Following will be attempt to gather and present in an orderly fashion any thoughts re: Death Note.
Death Note is an anime that ran from 2006 to 2007, based on a manga that was serialized from 2003 to 2006. Written by Tsgumi Ohba, Death Note was directed by Tetsuro Araki into a wildly popular anime that has since become a cult following.
Death Note is not a horror anime. While some would argue for this interpretation, most will agree that it actually falls into the psychological thriller and crime genres. I agree wholeheartedly. If any of you have been completely out of it for the past decade or so, here’s the main plot. Yagami Light, a high school student who is disillusioned with the world. suddenly finds a notebook that allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes in it. The notebook belongs to a God of Death who later turns up to reclaim it bu instead decides to follow Yagami Light around. Yagami Light uses the book to carry out murders of criminals in an effort to create a new world free of crime. However, he soon runs up against opposition in the form of L, the world’s smartest detective who sets out to stop him.
The plot of the anime, needless to say is genius. Of course most anime are blessed with original ideas and creative storylines that are usually blown in from left field but Death Note takes it to a new level. Introducing Yagami Light as our protagonist and slowly changing our view of him, by the end of the series, Death Note manages to make us absolutely despise Yagami Light,
The characters of Yagami Light and L take the spotlight here. As two geniuses pitted against one another, their conversations are absolutely riveting to watch with each character trying to gain the upper hand while maintaining their secret identity.
L is the perfect opponent to Yagami Light. Childish and playful where Yagami is mature and serious, L matches Yagami move for move. In fact, during the first few encounters, he even gains the upper hand and pushes Yagami on the defensive. The matching of wits between these two brainiacs is about as much action the series gets and it is enough. From their sharp, pointed exchanges to the sequences where their thoughts are heard out loud, these two characters steal the show.
If there’s anything to blame here I’d have to pick the way the anime ends.
Around 3/4 of the way in, L is defeated by Yagami Light is no longer able to investigate. This point in the anime, while being one of the best directed episodes full of feeling and regret, marks a watershed. While Yagami Light does finds two new opponents to contend with later, Mello and Near, neither of them reach the awesomeness of L and only come of as sad copies of L at best, particularly Near. Furthermore, the ultimate defeat of Yagami Light by Near is rather anti-climatic as an enemy who is shown to be capable of bring down the world’s best and most lovable detective is brought down by a weaker copycat. On one hand, Yagami Light is brought down and everything is right with the world but then also, his defeat is rather sketchy and patched up, more due to his own blundering than an actually awesome outmaneuver by an equal opponent.
After the episode that is L’s last appearance, the next best episodes are the final and the penultimate episodes. Near and Yagami Light’s final showdown ends and Yagami Light is brought to justice. In the two episodes Yagami Lights slowly loses his hold on his sanity and by the end, he comes to regret his choice to try free the world of crime. Flashbacking to the initial days of his crimes, he slowly descends into a whirl of regret and grief and is finally left dead in a warehouse.
It’s a bittersweet ending to an anime that in its 37-episode run had quite a few highs and lows. Meandering its way to the ultimate conclusion, Death Note’s plot isn’t quite as well directed and planned as can be expected. Nonetheless, it’s a darn good anime. Go watch it, if you haven’t already.