My previous episode reviews have left no doubt that about the only thing How To Keep a Mummy has going for it is the single cutest mummy in existence. So what happens when we get a whole episode with barely any appearances by said mummy because they are introducing the second little character, a child oni (demon)?
How To Keep a Mummy diluted its own winning formula.
The answer is, not much. I didn’t really click with this new character and don’t find him particularly cute. I did enjoy some of Tazuki’s reactions to the oni but basically that was the whole first half. Oni shows up, Tazuki reluctantly lets him in, next morning he kicks him out and bemoans the fact that he’ll come back.
The second half at least has the oni meeting the mummy and that is kind of adorable, but it isn’t quite enough to off-set the rest of the episode.
While How to Keep a Mummy wasn’t bad this week, it is just kind of average. And I’ve known from the start that everything about this show is pretty ordinary and it has only been the presence of Mii-Kun that has really elevated it to something I’ve enjoyed. Still, here is hoping that next week goes a bit better or at the very least we have more of the mummy and less of the oni.
I have no idea whether How To Keep a Mummy can keep me interested for a whole season, but I really had fun with this first episode. Sora is pretty standard as the protagonist but doesn’t cross the line into annoying. Plus, his fairly sensible reactions throughout the episode kind of help to ground the otherwise odd plot line of having a pet mummy.
How To Keep A Mummy – Question Is Why?
This episode is one of set up and discovery for both Sora and the audience and it works well as we learn about the Mii-Kun’s (the name Sora gives the mummy) fearful nature, clumsiness, tastes in food, and general need for attention. Playing the mummy opposite the pet dog certainly added a comedic moment as well as gave the audience a fairly touching scene as Sora finally accepted the mummy as staying and stopped trying to pack it off home.
However, what really makes this episode work is that it is just kind of adorable. Not a lot happens plot wise, we’re introduced to Sora, the mummy, and one of Sora’s friends who has so far terrified Mii-Kun and I’m looking forward to seeing more of their interactions, but there’s not a lot of depth for any of these characters at this stage. There’s also some girl living in Sora’s house and I’m not sure if she’s a relative at this point because that was not really explained but I’m sure it will be later. Still, adorable.
I didn’t think I’d watch the whole of this first episode and yet I enjoyed it from start to finish. While I still don’t know if this will work for a whole season, I don’t have much to complain about at this point.
What is Angel Beats about? Otonashi wakes up and finds himself in a strange school. Nearby him is a girl setting up a gun and taking aim at another girl. The girl informs him he is dead and invites him to join a battlefront in a fight against god. Politely declining the girl’s offer, Otonashi decides to talk to the other girl. It is there he realises that he is in fact dead and he is now in the afterlife.
Angel Beats Review:
Angel Beats is one of those anime that you will either completely fall in love with or you will sit and stare at it wondering what the hell it is you are watching. There’s very little room for inbetween given you either love the over the top humour followed by insane action and finally crush your heart drama or you find the whole thing an exercise in emotional manipulation that misses the mark.
However, for me Angel Beats is one of those very special anime that I can watch time and again and no matter how many times I see it I laugh, I get excited, and then I end up a teary mess before breaking into that final smile post credits of the last episode (and yes, you have to watch through the credits otherwise you are just going to end up a mess).
It is really hard to explain why I feel this way about Angel Beats though. The characters aren’t exactly riveting with such a large cast and so few episodes to develop them. While you will probably grow attached to Otonashi and Kanade, maybe Yuri if she doesn’t annoy you, and one or two other cast members, the vast majority remain strictly background or one note.
This kind of means that a lot of the events later in the series shouldn’t have a lot of impact given the characters are more or less only distinguished by their hair colour, weapon or catch phrase and yet somehow they all manage to charm me in their own way even if I know very little about the bulk of them. Possibly it is because of how little time they get to annoy that they manage to remain charming. I think that given enough time characters like TK could get super annoying.
Despite that, individual character moments are solid. Iwasawa’s moment here we got her back story and then got to see her sing ‘My Song’ was incredibly emotionally wrenching and really consolidated that despite the zany humour, this show was serious about dealing with the themes it brought to the table when it set its story in the afterlife of young people who, for various reasons, never got to live their full lives the first time.
