First Impression: Platinum End (Manga – Volume 1)

Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba are back, and their new work looks like it is returning to their roots. For those who don’t recognize the names, you definitely have heard of their work before. They were the duo responsible for the little known manga called Death Note, and later went on to create the equally amazing Bakuman. The duo has some serious cred under their belt, so going into Platinum End I was expecting something great. Thankfully it seems like Platinum End is going to live up to those expectations.

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Publisher: Viz Media

Story By: Tsugumi Ohba

Art By: Takeshi Obata

Platinum end returns to Ohba’s and Obata’s darker roots, as it draws far more similarities to Death Note then it does Bakuman. It tells a story of a regular highschool kid given god-like abilities and how he goes about using them. The story sounds quite similar at first glance, but it doesn’t take long to see some of the major differences between what Platinum End will look at and what Death Note had done with its story.

Mirai Kakehashi is the main character of Platinum End, and like Light Yagami is a teenager given god-like powers to use as he so desires. Unlike Light Yagami though, Mirai grew up quite troubled and depressed as his parents were killed when he as young. This left Mirai under the care of his aunt and uncle who mistreated him constantly. So unlike the brilliant, confident Light Yagami that we saw in Death Note, Mirai is often depressed and unsure with himself. The story opens with him jumping off a building to commit suicide, showing us how deeply troubled Mirai really is.

This difference in character really comes to light when the characters are given their new powers. When Light finds the death note and figures out that it really works, it takes very little time for him to start his work on eliminating any targets that he deems as evil. Light makes it his mission to kill every criminal that threatens the peace of his planned utopia free of crime and conflict, and he does not hesitate to eliminate them. Mirai on the other hand is not certain about what he should do with his new found power. After accidentally killing someone he becomes depressed. He seems to value life pretty highly, even though he was so willing to take his own in the beginning of the volume. He isn’t only given the power to kill though, as he is also given the power of cupid, which is to make people fall in love with him for a certain amount of time, allowing him to control them. He doesn’t even want to use this power, even if it doesn’t really hurt anyone and it would just make something easier for him. Mirai seems to have pretty high morals and is unwilling to break his moral code for the sake of convenience.

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The main plot point driving the story is the fact that Mirai is not the only character who was given powers. In fact, 10 other people have been given the same powers as himself, some both while others just having one of the two powers. The reason why everyone were given these powers was because a guardian angel had chosen them to be the next candidate for god. That’s right, each of the characters that were chosen are potentially going to be chosen to take god’s place and rule over all in the heavens. There doesn’t seem to be any rules on how one should use their powers, and the candidates were hand picked by a group of angels (some almost randomly). It would make sense then that the thought of becoming god would get to someones head, which is what ends up happening to one of the candidates. Although his name has yet to be mentioned in the first volume, the man acts as a hero of justice as he uses his powers to fly around and take down criminals. If that sounds familiar, its because he is essentially the Light Yagami that the series was missing. Unlike Mirai, he does not place much value on a single life, as he is willing to freely kill someone if they are deemed a criminal (or evil) in his eyes. He also doesn’t mind taking out innocent people, as he has begun to hunt down the other candidates, hoping to be the last one standing and taking the position of god by default.

This first volume of Platinum End was a hell of a read from front to back. The pacing is well done so far, going from exciting moments where you are unsure what is going to happen next to slower moments where you get to look a bit deeper into Mirai’s thoughts and his past. So far I am totally on board with Ohba and Obata’s new series, and I cannot wait to see where it goes from here. The first volume also ended on a pretty big cliffhanger, making me eagerly wait to get my hands on the next volume. Platinum End is without a doubt worth jumping in on, even though it is still relatively new. If you like a good story and enjoyed a series like Death Note, Platinum End is without a doubt something you should be reading.

Recommendation: Read It
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