By Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba
The previous chapter had issues mainly dealing with Ohba’s portrayal of female characters. The group of female idols felt like they were being objectified, as bad as it could possibly get for a manga geared towards teenage boys. It was framed negatively, still feeling like the audience was meant to objectify the female characters despite the framing. It was also terribly written: none of these characters felt like human beings with any dimensions. This is mainly being brought up because it made the medium sized potential from the first chapter feel hollow and meaningless. It remained open-ended if the series would pick itself back up, brush itself off, and move on from these problematic elements.
This chapter moved ahead in spades. The first part of the chapter involves Metropoliman giving a grandiose speech to sway the public in his favor. Platinum End is surprisingly optimistic in this scene, as the general public cheers for a person whom they view as a hero. The antagonist is still very much evil in this scene, but it feels much more positively portrayed than the cynicism Obata and Ohba showed the general public in the scene. In one of their prior works the creative duo features the general public being apathetic, at times almost giddy, towards the deaths which took place in that series. In Platinum End the general population treats death like something bad, which makes more sense. The general population felt less like how pretentious teenagers view the world, and felt closer to how the world actually is. It’s a small detail but an enjoyable one nonetheless.
There is a particularly touching exchange between Mirai and Nasse, in which Mirai shows some genuine vulnerability: Mirai explains he wants to have a normal life now that he’s been given another chance at it. Sadly, Nasse tells him that that isn’t possible. Mirai decides he will not become isolated from the rest of the world despite this and accepts his fate. This is the second best part of the chapter behind the plot twist as well as cliff-hanger conclusion to the chapter. It adds a layer of humanity to Mirai that was not quite as apparent in previous chapters. In the previous chapters he felt like a stock protagonist from the creative duo, meant to retread familiar cliches from their prior works, namely the angst filled outcast whose apathetic to everyone’s problems but his own that populates their more well known works.
One of the biggest aspects that made Mirai feel human also came from the exchange described above. Mirai decides he will not use the arrows unless absolutely necessary, as the scenarios created from them end in disaster for the people they are used on. The arrows themselves are given to god candidates, and there are two types: one used to end a life and another used to cause people to fall in love with the shooter. There’s a catch though: the feelings themselves only last a month.
The final act of the chapter is by far the best part. Readers are introduced to Saki, and her yet to be fully revealed angel, the former revealed to be the woman Mirai has a crush on. The way it is paneled, the reader only discovers who it is in the chapters’ final moments. It leaves a compelling reason to continue for those who are on the fence for her motivations and true personalities have yet to be revealed as of this chapter. It may be best to be cautiously optimistic of this development though for the writer for Platinum End is not particularly great at writing compelling female characters.
This was by far a better chapter than the one immediately prior. There was lots of character development the characters themselves being very sympathetic people. I feel much more confident in recommending this series now that there is a much better idea of where it is going moving forward. A must read for fans of Ohba and Obata.