Platinum End is a manga from Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. If these names ring a bell to you, it may be because you have seen them before. Indeed, they were the ones to bring us the internationally acclaimed Death Note series, more than a decade ago. (Time goes fast…).
The manga starts with the story of Mirai, a high school student whose parents died in a car crash. He has been left with his abusive aunt and uncle and, unable to face his tragic destiny, Mirai makes the choice to commit suicide. However, before the fatal impact that would have ended his life, he is rescued by an angel called Nasse. The angel later on reveals the truth about Mirai’s past and explains to him that he has been selected, along with 13 other candidates, to become the new God. In other terms, God has organised a contest to select his successor, in which all contestants are allowed to fight and kill each other, no matter the scheme they use, in order to be the last survivor and, therefore, become the new god.
From this brief summary, it is clear that the themes of the series are similar to the one used in Death Note, and this is precisely the problem. The story of Platinum End is very original, and has the potential to surprise us with amazing and unexpected plot twists but, because the story, in many aspects, remind us of Death Note, we unconsciously spend our time making comparisons between the two series. It is even the case with the drawing style: Mirai has the traits and the haircut of a younger Light Yagami… and this is confusing. Comparisons aside, though, the drawings are very detailed and are a pleasure for the eye
Another weakness of the manga is the characters. The main character is naive honest and inherently good, which makes him sort of appealing but also, let’s be honest, a bit boring. Yet, the major fault of Platinum End is the character of Nessa. She is meant to be cute, adorable, and is used as a sort of comic relief, which contrasts with the terribly serious stakes of the main storyline. For this reason, she simply becomes relatively annoying, and, in some instances, it almost gives the impression she has been borrowed from a romance shojo and is in the wrong book.
Platinum End is neither a cheerful surprise, not a disappointment. It is an easy read, with great ideas, and the story leaves enough room for character development. Unfortunately, it was not the sort of manga that urged me to rush and buy all the published volumes and, consequently, I do not know the rest of the story, but I suppose it will be full of discoveries if the main ideas are well exploited.
To fully appreciate Platinum End, it is probably better not to have read Death Note before. In this way, readers will be able to judge the artwork without drawing any comparisons or looking for similarities. Besides, I would also advise this series to maga novices, as the topics it deals with are rather international and could be transposed to any country and any culture.
Average mark: 3/5