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This Week in Anime
Where Did Platinum End Go Wrong?

by Nicholas Dupree & Steve Jones,

Platinum End plummeted to the bottom of the series ranking episode after episode. How did a show with a pedigree like "from the creators of Death Note" crash and burn so hard?

This series is streaming on Crunchyroll

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.

@Lossthief @mouse_inhouse @NickyEnchilada @vestenet

Nick, I'd like to begin with an apology. I know you were probably already prepared to bid your farewells to this show until the day unto dust we shall all return, but here I am exhuming its freshly worm-infested corpse for one final shellacking. All because I needed to know how bad Platinum End's second half had to be for the ANN community to consistently rank it lower than the softcore harem porn starring a guy who refused to have a harem.
Eh, it's fine. I've long accepted that the End is just the Beginning. And honestly it wouldn't feel right saying goodbye to this past season without flushing on this turd one last time.
If you need a refresher, we had the privilege of covering the first half at the end of last season, so you can catch up with that (https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/this-week-in-anime/2022-01-04/.181189). Or don't! Because nothing that happened there mattered, and this second part does a dogged job trying to do one worse.
Now now, we do technically get (have) to cover the conclusion of the show's first arc. Since last we covered it here Metropoliman's MGS boss rejects had all skedaddled and at last we were about to fight this asshole:
That's true. Let's all pour one out for God's strongest warrior.

I, for one, am shocked that a series with this particular pedigree would kill off a major antagonist midway through the series.
Hey they didn't just kill him off. They also gave us his wondrously stupid backstory! I'm sure everyone was wondering just what motivated such a complex and interesting villain.
Sure do hate it when I "accidentally kill" my imouto because she started talking about boys. Also I look like this the whole time. I'm the victim here.
It was definitely an accident! Why would he kill her when he so desperately wants to fuck her?

...on second thought don't answer that question.
Here's to you and your normal one, Kanade.
Really the most horrifying part is that Metropoliman still has easily the most human motivation of any villain in this show.
That's the thing, right? And he actually has a discernable motivation, which puts him leagues beyond any of our protagonists. And, for as much shit as I have given and will give Platinum End, I'm really tickled by the fact that they made the evil siscon guy a libertarian. You know Kanade has memorized the age of consent in every country. It all fits together so well.

Also bold to make him a terminally online atheist too. When he's, you know, fighting to become God with power granted to him by an angel. And somehow that becomes a fucking running theme for this show's bad guys.
Look, just because there are glowing people with wings and halos and magic arrows doesn't NECESSARILY mean God exists. I mean, would a loving God have just stood there silently in the sky while one of his chosen children got turned into Swiss cheese?

Actually, considering everything we just mentioned about Kanade, yeah probably.
God I love how bad this show is with its own morals. Months on end of Mirai pitifully insisting that all life is precious and we should never kill anyone because that will make us all unhappy and then we get a minutes-long sequence of a dude being turned into salsa, complete with x-ray shots of the bullets tearing through his meat. Who the fuck needs ideological consistency?
I don't! I wish we got more of that! At least it isn't boring, and it taps into the ultraviolent tasteless excess that helped make Death Note so damn entertaining. Platinum End's direction still sadly doesn't hold a candle to Tetsuro Araki's over-the-top eye, but indulgences like Kanade's complete disintegration at least scratch at the door.
Unfortunately that's also the last hurrah for any slightly interesting creative decisions in this show. After that the primary director, Hideya Takahashi, promptly skipped town to work on the new Urusei Yatsura show and we were left with the visual stylings of the guy who made some of the least remembered Ghost in the Shell entries. You can tell this transition happens when everything inexplicably turns grey.
The debate settings also get more and more drab. At one point half the cast is cooped up in a chrome underground bunker.

Also this series fucking loves holding confrontations in empty sports stadiums.
I'm not gonna blow smoke up anyone's ass and say the first half of this show was visually inventive or anything. But it really is noticeable how immediate the downturn in visuals happens, and how it turns an already dull story into an endurance match.
We do definitely have to lay blame on the story too, which somehow takes the first half's philosophical stiffness and regresses into a full rigor mortis of 101-level diatribes about ontology and free will.
No need to be so wordy with this. This show becomes a Reddit argument. And not even the funny kind you see screenshots of on Twitter.
I do kinda adore this kid, though that may just be me sympathizing with any character who wants out of this story.

