Platinum End vol. 6 – Tsugumi Ohba

3 out of 5

I have no idea at this point if Platinum End is just bad, or if Ohba is just kinda trolling us. Interesting plot / concept developments pop up here and there, but the series, thus far, hasn’t stuck with any of them long enough to feel like they’re not just temporary distractions. The same can be said for the character work, which sits on this middleground of shallow idiocy and occasional flourishes of depth, or of signs that they’re thinking behind their well-drawn faces.

Take the extended Hajime / Metropoliman showdown here: given all of the existing arrow / wings rules that we know, the bad guys’ machinations are of the James Bond variety – amusingly over-complex – but then Metro will also just kinda sit back and admit he’s ready to kill at the first opportunity. It’s like a very, very limited tunnel of logic: this makes sense as long as you look at it solely from this perspective, and that can be entertaining enough, but then every now and then a character will say something odd that suggests there are other perspectives…

However, when dynamics shift in the latter half, and Metropoliman unveils his new team of, like, mutated super villains, I start to feel like the whole point of this thing is to be silly. A female character bares her chest, only to reveal that it’s all mutilated and bandaged; accepting that medical maladies are their own fetish, this also seems like Ohba and Takeshi Obata are kind of poking fun at fanservice.

I dunno. What I do know is that without Death Note in the rearview, I likely wouldn’t be hanging on to this. It’s insanely well drawn – Obata’s character designs are insane in this volume, and the excessive detailing on the backgrounds is gorgeous – and it has camp entertainment value, for sure, but I’m really hoping it kind of picks a vibe to go with so I can just get into it, and not be constantly questioning what the exact tone is.