The Anime Expo Lite special panel for The World Ends with You: The Animation revealed the cast and staff along with a teaser promotional video on Friday. Original game producer Tomohiko Hirano, game director Tetsuya Kando, composer Takeharu Ishimoto, anime director Kazuya Ichikawa, and game character designer Gen Kobayashi were present at the panel. Many of the original Square Enix staff and voice actors from the video game are involved in the anime production, which will debut worldwide in 2021, about fourteen years since the game’s initial release.
Although the adaptation is based on the original 2D Nintendo DS version, the staff at the panel indicated that the anime has 3D elements that complement the 2D aspects of the game. TWEWY’s soundtrack also showcases many different genres, ranging all the way from pop to rap.
As the battle sections are a highlight in the role-playing game, it is also a main focus in the anime with the special character moves and abilities particular to each individual. Although the original story initially starts off simply with young boys and girls trapped in Shibuya fighting for survival, as the game-making process progressed, many of the scenarios and stories had to be changed to tie everything together logically. Therefore, many of the narrated parts aren’t voiced in the game itself. With the anime adaptation, all parts will have fully-voiced roles and characterizations.
It has been about seven years since Uchiyama Kouki last voiced Neku, the main character of TWEWY, and he mentioned that he was still a high school student back then, not a professional voice actor. After discussing with the staff on how to portray the character and testing different voices, Uchiyama decided to put himself in Neku’s shoes instead of acting out Neku’s actions. He remembered playing the game on the Nintendo DS and thought that the game at the time utilized the two screens very well.
Director Ichikawa mentioned that the game takes about ten hours to complete, so some things from the game will be kept in the anime, while some will be changed on purpose to fit the anime production. As such, the anime will still have some key buildings and structures that exist from 2007, but the anime is also mainly based on modern Shibuya and its youthful cultural atmosphere. Things have been adapted, like smartphones, in order to reflect the current times. The staff also wishes to represent Shibuya as it is to have anime viewers and fans be able to visit and identify the same places.
Overall, the story is ambitious, but the staff hopes to appease original fans of the game as well as newcomers. The staff and composer that worked on the game are also working on the anime, sticking with the same visual style for The World Ends With You Project.
The World Ends with You: The Animation is described as:
Neku, a boy who hates interacting with other people, awakens in Shibuya’s Scramble Crossing and finds himself trapped in a strange competition known as “the Reapers’ Game.”
In this “Game,” Players must complete a set of seven daily missions. Success ensures their survival, while failure means their entire existence will be erased.
Now an unwilling participant in this contest of the highest stakes, Neku fights to stave off erasure and live another day…
Follow the official website and Twitter for upcoming announcements about the anime and The World Ends with You: Final Remix for Nintendo Switch is currently on its anniversary sale for $24.99. The game is also available on iOS and Android for $17.99.