Death Note is definitely one of the best anime series of all time, for it presents a deeply unique and compelling story rivaled by few. I can truly say it is one of the best, if not the best anime I've watched.
Story: The story is unique. A notebook falls from the sky, and the human who writes a name in it is capable of killing the individual pictured in his mind (I left out the details that you don't care about). This presents the viewers with a highly debatable theme based on morals and justice. Yagami Light, who obtains this power to kill, utilizes it
in hopes of creating a utopia in which he is god. Criminals, and only criminals, are to be punished in hopes of a perfect society. Is this however, right? Is it right to kill individuals who have done wrong, and will do wrong again? Can they be reformed? Death Note presents the viewers with questions such as these, questions which cannot be easily answers. This series challenges the viewers morals and for that, it deserves highly.
But this debatable topic isn't the series strong point. Death Note gets a 10 in the story department, because of the way the plot unravels. With great and power and ambition, Yagami Light is forced to play a chair gripping game of cat and mouse with those who seek to detain him. The way L attempts to persecute Light is something I have never witnessed in an anime. The first 15 episodes will magically draw you closer and closer to the scene as suspense hangs over their individual methods for identifying the other. You will not be disappointed.
The flaws begin once it is apparent that there will be a second arc. This to me, seemed like an unnecessary way of drawing out the anime, although arguably a change in situation was required to break the dead lock between Light and L. Anyhow, the series being to lose some of its luster at this point, and if I were to rate both arcs separately, the first would receive a 15/10 and the second a 9/10. Anyhow, this intelligent story deserves an overall 10/10 in my books.
Characters: Light and L are the most interesting and intellectual characters I've ever seen in an anime. Although both are geniuses, they each possesses that certain something that will make you root for one of them to win the game. Light's charismatic, yet extremely demented character gives you reason to watch his conquests and failures. L's quirky, yet highly intelligent qualities does the same for him. They are both unique and likable in their own ways. Character development is also seen, particularly with Light as you witness his calm, calculating figure being to crack into a maddening and reckless mess. Obsessed and overtaken by his dream of conquest with the Death Note, he changes greatly from the beginning of the series. This change can be seen in various other characters as well, although not as notable. Anyhow, the characters are definitely interesting enough to give this a: 9/10
Sound: Yet another brilliant aspect of Death Note. I truly believe that if not for the soundtrack, the anime would not be where it is. All of those quick decisive moments with lives on the line are made intense, and the calm calculating ones even more so as the characters attempt to read each other. The opera, holy-like music also adds greatly to Light's character and goal of becoming God in his new world. The only flaw here resides in the second opening which at first, may seem disgusting to you. But as you continue to watch the series you will notice just how well it fits Light's demented mind and how everything he has achieved beings to shatter around his feet. 9.5/10 (rounded to 10)
Art/Animation: And again, amazingly done. The dark colors suit the anime perfectly, and the characters and scenery are all done amazingly well. I mean, the anime made writing with a pen look cool. The way they made it zoom across that piece of paper ... In terms of animation, the pen wins. It truly does. But seriously, there isn't much action going on here, so there wasn't much to animate. Most of the scenes consisted of the characters talking or thinking, but the scenes there were filled with action (car chase and such) was done very well. A 10/10
Overall: I was watching the series since it first started coming out, and those weeks of waiting killed me. That was how good this anime was. The suspense was amazing, and it got me thinking. Anyone who finishes this anime will be forced to wonder about what they would have done with a Death Note. Many of them will question and argue about the actions of Light. It is this talkable and complexity that makes the anime shine, in addition to its ability to carve suspense and anticipation into its viewers. I have never seen an anime as good as Death Note, and I highly recommend this anime to be watched. You may hate it (although very few seem to), but it is definitely an anime you must TRY. 10/10
I wanted to like this. I really did. And I did for about the first 10-15 episodes. Death Note is probably the most popular anime ever, and when I read the summary, I could see why. After viewing 27 episodes and reading a summary of the subsequent 10, however, that opinion has changed a little bit.
First, a review of the things I DID like:
A) The Concept. Notebook that kills whoever has his name written into it, death gods that love apples, and two genius teens: one a student with a god complex, and the other a highly famous detective with a strong sense
of justice and a wide variety of quirks. Who wouldn't want to watch this?
B) Protagonist/Antagonist Switch. Stories where the protagonist is the bad guy and the good guy is the antagonist are more in-depth. It makes you think more about whose side you should be on as opposed to the normal setup, where it's obvious that you should be behind the protagonist.
C) L. He's a great character, period. I love how the creators made him a quirky, unattractive genius instead of an attractive, pretty boy genius (*cough* Yagami Light! *cough*). This makes his likability depend on his personality and mannerisms instead of his looks. This so defies any male protagonist guidelines in general, and I love when authors have the brain capacity to create a likable character without making them look like they belong on the front of a magazine.
Now for the things I DID NOT like:
A) The Plot Randomness. After the first 10-15 episodes or so (and especially after 26), the plot seemed to have this "made up on the spot" feel to it, as if the author made the story up as he went along instead of mapping it out before he started writing it. Stories like that tend to tell me that the author is either overconfident or too lazy to plan it out beforehand. While this story had a few plot twists, none of them were really that twisty (except for the unpleasant one I'm about to mention in point B), considering that I wasn't really surprised by any of them and that I was thoroughly bored by episode 18. So if you like spur-of-the-moment plot development, this is the show for you.
B) They Killed L. Seriously. Many of you are probably saying, "It's good that the author was willing to kill off the main good guy. It's a great plot twist, and you don't see many stories where that happens, so it's creative." I do agree that it's a good plot twist, but IT'S L. The creators are quoted as saying that L is "the smartest character in the series," but yet, he gets outsmarted and dies. Not to mention that in the episodes leading up to this, Light wasn't exactly getting the upper hand. In fact, somewhere right before the middle of the show, Light seemed to start drifting away from his previously praised intelligence. L was so close to connecting all the pieces, when BAM! And why did he die?
Because no one seems to realize that Light's girlfriend is the most annoying creature to inhabit the universe.
I mean, really. Two death gods fall in love with her, Matsuda idolizes her, Light's sister loves her, and everyone else acts as if there isn't a little pest buzzing around the room. Honestly, how can you not make her want to shut up? I hated her 30 seconds after she first showed up. She's not even necessary to the story, to be perfectly honest, and it would probably be 10 times better without her. But still, L dies because of a shinigami's misguided love for her.
And then they try to replace him with children, one of which is an obvious ripoff of L himself (dark circles under the eyes, crouching position, black eyes, calm demeanor, etc.). And they don't even offer something like a clever he's-still-a-genius-because-he-planned-his-death solution, which would have made sense considering how smart he's supposed to be. The authors also made L's death out to be unimportant. No one grieves for him or gives him a funeral. Everyone's just like, "L's dead, we need a replacement." Instead they just killed him off and pretended that nothing major just happened.
Overall, it was a great concept with a great start that spiraled into a bunch of random not-so-well-thought-out plothole coverups. I can see why most people like it, but it got way too boring and unoriginal to me.
Finally, I would like to say that this is my opinion. Everyone has them, so I'm sorry if mine is unsatisfactory to you, but I'm just sharing why I think a very popular show is a bit overrated.
Death Note. Another famous anime. But this time there is one reason for it. In fact, there are lots of good reasons but they can be summed up in one thing: this anime is amazing. Want to know why? Then just keep on reading.
Story (8): The first half of this anime is a masterpiece. The concept itself - the Shinigami's notebook which grants the person who has it the power to kill anyone by simply writing the person's name while picturing the face in his mind - is already brilliant to begin with as it presents the viewer questions like "What would I do if
I had that power?" The way it is developed brings us yet more questions and defies our morals.
Light Yagami, the main character, is a brilliant high school student who's angry at all the injustice in the world. One day, he finds the notebook and he tries it out. At first, he's not sure about if what he did is correct but he ends up loving the power he got and trying to use it to build a new and better world. He's nicknamed as Kira by the citizens. Of course that would simply be boring if it wasn't for L, a detective that tries to discover Kira's identity. Both of them are simply genius and their counter clock run to find out each other's identity is full of intelligent moves and suspense which kept me trying to guess what each one of them would do next.
