Can you survive the Reapers’ Game and reclaim your life? The World Ends with You posed that question when it first released on the Nintendo DS in 2007, gaining a passionate fan following before seeing ports to more platforms, like iOS and the Final Remix edition on Nintendo Switch, and an anime adaptation on Funimation, The World Ends with You The Animation.
This first entry in the series follows Neku Sakuraba after he becomes a Player in the Reapers’ Game, a seven-day competition that offers Players who recently died a chance to have a wish fulfilled, including a second chance at life.
And this general theme carries into the latest entry in the series, NEO: The World Ends with You, picking up three years after the events of the anime series (which modernizes the events of the original game).
So whether NEO: The World Ends with You is your first impression of this series or you want to jump into the anime series, we’re breaking down all things The World Ends with You for you in this guide. Let’s groove!
Who are the Reapers and what is the Reapers’ Game?
The Reapers’ Game takes place in a parallel plane of existence called the Underground, known as UG, while real life exists in Realground, or RG. The Reapers’ Game is run by a staff of Reapers, who are typically survivors of previous games that choose to join the ranks of those who facilitate it.
These Reapers have various responsibilities, such as handing out missions and challenges for Players to complete, or making sure the game’s rules aren’t being broken—by Players and other Reapers. They aren’t allowed to attack Players directly, but they can summon Noise (we’ll get to them in a second) in order to fight other Players.
Additionally, there’s a hierarchy of Reaper career growth, including Game Master and Conductor. The Game Master leads the game’s week and serves as its final boss on Day 7. They can’t touch any Players until then, so they spend their time creating missions and challenges for the lower Reapers to dole out.
The Conductor, on the other hand, stands above all, and passes on the overall goals of Reapers’ Game to all beneath them.
What’s the deal with Noise and…Pins?
In The Worlds Ends with You The Animation, Neku first wakes up in UG, unaware of how he got there or who he really is. He receives a Player Pin, which allows him to scan the mind’s of Shibuya’s RG residents.
He’s then attacked by mysterious creatures known as Noise, forcing him to make a pact with Shiki Misaki, who also finds herself in the Reapers’ Game. By forming a pact, two Players can use supernatural abilities known as Psyches. Neku goes on to meet fan-favorite characters like Beat and Rhyme as well!
Players can expand their arsenal of Psyches by collecting Pins, either by buying them at shops or scoring them by defeating enemies. Pins can evolve through experience in battle, and can turn into even more powerful versions of themselves, increasing combat effectiveness.
Additionally, each Pin has a brand that corresponds to a different store in Shibuya, and each district has a popular (and least popular) brand, which gets buffs and de-buffs based on where you’re at. This incentivizes the Player to mix and match.
As for Noise, these creatures take on the form of animals and exist between both the RG and UG, meaning they can affect both planes of reality. In UG, they take on physical forms for Players to battle, but in RG they are much more subtle, able to influence the thoughts of Shibuya’s citizens.
There are different categories of Noise, usually indicated by their colors. The red-colored Noise are the most common, with other colors, such as purple, being used for Dissonance Noise.
Dissonance Noise, in particular, plays an important role in The World Ends with You: Final Remix on Nintendo Switch. They make their appearance in the new “Another Day” episode in the game, which provides some important story context for the sequel…
Is NEO: The World Ends with You a sequel?
Yes! NEO: The World Ends with You takes place three years after the events of the anime adaptation of the first game, and it features new protagonist Rindo Kanade.
In this sequel, Rindo and his closest friend, Fret, are thrust into a new Reapers’ Game under the thumb of Game Master Shiba. And what makes this game different? Well, it’s a fully 3D action RPG!
While the original title took advantage of the Nintendo DS’s dual screens and touch screen, this sequel has upped the ante, allowing players to control up to six party members at a time on just a single screen.
But if you’ve been keeping up, there’s plenty for longtime fans in this one. If you’ve watched the anime or played the first game, you’ll remember Sho Minamimoto, who was previously a Reaper. He makes his return as a party member in NEO, along with a new female character named Nagi.
Of course, Noise and Pins are both here as well, and you’ll need to strategize to take on the evils of Shibuya in a full 3D environment that faithfully recreates locations from the first game!
Ready to experience the Reapers’ Game for yourself? The World Ends with You The Animation is streaming right now on Funimation, and NEO: The World Ends with You is available on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.