This is really the first turning point of the series. A character you were kind of familiar with from the first couple of episodes takes the spot light and then breaks your heart and you finally realise what this show is going for in terms of tone and theme.
Then there is Hinata and Yui. Yui may be an incredibly annoying character, but she still manages to have her moment to shine when we finally see her stripped of all the comedy, frantic energy and distractions. When you realise why she is forging herself into the person she became in the after life and you realise what she’s really trying to achieve it just hits you. The fact that she’s annoyed you every time she’s appeared on screen up to this point kind of fades away and Hinata steps in when Otonashi falters and he manages to give Yui the words she needs to hear at that moment.
And that’s probably the greatest strength of Angel Beats. It knows how to deliver moments. The overall narrative pacing and plot might be a bit of a mess with too many characters and at times too many ideas, but each of those character moments are beautifully spaced throughout the series that each time you think you might want to stop you’ll be hit with something really stunning and unforgettable. What you are left with is a series where the feeling of the whole is significantly greater than most of the individual parts.
Visually Angel Beats is a joy. Sure there are some moments where the characters are off model and the animation isn’t as clean as it might be, but again, the show knows when to put everything on the table and there are those scenes that just take your breath away and they are the ones you will remember after watching.
The dramatic moment when the lunch tickets float down to the ground, all the Angel’s recombining, the destruction of the guild, and the graduation sequence are each beautifully delivered and give you a sense of a truly gorgeous show. This is further reinforced by the fabulous music throughout the whole show (and one of the best opening themes of all time).
I’m not going to say everyone should love this. The plot is a bit of a mess and there are definitely a lot of moments that are pure filler or there forced in for a sub-plot that ultimately doesn’t amount to much, and as much as I came to love the characters, there are just too many of them for the show to really do the cast justice. Still, if you watch it through and it reaches you, this show will be the one you reach for when you want to laugh, cry and then smile and just be able to feel something.
As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on Angel Beats so please leave a comment and let me know whether you are in love with the show?
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
When looking around for something new to try each season the genre tags help me narrow the selection at least those anime I’m most likely going to enjoy. So The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window with its boys love tag paired up with horror, mystery and the supernatural definitely had me intrigued and willing to give this one a go.
And in fairness, all of those genres are indeed on display here however the problem is that the cook had all the right ingredients but didn’t know how to assemble them into something palatable.
The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is an exercise in how not to bake your story.
Watching The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window actually ends up being quite the frustrating experience because there are some really interesting ideas underlying the narrative. The various psychic characters with a range of abilities could have been really solid and I would still love to actually learn more about the rules and fundamentals of their abilities but unfortunately the anime isn’t willing to share.
Even in the final episodes as characters seemingly pluck new skills out of nowhere there doesn’t seem to be a consistent rhyme or reason for what they can do and when they can do it so instead of the plot being resolved satisfactorily we’re left with the power of emotions and characters simply telling us what they are doing but not how or why. It’s somewhat less than satisfying.
Which is so unfair when you have protagonist Mikado seeing spirits and as the series progresses purifying negative energy. What else he can do and how strong he is has yet to be determined but exploring that could have made for a really fun series.
You also have Erika, a girl who has been taught to curse others and who essentially invites dead people inside her and then uses their energy to fuel her curses (and whatever else she decides to do). Again, really potentially intriguing idea and character but utterly underutilised here in The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window.
And the lacklustre characters could have been accepted if the plot had been driven enough to keep us focused on the events rather than the people and yet early episodes have middling ghost investigations which on the surface work well enough but lack the drama and tension of something that truly knows how to tell a ghost story, like Ghost Hunt. As plot threads come together with Mikado and Erika’s stories being linked through the same mysterious individual that could have worked but ultimately I still couldn’t tell you what the antagonist even wanted or how he was beaten other that ‘just cause’.
Then we have the boys love elements. With more recent titles like Given showing the anime world that boys love doesn’t necessarily have to fall back on tropes of possession, violence and potential assault, early episodes of The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window are far more reminiscent on the opening episodes of Junjou Romantica and the innuendo is intense and just really off-putting because there’s very little romantic about it.