Really, the simple ingredient that's so great about this story is that it manages to keep you thinking. But at several levels. Let me explain that to you.
First, it makes you think about if what Light's doing is right or wrong. "Is it right to be the judge and executer simultaneously?" "Don't the circumstances of each crime matter as well and is it right to judge without knowing all the facts?" "Can't the criminals be reformed?" "Is a world where people don't commit crimes because they're simply afraid really desirable? Isn't what Light aims to achieve theoretically similar to a dictatorship?" Those are questions that ran through my mind. At one point, I was totally rooting for him. But as the story develops and his actions begin to change, you'll start to wonder...
Second, it makes you think about what's going to happen next. Trying to follow Light's and L's line of though is both challenging and entertaining. Their move will surprise you and you'll keep trying to guess what they're gonna do next. This show will keep you on the edge of your sit through its entirety.
Third, it changes the way you see the world and the people in it. With each kill and each action Light takes you can't help but wonder: "It may be wrong but what would I do if I were in his place?". People change, situations make us change. One different thing in your life and you could be going from a dedicated doctor to a serial killer (just an example).
The only problem with the story is really the second half, for Near isn't nearly as intelligent as L, and Light seems to become way dumber and make pointless decisions rather than retaining control of the situation. The fact that the resolution didn't steam from Light's mistakes but from someone else's and was pure luck on Near's part in that regard was both a nice factor (I was rooting for Light to win because... no idea, I just was.) and a rather underwhelming one as well, for neither of them was the central piece that ended the puzzle. The story receives a 8/10.
Art (9): The art is clean, the character designs are both unique and somewhat similar to reality. The backgrounds are detailed enough and the animation is really good. Even though there are few action scenes throughout the show, the car chasing scenes for example are really well done. A little exaggerated, yes, but nevertheless pretty good.
But were the art really shines is in the coloring schemes. The dark and dull tones totally fit the anime. And Light's monologues, with the red hair also add a nice touch.
Quite good for its time and genre.
Sound (9): First, let's talk about the openings and endings. Well, I dislike both openings and love both endings. Quite wired isn't it? Because you know, the 1st opening and the 1st ending are both by the band "Nightmare" (they're a really good band by the way) and the 2nd ones are both by "Maximum the Hormone". Still, it's just my personal preference though some people may be turned of by the heavy metal sound of the last opening and respective ending.
The ending song from episode 37 is really beautiful and fits the last scenes awesomely well.
But that's not all. The opera-like songs that pass in the episodes really add to the scenes and were, with they're somewhat religious tune, the best choice to set the mood.
I can't say much about the voice acting. I watched the english dubbed version and I thought it was good enough but I'm no expert on that matter.
Characters (8): The characters are rather well portrayed. Let me put it this way. When I see an anime, there's always a character that stands out the most for me, that has characteristics that make me root for him/her. When that doesn't happen, I usually don't enjoy an anime. In Death Note, no character stood out. But somehow, I still loved it. I think no one stood out because they were all equally great. There was no one with fantasy-like characteristics. They all seemed like real people with real problems. No unneeded and exaggerated tragedies but no totally sweet lives either.
The character development is pretty much nonexistent for most of the cast, but it doesn't need to be there, for it is really good for Light Yagami, the main character. Starting of as a genius, calm and collected high school student with a strong sense of morals and justice, he undergoes a slow but drastic change of character. The more he uses the Death Note, the more he slowly drops his morals because he finds it is needed to continue his work. He ends up an arrogant person with no consideration by the people who surround him. He starts trying to create a new and better world for people to live him but ends up obsessed with power and with being the "God of the New World".
I love it when Light loses his memories about the Death Note. He turns back to his old self, refuses to use people as tools (what he had been doing all the time) and he even thinks Kira is wrong and wants to catch him. At that point, I also thought Kira's actions were going way too far but so did Light. And Light WAS Kira. So what if the notebook was real, what if I had pick it up? Wouldn't I do the same and end up like that?
Moving on to L. He may seem like a plain character, but he is not. He tried his best to capture Kira risking himself a bit more in each attempt. He seems cold but deep inside I think he really didn't want Light to be Kira because he had never met anyone so similar to him in his ways of thinking and he saw Light as a friend, even though he was almost sure that Light was, in fact, Kira.
The support characters are surprisingly interesting, despite not being all that well developed. I'm talking about the task force. At first, we didn't know much about them and they're development is not much noticeable but then at some point you realize you already know how they feel about Kira, what their line of thought is. The truth is, we subtly get introduced to their problems and internal struggles. This anime has an interesting cast of supporting characters.
My least favorite character was Near. Even Mello was better developed than him. Near wanted to catch Light, sure. But it seemed like he was barely concerned about anything else that was happening as long as he could catch him. He was too cold and underwent none changes.
Enjoyment (9): This review is getting way too long... Anyway, I really enjoyed this anime. Each episode got me craving for more. It made me think, it made me feel bad for some characters, it made me hate some situations... It was truly a great viewing experience. I enjoyed it a lot.
Biggest problem was really the second half not being as intelligently scripted as the first one. But even now, one month after watching, I still think about Death Note and its moral changing story whenever I see some hostage situation on the news. Sometimes I'm just like "Damn, I wish I had one notebook like that! I could prevent so many bad stuff from happening...". And then, on those nights, as I'm in my bed the same questions I had when I was watching the show come once again to my mind. "If the notebook was real, wouldn't it bring even more bad things that it could prevent? Would it be right to use it? What would guarantee that I would not get corrupted by its power?" I loved this show and I still do.
Overall (8): I may rate it a 8, but once again, that's largely due to the second half of the show. Nonetheless, I recommend this to anyone. Whatever genre of anime you like, you should watch this. It is a really intelligent story and even though you may not love it as much as I did, the chances are, you will. Even for people who never enjoyed anime, I would still recommend it. In fact, I am now in the process of making Portuguese subtitles so I can get my mom to watch it. Death Note defies your morals and enables deep discussions with yourself and others. It truly is a great show.
Death Note is a solid series with some brilliant moments in it, but some equally ridiculous ones too. Most of it is pretty much the same thing: a long-ass cat-and-mouse game that keeps taking turns going for and against the two lead foes. Early on it's rather boring as you watching everything take it's time to pick up, and there's even an episode that consists almost entirely of two characters wandering around aimlessly that get real boring real fast. Once the big twists start happening they're mostly impressive, but you almost get kind of sick of them after they keep coming over
and over and they start to get a little repetitious. The last few episodes leading up to a major character's death are really good, but after it actually happens the plot goes off the rails and just winds up repeating a good portion of everything that's just happened before. But despite getting rather ludicrous at the end, the finale is a good payoff.
The silliest thing about it is whenever the big, epic music starts playing everything is made out to be SUPER intense and over-the-top...and most of the time it's just someone writing down names, so instead of seeming super epic it just comes off as painfully cheesy.
The characters are generally pretty stiff and don't change much, and when they do it's normally pretty sudden and doesn't have much, if any, build-up to it. One of the exceptions to this seems to be Aizawa, who is one of the few characters for whom you actually get a glimpse into the outside life of, even if it is small. L is impressively intelligent and deductive, but outside of that there really isn't much to him. Light is a sociopath with a god complex and anytime that might change it just turns out to be part of a monster scheme. Near and Mello are really forced characters, and Mello doesn't even stay the same character in his short stay and ends up becoming a mess of identity (he's seriously, like, three different people in his short time on the show). When it comes down to it, the best and most interesting characters in the show are the Shinigami.
I'm not a huge fan of the overall artistic style and the general presentation, and the crazy colour changes get old after a while, but it's nothing too off-putting.
In the end, though, I did enjoy the series. I can see why it's so popular, but I do think it's rather overrated.
Allow me to explain my love of "the pay off" in entertainment:
I hate when I watch something, and it doesn't really matter if I'm following it or not because nothing pays off. So many times I the credits of a movie roll and I'm left stupified thinking to myself "That's it? What about the ___ and the ___? What was the point of me paying attention to the first hour and 20 minutes of this film?"
