Title: Platinum End Vol. 1
Author: Tsugumi Ohba (Story), Takeshi Obata (Art)
Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata should be household names for those who are fans of anime and manga. They are the duo responsible for the highly popular smash hit Death Note as well as the not as popular as Death Note, but still amazingly revered series Bakuman. While Obata went on to do the art for another VIZ title, School Judgment: Gakyu Hotei, the two of reunited to create, yet, another psychological thriller in Platinum End.
Depression can do a lot of things to a person. One of those things is produce suicidal thoughts. This is the case for Mirai who can no longer find happiness in the world, so he wishes to end his life. As he jumps off of a building, plunging to his demise, he is saved by a guardian angel named Nasse. Nasse tells Mirai that she can make him happy by giving him one of two powers. He can either have the power to fly around the world faster than the naked eye can see, or the power to play cupid and fire arrows into others, making them love him for 33 days. Mirai doesn’t care and jokingly says both, but Nasse gives both to him anyway. After receiving both, he still questions how any of this will make him happy.
Nasse then puts him to the test by telling him that it was Mirai’s aunt and uncle that murdered his parents and made it look like an accident, all so they could get their money. They physically and mentally abused Mirai every day after getting the money and it drove Mirai into depression. He shoots his aunt with a love arrow and says that she should have died instead. Because of the level of “love power” the arrow creates, she ends up stabbing herself in the neck with a knife. This is where Mirai begins to realize that these powers are, indeed, real. On top of that, he learns that he is one of 13 candidates chosen to become the new God as the current one’s days are coming to an end.
The story of Platinum End then spirals from wanting to become happy to being placed in a battle royal of sorts against the other God candidates. It’s becoming quite clear that the last candidate standing will become the new God, but this doesn’t interest Mirai. He wants normal happiness like graduating from school, getting a job, finding the love of his life and starting a family. The only problem is if he gives up his candidacy to become God, Nasse has to take back the wings and arrows and doing so will cause Mirai to die. He’s now stuck in this race to become God against his own desires!
Right off the bat, Platinum End’s story seemed a little rushed as they threw plot point after plot point at the reader, but it simmers down towards the end of the volume and it creates this story of morals. What is right versus what is wrong? What is true happiness and how do you find it? The story makes the reader ask these questions all while using Mirai and Nasse in a unique way.
I’m sure we’ve all watched cartoons where we see the devil and the angel on each side of a person’s ears, telling them what’s right and what’s wrong. Here, Mirai and Nasse are those voices. Mirai’s reactions and his thoughts echo those of the angel with Nasse playing the role of the devil despite the fact that she is an angel herself. Nasse is the one who tries to tempt Mirai to use his powers for personal gain. When Mirai questions the morality behind it, Nasse says that it’s fine. At one point, Mirai even calls out Nasse about trying to persuade him to do things that he thought would be frowned upon by God.
I love this aspect of the characters because it’s pretty symbolic. Usually you would have a character with the devil’s influence on another and the character getting influenced would either listen to a voice in their head or the devil. Here, Mirai doesn’t have to listen to that voice in his head because he IS the voice most people would have in their head, if that makes any sense. This counter for counter friction between the two really tells a story of morals.
Right away in the first volume, we see Mirai transform from a lonely husk of a man into something who appreciates life and wants to live. In fact, at one point, he realizes that he’s alive as the powers almost go to his head, but with him being the epitome of the voice of reason, he quickly realizes what these powers mean and how he should use them. This makes him a very balanced and level-headed character, but at the same time, he seems a bit naïve. It’s almost if he’s waking up to the world around him for the first time and that inexperience will get him into a bit of trouble, which it already has by the first volume’s conclusion.
Nasse doesn’t really get any development, per se. Her character is simple and straight-forward. She is a special rank angel who plays the role of devil’s advocate and information dump. She explains the entire plot of Platinum End throughout the first volume, but at the same time, she maintains an upbeat and excitable personality. She is someone with a sharp tongue and persuasive words that could easily corrupt any mind they enter, but not Mirai’s. Nasse is even frustrated that she can’t get Mirai to use the powers for his own personal, greedy gain, but she begins to understand Mirai’s point of view, even though she doesn’t completely accept it. Seeing how the angel who succeeds in getting a candidate to become God can stay by them and serve them eternally, it’s understandable why Nasse is pushing Mirai so hard. She, simply, wants to win.
All in all; for the first volume of Platinum End, the characters are introduced very well, the story is laid out and the world is built rather interestingly. While the plot does seem like it was thrown out there rather hastily, it does simmer down and allows the reader to digest all of it. While it does seem like an information overload, you quickly begin to realize that it’s not as complex as you once thought. It has a great balance of letting the reader digest the story while letting them get to know these new characters at the same time. If anyone out there can pull something like that together, it’s Tsugumi Ohba!
As a fan of Death Note and Bakuman, I was already hyped for this series, but after reading it, I can tell this is going to be another smash hit by these two. I cannot wait for volume two and I highly recommend anyone check this series out!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media