I was born and raised in South Carolina, with my mom, my dad, and my brother. I have been interested in the ways of the Geek since I was about 8 years old. The first time I had ever been introduced to something nerdy was in 2007 when I watched Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace on VHS and I had been hooked into the culture of all things nerdy ever since. As a contributor, I will be providing reviews for Anime, TV shows, Movies, and Video Games. On to the first review!
Death Note is an anime with themes of character development, suspense, and critical thinking and it pulls these off very well. Over the course of the series you see how many of the characters change, how they struggle to get out of certain predicaments, and how the characters use their powers of deduction to find clues and solve riddles. Let’s take a look at these three subjects individually.
Character development is an important part of any TV show, as it can either make us hate to love a character, or love to hate them. Take Walter White from Breaking Bad, an anti-hero who cooks crystal meth to provide money to his family. He is the perfect example of a character who we hate to love, as he commits several crimes just to provide a future for his family. Light Yagami is the Walter White of the Death Note world. He is a straight A, top of his class, student who obtains a powerful tool called the Death Note. The Death Note is able to kill any person within forty seconds, if their name is written in it. Light decides to use this to cleanse the world of evil by killing every criminal in the world, and reign as a God over the new world. He is later given the name Kira, meaning “killer”. This is an example of how Light has become a totally different person. Where he once had a strong sense of justice, he has now confused it with murder and tyranny.
Suspense is a big theme in this series. While you know that Light is murdering, and killing criminals and anyone who stands in his way, you can’t help but cheer him on. He is very intelligent, and knows how to act and control his emotions so that he can evade suspicion from L, the world’s greatest detective. L challenges Kira by figuring out that he lives somewhere in the Kanto region of Japan. To do this, he had a convict claim to be L on TV, saying that it was being broadcast worldwide. Light kills him using the Death Note, and then the real L shows his symbol on screen, along with a distorted voice, saying that he only broadcasted it in the Kanto region. Light accepts his challenge and decides he needs to kill L. This entire scenario kept me on my toes, waiting to see who was going to make the first move.
Critical thinking can either save a life, or end one. That is how this show portrays deduction, analysis, and quick thinking. Many times during the series, both L and Light have moments where time slows down, and they go into descriptive monologues of what they’re thinking, or what they think they should do based off of the situation that is forming in front of them. L usually tries to figure out how to get a confession from a suspect, or how to solve a riddle, or even predict when the next victim will die and what his team should do to prevent it. Light often tries to think of ways he could alter the situation to somehow kill L.
Now, Death Note is an incredible series, but like every series, it has its flaws. For one, there are moments where humor is interjected where it shouldn’t be. Comic relief is needed, of course, and it does deliver, but when two characters are having a serious conversation about life or death, and then one of them makes a joke about how apples in the human realm are juicy (Yes, that really does happen), it takes something away from seriousness of the conversation, and in turn, made me care less about it.
However, my biggest problem with Death Note is the entire second season. It introduces two new characters, Mello and Near, two kids who have the intelligence of both Light and L. The difference between them is that Near seems to have no emotion, while Mello let’s his emotions cloud his logical thinking. They start to investigate the case, but Mello refuses to work with Near, simply due to sibling rivalry. I honestly think that if they had just worked together to try to solve the case, I would have liked them a lot more. I won’t spoil anything, but if the series had ended with the first season, I would have been a lot happier.
This is the first Anime that I watched and is an all-time favorite of mine. It’s an excellent anime, and I recommend it to everyone, especially anime fans to give this a try. The interesting storyline, the loveable/hateable characters, and the dark tone, makes this anime one of the best, or at least, one of the most memorable. However, due to its flaws and second season, I give it 4 Lukes.
I hope you liked my first review on Death Note. The next review will be here next week. Thanks for reading!