Some shows or movies set little subconscious mental snares, so that when something happens later on-it pays off. Your friend walks in the room and sees a
scene that looks like nothing happened, but you're going :O OMGG! They don't understand what it means, the significance of what happened, because they didn't see the set up. Therefore, when you watched that early part and did get the set up, it was worth your time and attention.
To me, Death Note is one of the best examples of great pay-offs in the history of entertainment. It's hard to even pinpoint this show/manga/story to a genre. The aforementioned pay-off aspect makes it feel like a mystery, but unlike your cliche Sherlock Holmes or Law and Order mystery story you're in on the answers. The main character is the solution to the puzzle, and you come along for the ride.
This is like a reverse-mystery story. Instead of the show centering around the good guy detective (L) you get to take a journey with a young Japanese lad with a heart of black. And unlike a common anti-hero, cheered-antagonist trope, he is truly evil to the point of not even being able to relate to him deep down.
The premise is an easy pitch to those who haven't seen the show. What would you do if you could kill people by writing their name? Would you do it? If so, who? This anime then blasts off with an amazingly intriguing universe back-story of death gods in another realm featuring some of my favorite artwork in any anime. It's truly dark and monstrous. The creator imagined such a barren, hopeless, faithless, and gutless wasteland of sketchy characters and landscapes, which you then get to see collide with the human world's truly evil bad guy's moral play.
In issue 13 of the manga, which has interviews with the writer and artist, (fascinating read, highly recommended as well) the author insists that he meant no political or social commentary. But allow me to do it for him:
Is the death penalty OK? Is it OK to try to wipe out the bad people of the world? How far does it go? When is it OK to execute someone? At the beginning of the story, it's clear that the people of Japan LIKE the killings but won't admit it. Is that what would happen? And even further on, after so many 'bad' people have been killed it's depicted that the world actually does improve because of the executions. Is that far-fetched? I actually think it actually would make people more afraid, and less likely to commit heinous crimes. But is that a good thing? Would we want a world in fear of an invisible executioner? Which brings me to my next point..
The relationship between Light and Ryuk is highly dynamic, and the crux of the entire story. When you think about it, this story is Ryuk's. He is by far the most important character in the story and dictates the most essential plot points. And yet, you might not think that when you watch it. While Light is serious, well-planned, methodical, almost scientific, Ryuk is the opposite. He literally can not stop smiling throughout the entire story. He loves it. The empty wasteland was boring, and now he gets to show us an interesting story. And I have to agree, even if I was an extremely bored death god I probably would have had a blast watching that story unfold too.
In the end, you could say the human is the one who became the real death god. But who really called the shots in the end? I've heard some people criticize the end, and even the entire second half of the show. But to me, these elements are equally fascinating and add a lot, especially as they wrap up so many pay-offs. I know I've said a lot so far, but this is truly a masterpiece. Now I'm going to break down the technicalities.
Even if I didn't like anything I said above, I would love this art style. This is by far my favorite art style in anime. Just seeing this art style in another anime, like Monster, will make me enjoy it more. This anime is not a bright bubbly explosion of genki fireworks. And the art is no different. It is dark and realistic. Some of the expressions are so horrified and so believable. It's not distracting, it really helps you get a sense of realism like-"what if this happened?" because everything is drawn to scale and with a certain weighted, grounded feeling that some animes completely lack on purpose.
The art gives special attention to colors, such as the red shinigami eyes, but it doesn't take color out of the realm of being realistic. No purple haired people or girls with outfits that even the best cosplayers in the world couldn't pull off. The animation itself is also excellent. It's never too still, and never too fast. When there are big movements (for example, the infamous "most epic writing scene in the world" from YouTube when Light is first writing his long list of names) the animation flows dramatically. The kind of angles and smooth motion that would be hard to capture for even the best director with a million frames per second. You can visibly and clearly see a tremendous amount of work was put into animating this series.
Oh, wow. Just wow. As a music addict, I'll tell you right away that this soundtrack never leaves my playlist. I don't go around listening to all 1000 songs on this vast library of music constantly, but there are certain themes and moments in this soundtrack that surpass some of the greatest Hollywood film scores of all time. Huge orchestras and choirs, smooth jazz, hard rock, club ambience, they really hit almost every genre of music and combine them in a really innovative way. It's so hard to get tired of the deep variation, and when you put all of these songs to such an amazing story, you've got pure gold. This soundtrack really has some mood-altering songs. I highly recommend you buy the soundtrack and check it out, whether you've seen the show or not.
Again, you can tell an unbelievable amount of work went into scoring this series. Songs like "Dominae Kira" feature some of the craziest choir sounds and orchestral arpeggios that I've ever heard. And once you've heard the L theme and its John Carpenter-esque odd time signature (which are also prevalent in the score) it will stay with you. And then when they remix it and reprise different variations of the melody, it subconsciously brings you even further into immersion. Interesting to note that one of the composers of Death Note was arrested for marijuana in Japan, and at the time of his arrest he had a little more than a gram on him. (US: $20) Since this drug is very taboo in Japan, the reported value of a little more than a gram was over $120.
I've already touched on the main characters, so I'll just talk about the great supporting cast. Misa, a gothic pop star, plays a really interesting, integral role in the story. She indeed has the high-pitch voice of a cliche blonde haired little girl in an anime, but in this case it really works. This is not your ordinary high pitched little Japanese anime girl. She brings another layer to the social commentary of capital punishment, and Light eats it up. They are perfectly meant for each other, despite the course of events that unfold between them. To me, their relationship is beyond Shakespearean. And like Ryuk, in the end she is clearly one of the most important characters.
There's also a great supporting cast in the police side of this epic chase, including Matsuda and Light's father Soichiro. Light's dad is also one of my favorite characters. He brings such a stern discomfort to scenes, which is realistic for some fathers. All of the characters are utilized perfectly, and he definitely has his opportunities to shine. There is also a small supporting cast of other shinigami, which I think gave the author and artists a chance to bring some fantasy elements to their work while still keeping it feeling grounded and real.
The story depicts the shinigami as a secret realm, so the entire concept is introduced as something that could actually exist in a fantasy sense. The revelation of their mysterious existence is realistically shocking, and from this you get shinigami like Rem-who my friend had to point out to me is actually a female. Which makes her actions in the story even more intriguing. You also get to briefly meet a few other shinigami, who are equally unique.
First off, you should know that I've never seen this show with English voices. So I will be talking about the Japanese voice actors only. The voices on this show are absolutely expert. Light's tone and dynamics really put you in a mood, especially when contrasted by the tone and patterns of L. Their conversations make me feel so interested to hear what they're talking about, whatever it is. Also Ryuk is my favorite anime/cartoon voice ever. His trademark laugh and quirky speech style is probably what initially pulled me into the show the most at first. It's just a brilliant character.
Light's dad and Misa also have really well-acted voices. There's nothing and no one I can criticize as far as the voice acting. Bringing this group of voice actors was so well done that it's one of the few times where I would like to thank whoever did the casting on the series.
There is one thing that I don't like about Death Note: it had to end. I don't mean this in a joking way. To me, the way it ends, the shinigami realm, the characters, the universe this story creates BEGS for another story, another season. Some criticized the second half, but I truly feel this universe and premise has legs. The follow-up to this show for the author and artist is so far removed from my interests. There are few things that could happen in my life that would make me happier than if Death Note were to continue.
Please note: I'm not a huge anime fan. I barely watch it, and this was the first anime I ever watched start to finish. Which was almost a curse in disguise, because after that my interest in anime started as mostly a quest to find something 'else' to watch. That is-something just like Death Note, something just as good, but different. I still haven't found it. There are lots of forum threads and Yahoo! answers of people who feel the same way-and sadly I don't think we will ever find something as good as Death Note. This series was magical lightning caught in a bottle with perfect timing. The planets aligned and the hard work of everyone involved lead to an anime series that is truly enchanting to enjoy. So check it out!
This has to be one of the most ingenious shows ever!
