Like a bolt from the blue, here comes Fario-P's Reaper Review... and I need to be honest here.
There might be potential game spoilers for anime-onlies, but I will otherwise do my best to express my feelings in my very first anime review as spoiler-free as possible. Please Excuse My Dolefully Angry Statements in advance.
"Wake up, shaken up, plastered on asphalt
Phones can't block the voices of the masses
Seven days left between you and Death
Better race, place, Reapers won't give up the chase"
This is what's written on the back of the American box art for the best Nintendo DS game of all time. No, we're not counting ports like the Ace Attorney Trilogy and Chrono Trigger (literally the best version to play other than the original SNES version btw) for this achievement, and yes, I do believe it beats remakes like the fantastic Kirby Super Star Ultra and the heartfelt, soulfully made Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions. (Sorry not sorry for the pun.)
So I bet you can imagine that I had fairly high expectations for Subarashiki Kono Sekai The Animation, regardless of how many people had tried to warn me about the usual nature of video game adaptations... and I honestly should've completely taken my headphones off at the time. It really was THAT zetta disappointing. I am sorry.
I suppose it's best to start off with the aspect that I have the least amount of problems with—the SOUND.
It was certainly a pleasant surprise to hear that the original composer and nearly all the voice actors from the original game would be returning for this adaptation, especially Anna Hachimine as she had never voice acted for an anime before. Though there weren't many amazing performances to note, the voice acting in The Animation was decent and I didn't really have any problem with it, other than a minor gripe I had with some dialogue pacing... more on that later. As for the sound directing, it was... passable. I dunno, it was just fine and I didn't find myself thinking much of it while watching the show. Probably the only thing I really remember about it were the extremely loud sounds that played whenever a Badge (Pin for English-version Players) showed up just before the main character attacks... more on Badges later.
Now the music... OH, the music. One of the most highly acclaimed things about Subarashiki Kono Sekai that you will never see any diehard fans shut up about—including myself—is its Official Sound Track. Most video game soundtracks are usually comprised of voiceless background music, which is usually all fine and good, especially in Nintendo games other than this former Nintendo exclusive. But the original SubaSeka had some of that IN ADDITION TO mostly original insert songs with a variety of artists and song types... and it is ALL just so zetta good. There is legitimately NOT a SINGLE song from the original game, whether it's BGM or an insert song, that I even REMOTELY dislike.
So you can imagine the excitement that many fans had when they heard that Takeharu Ishimoto was returning to compose music for The Animation. I was excited too, but I had also sorta expected that it was going to be mostly new background tracks and not mostly inserts like before... and for better or worse, I was right.
The background music that was made exclusively for The Animation seems to be mostly made up of somewhat ambient, mysterious-sounding noise (heh heh). I'm actually listening to some of it while typing this part of the review up, and while the synths and stuff does at least sound like they fit for this plot, nothing actually stands out all that much as anime OST I'd go out of my way to listen to every now and then. I might remember the more somber-sounding tracks, but overall The Animation's BGM sounds fine but not really memorable; though I guess there's the new insert song "Disconnect Me", which had a brief sample released to the public before The Animation aired and was initially known as "Walls" within the SubaSeka community. That song was pretty neat and I kinda wish that there were more tracks in The Animation's OST like it.
Added alongside these exclusive tunes are a few of the original game's tracks, though in slightly remixed forms. The first of these you will hear is "It's So Wonderful", which was originally the main menu theme. It's a pretty good remix of the track, but it is used the most out of these select few old tracks (iirc at least four times?) and The Animation honestly doesn't know how to use this piece well AT ALL. The second you will hear is "Calling", one of the most recognizable songs from SubaSeka that is also one of my absolute favorites. It is used ONLY TWO times iirc and first plays as the opening for the first episode, where it honestly doesn't quite fit... though that may be because The Animation's opening was originally supposed to be a song called "Teenage City Riot" by the now-defunct band ALI. Because of a certain factoring hectopascal, the opening had to be replaced altogether by this remix of "Calling" and, from the second episode onwards, a "new" remix of "Twister". This song is another returning track from the original game, this time being the original opening song, and it has gotten so many zetta remixes that the SubaSeka community is honestly kinda tired of it (hahaha). I'm calling The Animation's remix "new" with quotation marks because this remix is literally just the vocals from "Twister Gang Mix" (one of SubaSeka's many in-battle insert songs) plastered with the instrumentals from "Twister Kingdom Mix", which was originally an exclusive remix made for another Square Enix title, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. I am not kidding. Seriously, look these remixes up and listen to them if you don't believe me. I normally would be thrilled to hear old songs again, but... eh, "Twister (Animation ver.)" is just an "okay" remix for an "okay" anime OST.
