Platinum End vol. 4 – Tsugumi Ohba

3 out of 5

Whew, good. I was bothered by the indulgences of the last volume, and so it’s firstly good to see those absent, but to also feel like Ohba, with this volume, is taking steps to sharpen up Platinum End’s story and characters. The latter is probably where we needed the most work. Saki’s backstory, offered up here, is a bit shallow, but it’s not necessarily off the mark for the simple way Ohba tends to give people simple drives in his writing, and also is believable enough given the high school age of our protagonists; Mirai’s showdown with Metropoliman in the opening is not only pretty exciting stuff – giving Takeshi Obata opportunity to get inventive with blending narrative and action – it also gives Mirai more dimension to his “everyone should be happy” passions, and more agency to his actions. And though brief, the flash of Mukaido’s homelife is nice; as with Mirai, it makes him a more three dimensional human, within the sort of flattened realm of Ohba’s style.

We’re still hovering at a point in the overall narrative where it’s not quite page turning, though. The concept is interesting, and the consolidation of arrow / wings rules at the end of the tankobon is super helpful, things are just lacking an absolute urgency. At the same time, I’m okay with this sort of gathering of pieces and ideas; I feel like Ohba burst out of the gate with his concept and is now needing to backpedal to shore things up for when it really gets going, and I’m still excited to see how / when that might happen.