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The World Ends With You: The Animation is the 2021 anime adaptation of Square Enix's Urban Fantasy Action RPG The World Ends With You, originally released in 2007 for the Nintendo DS. Animated by DOMERICA and Shin-Ei Animation with music by Takeharu Ishimoto, the anime premiered on April 10th, 2021 as part of the Spring 2021 anime season. The anime was made to help fans unfamiliar with the original game to catch up on the game's story prior to the release of its sequel, NEO: The World Ends with You.

The anime follows Neku Sakuraba, an asocial Japanese teen who suddenly awakens in the middle of Shibuya's Scramble Crossing, with no recollection of how or why he got there. Neku soon learns that he has been chosen to take part in the "Reaper's Game", a week-long life-or-death struggle where victory means survival and reclaiming his lost memories, while failure means being erased from existence... literally.

Resistant as he is to associating with others, Neku finds himself in a testy partnership with another Player of the Game, the chatty and fashion-obsessed Shiki Misaki. Through his interactions with her and other Players, Neku slowly learns to open himself up to the world and broaden his horizons, and together they must overcome their differences to survive the Reaper's Game and win back their freedom.

This anime contains examples of:

  • 12-Episode Anime: The series is 12 episodes, which is a very tight time frame to cover all of the game's events. Accordingly, a lot of minor scenes are skipped over.
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Fight scenes use CGI animation. All of the characters and Noise are animated in 3D, as well as the Everything Fades effects.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • In the games, Neku needs to physically obtain pins to expand his battle skill. In the anime, the pin powers seemingly manifest out of nowhere through his own will without even showing that he's actually equipping a single pin.
    • Rhyme's Noise form was rather weak in the game, albeit essential to forcing Konishi to reveal herself in the third phase of the Tigris Cantus battle. In the anime, she can hold her own against Konishi's Noise form.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Downplayed. On the first day of the second Reaper's Game, Joshua solves Minamimoto's puzzle before Neku does, whereas in the game Neku was the one to figure it out.
  • Adaptational Explanation: In the game, Mr. Hanekoma's phone camera upgrade to take a picture of the past is given a hard limit of 3 shots a day. In the anime, Joshua says that using the feature eats up the phone's battery to explain the limit.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Neku's attempt to strangle Shiki as a trick set up by Uzuki has much less of a reason for him to go ahead with because Shiki's constant view of her phone showing Eri on it is dropped out. Neku is convinced rather quickly about killing Shiki.
    • Kariya is now present when Uzuki gives her fake offer to get out of the Reapers' Game to Neku despite his later distaste and genuine apology when finding out that the Rhyme pin he rewarded Beat with was a fake. He also directly taunts Beat over Rhyme's erasure compared to the game where he makes sure that Beat knows Rhyme sacrificed herself to protect him because he got careless.
    • Joshua comes off as being more menacing and jerkish when interacting with Neku than he was in the game. At one point, he flat out tells Neku that if he wants to survive he has to listen to him.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • While he's still otherwise rough around the edges and aloof, Neku warms up to Shiki much quicker than he did in the game. There are fewer instances of him calling her a "stalker" and demanding that she stop following him around, and he switches to using her name much sooner than in the game, when he only did so after defeating the first Game Master.
      • This also applies to his near murder of Shiki. In the game, Uzuki claimed Shiki was spying on him to goad him into killing her, whereas in the anime, Neku's negative emotions got him corrupted by Noise.
      • After Rhyme is erased and Beat is sure to follow her, Neku doesn't cynically deride the concept of friendship. This may be partly due to the fact that the event in question is later on, after Neku and Shiki have already bonded.
      • Later on, he helps Kairya and Uzuki against Taboo Noise because he doesn't want to see more people erased. In the game, it's an optional choice and the reason he gives to Joshua for helping is to piss them off.
    • A very minor case with Mr. Hanekoma who gives Neku and Joshua coffee on the house instead of charging them.
