In GOOD NIGHT WORLD, a dysfunctional family coincidentally comes together in an immersive online game, unaware that they know each other in real life. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Taichiro has abandoned his social life and locked himself in his room. He hates the real world so much that he found solace in an online role-playing game, PLANET.
In PLANET, Taichiro is a character named Ichi of the Akabane Family. The members of the Akabane Family are the strongest players in PLANET. Taichiro loves this online family more than his real one. However, he doesn’t know that the players of the Akabane family are none other than his own family members.
In the game, a guild called the Pirates declares war against the Akabane Family, hoping to find the Black Bird, PLANET’s ultimate end-game content, which is worth 300 million yen and is most possibly at Twilight Hill, where the Akabane Family resides.
Shiro, the strongest and eldest member of the Akabane family, negotiates with Captain Pico of the Pirates. She has one more offer for them. They can give them Ichi, as in Taichiro, instead of Twilight Hill.
Pico and Ichi share quite a past with each other. Pico knows how Ichi is disconnected from the real world, and she wants to help him realize that it’s not healthy. She cares for him, and hence, she wants to welcome him into the Pirates and convince him that this game should only be used to find relief from the stress of daily life.
The Pirates eventually attack Twilight Hill, and though the Akabane family is able to defend themselves, they soon meet the Black Bird near their house.
Shiro, who, in real life, is Taichiro’s father, Kojiro Arima, realizes the threat the Black Bird poses when it kills AAAAA, Taichiro’s brother, Asuma Arima’s character. Asuma feels the effect of the attack in real life as well.
Shiro orders the Akabane family to log out. In real life, Kojiro begins making moves, knowing that the Black Bird has now surfaced. Taichiro takes his brother to the hospital after learning that he is AAAAA of the Akabane family.
Kojiro was an engineer at an IT company called Gleam Corp. He is responsible for the creation of PLANET. Even though Kojiro has made sure that the Akabane family won’t be able to log in to PLANET, Taichiro manages to do so using the same tricks his father once taught him.
While Taichiro, as Ichi, and Pico are dealing with a traitor in the Pirates, Kojiro orders his assistant, Kamuro, to cancel the 300 million prize on the Black Bird. If they don’t, many people will die.
Kojiro is tracking down all the AIs that are present in PLANET. They feed the Black Bird, which is the ultimate AI itself. One of these sub-AIs that feeds the Black Bird turns out to be Pico, and Kojiro is forced to kill her.
The Black Bird begins to make its moves on anyone who comes into contact with it. The players get killed in an instant, and their minds are converted into data. They are taken to a world called Birdcage, controlled by the Black Bird, which is neither the real one nor the one of PLANET.
Asuma is one of those affected by the Black Bird. He is still doing fine, as long as he doesn’t log back into the game. Kamuro warns him not to do so, but Asuma makes that mistake and finds himself facing the Black Bird.
Kamuro aids an emotional Taichiro in saving Asuma, who is somehow still breathing and might survive the Black Bird’s attack. In order to save Asuma, Taichiro will have to sacrifice himself.
Kamuro sees how Taichiro is ready to do that in a breath. She finds a way to save them both by creating an AI of Taichiro and sending it to the Birdcage. This AI of Taichiro saves Asuma by sacrificing itself.
Kamuro knows she is going to have to level up with Taichiro and Asuma, who still don’t know that Shiro is none other than their father, Kojiro.
Asuma will accept it, but not Taichiro. Kojiro always wanted a perfect and ideal life and family. Due to his stubbornness, Taichiro and Asuma lost their sister, Aya, and hence, Taichiro will never forgive Kojiro.
Meanwhile, President Leon and Sasumata of the Granada, a guild that is an ally to the Akabane family, fear that Kojiro is hunting the AIs down. Sasumata is an AI and Leon’s first friend. Leon isn’t willing to let Kojiro kill Sasumata.
To make sure that he and Sasumata breathe the same air and share the same reality, Leon intends to transform the world. The Black Bird kills all the members of Granada for this world to come true.
GOOD NIGHT WORLD ending explained in detail:
What happens to the world?
The Black Bird brings the people of the real world into PLANET. The creatures from the game start appearing and killing everyone. All of this is not exactly real. According to Kamuro, they are all in cyberspace. They were forced to log in to the game, and now they are in a shared dream.
The mere presence of an electronic device with the internet will get a human infected by the Black Bird. PLANET has become real and has brought 70% of the world’s population into this new world.
Kojiro hacks into PLANET and retrieves his powers in real life to combat the monsters. The Arima family, who, in the game, are known as the Akabane family, makes use of their powers to save Taichiro and Asuma’s mother, Miyabi.
Who is the Black Bird?
Taichiro demands to know a way to turn the world back to normal. Kojiro claims that the only way to do so is by finding and deleting the Black Bird.
Miyabi says they can do this by being together. However, unlike in the game, the family is dysfunctional in real life. Taichiro, especially, fails to digest the fact that they are the Akabane Family.
Sasumata and Leon show up and the former devours the feelings Taichiro is having. Asuma ends up recognizing Sasumata as the Black Bird. Now, the Black Bird is the operating system of this new world. It’s unbeatable and can destroy others in the flick of a finger.
Leon is ready to let them go, but they will have to abandon the real world and live in this one as the Akabane family. Only Kamuro is killed, as Leon and Sasumata plan to get rid of every other person responsible for the creation and deletion of AIs that feed the Black Bird.
How does Kojiro plan to save everyone?
The surviving humans begin fitting into this new world. Leon and Sasumata, the Black Bird, have a kingdom of their own where they welcome people who want to be protected from the monsters. The rest are in refugee camps.
The truth about the Akabane family and Pico’s death have hurt Taichiro. He hates his father more. Since Kojiro can’t see Taichiro, he sends a device to him through Asuma.
Kojiro heads to face the Black Bird head-on. He uses the Good Night World, a program he and Kamuro developed to defeat the Black Bird. However, Kojiro struggles a lot. Taichiro is asked to use the device given to him when he sees his father’s face.
Kojiro’s face appears everywhere around the world. Taichiro figures out that Kojiro has managed to turn himself into a virus to defeat the Black Bird.
Does Kojiro succeed?
Kojiro has lost control of himself and hence wants Taichiro to delete him along with this world. However, Taichiro is not willing to let his father die so easily.
Before dying, Kojiro reveals that he began working on the Black Bird after losing his daughter and had secretly named the Black Bird Aya.
Kojiro claims that he is sacrificing himself for the world to go back to normal and to atone for his sins. He also apologizes to Taichiro before passing away. The Black Bird, on the other hand, appears as Aya in its last moments, as it says goodbye too.
Does the world go back to normal?
After 13 days, the anomaly that forced 70% of the world’s population to log in to a virtual world comes to an end. Almost everyone moves on with their lives. Gleam Corp puts the blame on some rogue employees to evade responsibility.
In the Birdcage, Ichi reunites with Hinako, who used to control the player of Pico. She is still alive somehow. Back in the real world, eight years later, PLANET is dead, but people still celebrate it by visiting places that served as inspiration for the game.
Taichiro has changed since the shutdown of PLANET. He has realized that there are so many other things he can devote himself to instead of shutting himself in a room.
Taichiro and Asuma meet in Hokkaido to visit a place that was their home. They plan to build a new house and move in here.