Episode 20 – Platinum End

How would you rate episode 20 of
Platinum End ? Community score: 2.6

I worry I’m repeating myself in these reviews. To an extent that’s unavoidable – Platinum End has sucked for a long while, mostly in the same ways it always has. And my command of the English language isn’t sophisticated enough to find new and varied ways to say this show is an undercooked bore that would have long ago flunked out of an Intro to Philosophy course in its freshman year. But while PE is a bad show, it’s easy to forget that there are at least a few solid ideas that it’s just failed to execute n in any respect.

We get a reminder of that with Yoneda’s backstory, which takes up the lion’s share of this episode. While he lacks the super villain flare of Metropoliman, on paper he makes up for that by having a much more relatable and human motivation as our new antagonist. Rather than an incestuous asshole with more money than several industrialized nations, Yoneda is an awkward and anxious man who’s spent his entire life pursuing the scientific truths of the universe as he fled from the attention and expectations of his fellow humans. But his accomplishments as a scientist brought him celebrity that was nothing short of torture, and just as he decided to “discover what happens after death,” his guardian angel descended to dangle an even more tantalizing existential mystery in front of him. While it doesn’t entirely explain his dogged desire to disprove the existence of God, it’s at the very least an effective character study.

On paper.

In practice, this is still Platinum End, a show that is incapable of believably expressing human warmth or any emotion besides an ambient contempt for anyone it sees as lesser than it. This show has tripped over its own shoelaces every single time it’s approached serious topics, and it’s no different here as we speedrun through Yoneda’s suicide attempt so we can get back to interminable scenes of blank-faced characters having dull, gray conversations in dull, gray rooms. Any pathos or humanity that could be present is either raced past, or buffoon smothered by the terrible execution. For instance: we learn about Yoneda’s past partially through Hoshi, who conveniently went to high school with him for all of a couple days. That’s a remarkably contrived coincidence to write that amounts to basically nothing of importance, which I suppose is on brand for this show.

That weak writing has also come to define what is now our central conflict. Since Yoneda isn’t strictly a murderous psychopath, the way to stop him is no longer about violence, but rhetoric. Can our remaining heroes find a way to convince him that God is either truly divine or, at the very least, necessary? Again, that’s a potentially interesting angle for a story to take, but when it comes to implementing and articulating it the show falls flat on its face. Yoneda insists he knows for certain that the current God isn’t actually omnipotent, on the logical and scientific basis of an Angel telling him so. Saki’s brilliant suggestion is that if Yoneda wants to prove God isn’t real, he should become God so he can tell everyone he’s not real. It’s incredibly stupid writing that’s gussied up with overlong monologues in an attempt to obfuscate how little thought was actually put into any of it.

It’s all just a mess, thrown together with an increasing sense of both desperation and apathy, and overall makes for a show that moves way too fast yet never feels like it’s accomplishing anything. Platinum End‘s characters and story have long since lost any hope of being interesting or entertaining. Its visuals have degraded just far enough to be offputting, but not enough to be unintentionally funny like other production meltdowns. So all that’s left is waiting for it to flail and bark its way to whatever kind of conclusion it can cobble together.

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Platinum End is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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