What’s the manga? World’s End Harem, Volume One.
Oh dear… What?
I can already tell what this is going to be about, it’s exactly what it sounds like, isn’t it? Uh… um, well yes. It is.
Right, fine, let’s get this over with, what’s it about in more detail? The year is 2040 and our protagonist Reito Mizuhara has a (currently) incurable illness and will die within a year, but because it’s the future and everything is all super advanced, they put him in a cryogenic sleep with the intent to wake him up in 5 or so years when the medical AI systems of the world have come up with a cure for his illness. The day before he goes under he confesses his love to his childhood sweetheart and asks her to wait for him. Kind of a dick-move because he’s had 10+ years to confess his feelings but better late then never right? He awakens in the year 2045 to find a virus—dubbed “The Man Killer Virus”—has wiped out 99.9% of the male population, and now he’s in high demand!
Ugh, what a predictable male fantasy. It is very fanciful of an idea, but I at least give the manga credit for having him not be into this idea, but also give him good reason to not be into the idea.
What do you mean? Well a lot of the time in harem manga/anime the protagonist is all uncomfortable and not wanting of all the female attention suddenly foisted upon him and often it’s not really given a good enough explanation as to why. Here the characters are immediately “please have sex with thousands of women and impregnate them to continue the human race” and he’s understandably like “I just woke up and found out all the men in the world are dead including my friends and teachers, also I just confessed to the girl of my dreams yesterday, could you give me a bit of time to process!”
Fair point. But why do they need him to have sex with all the women, what about the other methods of reproduction that don’t involve intercourse. Thankfully they address that issue early on, unfortunately it’s about as contrived as it gets. First, male baby’s born from artificially inseminated sperm still died from the MK virus after being born. Because of Reito’s previously incurable disease he and the others who were frozen with the disease are somehow completely immune to it. Subsequently artificial insemination from immune males resulted in no successful embryos, the only one time that a successful impregnation has occurred so far was the result of sexy times.
Uh-huh, so in other words ‘because the plot says so’. Pretty much. And these women, or specifically his new ‘personal caretaker’ Mira is insanely committed for him to start doing the deed, which we later find out is mostly because the UW are pressuring her for results.
And who or what is the UW? It’s the ‘United Women’ basically the new government of Earth made up from the most powerful women on the planet.
Interesting. It could be, but as it stands now they’re just some powerful and shadowy organisation for Mira to occasionally report to.
So when you say 99.9% of the men died out, how many are there left exactly? Men who are actively able to breed in the entire world: 5.
Just 5! In the whole damn world! Well bare in mind that’s 5 men who happened to have the incurable disease and who also happened to be cryogenically frozen at the time the epidemic happened. We later learn that there are actually 1 million+ men cryogenically frozen around the world, it’s just none of them are currently immune, and if they were unfrozen they would all die in a matter of days not to mention only produce male offspring who would die too.
Well they certainly got all their bases covered with backing the protagonist into a corner, a sex corner as it were. Plus they emotionally blackmail Reito into getting busy~ by saying most of the women of the world live in poverty since the virus and that he’d be helping them out by getting them pregnant as the women he impregnates would be rewarded by a life of luxury for them and their families.
Kinda some problematic plot elements there? Yes, ~problematic~ is a word that was floating around my head a lot while reading this and it’s difficult because the writing is surprisingly sensitive towards some topics, like more so than I expected. They explicitly say, every woman is there by choice, they were asked which man they would want to have a child with from a selection of men’s profiles and they even included fake profiles of non-existent specimens to make sure the women were especially, specifically interested in Reito.
Organic, free-range ethical harem manga? Something like that. But something didn’t sit right with me. See, previous to the virus outbreak the world was pretty much a utopian society, like they say at the start of the manga that machines do everything and provide everything and nobody has to work. Yet as soon as all the men die it all suddenly goes to hell!
I imagine half the world suddenly dropping dead from a virus would have a sizeable impact. Also the fact that no more children are being born would make things pretty dire for the women left behind. Oh I don’t doubt that, I’ve seen ‘Children of Men’ (if you all haven’t seen the movie you should too, it’s not an anime but it’s still great). I’m aware it would have a massive impact on the world, no children being able to be born basically means the end of the human race, but I don’t think society would have de-evolved as much as it seems to without the presence of men. I just think it’s a very narrow-minded view of the world to infer that without men, women would fall into anarchy.
Agree to disagree I suppose. So who are the other characters? There’s Reito’s younger sister Mahiru, who’s probably in love with him (let’s face it, it’s a harem manga so it’s bound to come up as a plot point). There’s Akane his busty personal nurse and Sui his loli bodyguard, they’re tasked to sleep in the same bed as him in case of emergencies, or in case he feels like banging them and helping out the cause. Their words, not mine.
*rolls eyes* There’s also Reito’s older brother Ryu, who, much to Reito’s surprise is cryogenically frozen and therefore not one of the billions that perished.
And what about that childhood friend/women he confessed his love to? Elisa. Well as he’s being frozen she says “I promise I’ll wait for you” in a pretty heartfelt scene, but once he awakens she’s nowhere to be seen, turns out she’s been missing for 3 years! And she was apparently working on research about the virus when she disappeared! Do I smell a conspiracy?! Also did I forget to mention both Reito and Elisa are medical researchers? Pretty noble professions for a utopian society where nobody has to work!
Right, lots to take in… also please don’t turn that into a dirty joke! So final score and recommendation? I had very low expectations going into this manga and so I was pleasantly surprised with the finished product! It’s immature and a blatant male fantasy but it’s also well-written at times with decent characterisation and a thankfully pleasant and intelligent harem protagonist. I’d like to know a lot more about what happened in the world in the intervening years between the virus being released and the present-day as well as where it came from/who was responsible and why? Hopefully future volumes have more plot developments. It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel my trousers tightening; 81 out of 100.
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