By Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
Two words: character development. Severely, severely needed character development. Saki and Mirai share a bed, while Saki imparts with Mirai her true feelings as well as a secret from their youths. When she and Mirai were younger, Saki participated in the bullying against Mirai. The guilt overwhelmed her when she saw Mirai attempt suicide an action which drove Saki herself to attempt to do so.
From Mirai’s expression throughout the chapter, it is clear he has not entirely forgiven Saki for the bullying. What the chapter does fail to convey is whether Mirai knew this information beforehand. Nasse implies that there may be more to Mirai’s reaction to the information than meets the eye.
Overwhelmed with the guilt of it all, Saki begs for Mirai to murder her. With the angel wings, Mirai flies Saki into the sky and conveys through his actions that he will not become a participant in her desire to die. Ultimately, Saki decides to live and expresses her true objective in life moving forward, which is to help stop the other god candidates who wreak havoc on humanity. This chapter gives Platinum End some more refined direction it has desperately needed of late. Both Saki and Mirai negatively cope with their circumstances up until this point.
While the inner turmoil could have been better established for Saki’s character, it is nice seeing a breakthrough, as Saki often feels sidelined until this point. It is nice knowing that there was an actual reason beyond just bad writing. Mirai also sees some growth this chapter as well. In previous chapters Mirai was a passive participant in matters, but rescuing another human being from their more sinister thoughts makes clear that Mirai will not stray from his convictions later on hopefully. It is nice seeing a protagonist with different internal workings than the usual sociopaths Ohba and Obata often depict in their stories.
While Mirai still clearly has internal conflict, it molds him into a far more compelling character than expected, and one that is not seen as often in fiction. Mirai is clearly still grappling with the bullying he dealt with during his youth, but that does not prevent him doing what he believes is right. It finally becomes clear this chapter that Nasse is a truly compelling foil to Mirai and his convictions.
Nasse’s moral ambiguity has always been a point that has prevented this series from being recommendable, as it always felt like she was a leftover from the creative duo’s previous work. Even this chapter, Nasse prevents Lepel from interfering in matters with Mirai and Saki despite not knowing whether Saki will live or die. While there is still some lack of clarity in where Nasse’s true intentions lie, she is also starting to feel like her own character, rather than the average internet commenter on a political news article. She mostly feels more fleshed out as a foil to Mirai, due to Mirai’s existing development.
Equally compelling, but given less panel-time this chapter, is Mukai’s relationship with his wife. Unnerved by her husband’s unexplained coming and going from home, Mukai’s wife finally confronts him on the matter. Their back and forth banter is a refreshing contrast to Mirai’s relationship, with Saki and the series as a whole which is often very dark.
Chapter 12 of Platinum End is the most compelling to date. It finally feels like Platinum End is developing into its own thing rather than a haphazardly cobbled together manga of different titles. It has its own strangely optimistic ideas to convey about human nature that prove to be rather compelling. The series may have started off on questionable ground, but I feel Platinum End is becoming a must-read for any mature enough manga fan at this point.