At least the new end credits theme, "Carpe Diem" by ASCA, is kind of a highlight. Love the new illustrations for it too.
Next is the ART and overall visual presentation.
I've gotta say, for all the things I have to say about this anime, I cannot deny that the main art style for the characters is spot-on. The Animation's main visual presentation is what you get if you took the urban, street-art-like approach of SubaSeka's art style, used less black and similar dark colors, made the characters less anorexic-looking, and cranked up the brightness, contrast, and saturation levels a notch. While it took a while to get used to the more vibrant color scheme, I do have to admit that there may be some genuine angels over there at the staff behind The Animation. They even kept the original shading style and thick outlines for the characters, which I imagine was not easy to animate...... but alas, here come some more problems.
I do like The Animation's recreation of Gen Kobayashi's art style, I really do. But the overall execution in the actual show can get a bit... iffy. I can't quite put my finger on it. On one hand, there are some genuinely great-looking images of the characters and even some cute visual homages to SubaSeka through location title cards and even character sprites... and on the other... well, it's not as jarringly derpy like the timeless "Meduka Meguca" meme, but some parts of The Animation still looks odd at times. There are some shots, especially perspective ones, that look somewhat off-model and I don't mean it in a stylish or even good way. It's so noticeable that I recall some people making fun of stuff like with the main character's arms and legs in some shots and even turned a few of these shots into stuff like emoticons for the lulz while the show was still airing. The backgrounds for The Animation are passable; the iconic CAT graffiti on Udagawa-cho as well as pretty much any other graffiti shown in this show looks great, but I don't really remember the rest of Shibuya standing out in the same way. Maybe that one nice sunset setting was nice, but I don't remember much else especially since it's not shown for very long... oh well, at least some areas tried to match SubaSeka's backgrounds. As for shot composition—the storyboarding—well, there's not really much to note here either. As I've mentioned before, some of the original sprite poses as well as cutscene imagery were actually somewhat retained, though whether The Animation's version of these are better or not are more of a subjective thing in my opinion.
It sounds like I'm being fairly generous about this aspect of The Animation so far, but that's because the aesthetic's not even the real issue that I and many others have about the visuals. The actual biggest issue about it is the actual quality of the animation itself. Everyone likes to jump on the giant elephant Noise in the room here that is the CGI—and don't get me wrong, I do prefer anime to be hand-drawn 2D and I would have liked it if they didn't have to use CG. But I don't think that the CGI was the problem for me. Sure, it was noticeable, especially the Noise models, but I felt like there were a few times where the staff was honestly trying to make some battle scenes look interesting with the 3D human character models (which didn't even look that bad btw) and camera angles. No, I personally think the problem here was more about the FEEL of the general motion. Maybe it's because SubaSeka's art style is just that hard to replicate, but the actual animation often looks SO ZETTA CHOPPY. It was almost like I was watching an anime in 0.5 speed or something, because there were many times where I felt I could practically see all the individual keyframes without even pausing—including a few times within the OPENING, which is generally supposed to be where an anime looks the best it possibly can. Dunno about everyone else, but when there isn't really a consistent animation quality/frame rate throughout the intro music video that's meant to sell others on the show, it kinda says something to me... as if part of it should be a red flag that the rest of the show might appear as a bit of a noticeable downgrade. And it indeed was a red flag, as you could easily tell that simple dialogue scenes were made to be done with as little work as possible just from watching them. It even feels like that for a few battle scene shots, which is kind of a big deal for some looking for an action show like The Animation is supposed to be (which I'll talk more about in a moment).
It's fine for some crucial moments to be somewhat slowed down for dramatic effect, but when nearly the whole show's animation feels like this, you can practically tell that The Animation wasn't given that much of a budget. (Kinda ironic, isn't it...)
Oh, and speaking of budget... *sigh* it's time for the STORY and CHARACTERS.
When a beloved 25+ hour long RPG gets an TV show that only lasts 12 half-hour episodes (roughly 5 hours) with this kind of animation, you can REAAAAALLY tell that making said RPG into an anime was probably not very high on Square Enix's production priorities. I recall seeing some fans here and there in the past who said that SubaSeka could theoretically work as a single cour anime, but I've always disagreed with that idea. I really didn't want to feel kinda smug saying this, but I'm admittedly quite amused that The Animation actually proved me right.
