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 and .02, or read my reviews of them]
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.
And here we are! Episode.03! The last chapter! The Final Countdown! In this ultimate instalment World End Economica continues to introduce new characters, reintroduces old ones and sweeps others under the carpet. Both translation and technical quality keep on the rise but the real question remains: Is this a suitable conclusion to the story that has been building so far?
[Spoilers for Episode.01/2]
Another four years later and Hal is now a hero of the Lunar Surface, having taken down the corrupt Avalon Industries and begun managing his own investment fund. Stocks aren’t the only product on the market, however, and when a brand-new fool-proof money-making scheme makes its way onto the stage Hal can’t help but feel he’s being left behind…or that something isn’t quite right. As the economy writhes under the strain of unnatural growth, does it mark the beginning of new fortunes? Or is it the herald of World End Economica?
[/Spoilers for Episode.01/2]
The first thing I want you to notice about that synopsis is that it’s all about Hal, because it’s the same for the majority of Episode.03. Obviously I’m exaggerating to some degree, because other characters show up, but none of them are the focus of this novel – they’re all supports. Remember that balance discussion from the previous two reviews? Well with all of the relationship coverage gone there’s more room for economics and this episode has it in spades. Too many spades, if you ask me.
Finanically-themed jargon is thrown around left, right and centre in this instalment and despite having an interest in the subject and a modicum of education on the same I found it all getting really tedious. The talks of ABS (junior, mezzanine and senior ranks) and CP and securities and bonds and insurances and realty and investment banks and commercial banks and central banks and ALL OF THE BANKS is just a bit too much, especially when there isn’t anything else going on. It’s all followable, and there are certainly some scenes prompting the same heart-pounding excitement we all expect from the stormy seas of financial investment (hard to keep a straight face while writing this) but, put simply, the balance here is off.
Previously I’ve praised World End Economica’s characters, so I think now’s a good time to take stock. In Episode.03 we have a single male character except for the protagonist who’s more than a simple plot device and our female cast are all kept in the closet until it’s time for their cameo. Chris has a small amount of development, which is good for her. Eleanor has exited stage left because Reasons, and Hagana’s really rather late to the party. And Lisa is baking pies, because that’s what Moon Nuns do. Meaningful character interactions are almost absent until three-quarters of the way through the novel, which is a disappointing departure from form for the series.
Now that I’ve been able to get all of that off my chest, there are some other bits to cover. The four-year time skip from Episode.02 is handled poorly, such that I actually had to go back and make sure I hadn’t accidentally missed some sort of epilogue chapter. The ending is…a mixed bag. It’s nice to finally have Hagana back (no, that’s not a spoiler because it had to happen eventually and I did warn you at the top of the review) and her re-introduction is just about everything I was hoping for – probably the highlight of the novel, in fact. The problem is that the period after that introduction can only be described as rushed, with two of the three major conflicts being solved with very little effort and the relationship building between two lovers who have been tragically separated for 8 whole years being so truncated as to preclude it from having any sustained impact. There’s also no epilogue, so I still feel like the final state of the WEE world is in limbo. [Note: I’ve discovered, upon searching for pictures for this review, that there are extra CGs that didn’t seem to have made it into the game – and they look distinctly like an epilogue – it turns out they show up at the very end of the credits which are entirely skippable.]
From a technical standpoint, Episode.03 makes the best effort yet. The translation flows well with only a few typos that I noticed, though there’s yet another name change and I can’t get my head around why that choice keeps being made. The art, especially the backgrounds, is really quite good and the BGM has some excellent tracks. My complaint for this paragraph is that the localization project has obviously removed some form of TIPS function which would have gone a long way toward helping me understand the various financial terms floating around throughout the course of the novel. There were at least two words linking to untranslated log entries, which made hiding the removed system somewhat difficult [Note: An announcement on Steam suggests these have now been added, but a quick check reveals there’s no way to access the section after you first read a word’s entry, which means the entire section is of limited use].
Summary – I’m not angry with Episode.03, just disappointed. It had a lot of potential for enjoyment that wasn’t realized, with important characters and relationships ignored in favour of working through all the economic adventure that wasn’t in Episode.02. That said, it’s not the worst final entry I’ve encountered and it did have its fair share of entertaining scenes, alongside improved translation, art and OST, so I wouldn’t let it turn you off the World End Economica series as a whole.
Score: 7/10 – Enjoyable
Overall Summary – While I don’t regret my time with World End Economica I’m torn on whether to recommend it or not. Spice and Wolf managed to balance its more dry content with a powerful interpersonal relationship and satisfying payoffs to financial conflict, while Word End Economica breaks the scales on one side with its second episode and then the other with its third. It also misses out on capitalizing (ha-ha) on the opportunities and strong personalities introduced by its earlier chapters at its conclusion, though I suppose you could argue the ending is at least better than that of the Spice and Wolf anime adaptation.
In the end it’ll be your decision on whether to pick WEE up or not, so I’ll end this by saying that I really enjoyed the characters and setting of the novels, and that the kind of economic excitement Spice and Wolf delivers does exist here as well, just in a different form.
Overall Score: 7.5/10 – Enjoyable