But you're right, it's a Reddit thread of an anime. And I'll tell you who's not winning any arguments: our hero.
Oh you're not impressed by Mirai's plan of "let the suicidal 12-year-old become God because I don't want to?"
That's not even his plan. He's just going along with Nasse's suggestion. Mirai lacks enough of a conviction about anything to have "plans." He's a cipher devoid of thought or personality, beyond a vague sense that he should disagree with certain people because they happen to be the current antagonist.
Doesn't help that the person he's most attached to is also a complete nonentity. I've seen some terrible anime romances but Mirai x Saki may be the perfect blackhole of anti-chemistry.

It's amazing that for how much of their shared dialogue is just saying how being with the other makes them happiest of all, we almost never see them smile or laugh or even look mildly unbothered to be next to one another.

A romance for the ages. Positively smoldering.
Just. Good lord.

I swear I didn't edit that. That's just how this show is.
I was HOWLING at that part. My dude has a Pentium II processor up there. It's the best he can do. I also really love this still from the beginning of that scene, because it's one of the most nonfunctional shots I've ever seen. Impossible to distinguish, nothing being accomplished, featuring two characters who may as well fade into the background.
Real fucked up part is this is still probably the least awful romance Ohba's ever created. If nothing else Mirai's never gone on a rant about how ambitious women are stupid for not knowing their place, and they don't arbitrarily decide to never talk to each other until they're both famous celebrities.
When you put it like that, I guess I can't be too harsh on them. Saki also makes it out better than any other woman on the show, possibly due to the same fact that Ohba forgot to give her a personality. We have a convenient counterexample with Yuri, who's basically just a greedy one-dimensional butt of jokes.
Hey, at least the anime cut the part where we find out she's also homophobic! So she gets to just be a shallow influencer character you'd see in a Ben Garrison comic.
It's funny, cutting that specific rant out and leaving us with just the story's casual misogyny only ends up making Yuri one of the most likeable characters on the show. Certainly the most relatable.
Ironically she has probably the best plan of any of the potential God Candidates on paper. Get her some pamphlets on UBI and we might just have a happy ending after all.
Come on, Nick, we all know that there's never been a single example in all of history where providing people with additional support and welfare made their lives demonstrably and immediately better. Let's hear what an actual smart person has to say about all this.
...still better than Mirai's idea.
Dude gets handed an essay assignment and scribbles "I dunno" before handing it back to the teacher. I respect the honesty. He still gets an F.
I guess we finally gotta talk about the skidmark that is this show's final antagonist.
Yoneda really drags the whole show down into the mud. And it has less to do with the dude's ideas or ethics and a lot to do with the fact that he just will not shut the fuck up.
It's honestly worse in the manga. At least here you get to listen to Kenjiro Tsuda talk about total bullshit that means less than nothing. In print all you get is endless panel-sized word bubbles saying even dumber stuff.
I didn't even think about that! Absolutely miserable. He's also, for me, an anime personification of an uncomfortable reminder of my collegiate militant atheist phase. Like, yeah dude, I get it. I read Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris too. You're not special.
Doesn't help that he's supposed to be wrong but the characters he's arguing with are on the level of 3rd graders at best.
Turns out it's easy to win a debate when you just pull numbers out of your ass and nobody there has enough of a brain to question them.

Source: dude just trust me.

Also I hope you're paying attention to that totally real statistic, because it's the ONLY THING in the show that spurs Mirai to actually hold something resembling determination.

