I will say the first episode of Platinum End has certainly divided reviewers with some loving it and eating up every minute and others more or over it before it even finished. And the thing is, I can see both points of view here though I honestly quite enjoyed this first episode. That said, there are some major trigger warnings that need to be attached to episode 1.
There’s suicide, child abuse, murder, brain washing, some incredibly revealing clothing on some of the female characters, and all of this is in the name of introducing us to the main character and his bleak past before transitioning into what is pretty clearly going to become a battle royale and seems to be very similar to the concept set up in Mirai Nikki. Whether this ends up being a point in Platinum End’s favour really depends on how you felt about that death match to become a god.
However, this story comes to us from Tsugumi Ohba of Death Note and Bakuman fame and both of those are anime I really loved watching.
Sure you could spend time picking them apart such as the pacing of Death Note, the character development, and even some of the cat and mouse play between Light and L. Bakuman with its ridiculous premise where the main character wasn’t going to talk to the girl he liked until he achieved a goal that he had no guarantee of achieving. But that would kind of miss the point that despite their flaws they were both entertaining, gave us memorable characters and offered enough decent moments along the way (or at least I found they did).
So is the first episode of Platinum End worth watching?
Unless you are easily triggered by any of the content I listed above, Platinum End has delivered a premiere that is solid enough to at least warrant a look. Whether you end up enjoying it or not will entirely depend on how you find these sorts of stories but if you did like Ohba’s previous works or if you were a fan of Mirai Nikki, there’s certainly enough here to entertain.
The initial scenes of this episode establish Mirai, a boy ready to end his own life. As the episode progresses we see that his home life is awful as he has been the victim of abuse. That in it of itself was probably enough framing however Platinum End doesn’t really work subtle. Instead, we get a further reveal in this episode about the cause of his parents’ and sibling’s deaths that gets a suitably over-the-top emotional response from Mirai. It’s really not nuanced at all but in one episode we more or less learn what we need to know about what is driving this character.
Obviously Mirai’s initial suicide attempt fails (otherwise that would be a short character introduction) and we meet Nasse, a self-proclaimed superior angel. Naturally she gives Mirai some super powers and in another anime we’d be rushing off to the fight scenes. As I said though, Platinum End decides instead to focus in on Mirai’s relationships and motivation before dropping the dime on the looming battle royale toward the very end of the episode.
While visually there are some very dark scenes particularly in the flashbacks of Mirai’s abuse and with the gory death of Mirai’s aunt, there’s some lovely contrasting scenes.
The genuine joy Mirai experienced flying for the first time as he breaches the clouds and emerges in the sun was a really well put together moment, as is his satisfaction at looking out over the bright and glowing city lights.
Too many horrors just go for being visually dark and bleak but it is these contrasts that make it far more intriguing to watch.
Where Platinum End is going to need to be cautious is in how it progresses from here. Mirai has now been established but how will his character develop or be changed by the events to come? How is Nasse’s role going to evolve or will she remain the character who exists just to make sure the audience knows what is going on? Will the other participants with angels of their own end up being fully realised characters or just one-trick caricatures that appear and are as quickly dispatched?
All the ingredients are here for a really solid piece of genre entertainment. For those who like gory and supernatural stories Platinum End may very well hit the spot. But as we should all know, having the right ingredients doesn’t mean a thing if it ends up being half-baked.
The full review for Platinum End Episodes 1 – 12 can be found here.
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6 thoughts on “Platinum End Episode 1 Review – Heavy-Handed Backstory Leading up to the Looming Battle Royale”
I’ve yet to watch this, but I’ve been reading the manga for a while and based on your review, I think I will really enjoy the first episode. With that being said, there are a few scenes I really want to see animated and others not so much (as you said, this has some heavy and triggering content), but one thing this series does really well is character development for most of the main and secondary characters.
I will look forward to seeing the character development then. I enjoyed this first episode enough but it also kind of left me wondering how it would progress.
Hope you enjoy it when you watch it.
You inspired me to watch the first episode. Not much of a fan of death contests but this one is just odd enough for me to keep watching. It is a moral boy trapped in a pretty dark situation. To me the entire plot of the show ought to be his struggle to remain moral despite temptations.
If they take that angle it could end up feeling a bit different and it could certainly make some interesting situations. I guess we will have to wait and see which direction they take this in.