Months of waiting and its finally here from the creators of Death Note and Bakuman PLATINUM END! This particular Chapter is a hefty 69 pages long (first chapters are often like that) so this write up will go longer then normal and know what? That is totally okay, seriously this manga is great as it has a great blend of familiarity and surprise. However first we need to get somethings out of the way if you come in expecting something like Bakuman you’ll be disappointed if you come in expecting Death Note with angels you’ll also likely be disappointed despite its pedigree Platinum End is without a doubt its own thing. One noticeable difference is unlike the duos earlier series this is more akin to a Seinen manga rather then their traditional Shōnen which makes sense considering the change in magazines although I would still categorize it as Shōnen looking back. Anyways enough build up lets move on to Platinum End!
Now to be up front the first section of this write up is adapted from my Chapter 0 Special Preview, if you have already seen it you can move on a little bit. Anyways as a new series the initial pages don’t really show you much instead they focus on a lively Middle School where the children are gleefully celebrating their impending move over to High School. Except one... a solitary individual sits in this class room all alone with not a friend in sight, Yagami Light this is not meet Mirai Kakehashi a boy who wants to die.
Yes as the chapter continues, it shows that Mirai had one goal in life, merely to be happy something fate has so far denied him and due to his miserable existence rather then continuing to move forward and fight for his desires he decides to end it. As he climbs to the top of a tall building with a few thoughts on life, death, heaven, and hell he embraces his end. After jumping however instead of feeling it end he feels nothing... wondering if he’s in heaven or hell and deciding it doesn’t matter because he’s dead he opens his eyes and is surrounded by beautiful white feathers.
Instead of plunging to his long awaited death he finds himself floating in the air held by a cherubic little girl who claims to be an Angel. An Angel with one stated goal that of making Mirai happy as he’s always wished. As he pleads for her to just drop him and let him die as she knows nothing about him and his life, she states she has been watching him for his entire life and knows all about him.
Through their interaction we learn about the circumstances that forced Mirai to take these drastic actions. You see Mirai is an orphan who’s parents and younger brother died where he was only seven years old. Furthermore his guardians, his aunt and uncle are some of the worst aunts and uncle in fiction. Forcing Mirai to sleep in a storage room, do all the house work and starving him at home by only allowing him to eat at school. In short Mirai’s existence is worse then that of Harry Potter... however his Angel savior remains cheerful informing him if he has no hope she will be it for him by giving him freedom and love, the two things Mirai has been so starved of during his life.
She however forces him to choose only one; Freedom or Love. Mirai not convinced this is even worth his time devises a plan to continue to the next world. He requests that she grant him both powers Love and Freedom, expecting a no the deal would fall through and so too he would fall except in his case it would be to his long awaited death. Surprisingly the Angel agrees explaining it was never a hard and fast rule he could only pick one rather a “tradition” that she had to phrase the choice that way.
Honouring Mirai’s choice she blesses him with two halo like rings which only he and other Angelically blessed humans can see. One around his neck which allows him to grow wings that can take him to any place he desires. These wings represent the promise of Freedom. The other is a ring around his wrist which allows him to shoot Angelic Arrows that allows him to capture a persons heart (for 30 days) representing of course Love.
After demonstrating his new powers of flight the Angel explains he can do anything he wishes to make his life better including steeling to which Mirai ask’s “isn’t that something a devil would say” - the Angel explains there are no devils except those that live in the hearts of people. She then explain the circumstances surrounding Mirai’s parents death who were in fact murdered by his now guardians Aunt and Uncle. Mirai understandably is shocked by this revelation and demands to know the truth. The Angel explains Mirai can simply use his powers to compel the truth from them.
Back at Mirai’s home for the first time Mirai uses the Angels Arrow to command his Aunt’s heart. Following this it appears she adores and loves “Mirai-Chan” and moves towards him lustfully for the first time showing these aren’t exactly pure powers. Backing off he demands to know the truth surrounding the circumstances of his parents deaths to which she completely reveals the sordid tale. Where she and her husband planted a car bomb to kill Mirai’s parents and younger brother for the inheritance, they however let Mirai live for the insurance money they would collect by “raising him”.
Just as she finishes the uncle comes in to hear her sell him out; enraged he lunges for the woman starting to strangle her. Mirai outraged absent mindlessly screams “all you people should die” still under Mirai’s thrall his Aunt carries out his order and takes a nearby butcher knife to her throat killing herself. Mirai is shocked by the sheer scope of the power, during all this however something wakes up and Mirai realizes he really is alive and confronted with the finality of death decides to continue to live in honour of his parents and sibling. Following this the Angel recommits to Mirai’s happiness.
Nearing the end the Angel finally reveals her name to be Nacha one of 13 Angels sent from heaven to partner with a human. That human is then supposed to compete in some sort of heavenly election where one of the 13 Chosen will be elected God, replacing the last God who’s powers is failing. That human will then have all the happiness of the world to himself and his Angel companion will rule by his side and of course this is where the first chapter ends.
So ya this was a relatively deep story wasn’t it. What I found fascinating though was how easy it was to read despite the absolute scope of the story (they’re electing GOD!) the basic premise is so simple. A boy who has given up hope for happiness is given the opportunity to have all the happiness in the world however he’ll almost certainly have to struggle to achieve it. In its basic premise though it shows immense promise as clearly not all is what it appears.
First the Angels are clearly not your standard “Angels” from the Judeau-Christain mytho’s as we understand them where they are little more then beings of incorruptible goodness (Archangels excepted) instead Nacha appears to be as human as Mirai and just as fallible. She is clearly self motivated in her actions; as her stated desire to grant Mirai happiness is based on the selfish desire to rule next to him as God’s Second where he will grant her happiness second only to his own. Furthermore while she has certainly shown a form of moral clarity it is one with a darker edge, her disregard for human life is pretty clear and her flippant attitude towards the laws of man seems to show her as a clear grey character.
In short Platinum End is clearly more akin to Death Note then it is Bakuman (despite being reminiscent of their manga in a manga Reversi) and a return to that dark moral ambiguity. However as I wrote above Mirai Kakehashi is clearly no Yagami Light the perfect human who grew into monster with a pretty face. Mirai is a flawed protagonist yes and although he has been shocked from his suicidal haze by his Aunts death there is no denying he is still troubled. How his new powers will change him remains to be seen, although his uncle remains alive so I expect we’ll know this answer shortly.
Fundamentally though I see this manga getting even darker then where it is now. This election will almost certainly involve a battle of sorts which judging by the gruesome death of Mirai’s Aunt won’t be one everyone walks away from. Furthermore as I’ve said since God is in fact human there is nothing “holy” or “pure” about his messengers (Angels) and as such its logical to assume the Angels will not be held back by trivial matters such as right and wrong. In many ways the Angels of Platinum End remind me as a more active Shinigami from Death Note with Nacha being very reminiscent of Ryuk.
Overall it’d be an understatement to say I’m hyped. This was an amazing first chapter to introduce the reader to the world that Ohba and Obata are crafting while giving enough to have you understand while leaving so many questions. Anyways the month wait until the next chapter is going to be excruciating but I must say I’ll be there every step of the way I hope you join me. Leave your comments and