    • In this continuity, Beat uses his special assignment from Kitaniji as an excuse to keep an eye on Neku and protect him from Noise instead of seeking out and fighting him.
  • Adaptation Deviation:
    • Negative Noise can also affect the mood of Players and Reapers in the anime instead of just people in the RG. (The possibility of Players and Reapers being possessed was alluded to in one of the game's Secret Reports, but not shown.)
    • In the game, Futoshi is just a regular guy who happens to be working for 777, a Reaper (hence why Neku can scan and imprint on him), but in the anime, Futoshi is also a Reaper and can interact with Players normally. Doubles as Adaptational Badass.
    • Eri's first onscreen appearance has her dressed in a school uniform and no hat; in the game, Eri simply reused Shiki's sprite.
    • Rhyme's erasure occurs during Day 4. In the anime, it happens during Day 6.
    • The Red Skull Pin advertising mission has Neku and Shiki Imprint on The Prince instead of following Makoto around. It also ends with a giant Noise forming from the Red Skull Pins which proceeds to wipe out all the other Players before Joshua intervenes and erases it.
    • When Kitaniji talks about the Reapers' Game results, Beat isn't there and Shiki cries out for Neku when she gets taken as his entry fee instead of seemingly going back to the RG peacefully.
    • On Day 1 of Week 2, the mission ends when Neku and Joshua arrive at 104 and moves on to the next day. The anime has Minamimoto issue a new mission and orders all Players besides Neku and Joshua to kill each other and promising to spare anyone who kills Uzuki.
    • In the game, Beat's first appearance in Week 2 as a Reaper occurs during Day 3 with a pink ferret-looking Noise, actually Rhyme, confronting and battling Joshua and Neku in a Hopeless Boss Fight. Here, he appears a day earlier to punch Neku once and Noise Rhyme is nowhere to be seen on his person until Week 3.
    • The detour from hell with Def Märch's mic ends up being fairly different. In the anime, Joshua offers to help in exchange for 777 taking down the wall and the culprit is identified as Minamimoto quickly thanks to Joshua taking a photo of the exact moment the mic got taken. They mourn the loss of their mic though since they're afraid to mess with his art. In the game, Joshua is against helping whether or not Neku agrees and 777 sets up a wall to force the duo to assist. Minamimoto gets identified thanks to him leaving his megaphone behind in exchange for the mic and Def Märch immediately digs into one of the trash heaps to try and find it.
    • Nao and Sota cut themselves off in their talk with Neku out of fear of Taboo Noise and run instead of telling Neku that it's not his fault that Shiki is his entry fee and how the two of them would play the Reapers' Game for however long it takes for both of them to return to life, a conversation that gets moved over to the next episode.
    • In the game, Neku and Joshua make a second trip to WildKat because Joshua wants the signal tracker readjusted and Hanekoma forgot to upgrade Neku's phone. In the anime, it's to fix Joshua's cracked phone screen after Neku gets upset with him from remembering his death.
    • The trek through Pork City (Mark City in the anime and real life) has Neku and Joshua take the stairs instead of the elevators since there aren't any Support Reapers to take down the walls in the anime. They're ambushed in the dark by anime-original spider Noise and unable to fight back until Uzuki secretly turns on the lights as thanks for being saved the day before. Beat also joins in which has Uzuki speculate that he's using his mission as an excuse to protect Neku.
    • Since the anime shifts focus away from pins, Rhyme is revived by Hanekoma as Noise instead of a pin and Beat's motivation for joining the Reapers was to turn her back human instead of just being able to summon her Noise form.
    • The O-Pins here are treated as a power-up and give Red Eyes, Take Warning when equipped. In the game, the grunt-level reapers are surprised to find out that it doesn't actually do anything until the pins are activated on Day 5.
    • Beat's Day 3 has Neku and Beat avoiding Reapers and clearing Negative Noise from a crowd that's clamoring for Red Skull pins instead of Uzuki being GM for the day.
    • Beat says his dream was becoming the world's greatest skater. In-game, that was a Motivational Lie he told Rhyme when she mentioned not being able to remember her dream.
