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
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?
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.
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
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.