Death Note and Platinum End, both written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, possess many similarities that manga experts and fans have noticed. But in a weird way, the similarities in plotline lead the respective protagonists to quite different paths, because the protagonists themselves are personality-wise the opposite of each other. Their similarities are highlighted because of their differences; in other words, their differences are essentially diametrical opposites, and hence invite direct comparison. Both mangas can be characterized as takes on the overarching subjects of power, morality, and religion.
Light (Death Note) and Mirai (Platinum End) are two teenage boys tired of the world, each in their own way. Light is disappointed in the state of the world and Mirai in the state of his life. Then something drastically changes through supernatural means: Light finds the Death Note and meets Ryuk, a Shinigami/Death God, while Mirai is saved by Nasse, an angel of God. Light decides he will be the God of the world he’ll create, while Mirai was chosen as a candidate to potentially replace the current God who’ll soon retire. They’re both given powerful artifacts to use however they like: Light the Note and Mirai the wings and the arrows. But what is indeed intriguing here is how the protagonists react to their situations and how they choose to use what they now have.
One difference is that while Light finds everything that is wrong on the outside, Mirai at first finds that everything is wrong within, inside himself. So, whereas Light’s “solution” to the issue was to extract from the world everyone who was causing, according to him, the wrongness, Mirai’s solution initially was to extract himself from the world. In Mirai’s case, the supernatural creature that guides him, Nasse, saved him from himself, from the initial “solution,” suicide. In Light’s case, Ryuk offered him the solution he hadn’t known he wanted, thus pushing him over the edge of his own evil. Ryuk did not save Light from himself; on the contrary, he helped release Light’s evil side, and, in his own way, he encouraged it, thus leading to Light’s downfall. However, early on something else starts to occur in Platinum End: Nasse encourages Mirai to act immorally: to kill the guardians that abused him, to steal, to lie.
Nasse is not exactly bad, but that is how she is hardwired to view the world; she does not possess human morality (in some ways, she is like Ryuk). But Mirai refuses to do that. His personal quest is happiness, not just for him, but for those around him too and he realizes that if he tried to get what he needed through immoral means, he would never be happy.
Mirai never set out to become a God. That path was chosen for him; he was chosen because someone considered him worthy. Light was a self-appointed God, as well as the self-appointed bringer/personification of justice. Mirai was chosen by someone else and he was extremely reluctant to become God. On the other hand, Light was arrogant enough to believe he was chosen, only to have that refuted by Ryuk. Light was also eager – too eager; eager to take control, to make himself God, to punish anyone he deemed immoral while murdering everyone who stood on his path. Mirai refused to kill even his uncle that murdered his parents and abused him his whole life. Unlike Light, Mirai didn’t consider himself better than everyone or worthy to be judge, jury, and executioner.
Those who do not seek power and actively don’t want it are the ones that should have it. Those who will do anything to acquire power will certainly abuse it. That’s the intriguing dichotomy of the world observed in the comparison of both Death Note and Platinum End by a pair of brilliant creators.