The main conflict of SubaSeka is the Shinigami's Game—aka the Reaper's Game for English-version Players. Random people around the area are selected to be moved from the visible plane of existence known as the "Realground" (RG) to an alternate plane known as the "Underground" (UG). These people will be made "Players" who participate in the Game and are given a Player Badge, which gives proof of their Player status and will let them scan for not just the thoughts of those in the RG, but also "Noise", enemies that will try and erase them from existence. Along with Noise are the Missions that Players will receive from the Shinigami each day on their phone, and failure to complete them can also spell erasure for Players. Players will have to find a Partner to pact with and survive from erasure for seven days, which means a lot of teamwork throughout Noise fights and Mission clearing is required to win the invaluable, vital prize that the Shinigami's Game holds. Top this off with an uncooperative spicy tuna roll for a main character and you've got yourself a recipe for an interesting premise... and yet, The Animation still somehow found a way to make it a recipe for disaster.
Though I guess "recipe for BOREDOM" is probably a better descriptor here, because this show is somehow not all that interesting to watch. The Missions that the Shinigami gives Players comes with a blood-colored timer literally imprinted onto their hand, but despite the literal clock ticking their lives away, it doesn't feel like there's really much tension within either the Players or much of the entirety of The Animation. There's no sign that these characters are nearly running out of time nor is there much worry—or if they actually did worry, I wouldn't remember because this anime barely bothered to emphasize this. Maybe the voice actors tried, but there's no fast-paced/ominous "oh SHIT!" music and no shaky terror-filled shots to convey danger towards the audience... or at least when it comes to the Mission completion parts, anyway. This uneventful-feeling execution of the Shinigami's Game Missions only continues to feel uneventful with the main objective of these Missions—the show's concern of putting as much action scenes as possible. It gets to the point where some interesting concepts get underutilized in favor of these action scenes; for example, there's a thing called Imprinting where Players can take Key Words (Memes for English-version Players... yeah that aged well) and put them into the thoughts of those in the RG. Imprinting Key Words shows up in just one episode in ONLY one scene with a certain side character. That's it. No, seriously.
I may be more of a shoujo/magical girl fan than a battle shounen fan like most of the anime community, but I normally don't have a problem against action scenes. I do in fact love some well-filmed movie violence, as seen with my 10/10 scores for Puella Magi Madoka Magica and its sequel The Rebellion Story. But The Animation's battle scenes just somehow fall flat, no matter how hard the staff behind this tried. It took me a while to reverse-engineer a calculation into words, but I think I have a feeling as to why it feels flat—and no, I don't think it's just because of CGI. It's probably because The Animation has more of a Steven Universe problem. As beloved as that show was, the actual fight scenes are probably the least talked about aspect of SU and I personally believe the YouTuber Robobuddies did an amazing job at tackling that in their old video "The Steven Universe Rant"; basically, they felt that a good fight scene should have "Weight, Environment, Composition, and Character", but SU's fight scenes often lacked in these elements, especially the proper "feel" of the attacks and keeping track of what abilities characters actually have. And I feel like The Animation has a similar problem, especially with that latter point there—character abilities. Here is where I come back to the topic of Badges: once two Players make a pact, they can face the Noise by essentially channeling the energy of the Badges they collect and attach onto their clothes. But you wouldn't know this unless you played the original game first, because iirc The Animation doesn't EVER explain this very crucial plotpoint to an audience full of anime-onlies. All this anime does with Badges is flash a brief image of a random Badge the main character is about to use (which serves as fanservice for those who played SubaSeka) and blasts the aforementioned loudass sound before he executes it. The show never explains where on earth he gets all these cool attack Badges, never shows him putting them on, or really anything. The characters don't even question how the main character essentially gets to be a jack of all trades while everyone else can really only use one Badge—another crucial plotpoint The Animation doesn't bother to include. There could have been some interesting story ideas where the characters decide on which Badges to use, maybe even a side-conflict where the main character doesn't want to bother trusting his partner's battle strategy suggestions, but NOPE! We don't have time for all that, just gotta shove in a bunch of action scenes and other important scenes that happen just because they're supposed to happen!! Don't bother to make the characters' victories actually feel victorious, just halfass the illusion that they might lose before they unleash their super duper Limi—oops, I mean—Fusion attack, and it'll ALL be okay!!!!!
