What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? – First Impressions

This series is called What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?, that’s the full title. I know we all make fun of ridiculously long light novel titles but normally they have the decency to short them down for the west. The series does have a shorthand, by the way, it’s SukaSuka, and that’s what I’ll call it in the rest of the blog post. But wow. I honestly admire trying market a show to the west with a title that long. To tell the truth, I love it. I also hate it, because my blog post could certainly have used a shorter title and I know I’ll have to remember the full title when I want to mention it to people who don’t follow anime trends close enough to keep shorthand titles in mind.

Anyway, let’s talk about the actual first episode of What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?, aka. SukaSuka.

This is actually my favourite spring premiere so far, by a notable margin even. Sukasuka is set in a fantasy world of floating islands where various species of beastmen live. People without animal traits such as fur, fangs or etc. are called “defeatured” and are rather looked down upon. One such defeatured person is Willem Kmetsch, a man who lives his life in the shadows doing odd jobs to pay off debt and get by. One day he’s offered the job to be a caretaker of a secret set of weapons at a military facility. What he didn’t know when he accepted the job was that the weapons are living beings and that he’s basically set to live with them as family from here on.

In what I can only describe as a “domestic fantasy” setting, SukaSuka certainly stands out from most light novel adaptations of its kind. Willem is an adult, he once had a family of his own and he’s both kind and likable from the very first episode. The cast of characters is huge, with the first episode only giving us a handful of the girls that are set to live together with Willem. The fact that a great deal of said characters are specifically framed as foster-children for Willem rather than love interests is another big positive in my book.

I love stories of foster families and adoptive parents. One of the reasons why Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS is my favourite Lyrical Nanoha season comes from how it deals with this subject matter. The domestic angle is also something that I enjoy a lot and became a big reason with Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid ended up one of my favourite series from last season. Seeing families different from the norm depicted as happy and healthy for each other is such a delight.

Of course, with the way I’m describing SukaSuka you might get the impression that it’s simply a laid-back slice-of-life anime, but it’s not. As I mentioned earlier, the girls that Willem meet are all considered weapons and the anime lets us know just how dangerous they can be. Though there’s not much action in the first episode, the stuff that’s there was brutal, really well animated and set the tone of a rather grim story to be told.

I mainly talked about Willem earlier, so let’s focus a bit on the characters introduced in the first episode. There’ll be light spoilers so skip these next three paragraphs if you must. The biggest presence is Chtholly, a blue haired girl who Willem meets on the streets of Island 28 at the start of the story. She’s one of the older girls and after Willem helps her out she takes a liking to him. She’s probably the closest we get to a traditional light novel girl so far, but I don’t necessarily mind that thanks to how well she’s fitting in with the rest of the cast so far.

Then there’s Nygglatho, a troll who Willem knows from earlier. In what becomes a recurring gag, she’s a character who literally wants to eat Willem because he’s such a rare delicacy and that’s just what trolls do. At first I thought she was just engaging in general innuendos because she wanted to get in bed with him, but sure enough she wants to cut him up and eat him – eventually, when he’s okay with it. I actually enjoyed this gag quite a bit in the first episode and I hope it doesn’t get run into the ground by next week.

Finally, there’s the four kids. Oh my god the four kids we meet in the first episode are incredible. Pannibal, Collon, Tiat and Lakhesh are four curious little girls who wants to know everything about the mysterious new military caretaker. They were all able to get their distinct personalities across in the few minutes of screen time they had in this episode and seeing Willem put out his dad-skills to socialize with them was adorable and heartwarming. Pannibal is my favourite of the kids so far, though Tiat shines as well, especially when trying to talk back to Chtholly.

Now let’s talk about the beautiful soundtrack. The first episode has a long opening sequence set to a gorgeous cover of Scarborough Fair by Yamada Tamaru that perfectly set up the feel of the world the series takes place in. I had to go back and listen to the opening numerous times after watching the first episode because it was just too beautiful not to. The ending theme by TRUE, From, was also a great feeling song and I can’t wait to hear the regular opening theme next week.

I’m a little embarrassed to say that I’ve not seen any of Wada Junichi‘s work before this. But if his work as director continues to impress me as much as it did this first week I will simply have to go back and check out his earlier work. The author of the light novel, Kareno Akira, is working on composing the series. Prior to SukaSuka they also wrote the light novel Mahoutsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto, which has a rather interesting sounding premise. Oddly enough, despite there being ten years between that and SukaSuka they’ve not written anything else in-between.

Oh wow this post is long and I’ve not even spoken about voice acting yet. Well, I’ll have to admit that I was a little disappointed that the two voice actresses that put me on board for this series, Minase Inori and Uehara Akari, does not appear in this episode, those who are here did a solid job. Willem is voiced by Arai Ryouhei in his first main character role and he definitely suits the character. Like I said earlier, a big reason to why I like the series is that Willem is an adult, not your general light novel teenage protagonist, and Arai‘s performance does that justice.

Chtholly is played by Tadokoro Azusa, perhaps best known for playing Aoi and Yuzu in Aikatsu! and Aikatsu Stars! respectively. She truly shines this first episode when she gets to play Chtholly as a stern big sister to the little kids. Speaking of whom, have solid performances too. Ishimi Manaka, Kino Hina and Mizuma Tomomi aren’t exactly household names, they’ve never played any major roles but they all do a superb job at selling us on the kids’ unique personalities. The one that stands out both as celebrity casting as well as biggest presence among the kids is Pannibal, who is voiced by Kubo Yurika, who’s most well-known for playing Koizumi Hanayo in Love Live! School Idol Project.

I think that covers my first impressions on SukaSuka, it’s an absolute delight and currently my favourite series of the season. I truly hope it continues to deliver upon its great set-up and premise. I want this to still be one of my favourite series when I write up my thoughts on the season as a whole in June.

What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? is licensed by Kadokawa Pictures and is currently being streamed on Crunchyroll.
Click here for more Spring Season 2017 impressions!


One thought on “What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? – First Impressions

  1. Nice review! I wanted to add a couple pieces of info —

    The “defeatured” are really only looked down on in that particular island where the opening scene takes place. Elsewhere it’s not as much of an issue, which is why Grick suggests to Willem that he pay off his debt and move off that particular island to somewhere where he’d be more accepted.

    Willem is 18 years old (in subjective time), which may or may not be an adult depending on how you count it, I guess. Though he certainly acts more mature than the average 18 year old, so while he’s a teenager you’re right that he’s not a “general light novel teenage protagonist”.

    Kareno has written plenty of things in between 魔法遣いに大切なこと and this series. A lot of that has been on console game scenario writing, though, rather than books, but there are several books in there too, including a whole five book series in 2006-08 called 銀月のソルトレージュ. Trivia: that series was illustrated by 得能正太郎, who is pretty famous recently as the creator of NEW GAME!. His art looked way different back then!

    Like

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