What would you do if you discovered the world was ending? Where would you go? Who would you spend it with? What memories would you want to remember? What regrets would you want to face? If you had the option of ending your own life peacefully beforehand, would you?
The Japanese BL The End of the World with You doesn’t ask these questions. It answers them.
Starring Seto Toshiki as the quiet Nishina Masumi and Nakata Keisuke as playboy Kusakabe Ritsu, the series starts with a bang, delving quickly into its tragic angst with a news announcement. A meteor is headed to earth and will destroy the world in ten days.
I always go into Japanese BLs with certain narrative expectations. No matter the genre, whether comedic or melancholy, their plots generally have a deeper meaning. The End of the World with You is no different. From Masumi’s depressing life to his past hurts to his sudden run-in with the man who broke his heart, it’s immediately evident that this drama is less about the incoming disaster and more about what that disaster forces these characters to face.
The principal leads are polar opposites. Masumi looks for deeper commitments and consistently questions himself. Ritsu is a player; his flippant attitude, promiscuity, and selfish behavior make it hard to connect with him. And yet, it’s obvious there’s something deeper lurking there, a reason Ritsu acts the way he does, a reason he’s afraid to face the idea of love, a reason he’s so dead set on destroying love before he’s consumed by it. Fear makes people do cruel things.
And that’s what has drawn me into this series. It isn’t shying away from the depths people will go to when faced with the possibility of no tomorrow. It doesn’t shy away from heartbreak, it doesn’t shy away from its gay characters, and it doesn’t shy away from sex and the emotional entanglement intimacy can bring.
There have been quite a few BLs who have tackled an apocalyptic ending. What sets Japan apart is its narrative promise. Rather than concentrate only on the ticking clock, it focuses on what each character will discover while time slips away and what choices they’ll make to either avoid it or face it. There’s no need for extravagant special effects inside a human story. All the creators need are the humans to tell it.
And that’s what I predict this story will do.
Adapted from the manga Bokura no Micro na Shuumatsu by Marukido Maki, The End of The World with You takes us on a journey with impending death as its endgame. It doesn’t promise a sad ending, nor does it promise a happy one.
For a passionate, heartbreaking, and revealing story that unfolds during the last ten days on earth, check out The End of the World with You on Viki and Gagaoolala.
Rating- 4.5 out of 5
One thought on ““The End of the World with You” First Impressions (Ep.1 & 2)”
Great early beginning- the director is the same that helmed the Pornographer and Mood Indigo- the same actor who was one note throughout Sempai! shows multiple layers in the first 30 seconds of End of the World.
Grabbed me and I’m completely invested in the story.