Worse, is that it takes nearly half the season before Mikado actually calls Hiyakawa out on his behaviour. They possibly could have pulled off the scenario if Mikado had in any way made it clear that Hiyakawa’s behaviour wasn’t acceptable earlier and yet for a good three or four episodes Hiyakawa forces himself into Mikado’s soul and uses him as he pleases for his spiritual work all the while uttering lines that are far beyond cringe worthy and feel like they belonged in a totally different era of entertainment.
And then, even though the story relies on ‘The Power of Love’ in the end to save the day it is really hard to understand why these two have any relationship at all because no effort is put into building the pair up as people.
So yes, I definitely like the idea of The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window much more than I liked any of the execution. What makes it even worse is that even now that the anime is over, I still want more episodes just so that maybe it has a chance to actually start doing something with all the great elements that are already there. Just use them properly.
But that’s kind of wishful thinking.
This is an anime that utterly squandered its potential and while I would love to see the ideas of this story reimagined in a different package, The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is done. I cannot say I recommend it unless you really want to see how to undercook a story.
One of the few anime I did read the manga of (at a friend’s insistence) Vampire Knight is the story of Yuki Cross who’s first memory is of snow and blood when her family were killed by vampires and she was saved by the vampire Kaname. Years pass and she now goes to school where the day class are human and the night class are vampires. Yuki, aided by Zero (her adopted brother) work to keep the classes separate and the fact that the night class are vampires a secret.
Vampire Knight Review:
While I accept that vampire stories and sex are more or less intrinsically linked, I think books like Twilight and Vampire Knight (the manga) have a lot to answer for in how they represent romance to teenagers. That said, I’m not one of those people who thinks things always have to have a positive message, I just find it really odd that some people read or watch these things and think they are romantic. These stories have a romance in them, but they actually end up coming off pretty creepy when you think about the context so the romantic factor gets shot in the foot pretty quick.
So Vampire Knight? It is one of those shows I think needs a reboot now that the manga is finished because you could certainly clean up a lot of the character and story issues now that they know where it is going.
Also, having rewatched Vampire Knight to do this review, the animation is kind of bad. This isn’t something I usually complain about but it was amazing how many times this anime relies on a still image with a pan rather than actual animation. While this does show off the very nice character designs, and fans of the manga know just how gorgeous these characters can look when allowed to pose, it actually makes for a pretty dull viewing experience a lot of the time.
Despite everything I’ve just said, I don’t actually dislike Vampire Knight as a story. Or rather as an introduction to a story. Much like Kaname spends a number of scenes in this first season staring at a chess board, the story itself is positioning the characters where they need to be. At times this leads to some awkward encounters and interactions but it does set up just the right amount of tension so that you know going into season 2 things are going to get explosive.
The main strength of the story is that it keeps the focus relatively tight on Yuki, Kaname and Zero as the love triangle at the centre of the story. While there are efforts to fill in other characters and organisations, these remain strictly background with the focus more on how those events impact on these three characters.
During Vampire Knight, the interactions between Zero and Yuki are really great to watch, even if I want to slap Yuki a lot of the time for some of her assumptions and feeling guilty about every single thing. Zero isn’t the best character ever written, but he is emotionally hamstrung by having watched his family die and is now turning into a vampire when he was trained to be a vampire hunter. So his angst is actually relatively understandable, more so than Yuki’s happy go lucky attitude she insists on putting forward even though inside she’s just a pit of hopeless despair.
Unfortunately the interactions between Kaname and Yuki aren’t so impressive. I get the show wants us to want these two together but he keeps Yuki at arms length most of the time and then gets jealous and possessive at others. His actions force her to distrust him and then he gets annoyed that she doesn’t trust him.
Amazingly enough when you don’t communicate and sit around and brood a lot, relationships don’t exactly work out easily which is a bit of an issue when it is a cornerstone for the plot of Vampire Knight. I know a lot of people will disagree but by the end of season 1 I’d really rather Yuki told Kaname where to go and headed off with Zero.
