3 Episode Rule – Platinum End

3 Episode Rule is a series in which I watch the first three episodes of a new anime and decide whether to stick with it or drop it based on those three episodes alone.

One of the more hotly anticipated shows of the season; Platinum End is based on the manga written by Tsugumi Ohba; the writer of Death Note. So it goes without saying that the anime fandom would be excited to see his most recent work get an adaptation. All cards on the table though: I’ve never seen Death Note. In fact, I hardly know anything about it aside from the fact that Willem Dafoe was in a bad movie based on it… Oops, we’re not supposed to be talking about Death Note are we.

Platinum End begins with us following Mirai Kakehashi during his final day of Middle School. Right after school ends, he goes to a rooftop and throws himself off it, believing he has nothing left to live for. Only to be rescued at the last minute by the angel Nasse. Mirai wants nothing to do with her, but due to her chipper attitude, relentlessness and general cuteness he relents and lets her bestow some gifts upon him.

She gives him wings that allow him to fly with incredible speed and a “Red Arrow” projectile that will force anyone he hits with it to fall in love with him and follow his directives without question. Even as Mirai points out, despite being an angel, these gifts combined with Nasse’s words imply he should be acting out much more sinister actions with these powers than you would expect from an agent of God.

Mirai had lost his will to live, which is what allowed Nasse to appear before him and bestow him with these powers. He was so willing to kill himself because his own parents and younger brother had died in a horrible explosion and he’d spent the past few years being raised by his horribly abusive Aunt and Uncle. Upon Nasse’s constant badgering though, he uses the red arrow to learn the truth; that his aunt and uncle has killed his family for a big insurance pay-out.

In his rage he accidentally forces his aunt to kill herself. Upon seeing how fleeting life is, he suddenly regains his will to live, using his red arrow to force his uncle to turn himself into the police and start his life anew, attending High School and hoping to reconnect with his childhood friend and first love Saki. All in the hopes of just living a normal, ordinary life where he could finally be happy.

Now that would be a fine starting place for some kind of twisted romantic comedy in which super powered Mirai uses his powers to do better around him and resists the urge to use them for more nefarious deeds, as his personal angel keeps suggesting he do, with a big old smile on her face. It’s at this point where the twist in the series happens and we learn the real plot that’s going to be going forward.

God is dying. And on Earth, there are 13 candidates to replace him, all people who had previously lost the will to live and were saved by their own personal angel. It’s a contest that Mirai has no interest in; stating over and over that he just wants a simple, quiet life where he can be happy. Problem is, one of these candidates is taking the “game” very seriously and using the third, and rarest power of the angels to do so.

A man dressed up as a Sentai hero calling himself Metropoliceman is using his powers to fly around Tokyo and “uphold justice” as a superhero. This just a front though, in reality he is trying to draw out the other candidates and murder them all so that he can become God by default. He plans on doing this by using the “White Arrow” a third power that only three of the 13 Angels possess that allows them to kill anyone they point their hands at.

Mirai is one of the three candidate with this power, although he flat out refuses to use it.

He intends to attend high school and life his life without getting involved with Metropoliceman and the other God candidates, although that plan falls on its face before he even walks in the front gates. Spotting another angel floating above the school, he betrays his candidacy by looking at the angel for too long and before he knows it he has been skewered by the red arrow of another candidate: the very object of his affection: Saki.

Unlike Mirai, Saki’s angel is of the lowest rank, thus she only has access to the red arrow and not the wings; the only thing able to outrun an angel arrow. So Mirai vows to protect her from the other candidates and allow to both have a future.

Verdict: Despite the hype, this one isn’t moving me.

Honestly, I really do like aspects of this series, but otherwise it doesn’t really do much for me. Maybe I’m a little basic and like my anime to be a bit less mature, but every time I watch a series that is meant for a more mature audience is all just feels so emotionally wrought. Maybe its got something to do with the oppressive work culture in Japan combined with the real lack of anyone really acknowledging mental health troubles, but this all feels a bit heavy handed to me.

I mean yeah, all anime is heavy handed as a general rule, but I guess that maybe I was expecting something a little more from this series given the hype that surrounds it. Our two main characters seem so down and gloomy all the time, I mean I get that they were both on the verge of killing themselves, but grim, emotionless determination isn’t working for me in this case.

My favourite parts of the first three episodes are Nasse and Saki’s angel Revel, her cuteness combined with his impishness and manipulativeness are a more fun dynamic to me rather than the gloom of their hosts. While the idea of Mirai having this great power thrust upon him and then immediately commenting on how very easily this God given power could be used for evil means was a cool concept.

Almost like it had something to say about our concepts of good and evil, angels and demons and how they’re man-made concepts. How the only goods and evils are how we behave with the powers we’re given in life. Although the moral quandary of the whole thing feels like it takes a very quick back seat when Metropoliceman shows up as an indiscriminate murderer.

With so many other anime in my queue right now, this one is surprisingly very low on my list. So much so that I feel like I’m just going to give this one up this season. Maybe I’ll come back to it down the line if it starts getting a lot of attention on social media or the blogosphere, but I’m not feeling this one. I like the ideas behind it, but the tone and attitude of the characters feels like it might be hitting a little too close to home and a cute girl alone is not enough to carry a series.

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