There's always going to be a struggle with shows like these, that want to have world-scale stakes but can't literally hold the world hostage, when it comes to depicting the larger population. But even by those standards this fuckin sucks:
And beyond the cringe misanthropy of that, you'd think a story like this, however poorly conceived or written, would be chomping at the bit to finally, in its climactic arc, address some fundamental questions about the concepts of God and religion. How have they helped mankind? How have they hurt mankind? Is it a net good or evil? Does it even matter, in the long run? But no, Platinum End just flattens the debate to "7 million people will kill themselves if nobody becomes God." That's the only thing taken in consideration going into the climax.
And even that barely matters because the actual stakes of the climax are if Mirai will sacrifice himself for Saki because every person in this show is stupid enough to walk into an obvious hostage situation.
It's okay. Mirai finally grew some gonads so he's definitely going to put the needs of the greater goo—

This kid sucks so bad.
He literally has to be bailed out by The Angel of Bimbofication here.

Which is a big no-no, so God personally punishes Nasse by demoting her a couple ranks.

A little late for the series to start exploring these kinds of consequences for its supernatural cast members, but at least that raises the stakes a bi—

I genuinely don't know what the fuck the point of that was? Yoneda says it was all according to keikaku, presumably so that Mirai would lose his murder arrow with the demotion, but he was already about to kill the guy so like...what was he trying to accomplish?
It's just one more grain of sand in a desert of irrelevance. Platinum End, front to back, is utterly bereft of anything that matters, and given the way the series ends, I can only conclude that this is intentional.
That's more confidence than I have in what I think this ending was trying for. All I can really garner is "making the literal child whose only desire is to off himself God is not a great long-term plan."
I mean I wouldn't go so far as to use the word "trying," because everything in the last episode is insultingly lazy. It's one big "gotcha" for every single character and, by extension, the audience. Posturing as deep but as flimsy as a paper tiger.

Also God kills himself lol.
Ah come on, there's some really good philosophizing in here somewhere. We just have to look!
I guess when you're an effectively omnipotent being you have nothing better to do than come up with weird metaphors about fruit.
But listen. Everyone talks about the self-deicide because it's the only interesting thing about this show. We need to at least address how this ending is also total dogshit resolution for what few characters made it to the last episode. Like how Mirai and Saki manage to get MARRIED and still look dead inside doing it.
Or you've got THIS. Which honestly would be cute in a completely different series that treated both of these characters better. And that's how much I have to stretch to say something nice here.
They're the perfect couple really. She's too shallow to demand any actual emotional connection from him, but also too stupid to recognize he's constantly insulting her. It's a match made in hell! Or I guess technically a match made in the rapture.

So here's the thrust of the ending if you don't want to watch it yourself (and you don't). God killing himself causes all life on Earth to disappear, because God created life. However, God himself was created by more advanced beings, who have seeded various Gods on planets like Earth to see if they can grow a creature capable of killing them. Because those advanced beings are immortal, and they also don't know who created them, and it sucks, and they want to die. Everything sucks. Yoneda was wrong. Mirai was wrong. Nothing matters. Fuck you.
Fuck Yoneda in particular. Even in the last fleeting moments before his existence ceases across all planes, he still has to come up with a reason why he's not wrong.

Sorry dude, but not even your shampoo bottles are gonna buy that one.
It's the final rusty nail in the show's coffin. It's the perfect emblem of its turgid nihilism. And it sorta helps a lot make sense in retrospect: its hero had no convictions, because Platinum End had none. All it had was contempt for itself and for its audience. It is, admittedly, a little fascinating in that regard, but not nearly enough to justify its own vacuous existence.
It's a show that seemed to either have no idea what it was doing, or actively hated what it was doing, sometimes both at once. It throws high concepts out with neither care nor curiosity, and in the process it also shits on incredibly personal topics without even noticing. It's a big, steaming pile of failure that stayed in the corner until it calcified.
Yeah, ultimately, I can't pretend to know what was going on in its creators' minds, but from its opening death game dirge all the way to its intellectual forfeit of an ending, it just seems to resent its own existence. What a bizarre way to be.
I'm you're interesting in something sort of similar that actually has an idea of what it's doing and isn't boring as piss, just go watch DEVILMAN crybaby and have a better time. Or re-watch Death Note. Or file your taxes.

So Steve, since you're probably the only person at this intersection, which was the worse "End" show: this, or World’s End Harem?

I've got just the answer for you:

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