So yes, watching this you are in for a lot of teenage angst and the wondering if the choice they made was right and staring wistfully at the profile or back of the character they like and if you aren’t up for that Vampire Knight is not going to be your thing. Because basically everything else in this story falls flat.
The Chairman, (Yuki and Zero’s adopted father) acts a complete fool 90% of the time and is an irritant given he’s the one who set up the ridiculous school system. There’s enough moments in the show that point to him having a more serious side but we aren’t getting to see that in season 1 so basically he is a throw away character who seems to exist only to annoy Zero and cry when Yuki doesn’t call him father.
The rest of the vampires all have a serious Kaname fan club going on, and while this is explained, it means that their personalities are pretty fixed which makes them less than amazing characters in Vampire Knight. Someone touches Kaname they get super defensive. Zero says something to Kaname, they gather to go pick a fight but then walk away because actually having a fight would be lame.
Ruka gets a little bit of development as she pours out an unrequited love for Kaname but that’s a very minor side story and Aidou gets to be a complete pain in the neck as he regularly over steps the rules mostly so Kaname can show how cool he is in settling things down, but again this isn’t really a focus point and mostly makes Aidou look like an idiot.
Even the idea that Yuki and Zero are guardians in the school is kind of a throw away plot line to explain why they are wandering around at all hours and not abiding by a sensible curfew. While Zero can fight due to his hunter training, he isn’t really interested in looking out for the interests of the school and regularly exacerbates issues between the vampires or stirs up the day class with his cold attitude.
Yuki on the other hand is useless for pretty much Vampire Knight’s entire run. She has a weapon (Artemis) but in season 1, the three times she draws it she pretty much never actually hits a vampire and almost always has the weapon either taken away from her or drops it. About the only purpose Yuki actually serves outside of the romance is bait because every time she steps outside she literally gets attacked by a vampire. Again, this plot point will be explained later, but it makes for a really silly story during the early stages where you just feel like she has to have some sort of vampire magnet attached to her.
Before I finish though, a point needs to be made that the opening and ending themes to season 1 of this show are fantastic. Definitely exactly what the show needed and they keep you hooked. While the animation of the show is less than impressive, the visuals themselves are really detailed with repeated visual motifs to be found and plenty of other interesting details and symbolism if you pay attention. Plus, the colour scheme works really well for the show.
Basically, if you don’t mind watching three teenagers in a love triangle with the occasional vampire attack thrown in and some back story about a school trying to build peace between humans and vampires, you will probably find a lot to enjoy here. It is strictly set up for the events of season 2, but it paints an interesting picture of the characters and sketches in the world they live in enough to keep you on board for the story.
While not my favourite story by a long shot, I don’t mind the occasional rewatch of this, though part of me still wishes that Zero would actually use his gun on some of the vampire students earlier in the show.
I’d love to know your thoughts on Vampire Knight if you’ve watched it and hopefully you will check out my review of season 2 out later this week.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window gives us its final two episodes and honestly there will be spoilers here though lets be honest, most of you aren’t watching this anime anyway. I’m also going to keep this short because there doesn’t seem much point in repeating past criticisms and there’s no episodes left to hope for miracles to occur.
So, they go for a power of love solves everything approach and the bad guy (Erika’s Sensei/Mikado’s father) is defeated and left fallen on the floor inside the house and everybody else gets out and then they go to eat meat because why not.
This was not the end we were looking for from The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window
When we toss in the fact that multiple characters just suddenly seem to pull new powers out of nowhere (and that the powers they had were already so vaguely explained they more or less just did whatever they wanted anyway) there’s little satisfaction to be found in the conclusion. Whether it is Erika suddenly sending bloody feet and handprints to ‘connect’ everyone or her yakuza bodyguard being able to reach through them and physically transport people where-ever they needed to be it just seemed far too convenient.
Also, none of them looked worse for wear when they finally got out of the house so The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window even missed an opportunity to make it feel more credible by at least exhausting them for their efforts.
