Story by Tsugumi Ohba
Art by Takeshi Obata
Who are these characters really? This is the biggest question this chapter raises. After the battle with Metropoliman, the been the primary focus for the series lately, Platinum End focuses on character development. Specifically, who Saki, potentially Mirai too, really are as human beings. Mirai reveals he is rattled by events of the previous chapters. Torn between his disgust with violence, and Nanato’s vision of protecting humanity, Mirai enters a state of panic which continues to near the end of the chapter. The biggest enigma in the series at the moment is why Saki is so rattled by events.
Upon Nanato inquiring about how Saki was chosen as a god candidate, Nasse reveals that even she does not know the motivations behind Saki’s attempt at suicide, only that Saki was marching into the ocean when they met. Saki has always been the least developed member of the main cast, aside from a moment here or there, so it was nice that this chapter explained her backstory a bit. Characters are far more compelling when they feel like actual human beings with ambitions and independent thoughts, rather than just being an archetype. While Saki is far from perfect as a character, it is nice that she is more than just “the pretty face the protagonist sees when he gets home from battle.”
Also of interest is a conversation a friend of Saki’s and Saki have, as the reader learns how the characters in the Platinum End world view Mirai. It’s been apparent since the first chapter Mirai is a social outcast at school. Initially Mirai is simply written off as the type of protagonist Tsugumi Ohba repeatedly used in his works, ad nauseam, and while that is true to an extent it, was fascinating seeing Mirai actually feared and shunned by his school peers instead of glamorized, as is usually the case for the mysterious, aloof character cliché.
Saki’s friend calls out Mirai’s behaviour at school as being a stalker and by the end of the chapter it is not clear what Mirai’s motives for tailing Saki at school were. There may be a darker, more sinister side to Mirai than what we are aware of. At the end of this chapter, matters between Mirai and Saki are foreshadowed to be reaching a boiling point next chapter.
Metropoliman’s school life is also given some panel time this chapter. Metropoliman’s distant friend is the only one among his classmates who suspects Kanade’s (Metropoliman’s real name) alternate identity. This suspicion is an aspect about Metropoliman’s school life that certainly would be fascinating should the series choose to elaborate on it further in chapters to come.
Ultimately this chapter was a satisfying read. The cast was given some much needed development; character development and tension are areas the series truly excels at. The action scenes have felt like the portion of the series that needs the most improvement currently as they tend to be ludicrously over the top and at odds with the tone Platinum End is shooting for. Moving away from the battle scenes this chapter was certainly to the manga’s benefit.