Platinum End vol. 7 – Tsugumi Ohba

2 out of 5

I am just barely hanging on here.

Volume 7 continues the good god candidates vs. bad god candidates showdown at the park, and if you want to boil that down to just ‘good guy vs. bad guy,’ and then interpret that that means that we have 200 pages more of a single battle sequences, then, yeah – welcome to the simple shonen manga that is Platinum End. As ever, I accept that Death Note was never subtle, but at least it felt special, and P.E. just hasn’t really achieved that yet, beyond occasional spikes of silly ideas and Obata’s generally gorgeous art.

Things are particularly dumb here, as Mirai keeps positing “rules” for the squabble for Kanade and his team, whose leader has proven multiple times over that he won’t play by any rules, and furthermore, the logistics of the battle as laid out by Ohba seem so ignorant of the abilities of the arrows / wings these characters are using… Like, this really keeps coming across as Tsugumi trying to roll back as much of his original concept as he can, after realizing that it’s hard to limit the possibilities for a narrative without making up “you can only do X and Y” bits along the way, a la Death Note. To harp on, the death note’s powers were inherently limited, with each new rule being a fun quirk; Platinum End, meanwhile, doesn’t have that same inherent restriction, so attempts to add them in seem somewhat like excuses. Keeping the tone somewhat campy helps, but then you get in to these drawn out sequences as it’s hard to maintain the suspension of judgement of the senselessness of proceedings that’s required.

One of the characters is wearing a Trump mask; a late rant on the rich versus the poor – privileged versus the underprivileged – this stuff is, again, obvious, but it at least adds some subtext to where Ohba can expand on what he’s doing with the series. And there’s a single page that finally ropes the police in to things, as they monitor the latest situation, so other possible dimensions to explore.

And I hope we do; I hope there’s something else to Platinum End, because I am otherwise barely hanging on.