Then we have Keita’s elaborate rock-climbing analogy having tethered Mikado before leaving him in the house with Hiyakawa. Throw in Hanzawa being a ‘pillar of righteousness’ whatever that means but the story more or less uses it to mean that he can anchor Erika in place while she holds on to the tether which theoretically was there to stop Mikado falling though the how and why of all of that just escaped me.
Though perhaps the worst thing The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window does is more or less entirely rewrite Hiyakawa’s personality after the events. Sure, we get that he finally let go of the anger in the box or whatever but he’s literally a different person and not a particularly interesting one in the final half of the final episode. And his relationship with Mikado still makes very little sense.
At least Mikado finally tore up that awful and one sided contract and made it clear to Hiyakawa that he was his own person and wasn’t going to be locked in a box.
Now, I should point out that at least Mikado finally got to confront his father and point out what an awful thing it was to abandon his mother. The family relationship between Mikado, his mother and his father was perhaps the best part of these two episodes. Seeing his mother after everything was done and her finally being able to talk about the man who was a huge part of her life before he upped and left taking even his memory with him was actually kind of cathartic.
Also, these final episodes of The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window did at least remember that Mikado and his mother were the best pair in the story. Wow, the power of love really did win out here.
Anyway, its done and the story, such as it was, has wrapped up. Now I just need to figure out how to write a full review about it because honestly the Night Beyond the Tricornered Window as a concept still intrigues me but the anime itself is just not particularly good.
The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window has been a strange creature so far and I’ll admit I’m still where I was back in the beginning, which is largely intrigued by the possibilities of the story more so than the story itself. As we take yet another turn with Mikado now trying to return to Hiyakawa after he didn’t seek to protect him in episode 9, for reasons that actually make perfect sense, all the characters are here and things are coming together but it still feels like something is missing.
Can the Night Beyond the Tricornered Window bring all this together in two more episodes?
I guess we have to ask just how much we’re going to accept psychic hand-waving as they rush us through steps in order to get the confrontation between Mikado and his father and I assume we’re eventually going to see Mikado reunited with Hiyakawa and maybe they’ll finally have that long overdue heart to heart. Or maybe they’ll just slug each other. Who knows?
But this week we have in The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window we have Mikado announce to the crew he can purify the weird net of negative energy that Sensei has been tapping into and then we learn that the body-guard guy is somehow immune to death because of the thing Erika did to him. And all of this just kind of leads them to the house where they go inside and the police guy pours a line of water around the house and I guess that’s meant to keep things in?
Throw in some corpse like shadows, and a Labyrinth style house where the rooms all kind of float and move about and you have serious confusion about what is actually meant to be going on here.
And other than saving Hiyakawa, Mikado’s goal, I’m not even sure what the rest hope to accomplish at this point.
Though, we do get a rare treat from The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window the night before where Mikado has a chat with his mother at the dining table. Mikado and his mother’s relationship is one of the best things this anime has given us and with so many appalling parents in anime having a caring mother, even if she is cursed and remembers nothing about your father, is kind of like winning the lottery.
Now if only Mikado could do something about his father/sensei.
You know before he gets cursed, brainwashed, flattened by a falling house or whatever else is actually about to happen.
Weirdly though, The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window has managed to make the Erika and Sakaki duo quite a workable supporting pair. You could actually see the two of them in their own story without all of Mikado and Hiyakawa’s baggage and it would probably work quite well. The Yakuza and the Psychic.
Anyway, those two are just breaking the ghosts powering the whole labyrinth house thing and Mikado is busy confronting his father so that just leaves Keita to have a sit down with Hiyakawa and honestly he’s not the right person for the job and even he seems to realise he’s just got to hold on long enough for Mikado to actually arrive. But it doesn’t look like The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is going to give him enough time.
On that note… What is with the triangles? I was hoping that would be explained at some point but now even Mikado is just calling forth magic triangles and I don’t get it. Other than its in the title.
The Irregular at Magic High School or Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei was an anime I quite enjoyed however rather than getting a straight sequel we instead had quite a long gap before finally the Visitor Arc appeared finally continuing the story. Then we got the spin-off, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei which just didn’t quite hit the spot. Now we have the Reminiscence Arc which is essentially a prequel framed through a reminiscence the current Miyuki is having. And it is only a one hour special so it isn’t exactly going for a deep dive but there is the promise of more Irregular to come so maybe I’ll just have to be patient.
