The Wandering Witch at WorldEnd: What are you doing?

Posted on May 31 2017

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Welcome, all, again. I want to discuss in this column a gem that I only recently found, WorldEnd: What are you doing at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? (Mind you, from here on out I’ll simply call it WorldEnd:. The full title is waaaaaaay too much typing!) OK, so maybe it’s not quite accurate to say that I only just found it; rather, I only just recently got myself past the series description of the last human becoming caretaker to a bunch of living weapons (who, in true anime style, are all young and adorable girls). Like Erased before, this series initially sort of undersold itself to me in preview, never really giving me reason to watch. So I almost missed this story of a soul slowly reawakening to life, couched within a larger cautionary tale about prejudice and discrimination.

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That soul belongs to Willem Kmetsch, whose character is presented as the last surviving human. In a scenario reminiscent of God Eater‘s backstory, WorldEnd: has humanity’s demise delivered by “beasts” of human creation. These beasts now dominate Earth’s surface, forcing all other creatures to reside upon floating islands normally beyond reach of the terror below. Willem was part of humanity’s last stand in a war that was lost some 500 years prior. Preserved and then reawakened, Willem now finds himself in a dystopian landscape peopled by newly evolved species. Moreover, most of these clearly know where the blame falls for the loss of the world below them, and they maintain a special hatred for the memory of humans, now called emnetwihts (nitwits?). Imagine, then, their response to being handed a single leftover human upon whom to vent their prejudices. Thus Willem lives his life in disguise, trusting few. And one of those very few is Grick, a vaguely demonic-looking being who manages to find an amazing job offer for his furless and disfeatured friend–a job with the military, no less!

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Still, Willem is beset by misgivings. His last go-round with the military [albeit human] ended in utter disaster. He lost his love, his friends, and his entire world. At that point, losing his life might well have been a blessing to him. Instead, he now ships out to his new duty station only to find himself assigned to overseeing. . .a dormitory full of young girls! This is a shock to him, as he believes himself to be the last surviving human. Furthermore, the only information that he was actually given about his assignment was that he would be overseeing a warehouse that contained special weapons. Something seems amiss. Actually, lots of somethings. Why is the military rearing a bunch of children? Where are the weapons he’s supposed to be guarding? For that matter, where’s the warehouse? What’s really going on, here?

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Well, let’s start with Willem, himself. Five centuries ago, he was one of those special warriors capable of wielding magical blades called Carillons with which to fight the aforementioned beasts. After a desperate battle with such a creature, Willem finally defeated it, only to fall victim to its dying curse. This curse petrified him without killing him, a fate much crueler than death. Trapped for ensuing centuries, he is finally discovered and rescued by a group of salvagers, including Grick. Restored to consciousness, Willem learns of the extinction of humans but also that the fight against the beasts continues. And so, having endured all that, it really doesn’t surprise him very much that recovered Carillons (now called Dug Weapons) turn out to be some of the special weapons that he’s been brought in to oversee. What does surprise him, though, is that the sword is now considered only part of a fully functioning weapon. Those human-looking girls mentioned earlier? They’re actually Leprechauns, an ancient race of Fairy who have imitated humans for so long that they can even wield the Carillons, which were designed specifically for human use. By combining her own magical nature with the powers of her sword, each wielder in essence creates a magical bomb–but also sacrifices herself. Willem, however, knows the true nature of Carillons and realizes how the girls are misusing them; he just has to convince them that everything they know is wrong.

WorldEnd: reminds me somewhat of Alderamin on the Sky: a fellow with some practical–if unconventional–wisdom tries to teach new fighting styles that will win battles while saving the lives with which he has been entrusted. Both shows really focus upon the human side of war, despite WorldEnd:‘s mainly inhuman cast. Likewise, there is a shared emphasis upon mundane interactions between characters (witness Willem’s early efforts to woo the younger children) even as storylines tackle important social themes. Sometimes simplicity can create believability; this show will make you believe!

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