Yagami Light finds the Death Note, a notebook he found falling down from the sky one day. If he knows someone's face and writes down their name, they die.
So, he wants to kill all the criminals in the world with this, and he gets off to a good start. But then this legendary detective - L - is set to stop him. So starts the battle of the extraordinary geniuses. Yes, they're geniuses. And the same can be said about the ones who created the show. At times I just had to pause it and
take a deep breath because everything that happened was so ingenious. Seriously, how could anyone think up such a good plot. It's just... awesomeness! Light trying to avoid detection by L, and L trying to find out who the killer - a.k.a. Kira - is. They even get close and get to know each other, which just makes it so much better.
The animation in this show is noteworthy. It's really nice, and I totally love some of the more intense scenes, as well as the scenes when Light or L is thinking, and everything is colored red or blue.
The music is pretty cool, and I really like it. The second OP theme was really, really bad, though.
The main character, Light. is a pretty interesting case. He seems to be an alright fellow who wants to rid this world of criminals. But I could explain thoroughly, psychologically, why he is nothing more than a overly intelligent psychopath.
I really enjoyed watching this anime, and I believe most people will.
To 'Not Helpful' voters (and you 'Helpful' voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
Adapted by Madhouse in 2006 from the popular Shonen Jump manga written by Ohba Tsugumi and drawn by Obata Takeshi, Death Note is an entertaining ride if an ultimately shallow work. Unless you just got into the fandom, I’ll assume you are already familiar with the basic plot.
One aspect of the show that its fans seem to constantly praise is its writing and if you can swallow the cheesy, over-the-top dialogue (“All according to plan,” must be repeated at least a dozen times throughout the series) then you will definitely be rewarded with fan-favorite gems such as the infamous, “I’ll take a potato chip…
and EAT IT!” scene. The writing also has a tendency to rely on unnecessarily absurd plans in order to establish its characters as geniuses. While some viewers may find these facets clever and entertaining, others will want to slap their foreheads at the circuitous logic that gets forced upon them.
As the manga was completed by the time the anime was under production, it doesn’t suffer from the common lack of an ending that plagues many anime titles. Due to this the pacing is quite deft and if you allow it to pull you in, you can find it hard to stop watching.
Due to the series premise alone, some questions on morality have to, and are, raised. But to the detriment of the work, these ideas are never explored or expounded upon. So while something like, “Is it acceptable to take human life (for the ‘greater good’)?” is presented it neglects to provide any further insight. The heralded moralistic quandaries some claim are, unfortunately, fan-created illusions.
Death Note’s biggest flaw is found within its characters. They suffer from being one-dimensionally predictable and as a result from the lack of development the relationships between characters quickly become stale. The author tried to remedy this with a twist at the series mid-point by inserting new characters, but it ultimately fails as they suffer from the same faults; character depth is not created by tacking on quirks. When the most memorable traits the characters’ have is a knack for puzzles or an affinity for chocolate it means they aren’t particularly interesting.
However, Death Note is by no means a terrible show. Madhouse’s animation, with the exception of a very few amount awkward digital copouts scattered throughout the show, is quite slick and stylized. It does an exceptional job at capturing the gothic atmosphere that appeals to the show’s targeted angsty teen demographic. The music is another highlight which serves to set the tone for the series (especially the first opening song). On top of that you really can’t go wrong with either the Japanese or the English dubs as both have their fair share of standout performances.
It’s because of these strengths that that the anime adaptation receives the recommendation over the manga. It also glosses over the previously noted much weaker second half. Other than the slightly different ending, it is faithful to the original material so much so that if you’ve already seen one version, it probably is not worth your time to experience both unless you are a huge fan.
Finally, as long as you don’t go in expecting an analysis to complicated, ideological questions or complex characters, you will likely be pleased with what Death Note delivers. It’s accessible, presents an appealing aesthetic and is a cut above your average Shonen Jump title.
Death Note will forever be the best suspense anime for me..... and millions of fans.
The anime starts off Light Yagami, a brilliant college student. While walking towards home, he stumbled upon a notebook that has the word Death Note written on it. As soon as he finds out that the notebook can easily kill off anyone by just knowing the name and face of an person, Light only desire for one thing. To be God of the new world that he will create by erasing all unjust people of the world. And nothing in the world can stop him....except an illustrious detective, who hides under
the alias of L, known for solving every case he took.
While not successful on all fronts, it certainly does its share of anticipating, entertaining, and making the viewer think... which is a lot more than most anime's manage.
There is nothing rare about some kid going against the world. But it is how he goes against the world that defines whether it'll be among the hundreds of trash out there, or become a silver anime that shine's brightly. Death Note is no silver by any means, it is a pure gold. The story is already promising enough to be recognize. But never have I encountered a complex weapon before the Death Note. To kill someone you have to know his face and name right? That is only one of the many rules and capabilities of the Death Note. As if fighting the whole world isnt already complicated to begin with. But Light manage to use this rules to his advantage.
There is only one reason why Death Note's popularity is spreading like a wild fire.
And that is the chess element of the anime. Aside from the anti-climactic ending, Death Note never fails to deliver suspense to the audience as it has already mastered suspense. As Light plans gets to rid the world of evil, L foils his constantly intrudes and foils plans. The whole anime is about both of them outsmarting each other. For Light, the ends justifies the means. Light will do anything to win, from manipulating people to using them until they're on lying their ass off on a death bed. . While L on the other hand, will do anything to stop Light from killing more people as humane and rational as possible. Their display of rivalry is excellent, the relationship they have is intricate at best. It was the most refined connection between rivals I have ever seen. And what makes them different from each other is their ability to think, not by physical means. To remain triumph over the other, one must first be one step ahead. In the case of this two, either of them remains in same position for each episode. Its a constant overturn, thanks to this, this is what makes Death Note is where it is today, everywhere.
The animation was smooth, nothing to worry about there. But the characters design are a real treat... for the fan girls. Personally I would've prefer Light and L to look someone like the handsome Usopp(btw L and Ussop have the same seiyuu) of One Piece. That way, those people that are watching just for the superficial things, will be non-existent. Anyways, as for the music, besides than the OP's sounding worse than a fingernail scratching a blackboard, it was superb. It really set the mood. Whether it was Light or L, it never failed to leave me in an uncertain cognitive state. I was always in an apprehension about what is going to happen and the credit goes to the sound.
If the anime had one weak point it would be character development. Although I was already pre-occupied with all thats happening, I cant deny the fact that its missing a piece. Its a really total letdown that Light and L never changes. Even the rest of the cast, has minimal transition. It wouldve been a nice change of pace to see Light do something right for a change rather than gradually becoming more wicked and apathetic. It felt that Light was a soulless cardboard cutout who can do little to generate audience empathy.
Now I havent read the manga nor do I plan to but I thought that he second half of the show couldve been better, a whole lot better. Although it was still good, the decision to linger on was a pitfall. And the shocking turn of events, was the blunder of the show but then again, I am not one of the most acclaimed critics in the history of connoisseurs, so maybe I should keep my two-cent criticisms over a superb anime, to myself.
Death Note is a pulse-racing treat that is among the best. It is a stunning display of suspense that is still unprecedented today. I cannot stress enough on how much I want you to watch this and have the time of your life. Suspense-wise, Death Note is a masterpiece.
Q: What happens when an unstoppable Mary Sue meets an immovable Mary Sue?
A: Death Note.
The protagonist, and his adversary, are both genius pretty boys (with the odd names of Light and L) who have an incredible amount of achievements and skill for their young age. Light somehow predicts things that he could not possibly have the foresight to predict, because, you know, probability is a thing. Don’t worry though, it’s not like you know that he’ll always win, because L possesses this exact same unexplained and ludicrous ability to predict the future; he just does so without a cheesy “Just as planned!”
catchphrase that makes me want to shoot myself every-time I hear it. In this way, rather than being a dark and mysterious thriller, Death Note often manages to be an overblown mental mudslinging contest between two impossibly perfect master practitioners of bullshit who are both describable in a single sentence. This is epitomized in an early scene where the two, who both have tennis skills at a professional level, get into a match and engage in a ridiculously drawn-out internal line of logic about how the desire to not lose might relate to the true identity of the other.