I’m so good at that.
Reminiscence Arc examines the trip Miyuki and Tatsuya took together to Okinawa and the incident that occurred there.
Basically, Reminiscence Arc wants to explain how Miyuki ended up being completely obsessed with her older brother Tatsuya, give a small amount of insight into the family behind the scenes, and give us a little more back story on how Tatsuya became the fairly emotionless, overpowered main character he becomes and just why he seems to care so much about Miyuki’s safety.
As a gap filler it is perfectly serviceable and if you were going through a check list of wanting answers you could tick most of them off by the end. However you could just as easily put the information out in a wiki so that real question is whether or not they’ve woven an entertaining enough story around which this information is evealed.
On that point mileage may vary.
While Reminiscence Arc sets the scene well demonstrating tensions between Miyuki and Tatsuya as well as the very strained family dynamic that they exist within there’s a lot of plot convenience going on here. Miyuki’s internal thoughts are very much for the benefit of the audience more than her given so much of what seems to cross her mind for the first time is something she really shouldn’t just be thinking for the first time having lived with this situation for seven years.
More than that, her conveniently walking into the beach thugs, who naturally then go straight to picking a stereotypical fight, and those same thugs ending up being employed at the military base they visit later but there’s seemingly no problem that a soldier picked a fight with a child on the beach… It’s all a bit artificial and exists only to allow the story to happen pushing the characters toward the final conflict where Miyuki and their mother are placed in danger and Tatsuya has to go and destroy the enemy while Miyuki gets a history lesson from mother dearest.
On that note, can we put their mother down in the list of worst anime parents ever. I mean, it was kind of obvious from the previous narrative arcs that the family were pretty awful but finding out just how cold their family really have been to Tatsuya and how they’ve shaped him into being who he is was pretty horrific. That Tatsuya even saved her life after the attack at the base is kind of amazing given everything (then again, he isn’t holding grudges because that would require him to have emotions toward her).
The final conflict in Reminiscence Arc is similar to previous ones where Tatsuya has finally gotten serious, although he is clearly younger and less experienced here. Still, if you like watching Tatsuya clean up the rubbish then Reminiscence Arc has you covered.
The framing with Tatsuya and Miyuki in the present day returning to Okinawa works well enough but really isn’t actually necessary as it adds little to the reminiscence itself. It won’t even really help people who haven’t seen the rest of the story catch up as there just isn’t enough information and those who have seen the rest of the story don’t need it.
Still, I enjoyed this. I kind of wish we could just get another series of Irregular but as a stand alone encounter Reminiscence Arc hits the right notes and the character information was appreciated.
It’s always hard to know what an anime will be like before the season begins. All you can really do is read a synopsis, watch a trailer and give it a go. Platinum End had a lot of fanfare prior to launch based on the a manga created by Tsugumi Ooba who also created Death Note and Bakuman it seemed like it would be a relatively safe bet. Throw in some heavy advertising and pre-season discussion pieces and Platinum End seemed destined to sweep the season.
Tragically, after the first few episodes aired the conversation quickly shifted and soon after it became clear that even if Platinum End picked up this wasn’t going to reach the heights that Death Note had soared to. That said, Death Note has its flaws but it came out a fair time ago when there wasn’t as much competition for our attention, when we hadn’t seen that type of story a million times before and honestly for all its flaws it is still pretty charming to watch with characters who leave an impression.
Platinum End on the other hand brings little joy to the screen and the misery isn’t overly affective as the audience is left relatively indifferent to one dimensional characters who seem determined to make about the worst choice possible in any given situation.
It wasn’t terminal at episode 3 or 4 as there were pockets of potential nuance or places where characters could grow from, and then the next 8 episodes happened and the only thing I can say about episodes 8 through 12 is that each one was more unbelievably stupid and tiresome than the last.
