The story takes place in the far future, sixteen years after humanity has colonized the Moon. As Earth fell victim to pollution and poverty, the Moon grew to become an economic paradise, in which anyone can supposedly make it big. In this environment, only the more adept can prosper ; people's desires are either granted to them, or crushed mercilessly. As such, only two rules matter. The first is to never take a loss. The second is to never forget the first.
The main protagonist, a boy named Yoshiharu (Haru for short), has a wild dream, for which he needs to collect an insane amount of wealth. He runs away from home, and starts playing the stock market in order to gain the money he needs, proving to be extremely competent at it. As he attempts to escape the authorities, he is taken in by a young religious woman named Lisa. He also meets another young girl that was also taken in by Lisa, named Hagana ; she is cold, abrasive, lacks social skills entirely, and seems to be interested only in mathematics, a field in which her skills reach genius-levels of mastery, and in helping Lisa however she can.
The story revolves heavily around the themes of economy, wealth, and the social ladder, and provides a lot of commentary on both how it serves as a mean to achieve one's dreams and ambition and how it is a cruel world that can destroy one's life in an instant. Explanations about various aspects of stock trading are frequent within the story; these explanations are incorporated in a manner that makes them relevant to the events at hand and easily understandable for neophytes.
The three chapters were originally released for Windows on August 2011, 2012 an 2013 respectively. The first episode was then ported to the Ren'Py engine in May 2014, and released on Steam along with an English translation, with the help of publisher Sekai Project. Following its success, a Kickstarter campaign was launched in order to localize and port the remaining two episodes. The Kickstarter reached its goal in a mere 44 hours, and the final amount collected was four times higher than the initial goal, allowing for an HD makeover of all three episode and a port to iOS and PlayStation Vita under the Unity engine. The second chapter was released on Steam in July 2015 and the third in December 2016. The first episode was also released on the Japanese Nintendo 3DS eShop in July 2016.
Tropes found in WORLD END ECONOMiCA:
- Abusive Parents: At one point Haru mentions, quite offhandedly, in his internal narration that his father used to beat him, which goes some way towards explaining why he ran away from home.
- Amazing Freaking Grace: A music box version is used in Episode 3 at the climax of Haru's failed attempt to convince Chris to offer a better buyout price for Bull Stairs to drive home the fact that this is the last split between them.
- Armor-Piercing Question: At the end of Episode 3, Haru and Hagana manage to impress Barton with a plan to save the Moon, summed up with one:Haru: Isn't that what taxes are for?
- The Chessmaster: Barton is spoken of in terms befitting a perfectly predatory businessman.
- Chick Magnet: Hal is surrounded by gorgeous women who range from teasing him to in love with him.
- Crapsack World: Both Earth and the Moon can be seen as such.
- Earth is described as a world that fell apart completely, falling victim to pollution, poverty, and overpopulation. The Moon was colonized in order for humanity to get a fresh new start, and Earth economy cannot compete with the Moon's prosperity in any way whatsoever.
- The Moon is a world entirely ruled by money, in which profit comes before morality. Things of emotional or spiritual value, like books or religion, are seen as worthless and futile.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Hagana was sold to pay off a debt and managed to escape to the moon. Learning this is a big part of what finally convinces Haru to take a level in kindness.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Actually inverted in that they defeat the opponent through friendship of a sort: after explaining his plan to save the Lunar Surface to Barton, Hal is able to get Barton to return the money he extorted from him earlier, and give up the positions he'd established to threaten Emerald Industries, by getting President Gazzanica to offer Barton the position of Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, which would be a dream come true for someone like Barton who both wants to protect the Lunar Surface and lives to outwit people in matters of finance.
- Downer Ending: The ending of the first episode. Haru loses both the trading contest and the money that was entrusted to him by falling for Barton's lies. He undergoes a Despair Event Horizon, which causes him to fall into a coma, of which he emerges traumatized and paralyzed. Due to this, Hagana loses her trust in Haru, and decides to run away.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The endings of Episodes 2 and 3. Haru and Eleanor persevere in their investigation and in the end successfully expose a massively corrupt company in Episode 2, and Episode 3 sees Haru finally reunite with Hagana, save the Lunar surface again, and even impress Barton into a stunned silence.
- Happily Ever After: The final CG of the 3rd game is Hal and Hagana kissing at their wedding (which is officiated by Lisa).
- Ironic Echo: Hal takes great joy in finally being able to turn this back against Barton:"Why don't you grow up?"
- Jerkass: Haru is this for most of Episode 1. He opens himself up throughout the story, but still shows shades of it occasionally.
- Le Parkour: This is how Hal usually gets around the city in episode 1, aided by the Moon's low gravity which makes it easy for almost anyone to leap what would on Earth be huge distances with ease.