Furthermore, what kind of psychological mystery thriller has a plot entirely driven by coincidences, improbabilities, and impossibilities? Again, Death Note. Plot devices like this were used every-time the anime found itself in a narrative corner, and these cop-outs always completely killed the tension that was built up to that point, while simultaneously disengaging the plot from the audience.
The concept was intriguing, and I won’t say it did not entertain me at some parts, but it was ultimately far too flawed in its execution to be called enjoyable or good overall, and it never managed to pull off the promise of its premise. It seemed overdone at times, with eye-roll worthy developments, and lines like “I take a potato chip and eat it!” delivered with the utmost significance and conviction, devoid of any irony or self-awareness. Light’s ability, of writing a name in a notebook as a method of killing, is initially well established and limited, while being relatively creative, although you would think he’d be able to do a bit more with it, but the way the new rules of the note are introduced as the story goes on can get a tad contrived.
Characterization quality is somewhat varied, but I would say that it's generally not all that good. It was bad, really. Light is a bit too perfect, his only flaws being the well-concealed logical results of his perfection, such as his narcissism and overconfidence. It could be argued that this flawlessness was intentionally done in an effort to depict the deconstruction of a seemingly perfect human being, but I think this concept eventually fell flat. It would have been far more interesting to see an average teenager find the note and watch the scope of his ambitions and arrogance develop over time. Light is arrogant, ambitious, and a staunch consequentialist from the very outset; this, logically, kills almost all opportunity for development. As for the rest of the characters, L was far more interesting and entertaining than Light, although he was even more unrealistic, evoking the child prodigy and boy detective clichés among other things; I mostly found myself rooting for him rather than the protagonist. Light's eventual “girlfriend” falls in love with him, to the extent of obsession, right away, as the plot commands it, and this insufficiently-explored obsession with him defines her entire character. There is absolutely nothing to her besides that, despite her eventually becoming one of the most significant characters in the series. In all actuality, the motivations for most characters, besides the protagonist and the Shinigami, are hazy at best and, with the exception of L, none of them are interesting in the slightest.
There are some religious symbolisms and themes, which are underplayed and done well until a forced Christ allegory towards the middle, but this all kind of falls apart in the second half and all of the symbolism disappears. To make matters more dire, the already limited development of the protagonist stagnates and his adversary is quickly replaced by two identical, yet duller and less compelling, copies. At the same time, while the developments and additional rules to Light’s ability in the first half were often a bit contrived, they were usually better than nothing; pretty much all evolution stops in the second half, and it only gets worse. The anime essentially loses everything that it ever had going for it, and it then stays in that inadequate stage for the remainder of the plot, all leading up to an anticlimactic conclusion that the audience knew was coming from the very beginning. The anime would have lost nothing to speak of had that conclusion come at least 10 episodes earlier than it did. Therefore, as the plot progressed, it increasingly lost its higher significance and simultaneously started to wear thin the initial appeal of its premise.
The art is arguably the strongest, or least flawed, aspect of Death Note, the character design being particularly astounding, with the exception of a couple characters introduced in the second half whose designs were either dumb-looking or recycled. The art is generally pretty atmospheric and it never skimps on detail out of convenience, although not much detail is required in the first place. The design of the main antagonist, while understated, is particularly impressive due to the fact that he manages to be very aesthetically appealing, despite the ridiculous heroin chic vibe that the audience gets from him. The animation is nothing special, but it does not really have to be; this is not an action series. I feel like the art for the manga was superior, and it could have been done better in the anime adaptation, but any complaints I have about it are relatively minor.
In the end, what Death Note did accomplish was hackneyed and not all that original; it could not be called “deep” nor was it ever cutting-edge in the grand scheme of things. The coincidences and general improbabilities that drove the plot bar it from being called “realistic,” more than the out-there premise ever could. That said, it should be given some credit for featuring a true antihero, who is still often admired by the audience, and ultimately not being afraid to portray him as pathetic. It also never used the character’s high school age as an excuse to throw light school-life hijinks into the plot. But these positive qualities unfortunately failed to have too much influence in the industry, and they are additionally outweighed by negatives in the universe of the anime itself. Code Geass, a blatant Death Note rip-off, wasted no time at all in taking every single good Death Note did and flipping it all on its head. I might recommend Death Note, if only for the first half, but only with a warning that it fell apart and that even the first half is not as great as it's often made out to be. You honestly might be best off watching the first half and simply skimming the plot summary of the second, because it has nothing of value to offer the viewer beyond that point.
There's something fundamentally contrived about Death Note which takes what would normally be its best quality, the story/plot, and makes it difficult for a viewer to enjoy it once they start questioning the plot points and devices. For different people, these are things that can either be overlooked or overtake the show absolutely, and it really depends on both how critically one wants to watch Death Note and how far they're willing to suspend their disbelief. The major problem Death Note faces is how seriously it takes the threat of a killer notebook being dropped into the world, and how realistic a stance
it takes on the response by police forces. Since it attempts to be as realistic as possible given a fantastic story, the viewer is forced to start viewing the show critically, and if you're like me, it might ruin the show as your critical viewing and analyzing, since it does have a mystery side, will slowly chip away at how much you're able to overlook plotholes and points that don't make much sense.
But I digress, there isn't much I can say in the way of what exactly makes the plot "fundamentally contrived" without revealing too much and giving away some spoilers, but I'll do my best to give you my position and why I rated the show a four.
The story is the most important part of a show that focuses most of its time developing plot. As far as I'm concerned, the actual story that the show puts together isn't bad, it's the way that it is executed that puts the score so low for me. There's major problems with the way that the drama is created. The main character is essentially given something extremely powerful and, in some ways, overpowered, in order to make it realistic that he would act the way he does in an attempt to establish his own ideals. It would be impossible to justify the main characters actions, especially after making him a genius, if the Death Note wasn't so grandly unfair in its power. Of course, this forces and equally unfair opponent, which is where most of the "contrived" nature of the show comes from. The story focuses on L, a detective, trying to figure out who's killing people. The problem is that since its by a supernatural force, the writers are forced to create situations in which L is able to bypass his ignorance of the presence of supernatural forces and still get closer to the culprit. This culminates in a series of completely contrived assumptions that the detective L must make that are NEVER WRONG. And right there is where my main problem with the show is. Either L needs to know something and the show creates a situation in which he somehow obtains that information, or L makes an assumption and the show arranges itself such that the assumption is true and then provides some reason for why the assumption is logical and not, indeed, an ass-pull, when really every single one is an ass-pull.
A story that relies so heavily on assumption and then does a poor job justifying why those assumptions are being pursued is difficult to watch. It forces the show to create situations that seem too perfect, or plans that have a very slim chance of working, which of course work every time.
Nevertheless, moving away from this aspect, there are yet more problems. The show creates a set of rules early on to establish what's different between the world of Death Note and the regular world. There's a lot of rules and parameters. The show has issues dealing with these conditions later on when it realizes that the parameters that worked in the beginning now make things too difficult to create any sense of drama, since the person with the Death Note should, by any logical reasoning, have the absolute advantage all the time. Once again, the show is forced to create situations that seem unreal, or that seem to artificially enhance the abilities and luck of the opposing characters in order to make it somewhat believable that any conflict would actually occur, and in the process runs into problems with the conditions it sets up in the beginning. Sometimes it will ignore some basic principles it had set up for a scene beforehand, and your left wondering why that information or ability was ignored, or why the character doesn't just _______ or _______. In the end, the story could have been executed much better with simple changes that wouldn't require contrived scenes and turns of events. When the show attempts to artificially inflate one scene with more drama by creating a new aspect to the whole situation, it just makes future scenes more difficult because now it has to deal with what it created beforehand. All of this together makes the story difficult to believe and watch.
It's a not a show you watch for the art. It's got some pretty backgrounds, but you don't watch an animation for still shots of some city backgrounds now do you? The animation isn't anything extraordinary. "Action" usually takes the form of camera pans and people writing in notebooks. Of course, that isn't to say that it isn't pretty or well drawn, but it just isn't anything spectacular.
