Anime Review: Death Note

deathnote

Yes, this was my first time watching Death Note. I’m more of a casual anime watcher and have seen about 20 shows in the past 5 years, so I don’t watch too often. I’m also more of a shoujo/josei fan, so aside from being slightly tempted by the hype train at one time, this was never really on my radar. I am watching at the insistence of my brother, who is also a casual anime fan that sings its praises anytime the subject comes up. As usual, I like to keep my anime/drama reviews as spoiler-free as possible, but I have added a special section at the end of the post for those who have seen the show. I couldn’t resist!

Genre: Shounen, Mystery, Thriller

Year: 2006

Plot: An average high school senior, Light Yagami, finds a mysterious notebook. He soon discovers that writing full names on the pages causes people to die. He takes it upon himself to bring serious criminals to justice, but the police view him as a murderer. Whose idea of justice will prevail?

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Review: I will admit that this show is a challenge to review without giving away spoilers because of how the plot builds as information is revealed during each subsequent episode. There are several story arcs, each of which I felt a bit differently about. The first third of the anime is very fast-moving as it introduces a very interesting and exciting premise. The show slowed down at several points for me, but the majority of it was gripping and there were enough twists to keep me guessing. I’d like to mention that I’m definitely not one to binge watch, but I finished this show in under a week, which I’ve never done before. I personally was quite satisfied by the ending, although I was holding a few grudges over major plot developments that got in the way of some of my enjoyment.

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There is some substance worth discussing, but most of the characters weren’t as well-rounded as I would have liked and there were definitely inconsistencies throughout. I loved to hate quite a few of the humans in the Death Note world. The Shinigami (Gods of Death) on the other hand, were quite fascinating and deserved more screen time, although I will say I thought there was a good balance between the real and fantastical worlds. As new characters were introduced, we got little to no backstory, which is probably more a failure of the anime adaptation as I’ve read there is extensive coverage in the manga. I did appreciate a glimpse into the effects that the Death Note was making on the rest of the world, and would have liked to see that explored thoroughly as well. I would have easily traded screen time from some of the insufferable characters for more backstory of interesting characters as well as the post-Death Note world. This would actually make a decent novel. I’m a huge bookworm and not much of a manga reader, so I’d appreciate a full-text version that explores everything in this world in depth. Am I alone here? lol

As for the other elements, like animation and music… I’m not the best judge, but nothing really stood out to me as exceptional. I had no issues with any of it, but there wasn’t anything unique that set it apart, aside from the Shinigami character design. It doesn’t knock off any points though and everything seemed fine enough to me.

My verdict is… watch! It’s hyped to hell and back, so you might as well jump on the bandwagon as it’s only 37 episodes long (as compared to the hyped sagas like “Naruto”). It’s fun, suspenseful, not gory and somewhat thought provoking. Infuriating characters, yes, but overall worth the watch!

Rating – 6/10

L

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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS! NEW VIEWERS DO NOT SCROLL PAST THIS POINT. STOP READING. CLICK THAT BACK BUTTON. NOW. I AM ANTI-SPOILER AND WILL NOT ALLOW IT.

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WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE NEW VIEWER, BYE!

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Random Thoughts & Gripes (Spoilers Included) – I was completely blindsided by L’s death. I didn’t even fully process it and checked the following episode summaries to confirm that he’d be right back. It had to be one of his tricks, right? Honestly, this prevented me from fully enjoying the rest of the show. And if he had to go, why not later in the season? He WAS the show! He was the most likable and interesting character and I had to see him get further in the case before saying goodbye. I’m sure it served a purpose, but it detracted far too much from the show to be worth anything. My brother begs to differ and thinks the death is proof of his genius as he gave his life for the case. Even if this is so, I think it just should’ve happened later in the show. I didn’t hate his replacements, but Near and Mello were mere shadows of what L was.

And could it kill them to write more well-rounded female characters? The closest character I came to liking was Naomi Misora, and she was quickly killed off. Both of Light’s love interests were absolutely insufferable, almost as much as he himself, but for less interesting reasons. Perhaps Misa being airheaded accounted for the crazy love she had for Light, but wasn’t Kiyomi above being his stooge? At least Mikami got a backstory that made his blind worship seem more understandable. Ahh. I will say that when Misa was in idol (celeb) mode, she was very endearing, but it was limited to those scenes lol

But what made up for some of my displeasure? Kira’s death scene had to be the most enjoyable death scene I have ever watched. And I feel almost disgusted typing that (lol) but I could not see any redeeming qualities in the character whatsoever. Even his so-called noble intentions were naive and morally ambiguous themselves. I could see myself being a tad conflicted if I had watched this as a teen, but as an adult I could see so many ways that having a Death Note in this world could go terribly wrong, especially with many criminals charged guilty when innocent. Imagine what could happen if it got into the wrong hands in our modern world? Utter chaos! It’s interesting to think about though.

If anyone who has watched it would like to comment, make sure you tag your comment accordingly to warn for spoilers!

Note: Signing off as “L” is not in reference to the anime! I’ve actually had people ask me about this before. Just a coincidence! It’s my first initial 🙂

L

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About L

Interested in Japanese language and culture, J-Pop, K-Pop and Asian Dramas.
This entry was posted in Anime, Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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