The World Ends With You versus actual Shibuya

By Spencer . March 15, 2008 . 7:52pm

One of the clever features about Grand Theft Auto franchise is seeing familiar landmarks. You enter Las Vegas, I mean Las Venturas in San Andreas and drive around in pseudo New York City in Grand Theft Auto III.


The World Ends With You pulls a similar feat except it doesn’t mask the setting. Neku’s story takes place in Shibuya, a ward of Tokyo and one of the “trendy” youth spots of Japan. I thought some of these references may be lost on North American gamers so I whipped together some screenshots of the World Ends With You and pictures of actual Shibuya.




In this picture Neku is meeting up with Shiki at the Hachiko statue. This metallic dog is actually a popular meeting place in Shibuya. It’s right outside of Shibuya station and as long as the trains are running you can see people clutching their cell phone while patiently waiting for friends. While there are other places to meet up, the Hachiko remains a popular rendezvous point despite the crowds.




This is a photo of the actual Hachiko…




… and here is a picture of  the meeting spot at night.




Right past the Hachiko statue is Scramble Crossing, where thousands of people sprint past towards the stores. One of them in particular is the 109, a fashion center with floors of clothes. Women’s clothes! The 109-2 is the complex with a men’s section.


wend_109.jpg wend_sbucks.jpg


The 109 makes an appearance in The World Ends With You as the 104 department store. I’m pretty sure Square Enix chose to call the store the 104 in the game because 4 is the number for death because “shin” (death) sounds close to “shi” (four) and Neku has seven days left to live after he enters the shopping complex. The 109 is towards the left hand side if you’re exiting the train station from the Hachiko exit. Before you see it you should see a Starbucks sitting on top of Tsutaya. Instead of Starbucks the World Ends With You has Outback cafe.


Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Shibuya via the World Ends With You through the limited screenshots I have at my disposal. Hopefully, understanding little details like these will make the game more enjoyable when it comes out on April 22 in North America.

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  • That crossing shows up quite a bit in Japanese TV shows, movies and anime. I do wonder given how many people pass through there every day if they even attempt to film TV shows/movies there or if there is just a life-sized replica in a Tokyo soundstage somewhere. It seems like it would be impossible.

  • nika

    like what would be impossible? filming at that crossing or making a replica? cause both seem a bit impossible to me. then again, they manage to close of random crossings in New York that seem about just as impossible to block to me to shoot films as well…

  • jeffx

    Nika, given Japan’s privacy laws, I doubt they would just film in there without asking for everyone’s consent. And that would take a hell of a long time/impossible. So I agree with Alice that a replica is probably used, with the buildings/background on a blue screen.

    As for the game, I can’t wait!

  • Kaoro

    Thanks for this article, it’s interesting to see the real places in Japan like that.

    Hopefully there will be more of these when the game is released!

  • Richard

    You are allowed to film non-descript shots of crowds in Japan, although they will try and stop you filming if you are disturbing the peace, blocking pathways etc.

    If you watch the one of the special features on the “Lost In Translation” movie, you will hear how tough they found it to film the shibuya crossing scene.

  • Nick Rothe

    I did play this game and it was intresting to see the refrances, shin megami nocturne has alot of similar spots that show up in the game and you get to go a little more indepth, I allways thought it was a charm that Jet set radio future as with The world ends with you is a reflection of the society.

  • seiya19

    As a person that lives in a small country (mostly population-wise), I was impressed to see that many people walking around in the 3rd picture of Japan…not that I wasn´t aware of that though. By the way, I´m glad that this game is getting released in the US, and without being “westernalized” like others…

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