The World Ends with You the Animation
by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 9 of
The World Ends with You the Animation ?
Episode 9, “Rhyme and Beat”, opens in the immediate aftermath of 777's erasure (really, his murder) right before hard cutting to the still super slick OP.
After the OP, Neku finds Beat at the exit of the Miyashita Park underpass, staring at a memorial adorned with a bouquet of flowers and two drink cans. A subsequent flashback reveals that the memorial is for Rhyme and Beat, who were killed by an out-of-control car careening down the Shibuya streets.
Beat also reveals that he's Rhyme's older brother, something that viewers probably picked up on from the beginning, given Beat's protectiveness of Rhyme. Despite her missing memories – which is most likely her price to enter the Reapers' Game – Beat stayed by his sister's side until she was devoured by a shark in episode 3. In many ways, the possibility of saving his sister is what's been keeping Beat going. It's not too dissimilar from Neku's desire to save Shiki, which has helped him broaden his horizons and ultimately grow into a better person. It's actually quite a tender sequence that takes the “jerk” out of “jerk with a heart of gold” and makes Neku a genuinely sympathetic lead to view this story through.
However, there's little time to grieve further as the Reapers' Game is still afoot, and the boys are still trying to survive. With 777's red pin in hand, they head back out to the streets, only to find them empty. This makes them even more visible to the Reapers who are responding to last episode's emergency call for Beat's head and Neku's erasure. Worse still, Neku realizes that he can't scan anyone now, and every soul that passes through him feels blank. It's the same for Beat.
They then notice those Red Skull pins on everyone in Shibuya, and things get really, really grim as Neku realizes that the designer of the Red Skull pin is probably (definitely) the one who made the Player Pins, and their only solution to their current problem. Of course, that's CAT, and CAT… is Mr. Hanekoma, who may very well be the Composer, and a critical player in the Reapers' Games.
Episode 9 is another incredibly solid episode that trails the already strong showing of the last episode. Whether it's the front half of this episode or the mission-oriented back half with Kariya and Uzuki, the episode delivers truly exciting content that ultimately ups the ante ahead of the final three episodes. Beat and Neku continue to be a really engaging duo, offering a refreshingly distinct dynamic than Neku and Joshua or Neku and Shiki.
In many ways, I lament how weak the series' opening arc with Neku and Shiki was in comparison to its incredibly strong back half. And I'm not only saying that because I know how powerful this story can be; at this point of my watch, my positive impressions are less about nostalgia, and more about the merits of this adaptation. It's still not perfect – there are some hiccups even in this episode – but TWEWY the Animation is really, really good. I just wish it had been this good from the start.
That said, episode 9 feels like true end game content. We're in the final major strides of this story, and it feels like the imminent climax will deliver in the best of ways. I'm really looking forward to seeing how all of the plot threads weave themselves together to conclude Neku's story, as well as the stories of those he's met along the way.
Mercedez is a JP-EN localization editor & QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who also writes & reviews at Anime Feminist and But Why Tho?. She's also a frequent guest on the AniFem Podcast, Chatty AF. This anime season, she's all about Super Cub, which is great because she's also reviewing it here on ANN. When she's not writing, you can find her on her Twitter or on her Instagram where she's always up to something.
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