Story/Art: Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata
Translation/Adaptation: Stephen Paul
What They Say
Mirai’s once great life turned to hell after his family was killed in a mysterious accident. But now that an angel is on his side, things might be turning up. With his newly received angelic powers, Mirai is able to uncover the truth about his family’s death and punish the perpetrators. But can he now deal with the consequences…?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Platinum End certainly started off strongly in its first chapter for me as it set up a lot of material even while it mostly focused on the main character of Mira. It presented us with your basic kind of wish fulfillment element and in a lot of ways really does feel like a different kind of telling of Death Note. I hate making comparisons to other works, even from the same team, because it seems like it devalues both properties in the end. Platinum End is still finding its way and we get a greater expansion of what’s going on here, but there are some similar threads here that really does show that Ohba and Obata enjoy exploring them. It also helps that these chapters are 52 pages long so that it gets the time with a bit of decompression to get things done rather than quicker breaks and a heightened sense of urgency.
With the second chapter of Platinum End, it’s all about filling in the blanks of what’s going on. Mirai learned a good bit about the arrows the first time around with what he did to his aunt and uncle and all he learned about his parents and that kind of puts the foundation side of his suicide side to rest. It’s interesting to see how he’s trying to figure out the right way forward here to survive now that he’s done with the family, particularly since we get Nasse doing her best in a cute way to get him to kill his uncle and cousins so he can take back the money that they stole. She has such a skewed view of how things work in the world of humans that you can sort of forgive it as the same moral compass doesn’t exist. Mirai really does struggle with what she says as it doesn’t seem right coming from an angel and it helps to cement him as being a good person overall, though one that is going to face some real challenges because of the arrows he has.
Where this installment really wants to go is in laying down more of what’s going on since Nasse didn’t exactly fill him in when she saved him from his suicide. As it turns out, there are twelve other god candidates like him out there with their own distinct angels and obviously their own agendas, human and angel alike. There don’t appear to be a lot of ground rules as to how the candidates can win, but it comes down to using their arrows. While we see that there’s a sharp member in the bunch by the very end, the book focuses more on the character of Tonma Rodriguez, a comedian that Mirai sees on TV and sees his angel with him. That reinforces the idea that only the candidates can see the angels and makes it easier for them to pick each other out – in a city of how many millions?
The time spent with Rodriguez is amusing because he goes kind of public with his use of the arrows in a sense. He ends up using them to get a large group of popular idols to fall in love with him, which is time-limited as we know, but makes it a spectacle of himself. Nasse reveals that it’s a proper use of the arrows and keeps him on the path as a candidate when you might think it doesn’t. This bothers Mirai of course, and it does get dealt with in a way that heightens the tension with what he’ll have to face himself later. But the chapter also reminds us that the team here enjoys their smuttier side as well. Obata delivers some delicious pages with mild nudity involving Rodriguez enjoying the women that he’s turned to his side for the moment. They’re all pretty much treating him as a god and are all over him, making him come across as pretty terrible since they’re all under his control. When they do break free there’s real panic from them, personally and professionally, which is a welcome touch rather than being ignored outright in favor of the fight. Obata certainly knows how to illustrate the more sexual sequences prior to that though and it was pretty surprising to have in the book, though it certainly fits and is appropriate to how some of these candidates will act. If we’re willing to deal with a candidate that’s intent on killing off the others, there are going to be some smuttier minded folks as well.
Platinum end reveals more of the setup of the series and where it wants to go, though I certainly expect a few curveballs along the way in our future. With the amount of time we get here, it’s able to work it smoothly and without being rushed, though some of it is just the natural decompressed way manga works from time to time. The story is solidly setup and I’m curious to see just how far it’ll go and what kind of moral challenges will hit as it progresses. Ohba’s storytelling is solid here, but it’s Obata’s artwork is what sells it to the next level, whether it’s just hanging out in Mrai’s very well detailed house to the more sexual scenes that we get with Rodriguez. It has such a level of polish, detail and strong layouts to it that you really do read it through a few times to take it all in.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via ComiXology
Release Date: December 4th, 2015