    • Beat figures out that targeting the O-Pins will stop Berserk Kariya and Uzuki instead of fighting as normal and convincing Neku to spare them once they're knocked out.
    • The hints for fighting Konishi are included with Hanekoma's letter instead of an anonymous e-mail just before the fight.
    • Beat's Day 5 includes the events of Day 6, moving the finale over to 2 Days Left instead of The Last Day.
    • In the fight against Konishi, Beat is the one to take Rhyme back instead of Neku, after gaining a Battle Aura out of Heroic Resolve to stop Neku from being erased. The two of them then power up Rhyme with their Fusion to take down Konishi.
    • Taboo Minamimoto is shown pinned down under light projectiles in the Room of Reckoning rather than under a trash heap in the Trail of the Bygone.
    • Berserk Shiki is stopped by defeating Anguis Cantus and then taking away the Red Skull pin while they're down instead of Neku destroying the pin after Beat takes a hit for him against Shiki.
    • Draco Cantus is formed from Noise combining with Kitaniji instead of him combining with Neku's partners, allowing Shiki and Beat to actively participate in the fight.
    • The Level 5 keypin left with Hanekoma's letter takes the Harmonizer Pin's place in performing the final Fusion Attack.
    • Neku's second Player Pin was explicitly given by Joshua to counteract the Red Skull Pin rather than being a hidden spare that protects Neku when Kitanji destroys his Player Pin in an attempt to expose him to the Red Skull Pin's effects.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Most of the actual mission parts of the story are shortened drastically compared to their game counterparts, allowing the story to move along faster.
    • The process of Imprinting in the game involves discovering memes (keywords that can be implanted in a person's mind) to influence people's thoughts as a very low-functioning level of Mind Control. In the anime, Players can simply interact with people the same way they Scan them for the same result.
    • The Harmonizer Pin is gone with Neku and his partner standing together to sync up before a Fusion Attack instead.
    • Most of the events of Day 5 from the game take place on Day 4 in the anime, with some of the exposition from Day 4 overlapping onto it.
    • The debacle involving 777 losing his mic and suspecting his bandmates is resolved fairly quickly by Joshua who snaps a precise picture of Minamimoto taking it.
    • In the game, the second trip to WildKat has a bunch of walls set up since Kariya is suspicious of Joshua and Reaper Beat ambushes them on the return trip. In the anime, it's a single wall blocked off by random Noise and Beat gets carried off by Kariya instead of getting into a fight.
    • The fight against 777 and the rematch against the golden bat Noise is combined into 777 summoning a swarm of bats that form into a giant bat.
    • Beat's Day 3 and 4 are condensed into a single fight against Kariya and Uzuki.
    • After Konishi's defeat, the Players are brought straight to the Room of Reckoning where Berserk Shiki and Anguis Cantus are fought together.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Episode 3 has a news report about Sota and Nao getting caught in an accident. While the accident isn't elaborated on, it does explain how they became Players.
    • Episode 4 includes a new scene where Neku watches Eri buy flowers for Shiki.
    • Episode 6 has a scene of Kariya and Uzuki reporting the Taboo Noise situation to Konishi.
    • Episode 8 has 777 and Konishi talk with each other before she erases him.
    • Episode 9 has a flashback to Beat and Rhyme's deaths, a brief scene in which Beat and Neku erase some Noise spawned from customers who can't buy the red skull pins, and a scene in which Konishi watches Kariya and Uzuki succumb to the O-Pins' influence.
    • Beyond the Room of Reckoning is the Composer's room filled with CAT's art.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • The anime skips over pins being the source of everyone's psychs which leaves everyone's abilities unexplained such as how Mr. Mew can move, Neku being able to use several pins unlike everyone else, or why Neku and Shiki are standing together to power up.
