Platinum End Chapter 4
Story by Tsugumi Ohba
Art by Takeshi Obata
Platinum End has major issues that start to peek in out this chapter, and I feel they will only get worse as the series continues. This chapter brings with it the proper introduction of Saki and her angel Lepel. Despite the previous chapter ending with the hope that Saki might prove to be at the very least a rival, she spends much of her panel time having no presence. Saki is one of the biggest duds to come out of Shonen Jump for quite some time in the west. The only identifiable personality trait she has is that she is female, or at least Obata’s perception of one; her entire purpose in the series is to be an object of affection for Kakehashi.
She becomes an ally to Kakehashi with this very chapter. Saki spends the entire chapter with submissive mannerisms. She spends as little time on the page in her own introductory chapter as possible, spending what felt like the entire time bowing. This all just feels like it wasted an opportunity for a potentially compelling rivalry. The one who came up with the plot to shoot Kakehashi with the arrow was Lepel, Saki’s guardian angel. Lepel proves to be a much more fascinating character: they’re both cunning and observant. Lepel works as a sort of an interesting foil to Nasse and her relationship with Kakehashi.
While Nasse throws in her darker remarks, she treats Kakehashi as more of a partner while Lepel’s relationship with Saki seems more that of master and servant respectively. Lepel is generally a very controlling character although she is still generally mild in personality in comparison to some of the other god candidates that are likely out there. The biggest problem with Saki as a character is that the only interesting aspects to her are the relationships others have with her, and not Saki herself. This would not be such a big problem if the series did not seem to be setting her up as the female lead, which the series seems to be doing.
Likely, this will mean the reader will have to spend a lot of time with Ohba’s obnoxious views towards women. A huge issue this chapter is with an entirely unnecessary time skip near the end. Instead of spending time developing the relationships between Saki, Kakehashi, Nasse, and Lepel, the series hastens its march towards the next plot point: a potential confrontation with Metropoliman. Metropoliman presents a proposition to the other god candidates, namely for all the candidates to meet at a stadium and discuss in front of a crowd about how to resolve the situation with words.
The leads were intelligent enough to acknowledge this as a trap, yet choose to go despite, for reasons which will hopefully become clearer, the motive is not quite so apparent this chapter. This chapter has so many major issues in just seventy or so pages, a break may be necessary as the series looks like it will have major pacing issues moving forward. Platinum End seems to be hurrying from major plot point to major plot point without allowing time to absorb matters fully. It leaves a lingering uncertainty of exactly who it is intended for, apart from existing fans of Ohba and Obata collaborations. Whether the issues in this chapter will persist moving forward is up for debate.