World's End Harem
by Steve Jones,
How would you rate episode 3 of
World’s End Harem ?
Community score: 2.5
I know I may have called the protagonist of World’s End Harem an unlikable weenie, but I didn't expect the series to abandon him so quickly! This third episode veers away from anything involving Reito and instead introduces us to the third walking spunk tank to be defrosted by the government. You might think, then, that this would be a golden opportunity for World’s End Harem to try something new and even more lascivious. And you wouldn't be entirely wrong, but sadly we get an episode that vacillates between boredom and misery, walking back almost everything that I found fun (intentionally or otherwise) about the prior episodes.
First and foremost, we spend eight whole agonizing minutes on Doi's pre-harem backstory as a bully victim, and that is inexcusable. I'm not saying the series is wrong for trying to instill some pathos into its characters—it's one of the basic building blocks of storytelling after all—but I am telling World’s End Harem to know its place. It possesses neither the narrative nor directorial aptitude to explore abuse in a meaningful or thoughtful way, and quite frankly, I can't imagine a single audience member who would be looking for that amount of depth three episodes into a story about screwing for species salvation. I'm here to enjoy the absurd premise, and anything that gets in the way of that detracts from its appeal.
I also just get bad vibes from the whole setup. Doi's arc this episode hews too closely to a stereotypical nerd revenge fantasy, where the former loser turns vaunted thanks to some sort of societal upheaval that crystallizes his once-scorned attributes into something desirable. I think there's a place for fantasies of this ilk in pornography (and porn-adjacent media), but it's not my cup of tea when presented sans commentary. It's just too bitter for the show's already established tone. While this potential ickiness is tempered by Doi's milquetoast personality, that doesn't help WEH all that much either. This guy gets to bang the teacher he had an unrequited crush on, and he can barely muster a single iota of visible excitement. At least Reito has motivations. Doi presently exudes as much appeal and backbone as an overcooked spaghetti noodle.
Storywise, things pick up a little bit of steam once we're back in the present day. WEH's conspiratorial angle manifests in a new way through Karen, who like her counterpart Mira, is there to make sure the semen train runs on time. Karen's approach, however, withholds certain key truths from Doi. He knows about the virus and the current state of the world, but he doesn't know that he's been awakened solely for his trouser turkey baster. She seems to want his harem to develop more naturally; by throwing him into a high school full of horny girls and feeding him their bust sizes on regular intervals, she believes she can create a self-sustaining conga line of conception. And in a world that exclusively follows the rules of hentai manga, there's little reason to believe she can't succeed.
On one hand, I kind of respect the metatextual slant to what's going on here. Like a male fantasy matryoshka doll, Karen has intentionally manifested a porn microcosm within the porn macrocosm of World’s End Harem. You could definitely have fun with that! On the other hand, though, the high school setting is so much more bland and hackneyed than WEH's comparatively high-concept sci-fi sex bunker that Reito currently finds himself in. There's something sad and unimaginative about shoving Doi back into the classroom when you have all this space for more creative concatenations of copulation. I mean, imagine if society collapsed and they still forced your ass to go to high school. Wouldn't that be miserable?
Maybe I'll change my tune if/when I see Doi evolve into an absurd gigachad sex machine, but at this moment, his introduction is a huge step back for World’s End Harem and its potential for tantalizingly tacky tastelessness. Fun is the only thing this pile of trash has going for it—you're definitely not watching it for those sultry pubis-shaped glitches in the matrix—and an episode this dour and mean-spirited spits in the face of fun. WEH, see me after class, and not in a sexy way.
World’s End Harem is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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