Sometimes tiny tweaks can turn a hated idea into a beloved one. And nowhere is this truer than the entertainment industry, where a small change can turn a mediocre show into a smash hit or a good series into an awful one. World's End Harem was controversial when it was first released in 2016. However, 2020's World's End Harem: Britannia Lumiére reverses the series and improves it dramatically in the process.
World's End Harem follows Reito Mizuhara, a young man with a rare and dangerous disease who lives in 2040. When doctors can't find a cure for his condition, Reito is put into cryostasis until one is found. However, when Reito wakes up in 2045, things are much worse, as the world has been struck by the Man Killing virus, which has killed most of the world's men. While women have formed a new government, it turns out that they have failed to hold society together, and some parts of the world are now a wasteland.
When it is discovered that Reito is part of a small group of men who is immune to the virus due to the cure he was given, he is put into a government repopulation program where he is told to impregnate as many women as possible. However, Reito still wants to be with the girl he loved before his cryostasis and sets out to find both a cure for the virus and his love once more. However, as he searches, Reito finds that several powerful groups are using the virus for their own ends.
The manga's concept was controversial, and it divided readers. While many enjoyed it, some found the setting slightly uncomfortable and felt that the semi-post-apocalyptic backdrop didn't fit the harem format. Others pointed out that Reito's initial unwillingness to be involved in the program due to his commitment to his old crush also felt awkward and made parts of the series feel overly dark. Many reviewers said that the gender politics underlying the series also felt outdated and sexist and seemed to take a binary, non-nuanced view of gender issues in many places.
But in 2020, a spin-off called World's End Harem: Britannia Lumiére launched on the Shōnen Jump+ app. This story follows Eri, a kind high school girl who is one day dragged into the magical world of Britannia and told that she must save it from disaster, as per her role as the fabled Goddess Of Light. However, Britannia isn't a regular fantasy world. It is actually a world made up entirely of attractive men. This is because a witch cursed the land of Britannia, causing all of the women to fall into a deep, magical sleep that turned them all icy-white. Now, Eri must juggle both her heart and her duty as the Goddess Of Light as she fends off suitors and tries to break the curse that haunts Britannia.
Britannia Lumiére reverses the premise of the series, turning the harem into a reverse-harem. It also solves many of the original series' problems, making for a much more enjoyable manga. The change from dystopian sci-fi to fantasy helps make the series feel a lot less awkward and makes the plot much easier to follow, especially because Britannia Lumiére's story is not attempting to combine political intrigue with harem shenanigans. The removal of the repopulation aspect was also a good decision. This element only added an uncomfortable dark undercurrent to the original that put off many traditional harem fans.
While World's End Harem should be praised for its unique approach to the harem genre, many harem fans will likely find Britannia Lumiére more enjoyable. World's End Harem: Britannia Lumiére uses a more standard setup, and because of this, it feels more cohesive and tonally consistent. World's End Harem: Britannia Lumiére is a fun reverse-harem isekai series that knows what it wants to be and pulls it off wonderfully, making it a fun read for harem and fantasy isekai fans.