Platinum End: Professor Yoneda & Shuji Finally Learn Shonen’s Most Vital Lesson

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Platinum End Episode 23, "At the End of Thought," now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation, as well as brief discussion of suicide.

Kakehashi Mirai faces his final foe in Platinum End -- the brilliant but cynical Professor Yoneda -- in the new Tokyo stadium to decide how the divine battle royale should finally come to an end. Yoneda insists on his theory of a parasitic God-creature fueled by human prayer, while Mirai reemphasizes that humans need God, creature or not, to have hope. The battle of wits reaches its climax at last.

Mirai cannot easily defeat Yoneda in battle, however. Worse yet, the latter's ally, the grim Nakaumi Shuji, holds three of Mirai's allies captive elsewhere. Fortunately Mirai has the power of traditional shonen values on his side, and soon enough, Yoneda and Shuji must come to terms with that.

shuji in platinum end

At first the situation with Yoneda and Shuji looks grim, even echoing the difficult battle Mirai, Saki and Mukaido once fought against Metropoliman and his minions at the amusement park. In both battles, Mirai's enemies use hostage situations, brutal tactics and intimidation to get what they want as classic shonen villains, and the pacifistic, happiness-seeking Mirai doesn't have what it takes to fight fire with fire. He won the day against Metropoliman with the aid of Mukaido, but the latter isn't there to help this time. Instead, the playful angel Nasse aids Mirai before the power of friendship comes into play, in true shonen style.

After Nasse helps Mirai escape Yoneda's white arrow, the captive Saki and Yumiko figure out Shuji's weakness as a shonen antagonist. Deep down, Shuji isn't truly evil or bloodthirsty; he only ever killed people who wished to end their own lives, considering it an act of mercy. He cannot bring himself to kill people who wish to live, meaning he is not a murderer or serial killer. This sets him apart from Metropolitan and, for that matter, Death Note's Light Yagami.

Shuji feels inspired when he sees how much Mirai and Saki wish to support and defend one another; either of them would die for the other's sake if necessary. Standing down and freeing his captives, Shuji turns on Yoneda in the stadium when he arrives. Shuji may like the idea of taking his own life, but denying other people their own lives and happiness isn't something he can accept. Thus, Shuji gets a shonen-style redemption -- and then it's Yoneda's turn.

yoneda talking

Professor Yoneda finally loses Platinum End's battle of wits when Shuji, Mirai and the others expose him for what he is: a cynical, lonely person who cannot truly determine what is right for others because he'd spent his entire life rejecting human connections. Yoneda admits he had indeed tried to use research and intuition to decide humanity's path to success but without the benefit of knowing how other people truly think, feel and act.

He cannot save what he cannot understand, and finally abandons his plan to slay the God-creature by killing all the remaining candidates. Yoneda feels all his efforts were for nothing, though he appreciates getting a chance to at least explain his theory on the God-creature and argue publicly that the traditional God does not really exist. His shonen redemption comes as well, and allows the other candidates to choose a new God to lead humanity with hope and courage in the future. The power of friendship wins the day in Platinum End.

As per the original plan, Shuji volunteers as the new God. Everyone, including Yoneda, voices their approval, so his ascension to the heavens begins. As another gesture of kindness, Yoneda opts to keep his memories of the selection process and financially support Temari Yuri so she can continue her carefree lifestyle. Yoneda may not be the sentimental type but he quietly vows to support humanity his own way, without sabotaging the shonen values of friendship, love, hope and courage. He may have lost the ideological battle for God, but he can claim a tiny victory of his own and walk away happy.

For more information on the warning signs and prevention of suicide, click here. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you live outside the U.S., click here for a list of international hotlines.

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