    • In Episode 11, Konishi does not explain her Xanatos Gambit to Beat and Neku. Either Minamimoto will kill the Composer, or Kitaniji will be weakened enough that she can kill Kitaniji and take over as Conductor.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • During Day 2, Beat originally left after getting sick of Neku's attitude, with Rhyme trailing after him. Since they stick together in the anime, the two of them end up not doing anything when Neku attempts to kill Shiki.
    • Beat challenging Neku in a race to Tower Records is a lot more foolish considering a humongous Noise erased all the other Players just the day before in the anime. In the game, Kariya and Uzuki set the trap at Tower Records because Kariya is convinced that easy missions for the previous three days followed by a mission with no time limit will cause the players to lower their guards.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Neku's opening monologue about how he doesn't get people didn't make the cut.
    • On Day 3, Neku and Shiki head to face Vespertilio Canor, the master of A-East and the first real boss Noise. In the game, it's revealed that after they destroy Vespertilio Canor, that it was a Red Herring. A smaller golden bat was in fact the real master, and nearly escapes until Beat and Rhyme take it out. In the episode, the golden bat doesn't appear at all, leaving the larger Vespertilio Canor as the real target for Neku and Shiki to defeat, with Beat and Rhyme acting as support for the swarm of Gabba Bats it summons. The mechanic for weakening and exposing the boss, uncovering the stage-lights in the rafters with Shiki's attacks, is also removed.
    • Ai and Mina do not play Reaper Creeper on Day 4 to resolve their argument; Shiki simply Imprints on them instead.
    • Tin Pin Slammer is out and the mission to obtain the gold pin is shortened to just reaching Route 3, the street before Molco where the Tin Pin slam-off would have taken place.
    • The ramen subplot with Makoto and the Prince is cut with Joshua's tracker chase ending in the Scramble Crossing for that Day instead.
    • Reaper Beat doesn't get a chance to fight as opposed to his role of being a Recurring and Hopeless Boss Fight.
    • The Jupiter of the Monkey store on Cat Street is closed down which Neku is a little sad about since it's his favorite brand.
    • Beat having limited time to live due to not earning any points as a Reaper isn't a plot point.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After a despairing Beat says he has no desire to live now that Rhyme is dead, Hanekoma asks Beat, "So then you're going to let her sacrifice go to waste?"
  • Art Shift: Tetsuya Nomura's original designs gave many of the characters incredibly exaggerated proportions to match the stylistic vibe of the setting, like Shiki's pencil-thin waistline. The anime, while mostly remaining faithful to the game's visuals, reworks most of the character designs into more realistic proportions.
  • Ascended Extra: Sota and Nao are given slightly more focus during the second week, helping Neku convince himself that Shiki becoming his entry fee is not his fault and is proof he genuinely cares about her.
  • Battle Aura:
    • Beat gains one against Konishi when vowing that he's not going to let anyone else die.
    • Neku gets one when talking about his own growth as an objection to Kitaniji's plans for Shibuya.
  • Blunt "Yes":
    • One such exchange happens after Joshua tells Neku about his fascination with the Reaper's Game in Episode 5.
      Neku: The UG's full of dead people fighting for their lives. You somehow find that charming?
      Joshua: I do.
    • Another happens near the end of the penultimate episode.
      Neku: Making everyone think alike? You think that is paradise?
      Kitaniji: It is indeed!
    • At the very end, a flashback has Kitaniji ask the Composer about his plan to erase Shibuya.
      Kitaniji: You would erase something that still holds so many possibilities?
      Composer: Since its denizens have grown too dull and clouded to see that potential? Yes.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: A subtle example in Episode 5, when Joshua smugly says that the Composer could easily erase Shibuya if he wanted, almost proud of it. Those who have played the game know that Joshua is the Composer.
  • Canon Foreigner: Episode 7 introduces a Noise never seen in the game resembling a spider.
  • Chain Pain: Beat is able to summon chains from his skateboard, as taken from his level 2 Fusion Attack.