Once again, the soundtrack isn't anything to write home about, and some songs get played so often that it's almost comical. They did take some risks with the OPs, making them heavy rock/metal, but once again, nothing too special here. The music suits the setting/scenes well, but that's what you should be expecting from a professionally produced show, right? Standards might be set in different places for some people, but this isn't a soundtrack I'll be listening to after the fact.
There's also some major problems with the characters, not so much as with the story but enough to be of note.
The first problem is with the main character, an antihero named Light. He's introduced as your cliche "tired with the world" guy who's "too smart for this shit" and looks down on others. He has a sense of justice that centers around punishment for all those who "deserve" it, and makes this very clear. Light develops into something like your classic villain who sits in an armchair tapping his fingers together and who cackles and smiles evily every time something goes "exactly as planned". I've never had a problem with plans coming together perfectly, in fact I like it better than the overdone "perfect plan falls apart but the heroes pull through anyway because of some bullshit", but Light's plans... well... the most I'll say is that both you and he should have little reason to believe that they will work, but most of the time they will anyway, regardless of what logic may say. This gets even worse as time goes on and the situation gets even more dramatized and on a larger scale.
Another issue I had was that Light makes some pretty questionable choices even though he's introduced as a genius, and most of those choices seem to be written in specifically for the purpose of giving the opposition a chance.
L is the only other problem character. I've already discussed it, but it's not realistic to believe that he's good enough at detective work to literally defy probability and reason multiple times in a row and be correct. While he's weird and goofy, and sometimes he's actually clever and not just given wisdom from the writing staff, but he's given too much help from the writing staff to be a believable character.
Misa is just sort of annoying, but I have no real complaints about her character other than that. She's your typical head-over-heels MC loving character and pretty much is introduced for the sole purpose of ensuring that neither party, Light or L, gets too much of an upper hand before the show has run long enough to replay the same sequence of events over and over again.
It's difficult to enjoy a show that, against your better judgement, you start analyzing. The main problem is that it's difficult NOT to look at the show critically when it's analyzing itself in the first place through detective work and giving you every reason to believe you should be treating the actions occurring as realistic outside of the existence of the Death Note in the real world. The problems with execution are a real shame, because the show could have been very enjoyable if it allowed a viewer enough room to suspend disbelief without crossing the line and forcing the viewer to turn a blind eye if they wished to continue without getting critical of the plot and characters.
I realize that my opinion is probably unpopular, and I expect that there's going to be some sort of backlash because of how low a score I'm giving to an extremely popular show, but I had real issues with the execution and couldn't look past the problems I saw. The show could have been much better if they had gone about allowing the plot to progress in a more believable manner instead of stuffing it full of drama that forced unbelievable events to occur.
The #1 popular anime on this site, and perhaps in the world. But does Death Note deserve all that popularity and praise? People are entitled to their own opinions based off of how they perceived (if there were any) the themes in Death Note, and how much people individually enjoyed the anime. But this anime is definitely one that EVERYONE should watch and decide for themselves how much they like/dislike it. If you haven't seen Death Note yet, then I'd definitely recommend you to watch it, because in my own opinion, Death Note is the greatest anime made. Of course, I may have over-thought the
"deep" concepts in Death Note that may not have been written to be interpreted that way, but I'll write in my review, facts and the way I personally interpreted Death Note.
First off the story was surprisingly simple, yet captivating, creative, and rather genius. The story is told not from the view of the 2 main characters, but from the view of a Shinigami (God of Death), named Ryuk. Ryuk's world, the Shinigami realm is boring and slowly rotting away, and so, seeking excitement and a way out of his boring, repeating daily routines, Ryuk drops his Death Note into our human world. On Earth, in Tokyo, Japan, a genius, bored and disgusted (of our world) high school teenager, Light Yagami picks up the Death Note. Out of curiosity to see if what he has in his possession is an actually a deadly mass-murder weapon, (Death Note: Any human whose name is written in this note shall die) Light writes down the name of a criminal that was on TV in the notebook. 40 seconds later, the criminal is confirmed to have been found dead. Finding out the true power of the Death Note, Light accepts his "role" in life, and vows to use this Death Note for justice; to cleanse out evil from the world and make the world a better/safer place. Light claims that he will become pure justice itself in the world. In society, some people see Light's actions as wrong, and some as right; the public names Light, "Kira" derived from the American world: Killer. Then there's the world's greatest detective L (Lawliet) who sees Kira's actions as morally wrong, and pure evil; and L believes that he is "righteous justice". L teams up with the Japanese Task Force Police in an attempt to capture this criminal murdering, "Kira" guy. And so, the epic, and intelligent Cat & Mouse game between Light and L begins. Justice Vs Justice. Who will win, and who is true justice?
Often in great literature, the main character is a morally ambiguous character who has a naive dream that eventually leads him to his downfall; teaching the viewers/readers a life-lesson. Such is the case with Death Note. Light's dream to kill all the criminals in society today, and then become the God (Ruler) of the world was very, very naive. First off, when a criminal dies, there'll be another criminal that takes his/her place, the cycle will never end: that's human nature, we're not made to be pure and perfect. Secondly, killing criminals is not the solution to creating a better world. Killing other humans, even if they are this so-called "evil", is just wrong to begin with. But what about pollution, rich, corrupt business men/government employees? This is our reality, there will never be a perfect world, and no human will ever be perfect. Light Yagami's dream of getting rid of criminals started out as pure and naive, but as the temptation of power and struggle for survival increases, the purity of his dream dies away. There's a famous saying, "Absolute power, corrupts absolutely." Light Yagami and his dream became corrupt as the story progressed, and he eventually gets overwhelmed by the immense greatness of his power/dream. Light had a bright future, and everything a teenage boy could want. He was accepted into the greatest college, as the top student, his family was financially stable, and he lots of friends/ and girls that like him. But because of a naive dream, he loses everything, his future, his happiness, and his innocence. I believe that the anime sends a message to the viewers about corruption, temptation, right/wrong, righteous/evil, and accepting reality. The apple was referred to as Ryuk's favorite fruit, and comes up quite often in the anime. Why do you think that is? It's because apple's are the symbol for temptation (Adam and Eve), and the Death Note in the anime is often connected to an apple (and when Light uses the Death Note, it's like he's taken a bite from the apple and gives into temptation). Is what Light did right? In my opinion, NO. Is Light evil? That's where he's morally ambiguous. Is Light's mindset evil, or is the power to kill (Death Note) the real evil? Moving onto L Lawliet's character: To me, L is a character that represents Jesus. He came, and served in order to protect the people, even those that didn't trust/like him. If you watch Death Note, then on episode 25 before an absolutely tragic climax, there's a scene that's the betrayal of Judas (to Jesus), which was represented by Light and L. Honestly, I may have over-thought things, but from my take of the anime, this is why I believe Death Note is a masterpiece, and perhaps the greatest anime I've ever seen.
The art and music in the anime were masterful. This anime was made almost 10 years ago, can you believe that? But the art still bests most of the art today, not in the sense of beauty, but in the sense of matching the mood of the anime and realism. I particularly liked the portrayal of Light and L. Light was portrayed as a very handsome teenager, who was bright and popular, while on the other hand, L was portrayed as an (not so good-looking), isolated, weirdo. I found that to be pretty symbolic actually. But enough with the symbolism, and onto the soundtracks. The soundtrack in Death Note is the best soundtrack in an anime, period. Not only are the music delightful to listen to, but they also fit the anime perfectly, and the soundtrack built up the suspense in every episode. Each character got their own theme song (all amazing), there were church chants (matched the mood of the anime perfectly), and EPIC songs (that made the anime so epic, despite there being no physical action). Well, deserved 10/10s.
I will not write about how much and why I enjoyed this anime, because then it would take up probably 10 pages of writing. I'll just say that this is (in my opinion and many other's) the greatest anime ever, and that everyone, no matter what genre you like, should AT LEAST give a watch. If you don't like it, then that's fine, everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but not giving Death Note a try, would be a mistake of a lifetime. Thanks for reading.