- Male Gaze: When Hagana walks through towards the bathroom in just a singlet and panties, as soon as Haru turns to look at her the camera zooms right in on her butt.
- My Greatest Failure: In Episodes 2 and 3, Haru sees his rejection of Hagana at the end of Episode 1 in favor of Barton's false hope to be an unforgivable crime. On top of seeing himself as breaking the trust of the people who believed in him, this drives him into a coma. Even after he's discharged from the hospital, he's unable to emote, he has phantom pains in his right hand, and he has to walk with a cane.
- No Social Skills: Hagana is unable to properly conduct what would be considered normal social interactions, as evidenced by the scenes in which she tries to bargain with a store vendor or freaks out when a debt collector visits Lisa's church. Interestingly, she appears to however be a competent teacher, and is quite appreciated by her students, probably due to the fact that she is at ease with the field of mathematics.
- Poor Communication Kills: In Episode 3, Hagana starts out not caring about the Lunar surface or much of anything in particular because she thinks that the person she trusted and cared about the most thought nothing of her. It takes Haru confessing his feelings and clearing up the misunderstanding that lets the two of them reunite for real.
- Precision F-Strike: When Barton springs his trap on Hal by obliquely threatening Hagana, a helpless but furious Hal spits "Fuck you!" at him.
- Pun: When Hal describes the people who invest in stocks just because they're trending up as cattle, he calls the resulting price movement "moo-mentum."
- Raging Stiffie: After the first time Hagana sleeps beside Hal in his bed after working together all night, the next morning she gets up and stretches while Hal remains trapped in bed by "the phenomenon called 'morning glory'".
- The Runaway: Haru ran away from home, as he felt he could not achieve his ambitions if he stayed with his parents.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: When Hal brings Eleanor what is explicitly a McDonald's burger (presumably a Big Mac)note for dinner, she chows into it with an actual verbal exclamation of "Nom".
- Shout-Out: You don't get to see what the "terminals" that people use as computers in the future look like until Serrault shows up at the church carrying his and it looks almost exactly like a bright red PSP. Also, this may be coincidence, but when he brings drinks around with him, Hal notes that Hagana chooses to drink "100% pure orange juice".
- Sleep Cute: In the closing days of the investment contest, Haru and Hagana start sleeping together in the same bed as a result of working together in his room right up until bedtime. It's completely chaste, but Hagana does tend to cling to Hal in her sleep.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Zig-zagged. Much of the series is very cynical, if non-judgemental, presenting the Lunar Surface as a world ruled by cold, ruthless pragmatism in the name of profit at any cost. But it's subverted right at the very end of the 3rd episode when Hal and Hagana manage to save the Lunar Surface from total collapse by means of a new tax levied to appeal to the passionate idealism of the people who live there and love it enough to be willing to contribute their money to keep it alive.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The translator changed between Episode 1 and Episodes 2-3 and, as is common with Japanese-English translations, almost all the names changed with it- Hal became Haru, Lisa became Risa, Serrault became Cerrow etc. Oddly, the Steam trading cards for the characters continue to use their original names.
- Thanks for the Mammary: While Hal doesn't make a big deal of it in the text, in the CG where Lisa hugs him after their first big talk about Hagana she clearly smushes his face into her boobs. He does express a mild disappointment that she doesn't hug him again afterwards.
Marco's face looked like it might if it were squished between two basketballs. As I observed the scene I fixed my clothes. Marco was struggling to the point where it looked like he couldn't breathe, but Satia kept him in her embrace for a full thirty seconds before finally setting him free.
- Subverted in chapter 3 in Satia's first scene, where the way she hugs Hal and Marco is a more literal version of Marshmallow Hell.
- Theme Park Version: The film made of Haru and Eleanor's story in Episode 2 has the usual embellishments, including a shoehorned romance plot between Haru and Eleanor. Mistaking that part for the truth is what leaves Hagana open for Barton to prod her into wanting to ruin the Lunar surface, possibly in an attempt to hurt Haru by hurting the only thing she felt he cared about.
- Title Drop: After Haru and Hagana impress Barton with their plan to save the Lunar surface, he speculates that there'll probably be another movie about Haru, and he proposes the game title as the title for the movie.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: In Episodes 2 and 3, Chris has an optimism about capitalism that would be right at home in any Horatio Alger book. Unfortunately, the economy is more complicated than that, especially in Episode 3.
- Worthy Opponent: Barton to Hal. And in the end, Hal to Barton too.
- Wham Line: Towards the end of Episode 2: "Hey, long time no see.".
- An even bigger one in Episode 3 when Hal works out what's at stake and what Dr. Wallace was betting on.This was... the destruction of the world.
- An even bigger one in Episode 3 when Hal works out what's at stake and what Dr. Wallace was betting on.