Combine this lack of significant information along with the nonexistent "feel" of these scenes, unnoteworthy shot composition, barely any epic battle music, and constant reliance of Fusion spamming, and you've got yourself a whole bunch of unmemorable "filler" fight scenes. The worst part is that EVEN THE BOSS/MAIN ANTAGONIST fight scenes are like this. It really sucks because I kinda feel like the staff was honestly trying in a few occasions: the few times where a 3D camera spins all around the characters were short-lived but neat, the very first fight scene in the first episode felt like it had the most impact imo, and... maybe the last few fights towards the END. Too little too late though; to quote an infamous IGN review, "by the time [The Animation] starts to do interesting things, it's over."
And when the whole show is THIS dedicated to "inconsequential" fight scenes, there's barely any time for the characters to shine.
The Shinigami's Game is a lot more mysterious and surprisingly dire than at first appearance, so naturally there are some huge revelations the plot brings to not just the audience, but the characters themselves as well. But The Animation's pacing not only screwed over the fight scenes, but the character development and these emotional scenes too. The first thing everyone who watched this show immediately noticed is the SO ZETTA FAST pacing of the first episode; the pacing does thankfully calm down a bit after that episode, but it's still quite inconsistent throughout the whole runtime, which gives you a good idea of how the rest of the show's scenes will be paced.
Some emotional scenes are done well, but they're more like a drop of water within a huge wave of rushed nothingness; a tidal wave large enough that you could practically surf on it and feel more emotion from doing that than watching this anime. A lot of things happens to these characters, some side characters, and even the extras in the RG, but these moments hardly have any weight because The Animation doesn't really give these potentially fun characters time to be themselves beforehand. Not even the main character feels like he had time to be himself; fellow SubaSeka Players had a complaint with the main character that I'll briefly get to later, but the complaint that I PERSONALLY had was that his development from being a brutal loner to a more trusting person felt unnatural and extremely rushed. The scenes where The Animation "tries" to convey his development to the audience are more like they're insisting to you that he's changed instead of actually showing that, and the execution often varies from "yeah right" to downright laughable. There are even a few anime-original scenes added in to try and develop some characters AFTER THE FACT, and all I thought after seeing most of these added scenes was "cute but unnecessary".
And oh man, speaking of unnecessary... the script can get really frickin' unsubtle and even downright cheesy at times. This is saying something from someone who's read TokyoPop's mutiliated English release of Tokyo Mew Mew and watched ALL 200 episodes of Sailor Moon WITHOUT skipping any filler at least TWICE in their life. Let me give you a non-spoiler example: there is unironically a scene at the very beginning where the main character is in front of a moving truck that doesn't see him and thinks he is going to die. That is not a joke or even an exaggeration. Yes, frickin' TRUCK-KUN appears in a modern NON-ISEKAI anime. If you are a current seasonal anime fan who watched this scene and DIDN'T LAUGH out of the lack of self-awareness of this anime-original scene, then I honestly do not believe you. That's not the only meme on spotlight either—there are unironic multiple shots of the main character's clenched fist like it's frickin' Arthur's Big Hit (lmao). Not joking about this either. And I said MULTIPLE too; I even made sure to mention it in my personal notes the first several times this shot showed up while watching.
Anyway, other than those moments of peak anime fiction, there's hardly any funny or even cute quirks to note, because all I can remember is how much the show is just replacing all this character time with a ton of "meh" battle scenes, jostled into a FAIRLY CHARACTER-DRIVEN PLOT for the sake of a very specific irl purpose that I'll touch on at the very end of this review. But most unnecessary of all, even more than the added cheese, are the reliance on flashbacks. Like with action scenes, there's technically nothing wrong with using flashback sequences, especially since this was a weekly airing show and some people are bound to forget some things. But I really do mean to use the word "reliance". If you didn't believe me when I said the show had a tiny budget when talking about the animation and episode count, then you definitely will once you see just how many flashback scenes show up after the first three episodes.
Honestly... *sigh* it's no wonder that this show's MAL average score was fairly low while and sometime after it finished airing. Most of The Animation seems like an average to "meh" anime that felt like it was wasting your time with a whole bunch of "meh" budget action scenes, a "meh" budget script, and a half-hearted summary of a 14-year-old video game that most people might not even care about—and probably still won't because the show doesn't do a good job of convincing people otherwise.
Finally, we arrive at... ENJOYMENT.