Now, if I were to compare Platinum End to the abysmal misery-fest that was Full Dive then Platinum End actually comes off a little bit better because at the very least the protagonist, Mirai, is at least attempting to make choices that will lead him to happiness and he was dumped into the whole god-candidate situation without any real choice in the matter.
But that’s not exactly high praise.
Hard to say anything other than Platinum End missed the mark or tripped over its own ambition before it even got going.
For those who somehow managed to miss the discussions earlier in the Fall 2021 season, Platinum End begins with Mirai deciding life is just not worth living and stepping off a roof. Now having a story begin with a character suicide is nothing new but you would hope in this day and age that there would be some deeper reason for it other than to establish an edgy back-story for a character and provide a justification for animating scenes of child-abuse.
Tragically, there really isn’t. While the first couple of episodes kind of hint we’re going to explore how Mirai was beaten down in life to the point where suicide seemed like the better option, all too soon the story sweeps us away to… Well, in theory the conflict between the god candidates and Mirai’s now absolute conviction that he shouldn’t kill which largely just puts himself and his friends in danger but somehow even at episode 12 he’s still able to speechify about it mid-battle.
What small glimmers of hope we’re given for some kind of character arc will fade as Mirai goes from quiet and depressed boy to seeing a brief (and overly repeated flash back) of his mother telling him the reason for living is to find happiness and his father telling him that the worst thing he could do is kill someone and somehow that now becomes the foundation for his existence. Why it hadn’t been motivating him prior to the angel and the confrontation with his aunt and uncle who abused him is anyone’s guess.
Basically, Platinum End hasn’t given us a compelling protagonist. They haven’t even given us one that makes a lot of sense. Mirai is largely boring and passively allows the plot to happen around him spending most conflicts waiting and seldom taking any kind of action. The few times he does involve himself usually end up with some kind of dramatic internal monologue or speech that makes little sense in context.
And yet, Mirai is still one of the better written characters which kind of goes to show what kind of train wreck the rest of the cast are.
Initially I had some hope for the angels as Nasse, the angel who saves Mirai from his suicide attempt, was at first quite amusing and their moral compass was questionable which I thought could be an interesting idea to explore.
Instead, Nasse has become the glorified cheer-squad for Mirai.
The other angels occasionally get some of the better lines in Platinum End but mostly they just kind of stand or float around and offer largely unnecessary commentary on matters. They fill up a lot of the screen and contribute almost nothing. And part of that is because the angels of play a passive role in this story and aren’t meant to interfere but basically they’ve become weird appendages, drawn in crowded rooms or hovering on the edge of battle-grounds and serving no purpose.
Still better than Saki, who is listed as a main character on MAL but has done basically nothing the entire series and when she’s finally got her wings just before the half-way mark her contribution is still almost nothing and the only thing she did achieve she got through flirting.
I know, the source material for Platinum End isn’t recent and if we look at the creator’s other works we can critique the way they write female characters to death there as well, but surely if you were going to animate this story in 2021 you would at least consider making Saki vaguely useful.
But hey, it doesn’t really matter that our protagonists feel completely devoid of common sense or interesting characteristics when they are placed against a villain who is originally coming across as coldly logical (and yet warped with the whole sister encased thing going on) and yet all too soon comes across as childish, reactive, and hopelessly inept at manipulating those around him. Plus he blames everybody else for his failures and accepts no responsibility.
Yeah, these characters can beat each other to death for all I care at this point. Platinum End has very successfully made me very disinterested in them and their actions.
If I hadn’t already decided to move on at the end of the Fall Season, episode 12 would have been the final straw as characters stand around mid-battle rather than taking action and the actions they do take seem absurd (and that’s being nice about it).
With the plot of Platinum End not having really progressed in twelve episodes and little revealed about how the god candidate will be chosen in the end, I have no investment in who wins in the end and I’m not even sure it matters particularly. I know that the short term plots all seem pretty lame and basically goes along the lines of Metropoliman sets up some kind of trap for other god candidates, someone or more than one person, stupidly walks in, a fight occurs, usually someone will die, Mirai and Saki will gasp and be sad, and then we’ll rinse and repeat.