Death Note is probably one of the best series I’ve ever seen. What I really like about it is that I feel the need to pay attention – that rarely happens with the other series I’ve watched. If you blink too much you might miss what’s happening.
Everything that happened was just so interesting. The details are always so well thought of and there are little to no loopholes. I think something major happens in each episode. I always have my jaw dropped at the end of each episode. I do have to admit that Death Note died down around 25-26. I’ll leave it at that
to avoid spoilers.
The characters are just amazing. The way they think and act really contributes to the output of the story. I like how Light, despite his evil and sick ways (I hate his evil grins and laughs, but I love him at the same time!), is made to be the hero of the story. He’s actually more like an anti-hero. Although I have to say, he is very smart. If I didn’t know who Kira was, I would think he was someone like Light. However, I love L even more! He’s really, really smart and quick. I also love observing his eccentricities. Another character I like is Light’s dad – Soichiro Yagami. His attitude, personality and beliefs are to be admired. I also like Mello, mostly because he’s good eye candy. Men in leather = perfect eye candy. Misa is OK too – she’s kind of a brat, but she is funny.
The voice acting made the characters even more appealing and interesting. L sounds like he’s eating his words, but it fits his personality really well. I hate Light’s mocking laughter and I scringe when he uses “Boku” instead of “Ore” but again, it fits his personality. Plus there’s Aya Hirano for Misa. Basically any character Aya Hirano plays comes out great.
I always say that anything Madhouse animates is good enough for me. The same is true with Death Note. The animation is really good and for some reason, it reminds me of Batman. Maybe it’s because Ryuk looks a bit like the Joker from the Batman series? The color coordination fits the mood and feel of the series. Most of the colors are dark and neutral and bright colors such as pink and yellow were rarely used.
Most of the BGM were really eerie and creepy, again complimenting and accentuating the theme of Death Note. I really love the opening and ending themes too, especially the second OP and ED. Maximum the Hormone’s “What’s up, People?” really rocks. I still can’t get enough of it until now.
I’m almost sorry, no I am sorry that I put it on hold for so long. I definitely was missing out and I hate myself for not realizing it sooner. I guess I’m hooked, like all the other Death Note fans out there. For me, Death Note in a word is - Brilliant.
Watching this anime for the first time after all the praise I've heard for it lead me to be extremely disappointed.
At first, the premise is interesting. The characters are interesting, everything just seems good.
But as you continue watching it only sinks further and further down hill.
Twists are as heavy handed as they are predictable, Plot holes appear every minute, The characters become less and less believable and well, kind of stupid.
There's instances in the series where a character would have to be a complete moron to fall for what's going on. This is done for the purpose of making the main character seem like a
Now really, if you have to sink to that, it's just better off not doing.
Now, I'll speak on behalf of one of the series's fine points, which is its art.
The character design and overall look of Death Note is very nice and aesthetically pleasing.
But aside from that, it's failed potential through and through.
There's a few characters who are actually likable, but they're not enough to save Death Note from itself.
Death Note is not a thinking man's anime. It's not even a good anime.
Death Note is just bad.
It's pretentious but also ridiculously silly, a terrible combination.
Because let's face it, what's really worse than a terrible show that takes itself seriously?
This is one of the most engaging thriller anime i have ever seen EVER. How could that be? Let me count the ways...
Story - The first story arc involves an extremely intelligent high schooler (Yagami Light) with the power to kill against the best detective the world has to offer (only known to the world as "L"). Its a classic story of cat and mouse, one consistently outwitting the other with cunning tactics and sly tricks. Each episode also leaves the viewer with just enough suspense to keep you wanting more EVERYTIME! Not only that, like any good detective show (i.e. CSI), both main characters
love to tell the viewers exactly how they pull off plans and show of their intelligence.
Animation its very good and smooth no stuttering. The whole screen seems to have a purpose. The mood of the whole show is dark and shadowy theme which is why its predominantly black, night scenes, dark lit rooms, clothing, etc. The great thing about having the main theme as black is that they can portray certain emotions easier (i.e. snow representing innocence, apples being bright red, protagonist = white, antagonist = black, etc.) my only gripe is mostly dark... you'll understand when you start watching.
Without a good storyline and good animation, you might as well throw the characters out the window since you wont relate to them. But thanks to the outstanding story and very good animation, the characters are some of the best in the business. You'll really relate to the characters point of view, thanks mainly to their thoughts being spoken aloud. They take "getting inside their head" to a whole new level.
Overall this is one anime that you wont forget for a long LONG time...
Death Note is original, awesome, and a great anime to watch. The only reason it isn't perfect is because of Near who has to be the lamest enemy ever. Also, the ending was a total cop-out. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB.
The art wasn't that great, but I sure did like this anime anyway.
The sound was fitting; it suited the tense atmosphere and scenes.
The characters were all intriguing and deep, especially Light. It's cool to see such an evil protagonist in an anime. He's certainly original.
If you want a super-cool anime to watch, watch Death Note. Except for L and Near, who made everything
Basically a brief summary of Death Note from my point of view:
Death Note is a show that needs no introduction at all. The name is on pretty much everyone's lips, the people who have watched it or not and one thing which is certainly true is that if you aren't living under a rock all this time there's a very good chance you have heard the name atleast once in your life. It's one of the very few mediums that have crossed boundaries of it's specific origin and in this case, anime. Yes, Death Note is a name that has gone beyond the peripheral reaches
of animation and is on a whole new level shared by a few. Dragon Ball Z, Attack on Titan, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood etc. are some of the titles if named. Even so, there's a great amount of daylight between all these and Death Note, which stands atop the popularity section here on Myanimelist, with members flowing in and the number rising by the second.
The moment you step inside the world of Death Note, it takes a firm hold of you, denying to let go. The adrenaline this show provides is immense, keeping the viewer on his toes for almost every minute of the twenty-three. This is one of the greatest assets and the very core of success for Death Note. With a mind-boggling storyline and head-twisting plot twists, Death Note leaves no chance for the viewer to look away and is captivating throughout the entire process. And thus it also provides a high rewatch value. Perhaps one major mistake the show made is by introducing the two antagonists in the form of Near and Mello. With the addition of these two and Light seemingly in reach of his motive, Death Note loses all its tension and thrill which was imminent in the first arc of the show. To put it rightly, the story gets all mixed up and moves away slowly from its path. This however is not a good reason to look down on the show as a whole, which is still extremely and incredibly well executed. The popularity of Death Note and the fact that is one of the greatest piece of art ever made goes hand in hand with over 669k members and growing by the second. Death Note's place is cemented as the show that lit a fire on the industry and produced an inferno that would last forever.
Before you read this review I want you to know that a "10" does not mean perfect, because nothing is perfect. A rating of "10" is what MAL says it is, "outstanding."
I'm not going to bother writing a synopsis of the preface of the story since you can read one if you scroll up a little. So moving onto to what I thought of it:
One of the things I loved about Death Note is I felt the need to pay attention. If you don't, you're going to miss what's going on -- and not only did I need to pay attention, I wanted
to. Something I haven't experienced in an anime for a long time. The story was unique, original, intriguing, and really makes you rethink your own morals and views on the world, another thing I had yet to experience while watching an anime. On a side note, I personally loved the motifs, themes and symbols seen in the anime -- they're very original and really reflect the plot and just make you say, wow. How cool.
Some argue that Death Note sank after the first 25 episodes or so, but I happen to beg to differ. Just because a certain character isn't there anymore doesn't mean the story is any worse. In fact, in my opinion it only got more suspenseful and exciting until the excellent and stunning finale. The story is outstanding.
I can't really elaborate much on the art and animation seen in Death Note. To reflect the dark plot, bright colors were rarely used which I view a plus, animation flowed nicely for the most part and the hair especially I think was well-animated and looked nice. Nothing really spectacular about it though. Very good art, but nothing more, nothing less.
