, they just meshed into one being, unable to live their lives separately anymore. The false Ithea having to pretend to be something she's not, hiding the fact the real Ithea is long gone.

The false Ithea brings out sympathy for those who had been reincarnated. The viewers have a certain dislike for the former souls because technically, it's their fault that the girls go through mental disintegration. But honestly, they can't help it. They were forced to do this as well, and then they were forced to live another life. They haven't done anything wrong, and since it's a reused soul, they can't exactly control if they pop up and stuff. So it leaves us at a bit of a loss as to where to point our fingers at as far as who's responsible for what the girls go through. It's not Kandel, the Great Sage, he just wants to destroy the beasts and protect the people before everyone dies. The beasts were brought into this world by the humans, and most of the don't seem to have a mind of their own. The humans who made them might be the ones at fault, but they're all dead except for Willem, so now what? We feel depressed about the situation, as do the characters, but it's not something anyone can stop, and there's no one who is truly at fault.

All of the characters are so pretty and well made, and they are all very expressive. The emotional range of the characters faces, such as Nygglatho when she's crying about the unfairness of the situation, with the girls unable to even experience the joys of life, only trained to die. All of the characters have such incredible expressions on their faces, it perfectly conveys what they're feeling. Throughout all of the episodes thus far, there has also been this melancholy standard, like there's always a sort of underlying sadness in a lot of the characters eyes.

Chtholly is sexualized a little bit, which is a tad uncomfortable since she's a 15-year-old girl, and they're trying a little bit too hard to appeal to the loli audience. It's weird, but it doesn't really get in the way of the show too much, but it would have been nice to not have that in there. To expand on that a little more, notice how young they make Chtholly seem. The way her clothing and hair is designed, it makes her seem a little less mature than the average 15-year-old kid. I believe that the creators did this to not only appeal to the loli audience but to really hit home how young and naive these girls really are. They're kids who don't know anything about the world, but they're forced to lay their lives on the line. It also emphasizes on that gap between her and Willem, to show how he is more mature and is more experienced. It could also indicate the distance between her amount of knowledge on how dug weapons operate versus his. But maybe I'm just reading into it too much and they just wanted a loli character to slaughter onscreen, breaking the hearts of otaku everywhere.

Although they do emphasuze on the gap, there actually isn't that much of an age difference between Chtholly and Willem. He seems super old, but really he's just an 18 year old that was petrefied for 500 years. So there's only a 5 year gap, which isn't too bad, it's just they make it seem a lot bigger.

So in the opening sequence, we saw Chtholly with red hair on an aircraft. We have seen the red haired kid who she had been reincarnated from, but I have a theory that the girl Willem used to work with, Lillia, was also one of Chtholly's previous lives. They share the same red hair, the same dug weapon, and they have this weird bond with Willem. I have a feeling that souls who used the same dug weapon are the ones that are reincarnated into someone who uses the same weapon, as they were compatible in their past life? I'm not sure if that exactly makes sense it's like the dug weapon is linked to one soul, and that same soul in reincarnated endlessly as once a weapon is paired it's easier to just use the same soul rather than find someone else that's compatible. We also see in the latest episode that Lillia appears in Chtholly's dreamscape with the other girl, so I'm pretty sure that this might be legit. If Chtholly is a reincarnation of Lillia, maybe Willem is linked to them through some twist of fate or whatever.

Image result for worldend animeWhat makes WorldEnd so difficult is that the audience, and Willem, is given hope. We want to believe that the girls don't have to sacrifice themselves after living such an empty life. But we know how this will end, tragically and leaving us tear-choked, as we've predicted. We know that things are going towards a downward spiral, but we still cling to the belief that maybe we're wrong, and things will turn into the happily ever after that we desperately want for these girls. If you pay attention, at Episode 6 I believed, they change the color of the transition card. It was blue previously, to match Chtholly I assume, and it had her fairy wings as well as the episode title. But at the halfway point, and also right around when she started to undergo her deterioration, it switched to red. While this seems fairly minor, it poses as an ominous warning for whenever we get too comfortable. We see her overcoming her struggles, becoming more individual and human as each episode passes, and the family dynamic makes us lower our guard. But then we see the red card and I personally feel uneasy, knowing that at any second this peaceful life will be brought to a halt. They have such a cute family, they all look out for each other, and any second it's going to get wiped out. We keep wanting to believe we're wrong, but...

So, if this series is basically a lava engulfed paper shredder for your cardiac muscle, why should you watch it? Sometimes, life hurts and sucks. Things are tough, and we feel all of these crazy emotions that we might not want. WorldEnd makes you feel things like that, but it also is so heartwarming in those brief periods of normalcy. It's the sort of hurt that opens up your eyes to things in life that you may have not noticed before, the pain that maybe makes you a little more open to those around you. It's that serving of angst and hurt that stings but you still love because it makes you a more open minded person. And you don't want any of that, you just want a good show to make you cry rivers of blood? Well then, I guess this will work for you.