What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? (SukaSuka)
Episode 4

by Paul Jensen,

How would you rate episode 4 of
WorldEnd ?

Well, that was underwhelming. After all of last week's buildup, you might expect some kind of battle scene in this episode. Instead, we get a lovely stroll around town and a routine medical checkup. This narrative detour starts with Nygglatho giving Willem some busywork to distract him from worrying about Chtholly and company. He takes Tiat to the city of Corna di Luce, where a doctor checks how her fairy powers are developing. Their sightseeing plans are put on hold when Willem gets word that the battle hasn't gone well, but Chtholly, Ithea, and Nephren return safe and sound moments after he hears the bad news.

There's a lot of world building going on in this episode, and in fairness some of it is rather interesting. Corna di Luce represents a change of pace from the warehouse dormitory and the first episode's gloomy city. It's our first indication that some parts of the world are still in decent shape, which gives the fairies something more worthwhile to defend. Some of the character designs here are intriguing, like the big one-eyed doctor and the golem-like police officers. The business of Tiat's “harbinger dream” also fills in another blank regarding how the girls' powers work. While I'm starting to miss that initial feeling of mystery, SukaSuka is at least doing a reasonable job of broadening its fictional world.

A generous amount of screen time is also spent on developing Tiat as a character, though this is less successful than the world building sections. Her obsession with lizard-people romance is kind of cute, and there's a plausible character arc built into her desire to grow up quickly. The problem is that it all feels somewhat shallow; despite Willem's grim reminders that Tiat is destined for the battlefield, the show seems more concerned with increasing her otaku appeal as a cute anime kid. This ties back into the recurring issue of clinging to overused genre gimmicks, and I remain convinced that SukaSuka would be better off if it ditched the light novel stuff and went its own way.

Of course, all of this is fairly minor compared to the elephant in the room. After laying so much groundwork for Chtholly's suicide mission, why in the world would the show ignore the battle in favor of a mediocre side story? Even if we get a flashback to the mission in a future episode, the dramatic train has already left the station; there's not much to get excited about now that we know all three of the girls make it back alive. There was serious potential in the storyline of Chtholly choosing to preserve her own life, and yet the series has apparently abandoned it this week. The episode at least salvages some drama by briefly leaving Willem in the dark, but it's not nearly enough to keep this from feeling like a letdown.

I said last week that this would probably be a make or break point for SukaSuka, but my thinking was predicated on the assumption that we'd reach an emotional high point in this episode. By keeping the audience away from the front lines, the show has essentially kicked the can down the road for yet another week. It hasn't technically failed the test of its first big conflict, but completely sidestepping Chtholly's mission hardly seems like a victory. Tiat's checkup brings enough new information to justify this sideplot's existence overall, but not at this particular point in the timeline. Chtholly and the girls have now done more fighting in the opening theme than they have in the first four episodes combined, and that's becoming a major problem for the series. I'm all for telling a war story that doesn't focus on battle scenes, but it's hard to make the audience care when you refuse to give them even a glimpse of the fighting.

Rating: C

What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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