...I'll be real and get straight to the point here. I am so zetta salty about how The Animation turned out. I've already expressed multiple gripes all throughout my review, but... please allow me to mention just a few more.
Okay, I tried my best to not compare this anime to its source material (unless it was absolutely necessary, such as Badges) up to this point, but my enjoyment is so highly connected to how bad of an adaptation this anime was that I feel the need to point out some missed opportunities. I'll even use just English names for this section, just to make it easier for me to write and for fellow Players to read.
I'm not going to make this section solely about how wonderful The World Ends With You is and what exactly makes it so wonderful. I could go on all day about all the things that The Animation decided to remove, such as Reaper Creeper, a certain sport, Ramen Don, Tin Pin Slammer, PANTS (if you know, you know), et cetera... but please, just bear with me, I promise I won't spoil anything and there's a good reason for delving into the game for this. TWEWY is a tale of Neku Sakuraba, a 15-year-old lonesome misanthrope waking up in the middle of not just Shibuya Crossing, but also the Reaper's Game. The Animation does indeed recognize this, but it also fails to TRULY realize that TWEWY is also a tale of Neku waking up to both the world and the people around him. The Animation is so focused on chugging a bland Soylent-esque version of the game's story (seasoned with some dry-tasting fight scenes) quickly through your throat that it forgot to add something to the concoction.
And that something is so important that it's literally part of the very title—the world.
Whether it's through the literal setting or all the people, the world plays a key part throughout the whole story and it disappoints me to no end that The Animation ironically doesn't want to bother with it. I've never been to Japan so I'm not going to claim I'm an expert or anything, but Shibuya is quite known for being one of the most fashionable and commercial areas in Japan. There are several stores and little attractions all over the place, and whoever was behind the new Twitter account for TWEWY clearly knows this as there were several posts showing real life photos compared to stylized backgrounds of the same areas, made just for The Animation. And yet I feel the actual show hardly utilizes these settings and the type of culture that goes about there.
Which only adds to my frustration because the original TWEWY had actually tried doing all this and it all works there. The fashion element of Shibuya is all over the gameplay to the point where you literally cannot erase it without losing a part of the game's overall charm. Not only do multiple NPCs wear and think about various trendy things (or at least they were trendy at the time lol), but the player is actually able to influence the trending fashion based on the brand of clothes and pins they wear as they fight. The commercial nature of the area is also shown through all the stores the player can go to, and several of Shibuya's main attractions are not only featured but also straight-out DISCUSSED about in-game. Sure, The Animation kinda tries with its backgrounds, but mainly on the visual end and doesn't seem to care about what's particularly notable about some of these areas. Does no one else realize how odd it feels to watch a show about an amnesiac who constantly passes through the Statue of Hachiko, a VERY notable part of Shibuya that's become a bit of a tourist's spot, and doesn't ONCE ask what on earth it is or why there's so many people around it? What's the point of even setting this story in Shibuya when the setting is so barely utilized to the point where you could have set it in literally any other city?
Earlier I mentioned Neku waking up to not just the world, but also the people around him. When I said that, I didn't mean just Shiki, Beat, Rhyme, Joshua, and all the other people he meets in the UG—I'm talking about people in the RG too. Several minor RG characters with their own distinct designs and even the slightest hint of personality showed up here and there throughout TWEWY. And I feel that removing most of these moments and relegating most of these minor characters to very brief cameos the way The Animation did is a huge problem. The reason why the main characters feel kinda underdeveloped in this anime is because they didn't really get a lot of time to be themselves in between all those key story moments... and most of the time where they actually got to do that in TWEWY came through helping these seemingly unimportant RG folks. Helping these side characters were NOT filler, as these moments helped pace the story, character development, and contributed to the amazing humor present throughout the game. Removing these characters is another way of removing the world, which lessens the enjoyment and investment I could have gotten from the show and makes the lesson Neku learns a bit less effective without these subtle examples... what's the point of literally naming your show "It's A Wonderful World" if you're not gonna... you know, SHOW the world and how wonderful it can be?
