Platinum End’s Professor Yoneda Echoes Hyuga Neji’s Darkest Beliefs in Naruto

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Platinum End Episode 22, "Wings of Determination," now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

In the midst of the battle royale to decide who becomes the new God, recent episodes of Platinum End have seen Professor Yoneda declare that there can no longer be one at all. In his eyes, the real God is just a passive, parasitic creature created by human emotions, and people rely on it far too much for guidance. Humanity's future is already set, Yoneda claims, and faith in God and miracles won't change that.

The nature and validity of God in Platinum End is still up for debate, but Yoneda doesn't feel optimistic about any of it. He believes humanity must stand on its own and embrace the pre-determined future, which makes him similar to anime antagonists such as Hyuga Neji from Naruto and Why-Man from Dr. Stone. These characters all believe in deterministic worldviews.

Professor Yoneda's Dark Views on Humanity Contradict Mirai's

In Episode 22 of Platinum End, Professor Yoneda confronts Mirai alone in the new Japan Stadium, similar to how Metropoliman had once lured the God candidates to the Jinbo baseball stadium. Yoneda had likewise designed this meeting as a deadly trap, though he is much more philosophical than Metro was. The debate that had begun in earlier episodes continues here, and Yoneda tries to win Mirai over with his newest, most startling ideas about the heavenly battle royale, humanity's future and the nature of time itself. Unlike Metropoliman, Yoneda isn't making this personal -- but that doesn't make him any less dangerous to Mirai's optimistic views about personal happiness.

Yoneda predicts that in the coming decades, humanity will advance science and technology enough to see the entire future, meaning it will no longer have any reason to have hope for the future. As the deterministic worldview describes, he claims it's already fixed and nothing can be done to change it. Humanity will then destroy itself in despair, and having faith in God will change nothing. Yoneda wants the rest of the human race's story to play out the way it's supposed to, with no delusions or false hopes to get in the way.

This is the direct opposite of Mirai's view; he believes the uncertain future is shaped by the actions of the present, and it is every person's responsibility to make the right decisions and shape that future for the better. Similar sentiments were echoed in recent anime/manga series such as Naruto and Dr. Stone, with the villains being determinists who reject shonen-style optimism.

How Platinum End's Yoneda Echoes Naruto & Dr. Stone Antagonists

yoneda stopwatch

Naruto's Hyuga Neji echoes Professor Yoneda's cynical and deterministic point of view, albeit for different reasons. Neji was born into the branch family of the Hyuga clan and was branded with a mark to control him and his destiny. Internalizing this, he decided every ninja's fate is foretold Hyuga-style, though he was really just projecting his own misery onto others -- including Naruto himself.

Neji lectured Naruto about this during the Chunin Exams but the shonen hero rejected his words -- the same way Mirai rejects Yoneda's theories in Episode 22 of Platinum End. Naruto and Mirai are determined to shape a better future with their own two hands, and will accept all responsibility for however well or badly that future turns out.

Similarly, the climactic chapters of the Dr. Stone manga pit Ishigami Senku against the hive-minded AI known as Why-Man, which tried to force its own vision of the human race's future with its petrification beams. Why-Man imposed an unwanted symbiotic relationship on humanity and intended to turn all humans into its vassals, similar to how the Machines used the Matrix to keep humans compliant. Senku was determined to craft his own future for humanity and thus rejected Why-Man's plans, even if the antagonist didn't intend any real harm. Senku, Naruto and now Platinum End's Mirai all understand the value of free will and hope for the future -- a lesson tomorrow's shonen leads may continue to learn as well.

yumeko with kaede
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