Episode 21 – Platinum End

How would you rate episode 21 of
Platinum End ? Community score: 2.8

I haven’t talked much about Platinum End as an adaptation here. I figure most people (those still left, anyway) are experiencing this story for the first time through the anime, and there’s nothing less appealing to newbies than somebody who’s reading the source material harping about minor changes or focusing on how many pages per episode are being covered. Any adaptation worth its salt must stand or fall on its own merits, so I think it’s only fair to judge it as its own entity rather than a derivative work.

That said, there are some changes that just aren’t acceptable. Some moments are crucial to understanding a work, and viewers just aren’t getting the full Platinum End experience if they don’t see Yuri’s totally unhinged, unprompted rant about why it’s OK for her to not like gay people. Not only is it the most her character has ever spoken, it’s integral in demonstrating what a weird, directionless mess this entire story has become in its waning hours. This is a story that is riddled with big, important, and challenging concepts, but it has absolutely no idea what to say about any of them, and the perfect microcosm of that is the show’s most underdeveloped character delivering a monologue about how people should legalize gay marriage before they mildly scold her for being homophobic. It serves no purpose. It accomplishes nothing. And that’s Platinum End in a nutshell.

That glaring omission notwithstanding, this episode is all clunky setup for our major players to once more assemble for a meeting of the potentially Godly minds. Of course, that was incredibly boring last time, so the show spices it up by having both parties plan to kill eachother instead of having a debate, which is just a rehash of the first arc – complete with everyone meeting in a sports stadium – but It’s also the first time in months Mirai makes a decision besides shrugging at the world so I’ll take it. Granted, the motivation for that decision just makes Mirai look worse. He wasn’t willing to kill when the entire world was at stake, nor when his closest allies were at death’s door, but now that he’s convinced Yoneda “killing” the concept of God will make him personally unhappy, it’s time to betray everything he’s claimed to believe in until now.

But the real problem here isn’t that Mirai is a poorly written hypocrite – that’s been true for the whole show. No, the issue is that for a story that is literally arguing about the moral and ethical ramifications of killing God, it doesn’t seem to have any real feelings on the matter. Sure, the atheistic Yoneda is our antagonist here and our protagonists oppose him in the name of those supporting who most resolutely in a monolithic believe deity, so would imply the story is on the side of the devout, right? Yet the actual conflict is presented distantly and through broad hypotheticals.

Nobody in the cast is deeply religious or personally invested in the existence of God, so that viewpoint exists only as invisible masses off screen. We learn that 80% of the religious people in the world have apparently taken Yoneda’s side, entirely through Mirai reading something on his phone, for fuck’s sake. The person with the strongest motivation for keeping God alive is Yuri, and that’s entirely so she can keep her red arrows and live a life of luxury via brainwashing. That’s our only counterpoint offered in the show’s most critical, climactic debate, and that’s just not a compelling story.

It’s just a more convoluted version of what this show has always done. It wants to pay lip service to the big questions in life in order to seem high-minded and erudite, yet all it’s capable of is the most shallow readings of any given philosophical stance. It hasn’t spent any time contemplating these ideas, nor does it have any particular convictions it wants to espouse. So if the show doesn’t care or have anything of interest to say about its own subject matter, it’s small wonder why nobody in the audience would care either. With no themes, no characters worth caring about, and the barest threads of plot remaining, all that’s left is to watch the narrative stumble forward, pretending to have momentum, until it finally falls down for the last time.

Well, that and the most scintillating romance of the year.

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Platinum End is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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