by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 14 of
Platinum End ?
Community score: 2.9
It's been a long time coming, but we're at last at the end of the Metropoliman arc. And to match its central antagonist, this story ends in a tonally confused, unnecessarily mean-spirited cascade of violence and nonsensical plot twists. I like to think it's how he would have wanted it.
Well, okay, Metropoliman would have never wanted to go out in any way, but also if somebody he killed went out by being turned into human salsa while pathetically begging for their lives, he for sure would have appreciated it, so it's fitting nonetheless. And that's really the one major thing this episode is built around: finally delivering the killing blow(s) to the story's raging asshole of a villain, to the point where Mukaido's death almost feels like an afterthought by comparison.
Part of that is because Metropoliman's death coincides with Mirai's big hero moment, where he turns the tables by abandoning their shootout and effectively disarming the guy by wrapping his angel wings around his face, blocking his line of sight and preventing him from shooting any arrows. This seemed at first like a pretty clever plan, but much like the virus-killing arrow before, it got less impressive the more I thought about it.
Like, OK, they explain the reason Metropoliman can't pull the wing off his face is because it's non-corporeal, which is fair enough. But we saw earlier in this battle that angel wings can interact with each other, so he could theoretically just use his own wings to rip them off and kill Mirai, right? But let's say he was panicking and that didn't occur to him in the moment. Next is the question of how Mirai's wing stays wrapped around Metropoliman's dome. If it's non-corporeal, it should slip right through the guy's head the same way his hands do, yeah? Unless the wings' owner can arbitrarily make them solid to only specific surfaces, Mirai would have to be continuously moving the wings like a third arm to keep it precisely around Metropoliman's head, which I don't think he's coordinated enough to do. So like the virus thing, this big win for our protagonist feels like the story fudging its own rules to get around how helpless he actually is.
But really, that's kind of nitpicking. My overall opinion of Platinum End wouldn't be heavily swayed by whether or not its made-up angel rules are consistent. Ultimately these are just plot mechanics to reach a desired endpoint for the characters and ideas of the show, and those are the real problem with this climax. On the one hand, seeing Metropoliman get his is some decent schadenfreude – dude sucked hard enough to take the finish off a space shuttle, so I'm not sad to see him go. On the other, there's a gleeful disdain to the way the episode goes about presenting his death that feels kind of nasty. Light Yagami's spiral into his pathetic final moments felt cathartic because of how far he'd brought his horrible plans, and how much he'd convinced the world at large (and himself) that he was in the right, so watching all that majesty stripped away was a reminder of the petty man at the center of Kira's legend. Metropoliman has achieved far less, and even the masses watching his televised standoff seem largely uninterested in the whole affair, so it's nowhere near as satisfying to watch – in slow motion – as a hail of bullets tears through his bones and muscles while he begs for mercy.
That could just be some gratuitous gore, but in classic Platinum End fashion, the show has to take one last swing at its approximation of philosophical contemplation, and trips into a pile of its own viscera. On paper, I get what it's trying to say with Mirai's declaration that even this miserable asshole's death is still a loss of life, but it's hard to take that idea seriously when the show just treated us to a full minute of watching him get torn to shreds and every bit of dignity stripped from his dismembered carcass. It's another example of the disconnect between character and narrative that has defined this story, and it's made even funnier when Hajime's angel still won't take his soul to heaven because he's got yet another side trip to make. The cast can insist on their own empathy all they want, but the story clearly has none for anyone.
That makes its fumbling attempt at pathos with Mukaido's death fall flaccid too. The show thankfully doesn't try anything insulting, like having Mirai lament that Mukaido died a murderer or anything, but it spends several minutes trying to wring out emotion it just hasn't earned. I liked Mukaido as much as I can like anyone in this show, but he was never developed enough to mean anything to me, nor did he have a relationship with any of the survivors that could make me sympathize with their loss. This is clearly meant to be a tragic finale to the Metropoliman storyline, and in isolation it's perfectly fine, but it's undercut by everything that came before it.
So what, exactly, should we take away from this story as we move into the next arc? I'm genuinely asking that because I can't think of anything. A lot of people died, sure, but not much else has changed for Mirai and Saki from where they were before. They're basically together, so good for them, but Mirai's stunted pacifism is as under-considered as ever, and I don't know what lesson we should take from The Tragedy of Metropoliman besides “don't kill your sister” and “don't try to take over the world.” That's not really a moral worth 14 episodes of television to make.
At the start of this coverage, I made it my mission to figure out why exactly this never caught on like Death Note did, and I've found a lot of answers: It's boring, poorly structured, and not even negatively compelling. But more than anything, Platinum End is vacuous. It spends a lot of time saying nothing, and doesn't even try very hard to convince you otherwise. There's somehow still half a story after this, but with how this episode wraps up, I can't say I'm all that curious to see where it goes from here.
Platinum End is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
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