Plus the costumes the characters wear get more ridiculous as the season progresses. Metropoliman wearing his suit was ridiculous enough but then Mukaidou randomly started bringing suits along for Mirai and Saki and Saki’s has cat ears and a tail. Apparently they serve a functional purpose but so far all they’ve done is helped her flirt with a sword wielding psycho.
However I’m not just mindlessly bashing this anime. The OP is actually pretty cool and dramatic and if it prefaced a much stronger story or at least a story full of compelling characters it would feel justified, and some of the visuals have been really striking and interesting (others not so much but I’m looking for positives here).
All and all, I don’t hate that I tried Platinum End. I’m actually fairly convinced older teens who come to this series without having watched a significant number of similar stories may actually even find some redeeming qualities here (provided they aren’t put off by some of the subject matter). For me though, Platinum End is an anime full of potentially interesting ideas (because they’ve been far more interesting in other anime) but it lacks characters with enough depth to anchor the plot and without that the plot is just kind of flailing about without weight.
That said, if you’ve given Platinum End a go I’d love to know your thoughts on the series.
As Platinum End hits its midway mark I look back on these twelve episodes and just wonder how this has stretched so long already and just why it feels the need to drag this on for another twelve episodes. For me, I’m letting it go now that I’ve finished the fall season and I’ll be writing up my final thoughts on Platinum End soon but it is pretty clear that this was a disaster of an anime and episode 12 is no exception.
Basically we’re put in a situation where Mirai needs to take action and everyone is standing around either crying, shouting at him to act, or mocking him, but no one is actually doing anything. Except the guys in charge of the soundtrack. They are working over time to try to make this Ferris-wheel standoff actually look like something vaguely tense.
Platinum End continues to be one of those anime that just make you wonder who okayed the script.
On that note, I’m kind of glad I didn’t take the whole virus threat very seriously because clearly the writers didn’t either. Given the crazy girl goes to release the virus and Mirai stabs it with a white arrow.
Can someone explain to these people just how small a virus actually is? I mean, sure I saw the green ball of stuff in the capsule as well but assumed it was a large quantity of the virus that would be scattered if released. Instead, it turns out it is a single ball that can be pierced with an arrow.
Hello, scientists, you can just stab a virus to death with a magic angel arrow.
Wow. Dumb. Even by Platinum End standards.
Of course that doesn’t end the standoff because now Mirai is holding the arm of the girl and Metropoliman is going to shoot him with an arrow. Meanwhile the girl is going to launch fingernail syringes at him. And everybody else is going to stand around…
Until they don’t.
Saki takes the initiative, and jumps directly in front of the syringes and hugs Mirai.
Girl if you are finally going to do something at least do something useful like attack Metropoliman while his white arrow is occupied, or knock Mirai out of the path of the syringes or literally anything other than turn your back into a giant target while you both stand there and do nothing.
But the end result is that Platinum End isn’t willing to kill of Saki, despite her serving practically no point so far in the story. Instead the sword wielding guy she shot with a red arrow who is convinced he loves her jumps in to cut the syringes but he misses one and takes one for the team melting in what should be a truly horrific moment but with the farcical nature of the fight here you can’t even take a guy liquefying seriously.
More than that, he spends his whole death scene confessing his love to the girl whose name he never learned and whose face he never saw. Because he found happiness and meaning through being brainwashed by a red arrow.
I genuinely didn’t think I could take much more of this scene when it mercifully ended with both the crazy guy and the virus girl dead (yeah he somehow lodged his sword in her before melting).
Apparently even the characters are over this silliness though as Platinum End decided it really didn’t need the third lackey brought along by Metropoliman to do anything and so he decided to up and leave.
Points for being the only person with brains in this scene. Having watched the last two lackeys get either injured or killed horrifically with Metropoliman not caring a bit, would you charge in and be the third act?
However, clearly they didn’t want the Metropoliman and Mirai fight until the start of the new year so instead of wrapping this up we get Mirai philosophising about happiness and killing people and justice and wow I didn’t think this episode could get worse but here it is.
With that I’ll end my Platinum End journey and wish those who choose to continue it well. Review of this first cour available here.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.