The author of Spice and Wolf brings us another economic-based story in the visual novel series World End Economica. The first episode was officially released in English last week and is currently sitting at second place on DLsite’s monthly rankings. But how does the game itself fare?
World End Economica is a story about Kawaura Yoshiharu (known as Hal), a runaway teenage stock trader on the moon. No, really. After running away from his working class family, Hal started turning profits by analysing the market on the moon each day and trading stock wisely. He does this in order to reach his ambition of being rich enough to step foot in a place where no man has gone before. One day, when escaping the police out looking for a runaway, Hal encounters Lisa, a young woman who shelters runaway children in the local church. There he starts to live with math genius Hagana and his dreams are more or less set into motion.
The visual novel is narrated by stock-obsessed Hal and thus it flips between building up the economic world of Lunar City and talking about the basics of stock trading most of the time. Longer explanations are kept towards the middle of the chapter but are still prevalent throughout. While World End Economica is a story about struggles and money problems, it also has slice of life moments where the very different personalities of Lisa, Hagana and Hal bond or clash. Lisa almost seems like a relic in the moon’s modern society, Hagana masks her non-existent self-esteem with rage, and Hal is a rough but considerate kid.
It’s easy to settle into Hal’s daily routines, but the large amount of attention given to stock trading and money can be off-putting for those not entirely interested. The characters also have their quirks which can be as annoying to read as they are for Hal to experience. Children act like children and the line between adolescent and adult is quite clear. Hagana is a difficult character to grasp initially but is almost a refreshing kind of personality. The characters are very much a product of their concerns, which all revolve around the very real problem of money.
The DLsite version of the game’s translation is better than some other titles on the site but isn’t without its errors. The opening narration has a lot of unwarranted tense changes, and tends to cram every detail into one sentence, losing the subject in the process. Once the game passes the opening animation, the narration and dialogue clears up and progresses without many errors. If you are particular about translations then it can be annoying, but otherwise it is passable. Manga Gamer is offering a refined version, with translation fixes and a translated UI and is probably the better version to get.
As far as visuals go, World End Economica is on par with the visual novels currently being released in Japan. The 1280×720 resolution allows you to take in all the shiny details of Lunar City. Almost every character, no matter how minor, gets a sprite. I feel like the game isn’t fully using its graphics though, but that may be because much of the game is spent in two to three rooms. The music doesn’t stand out as anything remarkable but does a good job of adding mood to some scenes and filling in the background in others.
World End Economica episode.1 is an interesting exploration of stock trading on the moon. While the story may not appeal to those who aren’t interested in the financial world, it focuses on common struggles and features interesting characters. The somewhat shaky translation of the initial release is fixed in Manga Gamer’s version. The visuals and large resolution make playing comfortable, so if you’re interested, why not give it a try?
World End Economica Episode.1 is on DLsite for €9.79 / $13, depending on the exchange rate with the yen. It is also available on Manga Gamer for €9.70 / $12.95. The series has three episodes, the last of which is pending release in Japanese in the future. There is no news as to when we can expect episode.2 in English.
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