Story by Tsugumi Ohba
Art by Takeshi Obata
The series continues to bounce between entertainingly bad, just bad, and genuinely good, depending on the scene. In previous chapters it remained consistent, but chapter ten is positive in parts apart from one gaping thematic flaw. Nanato brought with him the moral debate the series is struggling to convey: is murder ever okay? The problem is while Mirai actually is a good human being, everyone around him and the series itself frames “murder is wrong” as a naïve childish ideal. So much so that Metropoliman outright states it near the beginning of the chapter. This is a bad case of telling and not showing.
Aside from the odd message the series gives, every reason why the message it conveys is incorrect. Metropoliman is framed as morally grey despite the fact he is one evil cackle away from being a caricature of a villain. That it was revealed in a previous chapter that he has someone literally frozen does not help matters. Mirai himself is also a far more likable character and seems to be the only decent human being thus far yet the series frames his internal struggle like it is some detrimental character trait instead of forming any sort of compelling argument. This all feels like a lazy attempt at a debate. The other problem with said debate is that the author and artist team tackled it in the exact same manner in one of their previous works. As a result, Platinum End is retreading a lot of familiar ground for the creative team behind the series.
That all being said, the debate itself is an interesting enough idea, and it only seems to be in the background, it just could have been written much more compellingly. The art itself for Platinum End this chapter is richly detailed as usual although not as aesthetically pleasing as previous chapters in some parts particularly the spectacle that was Metropoliman’s previous scheme. Certain panels do looks amazing it just might have done with a bit more polish. That is a minor nitpick though, as it is only a slight step down. This chapter feels as if it has slipped into the visual style of Obata’s previous work from time to time which I do not personally care for as much.
The pacing continues to be more relaxed as the series is more comfortable with itself now than it was at the start. The battle between Metropoliman and Mirai itself takes up the entire chapter. Nanato actually gets to play a role in the fight which was enjoyable as he seems to be a more interesting character than most of the cast. The main cast themselves occasionally feel more like mouthpieces for the debate particularly Mirai and Metropoliman. Despite being focused on in a previous chapter it still really is not clear even to the reader what Metropoliman’s real personality is like. It does not even feel clear whether the series itself has a solid grasp what it wants to do with Metropoliman either. It seems to switch between trying to make Metropoliman sympathetic and despicable every other panel. In all honesty it feels as if the series does not know what message it is trying to convey either at this point.
All in all the series becomes murkier and murkier as it moves along. Platinum End is fascinating to analyze and speculate about, as the mythology seems far more fascinating than the series as a whole at times holds a heavily controversial attitude towards life itself. It can be cheesy fun when with the costumes, including Metropoliman’s costume, but the series struggles to find a deeper meaning in itself that I honestly do not believe it even needs or is even capable of.