By Dustin Cabeal
The creators of Death Note are back with a new series… Platinum End. Honestly, you’re better off not knowing that, but since it’s on the back cover and all over the internet/marketing, you won’t escape it, least of all now.
I’m telling you about it because after I tell you the plot, you’ll likely do what I did while reading the book and say, “yeah I can see how this was created by the same creative team.” There are some, unfortunately, easy comparisons that you can make, and while none are that glaring, it just boils down to “you took this and flipped it to this… okay that works I guess.”
We meet our main character the day of graduation from Middle School. He’s decided to kill himself, and so he jumps off a building. Of course, he’s saved because I labeled him “main character” and that would be a short story. An angel saves him, and he’s not happy about it. He wanted to die because he lives with his Aunt and Uncle and they make the Aunt and Uncle from Harry Potter, seem caring. He’s beaten and treated like a slave. The angel wants to make him happy and offers him either wings or a red arrow that will make people love him for 33 days. Then she just gives him both almost like the writer realized it was short sighted to give him just one.
The angel also tells him that his guardians are responsible for killing his family and the only reason he’s not dead is so that they could get the insurance money. He gets very upset by this news, and the angel tells him to make them fall in love with him, and they’ll tell him the truth. He does, and his aunt spills the beans, and there’s a resolution to this storyline that’s not very gratifying for the reader and felt like a desperate attempt at shocking the audience.
The angel continues to tell the main dude that he’s been picked for a competition to see who will be the next god. Thirteen Angels have chosen thirteen humans, and of course, most of them are in Japan. One of them figures out that killing the others would speed up the process, so he starts doing that. This freaks out the timid… wait, annoyingly timid main character and so he’s super cautious. Why? Because only other candidates can see angels and so he doesn’t want his angel flying around eating apples by him all day… oh, wait… she doesn’t eat apples.
Obviously, the angel aspect and the fact that only other candidates can see them is the biggest Death Note comparison. They’re more similarities that are minor, and I’m tired of thinking about them, so I’m just going to skip them, but I’m sure others that are better versed in Death Note will spot them and possibly write about them.
The main character isn’t likable. His life it too tragic to feel pity for him. It’s like, this dude had every right to die and just to get his freedom doesn’t balance the scales. That and it’s clear that he’s going to be the character that’s shit on throughout the story which has me hesitant to read more. The cliffhanger was interesting though and so based on that I would at least read the next volume to see how it continues.
The art is good. It’s made it to America so it should be good. It didn’t wow me, nor did I feel like there was a personality to it. It doesn’t stand out in the way that Death Note did which is strange. The Angels are the best part. Their designs are different and interesting, and their facial expressions contrast what the rest of the characters do. I’m less concerned about the art improving and finding its personality than the writing. The last few pages were the best of the book, and it felt as if the artist was finding their groove.
It’s not a bad read. It’s just that it feels a bit desperate to please and shock. This is the team that created Death Note after all, so they’re chasing their own ghost. Maybe now that the story has settled in they’ll stop thinking about that and focus on making Platinum End entertaining and stand on its own two legs, otherwise, it’s going to buckle under the pressure they’ve made for themselves.
Platinum End vol. 1
Writer: Tsugumi Ohba
Artist: Takeshi Obata
Publisher: Viz Media