  • Chekhov's Gun: After Neku and Shiki help exorcise a powerful Noise from Futoshi, 777 gifts the duo a pin with a key design on it, calling it "special concert merch". This pin is later used in the next episode on Day 4 to open a wall guarded by a low-level Reaper.
  • Combination Attack: On Day 3, Neku and Shiki learn how to synchronize their attacks to defeat a Mosh Grizzly possessing Futoshi. They later use this technique against Vespertilio Cantor, the boss of the mission, to turn the tables and take it down despite the odds.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Neku and Beat get hit with this hard, courtesy of Taboo Sho. The only reason they aren't finished off before the day ends is because Sho has bigger things to do.
  • Delayed Reaction: It takes Neku a few seconds to process the revelation that CAT, his idol, is none other than Hanekoma.
    Joshua: He's Mr. Hanekoma.
    Neku: Who is?
    Joshua: CAT.
    Neku: Huh? [...] (Beat) Mr. Hanekoma is CAT?!
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Background characters in the RG are shown with faded out, greyish colors while characters in the UG are seen in full-color.
  • Demonic Possession: Noise are attracted to people with strong negative emotions. Noise attracted this way can possess people and influence their actions negatively, like Neku trying to kill Shiki in the first episode before Hanekoma steps in.
  • Demoted to Extra: Higashizawa's presence is somewhat reduced, as the anime omits the scene in which he gives a Breaking Speech to Shiki.
  • Deus ex Machina: Literally. When an extremely powerful Noise appears after the Day 5 mission and starts Erasing players, Joshua appears atop 104 and banishes it with a snap of his fingers.
  • Dynamic Entry: Just as a Noise is about to erase Neku, Reaper Beat crashes into him and erases the Noise with the collision.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Various minor characters such as Ai, Mina, Sota, Nao, Futoshi, and Makoto can be seen briefly in the Crossing when Neku awakens at the start of the first episode. You might have to pause to catch them all, though.
    • Shooter and Yammer later appear as background characters at the start of Day 3.
    • Eiji Oji, the Prince, is mentioned once in the first episode, and a billboard with his face on it can be seen on Day 4 before he is properly introduced.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Neku sends a fireball down Draco Cantus' mouth, which leaves him vulnerable for the follow-up Fusion Attack.
  • Fire/Ice Duo: Neku and Joshua's Fusion Attack has them rain down fireballs and icicles.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Neku's death scene is shown at the very start of the anime, obscured in static in such a way that it's impossible to tell what's happening.
    • If one pays close attention to Beat's reaction when Shiki mentions that Neku has amnesia, he appears more downtrodden than surprised upon finding out. His sister Rhyme also having amnesia could very well attribute to that.
    • Beat is shown leaning forward and rather uncomfortable hearing Shiki and Rhyme talk about the latter's brother. It's because he's Rhyme's brother.
    • The lock screen of Neku's smartphone shows a particular graffiti image on it. It's the CAT mural, Neku's favorite place in the city and the place where he was killed.
    • The true purpose of the Red Skull Pins is referenced early on Day 5, with everyone wearing it gaining Red Eyes, Take Warning.
    • Furthermore in regards to the above, the massive Noise that is formed from the darkness of the transfixed crowd uses the Noise symbol that acts as a barrier for the Shibuya River, the face of a snake. Anyone who has played the game and knows of his Noise form would realize that this has ties to Megumi and his plot.
  • Freudian Slip: In Episode 2, Shiki, while looking at some outfits in a store window, calls Neku "Eri," due to not looking at him and briefly forgetting that she's not with Eri.
  • Handshake Substitute: Neku and Beat share a fist bump in episode 9.
  • Ironic Echo: Joshua asks "Work for you?" when initiating a fusion attack with Neku. In the last episode, he asks this question of Neku before returning Neku's memories, allowing him to see that Joshua really did kill him.
  • It's All My Fault: Neku blames himself for Shiki being unable to come back to life due to her becoming his entry fee for Week 2.
