Friday, September 19, 2008

Review: Death Note (2007)

Death Note (2007) is a psychological and supernatural Japanese anime thriller about a young man who wants to rid the world of criminals and corruption. Yagami Light is a serious, highly intelligent Japanese student with great academic prospects. Meanwhile, he's bored out of his mind in high school. One day while walking from school, he discovers a mysterious black notebook with the words, "Death Note," written on the outside lying on the ground. It came from the realm of the Shinigami (literal translation: Death Gods) who have the power to kill humans in any way with the stroke of a pen. Light uses this book to achieve what he desires: a perfect world without crime. With his shinigami partner, Ryuk, Light seeks to become "God of the New World" when he passes judgment on those who are deemed evil or get in his way.

Unfortunately, when reported criminals drop dead one by one inexplicably, the police authorities send a legendary ace detective (who calls himself by one letter, L) and the International Police Organization to track down the killer, who goes by the name, "Kira." Light realizes that L knows Kira can identify and kill people without laying a finger on them. Light attempts to avoid detection. As two of the world's greatest minds, they engage in a long and deadly psychological chess-like battle of wits, logic and deception. Who will ultimately outlive and settle this score?

This series was simply awesome. I followed all episodes and the ending is sad and tragic. There are more characters and shinigamis that appear throughout the series. The whole concept of the story was original and amazing. Death Note also spawned two live-action movie versions and an anime movie, Death Note: Change the World, that focuses on a case within the last 23 days before Light's death. Shinigami, based upon Japanese folklore, are a race of extra-dimensional beings who survive by killing humans to extend their own lives. People will eventually die regardless of whether or not the Shinigami pay attention to them, but a Shinigami can end their lives sooner than intended for their own benefit. That's what made this series so compelling and interesting to so many viewers. You have a character here who thought he could play God and rule the world, but that's not how life works. Even his partner, Ryuk, realizes this was nothing but a tragic game for someone whose ego was larger than life.

What is the notebook specifically?

A shinigami's Death Note is a notebook that can kill any human whose name is written in it. All Death Notes are governed by the same set of rules determining the extents and limitations of the Notes' powers.

Written rules

* The human whose name is written in this note shall die.
* This note will not take effect unless the writer has the subject's face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
* If the cause of death is written within 40 seconds of writing the subject's name, it will happen.
* If the cause of death is not specified, the subject will simply die of a heart attack.
* After writing the cause of death, the details of the death should be written in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

The music in this series was primarily gothic and hard rock. The band, Nightmare, produced excellent songs near the beginning of the series. I loved it because it matched the personalities of the characters and different themes throughout the show. Yes, there have been occurrences of copycat Death Note notebooks in the news. It is a very popular show that is currently dubbed in English and aired on Adult Swim of the Cartoon Network. I highly recommend this series. Check it out now!!

=red>This series is available to buy and rent on DVD.

  • Episodes: 37 (39 if you include the two specials)
  • OP Song: "The WORLD" by Nightmare; "What's Up People?!" by Maximum the Hormone
  • ED Song:"Aluminia" by Nightmare; "Zetsubou Billy" by Maximum the Hormone; "Coda ~ Death Note" by Yoshihisa Hirano

"The World" by Nightmare

"Alumina" by Nightmare

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