A very good bonus that I fear some may overlook in Death Note was the sound and music. Sure, I didn't personally like the second opening all that much (though I <3 the first) but it's incredibly fitting to the series and all the animation in each opening and ending themes are very nice and original. However, the real thing I want to touch on here is the amazing job done by the voice actors. Most notably Mamoru Miyano's role as Light Yagami. It was absolutely stunning and most excellent. Of course, that's not to say the other voice actors did a bad job, in fact, they also did fantastic, but he stood out the most to me personally.
Along with the initial plot, themes & motifs, the best part of Death Note is the characters. Oh, the characters. I can almost guarantee you'll come to love one and loathe another. The characters are original and full of life as opposed to boring archetypes that I seem to be seeing more of everyday in anime. Not only that, but Death Note has easily brought me some of the most unique characters I've ever seen an anime, hands down, which I believe to be a very good thing.
Those of you who've read my other reviews should know by now that I don't let "enjoyment" affect my overall score since it's pure personal opinion -- obviously someone who doesn't like a psychological-shounen-drama like Death Note won't enjoy it -- however, I enjoyed every single episode, every single minute, and every single second immensely. To this date (August 16, 2008), Death Note stands as my #1 favorite anime. It brought a new light to something I didn't think was possible to be in an anime with wonderful character, a unique and original plot that makes you really think, and just an overall terrific thrill ride.
I might be the only living anime fan that hasn’t enjoyed Death Note. The reason really is because it seemed to be gimmicky to me. It doesn’t mean this series is in any way bad, no not at all, it just isn’t my cup of tea as they say. After about half the series I began to feel less and less like finishing, counting the number of episodes I had left to watch. To be honest it is a quality series with many and more good features, themes, characters and ideas, but it just didn’t mesh with me.
in the series is its strongest points and the voice it uses to tell the story in each episode is very strong, I suppose the real problem I had was with the supporting characters, I just didn’t find any of them really entertaining. The plot was good and can keep you on your toes. The series also keeps up a good pace throughout. Would I watch it again? No. Does that mean you shouldn’t watch it? No, if you enjoy decent anime with horror/supernatural themes with a splash drama then you’ll be truly happy with Death Note, so sayth Lord Nyarlathotep.
“The human whose name is written in this note shall die.” – Death Note
Imagine one day you come across a notebook, but it’s not like those notebooks that you can buy at the nearest bookstore for a buck or two. By writing someone’s name on that notebook, you can kill that someone. What would you do? Would you kill those people who bully you during your grade school? Would you kill those who rejected you when you confessed your love? Or would you…?
The story of Death Note starts when a perfect student, appearance-wise and intelligence-wise, Yagami Light comes across the Death Note, a Shinigami’s (God
of Death, literally) notebook. On Death Note, an instruction of how to use the Death Note is written in English language. Light, being curious, tries to write a criminal’s name onto the Death Note, and much to his disbelief, the criminal dies. Light then vows to rid the world of evil to make a better world, he executes every criminal under the alias of Kira (Japanese interpretation for the English word “killer”). Fast forward for a few weeks, the polices begin to notice there are unusual deaths going among the criminals, they then decide to bring in the legendary detective L to track down whoever is killing the criminals. Although it is true that the criminal rate has gone down drastically ever since Kira shows up, L believes that Kira is promoting peace in the wrong way.
First of all, I have to say that the art is really well-drawn. Although it is tagged as shounen and most of the time it shows guys, the girls are really well drawn as well. The art style in this anime is really suitable for the genre. The art tries to be as “anime-like” as possible while maintaining its realistic and mysterious quality. I personally think there isn’t any better-suited drawing style for Death Note.
I like to think that I’m an audiophile myself, and I find this anime really interesting sound-wise. The background music, which slides in every now and then, will allow you to feel the suspense and keep you on the edge of your seat. The voice actors/actresses are also very good. The voices for "shinigamis" are well dubbed in a hoarse voice.The opening and ending songs are really good, lyrics wise and music wise.
The characters are very unique and varied. Light won’t bat an eye when he is killing other people, L likes to sit with his legs raised on the chair. Light and L are pretty much opposite in everything they do, but they both don’t like losing, and they will do practically anything to avoid it. Other characters, like Amane Misa, which will be introduced later as the anime goes, is also very unique. Out of all the characters in the anime, I personally find L very interesting.
Death Note is one of those animes that require a bit of thinking in order for you to fully understand what’s going on. It’s really interesting to see how Kira and L try to outsmart one another, and it’s even more interesting when you can actually understand why they do what they do. That aside, if you are looking for some easy-viewing anime without any thinking, Death Note definitely is not your cup of tea.
For those of you romance-lovers: although Death Note does provide some romance, (and by some, I totally meant little to none) expect to see Light doing some romantic manipulation scenes instead of lovey-dovey scenes.
Bottom line, I really enjoyed this anime, and I will recommend this to almost anyone out there with decent comprehension level. Although this anime is relatively old (it was released in 2006), I feel the need to review this anime since I think this anime is hands-down one of the best animes out there. If you like those animes which require you to think, give this anime a shot and let me know what you think below! Oh, my personal favorite character is L, what’s yours?
When approaching Death Note it is important not to let any preconceptions you may have about the series cloud your vision of the series itself. Being one of the most popular anime/manga series of recent times, means that it has its fair share of both advocates and detractors. In fact it is easy to have already formed an opinion on Death Note without having watched a single episode or read a single volume.
So, does it live up to the hype? Is Death Note a series worth watching? Well, the answer, as is often the case, is both yes and no.
The series' plot is one of
it's major selling points. Being somewhat loosely classed as a 'Psychological thriller', the storyline is the single most important aspect of the series' success. The series certainly starts out strongly, with the first five or so episodes being an expositional roller-coaster, the series, whilst being a tale of the supernatural, remains grounded in the real world. The characters are empathetic, with the two leads sitting on different sides of a distinct moral fence. However, about halfway through, the series begins to take a turn for the worse. The frequent logical jumps made by the characters become more impossible (I know they're supposed to geniuses, but come on!), their motives and intentions become cloudier and the plot begins to lose the fast pace it had in the beginning. By the time it reaches it's climax, the plot plods along without much motivation. Reasons and motives are never really fully explained, and when they are they don't always make a lot of sense and tend to be very confused. As is often the case with series that have explosive beginnings, Death Note peters out towards the end, to the point in which you are left uninterested in the climactic final episode.
In terms of artwork, however, Death Note is sublime. The entire series is conducted in a 'realistic' greyish filter with no real bright colours. The characters are wonderfully animated, and the stylistic 'epic-writing' scenes are a wonder to behold (if not somewhat ridiculous). The audio aspect of the series, however is a bit of a mixed bag. The voice actors all do good work with their roles, and some of the music is very good indeed, the first ED in particular is excellent. However, the background music and sound of much of the series is not particularly notable, and a the second two OP and EDs are, in my opinion, far inferior to their predecessors.
In terms of characters, Death Note provides us with an interesting selection. We have the Gary Stu main character, who (one suspects) is somewhat of a wish-fulfilment character for the author, and his nemesis, L, who spend most of his spare time eating a variety of chocolates and cakes without putting on any weight. Both of which are prone to omniscient leaps of logic, jumping to the correct conclusions without any significant evidence, or even hunches. Probably the most interesting character of the series is Ryuuk, the Death God, who gets unfortunately little screen time as the series progresses. Ryuuk spends most of his time cackling, eating apples and looking gangly, a refreshing simple character in a Byzantine series.
As I have already mentioned, I initially enjoyed the series greatly, the characters were fresh and the plot interesting enough. However, the series starts needlessly complicating things around episode 15 with triple and even quadruple bluffs from the two main characters playing off against one another. The change in tone and pace after episode 25 also dampened my enjoyment of the series, with new characters being introduced that were either uninteresting or gimmicky (Melo's chocolate bar chomping and N's toys got old pretty quickly).
Despite a somewhat scathing review compared to other reviews on this site, I do not think Death Note is a bad anime. On the contrary it has a refreshingly unique concept, and the characters, despite being somewhat idealised, are likeable and interesting. However, a dramatic decline in quality and pace, as well as issues with the plot means that this anime cannot really be truly considered an all-time great