Developer – Spicy Tails
Translator – Sekai Project
Length – 2-10 Hours
[A review copy was kindly provided by Sekai Project]
[Sekai Project has had no input into the content of this review]
[This review assumes you have played Episode.01, or read my review of it]
I’ve been waiting a long time to finally play World End Economica, mostly because I’m one of those people that likes to wait until something is finished so I can experience it all at once. The series boasts a scenario written by Hasekura Isuna, the same mind that brought the world Spice and Wolf, which managed to blend economics and interpersonal relationships into something really quite entertaining. I’ve decided to break up my review into three parts corresponding to the three episodes so you can follow my reactions to each instalment in order, which means you’ll have to wait for the final verdict!
Episode.02 brings us an entirely new playing field with brand new characters galore and all the changes that naturally come with a four year time-skip. The general quality of translation and art improve, but are no substitute for the relationships of the first novel that are left behind in the second. Still, the expanding setting of the Lunar Surface remains interesting and the newer faces are entertaining enough.
[Spoilers For Episode.01]
It’s been four long years since the biggest mistake of Hal’s life. He lost his confidence, he lost all of his money and, most importantly, he lost Hagana. Now working a paper-pushing job for a government office, his dreams of setting foot on the untrodden surface of Mars have never been farther away. Chris has stayed by his side, though, despite being one of Hagana’s students, and when she introduce him to Eleanor he sees a new door to the future he’d thought lost. While Hal might be rusty, he sets his mind to reclaiming the lost company of the desperate, wilful heiress from Earth. However, come what may, his mind will never stray from what he has lost.
[/Spoilers For Episode.01]
As mentioned above, World End Economica’s second instalment is a different ball game. Most of what made Episode.01 great is scrapped in favor of…well, new characters and new objectives. That’s not inherently bad, as there’s a lot to like about all those fresh features, but that balance between focus on relationships and economics I talked about in my first review starts to wobble. That said, Episode.02’s pacing is much better from the get-go right up until the conclusion, which I’ll get to later.
The spotlight is now most definitely on Eleanor; exploring her struggles takes up the majority of the Novel’s – and Hal’s – time, which is fine because it’s all very entertaining. The economy of the moon is cut-throat and seeing the brink to which it can push even the strongest of wills is interesting, but it’s not a continuation of what I was expecting from the first instalment and that in itself was disappointing. It’s almost like filler content, having stopped the main plot at the end of Episode.01 and mostly ignored the stuff that made it enjoyable – namely the relationship between Hal and Hagana, as well as their economic escapades which are also largely absent this time around. Upcoming developments are seen from a long way off and the excitement of battling with cold, hard cash is lacking.
And that brings me to the ending, which gets its own paragraph because of how hugely lacklustre it is. Imagine a fantasy novel where the Hero finds a legendary metal to forge the sword to save the world, triggering a deus-ex-machina blacksmith capable of shaping the metal showing up out of nowhere before the ending scene shifts to after the final battle when the world has been saved and the credits roll. You’d be pretty disappointed, right? I certainly was. It’s like the writer got bored of the filler material and was itching to get back to the original story as soon as possible which, while I can relate, doesn’t make for a good ending.
If Episode.01’s translation was horrific, Episode.02’s is at least workable. Typos and grammatical errors are still present, though less often, and the purpose of each scene is almost never lost in awkward prose. What was weird was that the translator felt the need to change just about every character’s name, because who needs consistency in a three-part series? Both the art and BGM are also much improved from the original, which always makes a VN experience more enjoyable overall.
Summary – It’s difficult to directly compare Episode.02 to its predecessor because it’s such a different story, but I can and will condemn the choice to take a break from the original narrative threads that made Episode.01 enjoyable for the mere purpose of having time pass. That said, the story and characters in this instalment are also great fun at times despite a relatively lacklustre ending, and following on from the first tale means the introductory period is far more interesting. This is all backed up by an improved translation and art, though I’m sure some readers will be disappointed by the relative lack of economics-themed content and excitement.
Score: 7.5/10 – Enjoyable