David Stobbie – Choking on dick

I’ll preface this with, i don’t watch much anime. It’s not that i don’t like it, there just isn’t enough hours in the day to do everything. Recently, i watched Attack on Titan (it’s also on Netflix) and in the suggested section, Death Note was at the top. They’d been on my List on Netflix for as long as i can remember. With the upcoming movie, directed by the rather brilliant Adam Wingard, i made a point to get it watched before i watch the Hollywood version.

While i don’t doubt that Wingard will give us a great adaptation, i do feel it will be unfairly panned by critics and come under attack from anime/manga purists. “The West should leave anime alone” and whatever else they may say. That said, many of the Netfix movies and shows have been very well received, so i hope that trend continues.

Minor spoilers ahead but i will try to keep key story points out.

Death Note is a bit different to most shows, in that we follow the antagonist throughout the story. Light Yagami is introduced as a top of his class, brilliant school kid. One of the future great minds. On his way home from school one day, he finds a book and within it are a set of rules. The first being: The human whose name is written in this note shall die. He keeps the book but dismisses it as a prank but when he sees a group of bullies from his school harassing a girl, he decides to try it out and sure enough. The lead bully dies.

Frightened by this, he flees home. All the while trying to rationalize what he just witnessed. He reaches his room and decides, it was just a coincidence but there’s someone in the room with him. He introduces himself as Ryuk, a Shinigami. A god of death from another realm and the Death Note that Light found was his. A Shinigami is bound to the human who first touches their Note and only someone who has touched the Note can even see a Shinigami (this is important later). Ryuk sets out the rest of the rules and explains that, while he will follow Light around, he is not on his side or anyone else’s.

Light decides that he can use his new power to clean up the world and begins to kill off criminals but this, of course, starts to draw attention of the public and the police. Soon, he is dubbed Kira (which seems to be slang for killer) and his judgments are deemed by many to be the work of god but, by others, the work of just another murderer.

Soon a task force is set up to try to solve the Kira mystery, led by Detective Yagami (yup, Light’s own father is the detective leading the search for him), they enlist the help of a world-renowned detective, known only as L and what follows is a surprisingly thrilling game of cat and mouse. With both of these brilliant minds, thinking almost identically, trying to coax the other into making that one mistake.

As the L story arc draws to a close is where things start to fall apart a bit for me. It just doesn’t seem to want to end. It just keeps twisting and turning, you’d almost think M. Night Shamalama-ding-dong was writing it. It keeps on introducing new characters, whose soul purpose seem to be to drag the story on just a little longer. They briefly move to another location and it’s the same. Then another detective, known as N, from the same organization joins the race but he’s basically L version 1.5.

All the while, through a complex chain of events, Light has been able to continue killing criminals (just how many criminals are there?!) and maintaining his cover. Though things do start to unravel and he must bring in an unknown quantity, Teru, to assist him. Though Teru shares Kira’s vision and thinks almost exactly like him, this chain of events lead to the eventual climax.

The finale itself is really good and it was a satisfying ending, bringing most characters to the end of their arcs, though there were a couple of annoying loose threads left. The end is actually teased much, much earlier and it’s even stated how it will happen.

Overall, I get why this is so well-loved and it is maybe just worthy of the hype but i think it could have been wrapped up about 10 episodes earlier and not sacrificed any of the story. I really enjoyed watching the mental battles between the detectives and Light, it is also really refreshing to follow a story from the antagonist’s POV, especially when you can totally understand their train of thought. Just like with Walter White in Breaking Bad, he done some bad shit but he did it for good reasons.

So that’s the question, isn’t it? What would you do if you found a Death Note? Would you take on a righteous crusade against evil? Would you take revenge against those who have wronged you and your family? Could you take a life?

In a few weeks the Netflix movie will drop and i am very much looking forward to it. I would recommend watching the series, it is very enjoyable (even if you’re not particularly a fan of Anime, a Fanime?), it’s available with subtitles or an English dub (subs or dubs?) and if you have some spare time, stick it on and you’ll find yourself hooked to it in no time.

#fanime #subsordubs #dubs4lyf #fytme