First Impression: Platinum End

Orphaned, abused, and without any comfort or hope, Mirai Kakehashi leaps off a skyscraper the day of his high school graduation, resolute in his decision to commit suicide. But to his shock, Mirai does not die. He doesn’t even hit the ground. Nasse, a “special rank” angel, rescues him, explaining that her role is to bring him happiness through two means: freedom, expressed through wings given to Mirai, and love, through an “arrow” he can shoot into others, which compels them to do whatever he tells them to. But just as Mirai begins to understand the gift of a second chance, Nasse reveals that his the gift comes with strings—specifically, a candidacy and maybe, competition?

The much anticipated adaptation of Ohba and Obata’s manga series of the same name is here! And, no surprise, it feels a whole lot like their classic, Death Note. Dark and twisted, but still with a sense of morality, tinges of hopes mixed with a hopelessness as well, and even a guardian creature with a devilish nature are featured right from the start. Indeed, episode one, while moving along a little too quickly, is compelling for all those reasons. I tend to stay away from dark series, but the above-mentioned elements, and especially the “light” that still brims among the violence and blood, lead me to wonder how the series will ultimately develop. The animation is fine—nothing spectacular, but nothing too strange, though the series does feel a bit too glossy.

On the other hand, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of Death Note (I’m far more familiar with Bakuman), and so don’t have the same passion for the writer’s material that throngs of others do. With so little history, and strictly from episode one, I remain as on the fence as I did before I watched. I could leave it, and mostly likely would, if not for its pedigree. But because of Ohba and Obata, I’m likely to stick it out for at least a little longer, while those who love darker fare like Mirai Nikki, Fate/zero, and especially the aforementioned Death Note may have found their favorite series of the season.

Platinum End can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

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