  • Jump Physics: In the first episode, Neku uses the Masamune's Vulcan Uppercut Psych to launch far higher than normal and reach a rooftop to defeat a group of frog Noise.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When Shiki and Rhyme are talking about the latter's brother and how nice he is, Beat is shown leaning forward and looking a bit uncomfortable in the background, foreshadowing that he's Rhyme's brother.
  • Mind Control: An extension of the scanning ability that Players have is Imprinting, the ability to insert thoughts into the minds of people in the RG by touching their heads. This ability is used by Neku and Shiki throughout Episode 2 to influence people in certain ways, such as getting Ai and Mina to talk out their problems and getting Eiji Oji to tell a large crowd to look at a jumbotron.
  • Mind Reading: The Player Pins allow Players to read the thoughts of any person in the RG by "touching" them, in a process known as "scanning".
  • Mistaken for Cheating: During Day 4's mission, Neku and Shiki discover a pair of schoolgirls named Ai and Mina having an emotionally-charged argument and attracting a hell lot of Noise. When Shiki scans the pair, she discovers that Ai saw Mina meeting her boyfriend Makoto in secret and believes that Mina might be making moves toward him. Shiki Imprints on the pair to get Mina to reveal that she and Makoto were going to surprise Ai with a pair of 777 tickets for her birthday, clearing up the situation and thinning out the remaining Noise.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Various pin and clothing brands from the game can be seen on billboards and screens throughout Shibuya.
    • Whenever Neku uses a Psych, the corresponding Pin's game design appears on the screen.
    • When Shiki approaches Neku from behind and Neku suddenly turns around on Day 3, Shiki jumps back in a way that replicates her original "surprised" sprite.
    • The battle stances for the main cast seen in the ending are based on their Fusion Attack animations.
    • Neku and Joshua's Fusion Attack against Minamimoto has them pulling all the platforms in the imaginary numbers plane together into a giant ball and dropping it, mimicking Joshua's level 3 Fusion where they drop the moon onto Earth.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When an immensely powerful Noise appears on Day 5, dark clouds suddenly appear in the sky as it strikes down Players. After Joshua disposes of it, said clouds immediately dissipate.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Pyrokinesis is Neku's favored Psych, being able to manipulate the fire in his hands in various ways, including as both a projectile and a melee-range weapon.
    • Kariya shoots flames from his hands to defend Uzuki from the Taboo Noise.
  • Pocket Protector: After Shiki learns about Neki having two Player Pins, she proposes that he keep the second near his heart so it can "stop a bullet like a miniature shield."
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The game made a point of explaining that Partners fight in alternate dimensions to justify the two-screen setup (and the Assist Character mechanic from Solo Remix and Final Remix). This isn't needed in the anime, so all characters are simply shown fighting together.
    • Scanning is explained a little differently from the game, where characters must physically interact with other people to read their minds. Accordingly, the explanation for summoning Noise is also reworked, with Noise simply showing up as required or when summoned by Reapers.
    • Joshua uses regular telekinesis and his level 2 Fusion Attack to fight instead of trying to adapt his unique fighting style of locking onto foes with his phone and raining junk down.
    • The ending adapts the Secret Reports by having some of their most important points—specifically, the explanation of Hanekoma's backup plan and some implications about the Higher Plane and Angels—into a conversation between Joshua and Hanekoma. Joshua also mentions that Hanekoma will be punished for assisting Minamimoto with his Taboo Noise sigil.
  • Precision F-Strike: Beat says, "You bitch..." when Konishi refuses to let him and Neku past to where Kitaniji is waiting.
  • Product Placement: Notably, some of the Shibuya locales are referred to by their proper real-life names rather than the Bland-Name Product names they got in the game. For example, "O-East" is used instead of "A-East", and the ending sequence has a Marui shop appear in the background. The 109 building, however, is still 104.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: After Konishi starts to address Beat by name, including his Embarrassing First Name, he yells, "THAT'S! BEAT! TO! YOU!"
