Writer: Tsugumi Ohba
Artist: Takeshi Obata
What They Say:
As his classmates celebrates their middle school graduation, one student’s mind seems to be elsewhere. His name is Mirai and he has a dark secret. All humans deserve to find happiness, but Mirai may need some salvation from above in the form of an angel.
Content(warning as portions of this review may contain spoilers):
Like many people out there, I’m a pretty big fan of the Obha/Obata manga duo, as they’re responsible for Death Note and Bakuman, which are two of the most interesting series out there. So needless to say when it was confirmed they’d be collaborating again on another series, I was pretty excited to see what they’d pull out next. Oddly enough, though, what we actually get here is something pretty reminiscent of a certain other series.
The main focus of this first chapter is centered around introducing our protagonist Mirai, who simply put has a pretty crappy life. His parents died when he was young and his aunt and uncle who he now lives with, abuse him to the point where he’s practically a slave. He decides just to end it all and commit suicide, but he’s saved by the untimely intervention of an angel named Nasse. She decides it’s in his best interest to be happy and feels that can be achieved by giving him access to angel wings that allow flight, and arrows that can make people fall in love with him. Despite how cool these powers are though, it’s not quite enough for Mirai to feel life is worth living, but he changes his tune when Nasse reveals the truth about his parents’ deaths and how his aunt and uncle were responsible. After getting revenge on them, Mirai finally starts to feel alive again, but it seems all of this is just a prelude to a competition concerning angels and the candidates they’ve chosen to replace the soon-to-be-vacant seat of God with the victor claiming eternal happiness.
So…yeah simply put this seems to be Ohba and Obata’s take on Future Diary. Of course seeing as Future Diary was clearly heavily influenced by Death Note, it’s only fair that things come full circle I suppose. Like Death Note, Future Diary was one of my great manga loves as a teenager in spite of it’s…various flaws so I’m certainly more than interested in seeing that concept in the hands of a better writer. That said, this first outing has me feeling a bit mixed. Mainly in that a lot of the events here feel excessively edgy, especially concerning Mirai’s backstory and how he gets his revenge (let’s just say you may not want to be anywhere near a kitchen knife after reading it). It’s all grounded and explained well enough that it’s not too hard to buy into, but I’m hoping that this is mainly just meant to sell the idea of the series more than anything else. Death Note had more of it’s fair share of dark elements too obviously, but those were balanced out by how ludicrously campy it was so I’m hoping this can achieve a similar balance even if it’s going for a darker tone.
What’s more interesting to me though is that the theme of the manga seems to be centered around the idea of human happiness. Mirai’s newfound desire to obtain it is a huge part of the ending to this first outing and given it seems to be the grand prize for the survival game(?) the series will be centered around I expect we’ll see it played with quite a bit. I’m particularly interested in seeing how much it explores the darker sides of that theme and what it’ll ultimately have to say about it, if anything. Death Note was a well-written thriller but not a particularly complex think piece in regards to it’s views on morality so I’m curious in seeing how Ohba fairs in trying to go for a specific theme right off the bat. There’s a lot of potential for this one, and with whose behind it, I have a pretty good feeling they’ll deliver
Platinum End’s first chapter is extremely reminiscent of Future Diary, and while I don’t have too much doubt it’ll be stronger overall, the overt edginess here isn’t something I was quite expecting from Ohba. Still it’s a pretty interesting read from beginning to end, and there’s a lot of potential in terms of both thriller aspects and the overall theme. Hopefully, it’ll be able to differentiate itself from Future Diary more going forward, but for now the idea of Ohba and Obata taking a crack at their own version of it seems pretty good to me.