Owaru Sekai no Birthday

終わる世界とバースデイ

Written by three guys who worked on all sorts of stuff but nothing of particularly notable excellence,  Owaru Sekai to Birthday (Birthday and the Ending World) is a light science fiction mystery romantic comedy about a group of students investigating strange rumors of the world ending.

While the characters are fairly likable, virtually nothing significant story-wise happens throughout their individual routes until you unlock the main one, rendering their individual stories quite redundant. The looming mystery is also surprisingly ineffective due to the most plot points being painfully predictable, and real twists kicking in only in the main route. In other words, up until the main route you are forced to play through an uneventful romantic comedy with a half-assed mystery hanging about which doesn’t even factor to the plot you are currently immersed in. Luckily, the characters are just about interesting enough to make the experience tolerable.

The main route is certainly more interesting than the individual ones, though its effect might be somewhat diminished due to exhaustion from the mediocrity that you have to read through to reach it. It does away with the original mystery altogether and introduces a whole new one, which is better, but not exactly mind-blowing either. The plot certainly becomes more interesting and less predictable, but still nothing exceptionally memorable ever really happens; even the conclusion being pretty underwhelming.

There are also quite a few emotional scenes which seem to be written out of context or just don’t make sense given the circumstances; the very last one, directly related to the title of all things, standing out like a sore thumb. It kind of looks dramatic, but once you think about it, the actions that led to it make no sense whatsoever.

Owaru Sekai to Birthday had some good ideas, but failed to integrate them into its core story in a sensible manner, which is quite a shame. Nonetheless, however flawed, I still enjoyed this visual novel somewhat, even though it was mostly underwhelming. It’s still probably the best thing these three guys ever wrote. xD

Positive: Negative:
Likable characters Individual routes have no bearing to the overarching story
A few surprising twists toward the end Mysteries in individual routes are predictable and trivial
Underwhelming conclusion
Emotional scenes sometimes make no sense in the context of the story
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