  • Put on a Bus: Makoto's Shadow Ramen mission during Joshua's week never occurs, instead getting replaced with a standard mission to get to Towa Records. This also makes his appearance on the third week never happen, alongside his business boss, who's not seen using Reaper Creeper. Makoto does show up in the final episode, though.
  • Recycled Soundtrack:
    • Several songs from the game are reused for the anime, such as the title screen music and Calling in the first episode.
    • Due to the original opening theme being scrapped as a result of real-life controversy, the theme song was replaced with a very slightly remixed version of Twister, the opening theme from the game.
  • The Reveal: The end of Episode 2 has Neku discovering that all of the Players in the Reaper's Game are deceased.
  • Say My Name: Neku screams Joshua's name after Joshua shoves him off Park City to save him from the Level i Flare.
  • Setting Update: Due to the original game being very much a product of its time, the anime has undergone a few aesthetic changes to match the present day. One such example is the characters' phones; they were originally flip phones in the game, but for the anime they were converted to smartphones.
  • Shock and Awe: Although he primarily uses Pyrokinesis, Neku pairs it with the Thunderbolt Psych as an exclusively ranged option to strike foes from afar more efficiently.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The ending reveals Sota, Nao, and 777 were all resurrected like Rhyme, something that did not happen (or at least was not shown) in the original game.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening sequence contains several hints towards some very big plot twists, including the Red Skull Pin, Minamimoto transforming into his Taboo Noise form, and Angel feathers falling from the sky.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Kitaniji occasionally does this to Konishi, suddenly disappearing at the end of their conversations and leaving his glass behind.
  • The Stinger: After the end credits of Episode 3, which concludes the first week, Joshua smirks and chuckles.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Funimation description for the show spoils that the Players are dead people fighting to earn the right to return to life.
  • Tranquil Fury: In Episode 3, Beat's tone when confronting the Reapers responsible for Rhyme's erasure is disturbingly calm before he begins Suddenly Shouting.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Kariya and Uzuki are having Mexican hotdogs in Spain Hill when Beat approaches them. He lampshades the trope.
  • Wham Line:
    • The Reveal that the Players are dead is conveyed differently in the anime.
      Shiki: The game that we're playing... isn't free. And my appearance was the entry fee I paid with. Since I still needed a body to play, they gave me Eri's. So yeah, I don't really look like this.
      Neku: What the heck are you saying?!
      Shiki: The Reaper's Game is an examination to see who is worthy of a second chance at life. I died in an accident.
      Neku: Wait... how?! When did I...? I'm dead?
    • Similarly, Neku's second entry fee is revealed in such a way after Shiki disappears and Neku demands to know whether Kitaniji revived her.
      Kitaniji: Don't act shocked; it only makes sense. A game with such great rewards isn't cheap. To play a second round you must first pay a second price.
      Neku: Oh no!
      Kitaniji: Oh, yes! We take what Players value most, and the thing currently holding that place in your heart... is Shiki Misaki.
    • Beat reveals why Rhyme is so important to him.
      Beat: If I'd listened to her and turned back, she never would've died. But 'cause she had to have a stupid loser brother like me...
      Neku: Brother?!
      Beat: Yeah. Rhyme is my— or was— my little sis.
    • In the final episode, Joshua announces his victory, but explains that he doesn't mean The Reaper's Game.
      Joshua: Kitaniji was our opponent. He and I were playing to determine the fate of this ward... along with you. For you see, Shibuya's Composer is yours truly.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In Episode 2, Shiki sees her old best friend Eri, who looks just like her, although unlike in the game, Eri isn't dressed like Shiki.
    • In Episode 5, Neku scans Joshua, and sees a flashback to the day he died. After a shadowy figure shoots Neku, the shooter is revealed to be Joshua.
    • In Episode 6, Neku concludes that he and Joshua are outmatched by the Taboo Noise, and should flee. Joshua says that isn't an option, and as he says that, another Taboo Noise is shown cutting off their escape.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Beat does this to Neku by pulling his collar, when Neku tries to kill Shiki.

Alternative Title(s): The World Ends With You The Animation