Platinum End’s Mirai Is a Weak Protagonist – and It’s Harming the Story

Since Platinum End is drawing to a close, it seems like a better time than any to reflect on its main character, Mirai Kakehashi. While many anime viewers have become fans of the show, particularly in light of its unconventional story, the popularity of its protagonist has been far less considerable.

Mirai has often been frustrating to watch. He has repeatedly been unable to make important decisions or have the initiative to express his own ideas. While this character's lack of confidence as a God candidate is understandable in light of his age and traumatic past, his passive nature hasn’t exactly led to the most entertaining or endearing moments.

mirai serious face

As a young child, Mirai lived a happy existence with his parents and younger brother. However, at the age of seven, his family was all killed in an apparent accident, which resulted in him being taken in by his relatives. Throughout this period, he was treated poorly, receiving both physical and mental abuse from his father’s sister, her husband and their children. Shortly after meeting Nasse, a special-rank angel, it’s revealed that the death of Mirai’s family was planned by his aunt and uncle in an effort to get their money.

Once Mirai is granted access to a pair of wings, a red arrow that can make anyone fall in love with him and a white arrow that can kill any person instantly, he remains determined that he will not use them not to gain wealth or power, but instead true happiness. Consequently, Mirai vows that he will not use his white arrow to kill anyone, as this would go against his goals and be morally unjust.

This framework goes to some lengths to create a more relatable character. Mirai isn’t completely overpowered, he considers the consequences of his actions and he's afraid of the world around him. This establishes a more realistic dynamic that is often not as seen within mainstream anime, in which a young protagonist is actively aware that they are both naive and vulnerable.

Unfortunately, the strictness to which Mirai follows his ethical code goes a little too far. His no-kill policy often leads those around him to get in harm's way and has almost brought humanity to the point of destruction. While it's clear that the creators of the show were attempting to disrupt the anime convention of what it means to be a main character, it has only led Mirai to become more two-dimensional.

yoneda stopwatch

Both people and the decisions they make are not black and white. While life would certainly be a lot easier if this was the case, it simply isn’t. Although Mirai eventually recognizes this (to a degree) and manages to use his white arrow to defend himself against Dr. Yoneda, it all feels too little too late. This character's inability to change his stance ends up being more annoying than it is admirable.

While subverting the trope of the action-driven hero is all well and good in theory, in practice, it results in the mundane. Mirai runs, hides or attempts to talk his way out of the majority of challenges that he faces. Although it isn’t surprising that a 15-year-old boy would react in this way, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this creates a well-constructed story or character arc.

When Mirai eventually gets the courage to take on his opponents, it only makes it more disappointing to know that he will likely not do anything to combat them effectively. Instead, the viewer considers what scenario or person will come to the rescue and allow Mirai to escape unscathed. Although Mirai’s moral code might have worked for a character in another series, the nature of the God candidate's powers means that there is very little he can do to hold to this commitment without passing the buck.

Having said this, Mirai was an interesting experiment into how an anime protagonist can be portrayed in a story that would usually be considered as part of the fantasy-action genre. While the result may not have been ideal, it's good to see that writers are challenging conventions by creating characters that don’t fit the expected mold.

Nonetheless, Mirai’s strong convictions and apathetic attitude ended up limiting what his character could do and where the story might have progressed. If the creators of Platinum End were to have combined their unconventional story with a more approachable character, the series might have ended up being an even greater success than it has been to date.

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