...Erasing the "world" aspect is probably the main "adaptation comparison" I wanted to mention here, but I'm not done yet. OHHH yes, The Animation has done more than just that to ruin my enjoyment. It's the little things that got me to care about TWEWY, and it's the little things that gets me somewhat annoyed for The Animation. While the anime does follow the story, it's not an exact T as there are weird RETCONS here and there. Not getting into specifics since it requires spoiling, but some of them do not make much sense to me, and if you played TWEWY, you might be able to understand how I feel. And changing parts of the story without doing so meaningfully are not the only inconsistencies this show makes as an adaptation. It's really weird to see Neku mainly deal his pin attacks with direct punches, including the Pyrokinesis pin, which originally wasn't even a physical pin that added fire to your punches, but instead an INDIRECT way of sending flames far away from the user using psychic energy. And speaking of Neku, Players complained that he wasn't more abrasive like he is in the English version of the game, and after hearing of his somewhat calmer nature in the original Japanese version, I shrugged it off at first... until I did a bit of digging and found a Tumblr blog detailing dialogue changes between SubaSeka and TWEWY, and found that there's still more to him than The Animation shows, like his snarkiness. And I didn't even realize this until typing up this review, but there is one scene where Joshua is eating some ice cream cones despite it being CANON in the game that he doesn't even like eating those particular foods. Okay, SERIOUSLY, what on earth is going on here??
All in all, The Animation likes to go through quickly and so it quickly felt boring to keep up with after a while. The battle scenes didn't excite me, the story couldn't get to me even though it did that and so much more before, the characters were robbed of a lot of their fun, and the world didn't really add to the entertainment. It felt so much like a chore after a while that I started noticing yet another thing that ate away at my enjoyment—now is the time to finally get to dialogue pacing. I couldn't help but notice the dialogue pacing found within several episodes after a while, and my goodness, did it quickly get distracting for me or what? There are many, many times where there is a distractingly long pause in between dialogue lines, and I feel like it adds to the slog in the same way that Pokémon Diamond and Pearl's many little lags between simple actions like menu navigation does for some people. It got to the point where dialogue scenes started feeling like Kingdom Hearts's dialogue scenes, and I do not mean that in a good way. A long and "meh" recap with much of the "fluff" removed... wow, it's almost like The Animation is like the 358/2 Days and Re:Coded HD compiliation movies for TWEWY! Crazy how I only NOW realized this (lol).
Before I conclude this review, I just want to say this: if you bothered to actually read all of this, you deserve a certified "F it to high heaven!" for lending some of your precious time to reading a wall of text from a pitiful, heartless nobody like me. I really mean it, especially since writing this review was difficult (especially without spoiling the crap out of everything), as I had to spend at least a week writing and revising it all.
...I really wanted to love Subarashiki Kono Sekai The Animation. I really did. After all, I felt like the original Subarashiki Kono Sekai game was just ASKING to be a 2-cour anime ever since the moment I picked it up, with its heartfelt characters, surprisingly abundant charm, that GOD TIER soundtrack, and... that story, oh, what a story.
But, no matter how much I tried to be optimistic, (ironically) trying my best to trust it, The Animation unfortunately did not deliver in my opinion. When a 2-chapter promotional one-shot manga reviled by a considerable portion of (at least the Western side of) SubaSeka's fanbase is MORE FUNNIER than a reportedly "faithful" and complete adaptation, you've gotta realize that's how disappointing this anime was. And, after witnessing Square Enix announce a sequel to the original SubaSeka months after this anime was announced, I could not help but realize that this rushed, 1-cour recap only exists just to be an advertisement for the new game. It tries to sell anime-onlies onto the upcoming game by giving them a half-assed plot summary of the first game with a bunch of diluted characters and unmemorable action scenes, all made within a (clearly) limited amount of time and money; and I feel that this will all repeat again for that recently announced Legend of Mana anime adaptation.
Look, I don't necessarily have a problem with bad adaptations. The 2002 TV anime of the soon-to-be-20-year-old shoujo manga Full Moon wo Sagashite hardly follows its source material after episode 1, but it still manages to understand what made the source material popular; it still kept several main plotpoints and maintains the kind of charm, comedic timing, and feels with similar but anime-original content, with some of this new content honestly being great. Studio Ghibli's adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle hardly follows Diana Wynne Jones's original novel aside from most characters and significant plot points, yet it's still considered by many to be a great film even among those who actually read the book (myself included). So loose adaptations still have the potential to be good... and it's a shame that I can't even consider The Animation as one of those types of adaptations. It's sadly yet another video game adaptation to add to the sorry pile of disappointing video game anime/film adaptations.
It really just goes without saying that the original Subarashiki Kono Sekai, especially the original Nintendo DS version, is more worth your time. Even just watching a Let's Play online will give you a better experience than watching The Animation.
Sorry On Hoping Carelessly And Heaving Tirelessly On Adaptation.