Another month has passed (surprisingly fast) and we’re back with Platinum End Chapter 2. Although shorter then the opening chapter its no less dense with a lot of new information being provided and the first pieces of the main story falling into place. The chapter also gave us the reader a very clear sneak peek at both the tone and mood of the story with adult being a good descriptor for both. This is also the chapter where you can easily see what effect the change in magazine had on the manga with scenes being much more explicit then people may be used to for Obata and Ohba. Also if you’d like to see my views on the premier chapter you can check it out here.
Moving on to the main thrust of the chapter we find our protagonist Mirai holed up in a hotel after retreating from the scene of his aunts murder where he has a horrible dream. In his dream his aunt rightly blames Mirai for killing her which he responds too (with some justification) she killed his family. This of course shows the events from the previous chapter had a significant effect on him despite restoring his will to live. I can’t be sure but the scene to me at least makes it clear that Obata and Ohba are actively trying to differentiate Mirai from his logical comparison Yagami Light. As multiple scenes now have shown despite being under similar circumstances they each act very differently from each other.
Nasse of course is annoyed by her partners lack of drive to find his happiness and actively encourages him to go out and do something about it. She believes that Mirai should be happy as his horrible aunt is dead and as an added bonus Mirai’s uncle is being blamed for the whole thing, which in her eyes was a great turnout. Mirai responds with a practical issue and moral questioning, the issue is he has no money but the only way to get money is to steal. However since only bad people would feel pleasure from stealing how can he find happiness this way? Facing this conundrum he decides he has to figure out how to use the angels gifts without falling to evil himself.
The origin of this logical position seems to stem from his mother. Where she told him that while envy will lead to unhappiness; if everyone around you is unhappy as well even if you posses things you’ll still feel bad. In short the empathetic morality Mirai seems to have inherited from his mother is blocking him from embracing the morally ambivalent attitude that Nasse is trying to force upon him. Setting up an interesting if slightly cliched conflict between our two main characters.
Nasse contemplates this despite the fact that she clearly has never thought about such things, doing so though she absentmindedly blurts out the second (and key) part of her and Mirai’s relationship. That if Mirai simply became God he’d have all the happiness he ever wanted. From here Nasse finally fills Mirai in on his true purpose, that she is merely one of the 13 angels destined to choose the next God with him as her “Candidate”. Of course this implies other candidates who she assumes that they will likely meet others soon.
Mirai staying true to character doesn’t really seem interested in the whole endeavor. He instead would merely prefer to live a staid life with a steady job, a place to stay, and a good woman to love and make a family with. In short the life that was ripped from his fingers by his aunt and uncle as a child. Really up until this point all of Mirai’s actions have been perfectly believable and strongly setting himself up as a different kind of Ohba and Obata protagonist. Instead of being an amazing genius or uniquely talented from the beginning Mirai has to grow into his role as a hero and I must say I’m looking forward to that.
Returning to the story Nasse clearly not understanding Mirai’s moral dilemma comes up with a simple solution to their financial woes; kill everyone. Yes with the moral clarity of a child (or a sociopath) Nasse advises Mirai to kill his uncle and children thereby reclaiming the inheritance they stole by killing Mirai’s parents. To her this isn’t the same as killing an innocent, no because they basically did the same to him endorsing an eye for an eye moralism one wouldn’t normally expect from an angel.
As I wrote last week Nasse and the angels are not the kind we are used to from the Judeo-Christian mythos. Instead Nasse seems more like a cherubic Ryuk either unaware of the morality of mortals or just not interested in it. As I wrote above this of course is a change as unlike Ryuk and Light who’s megalomania and sociopathic tendencies made them kindred spirits Nasse-Mirai seem much more at odds.
Nasse continues to explain her plan that the bracelet also gives Mirai the power of the white arrow an undodgable (except by wings can’t be too Over Powered) and instant kill arrow. After Mirai asks why as an angel she has this she elaborates that is in fact a peaceful arrow, to be used on somebody who wishes to die a peaceful death. Of course her idea of using it on Mirai’s uncle mostly contradicts this but that merely builds into the general feeling Nasse has total disregard for any life that isn’t Mirai’s.
Mirai declines to use the death arrow, instead he’ll merely utilize the red arrow of love to force his uncle to turn himself in for his crimes and be done with it. However during this conversation a very unlikable looking celebrity man named Rodriguez with an angel floating above comes on the television. He announces he is dating five woman and that he’ll continue to live like a true celebrity... or pig whichever you prefer. The angel is of course invisible to all but those chosen by other angels. Nasse uses this time to explain the 33 day time limit for the red arrow, meaning if one wants to find “true” love they have to make the red arrows fake love real by the end of the 33 days or the effect wears off.
Mirai asks if there is anyway to help the poor women clearly under the arrows power showing a level of compassion for others that he has not exhibited outside his direct family before. She explains that only those with wings can dodge an angels arrow, effectively making the woman slaves to his will within the 33 days. From here we move to Rodriguez’s car where he is engaging in an orgy with many idols (told you it was adult) exclaiming he will basically use the arrows power to bed every idol in Japan. However before he got the change to finish a masked man in black armor that looks like something like Tetsuya Nomura’s Batman walks in.
Before much of anything can happen other then a few confused yells the masked man uses a white arrow killing Rodriguez dead confirming the effectiveness of the white arrow for the reader. With his death all the idols are freed of the arrows control and runs in shock and confusion. The mask man from above looks down at his handiwork in disgust admonishing his victim for using his powers for being little bit more then a two bit rapist.
Back with Mirai who is attempting to take an entrance exam (with Nasse of course saying just use the arrow) the two learns of Rodriguez’s death. Due to the timing Nasse immediately knows of the threat that the death represents. From here we move to the man in blacks house who is revealed to oddly like Nanamine from Bakuman who has decided the best way to become God is to merely kill every other one of the Candidates bringing the chapter to a close.
After the fast paced first chapter the slow burn of the early going was a little jarring. Of course most of the information is vital to both character development and world building however it felt oddly sluggish, especially for Ohba and Obata’s who’s previous manga’s always had a breezy quality to them. It’s possible this merely stems from the transition from weekly to monthly manga which is an issue the writers themselves wrote about in Bakuman.
However the second half of the chapter was anything but slow with new powers and what appears to be the central antagonists appearance. Honestly it was such a 180 I almost got narrative whiplash, but in a good way. Furthermore the inclusion of an orgy scene was beyond unexpected and certainly signaled this will be a more adult story, which I suspect was the point. All around it was a fun chapter if not as strong as the first, however like last month I can’t wait to get back to Platinum End in one months time and really isn’t that all that matters? As always thanks for reading and hope you leave your thoughts in the comments.