1. Genshisuru Kami (Visions of a God)
A two hour episode of Death Note, mainly a compilation of the confrontations between Light and L, re-edited from Ryuk's perspective with new dialogue and soundtrack along with additional animation that could not be included in the original series. An Unnamed Shinigami comes to Ryuk to question him about his new story in the human world.
2. L o Tsugu Mono (L's Successors)
This story continues where the previous left off, continuing the story of Light. As the previous special told Light and L's battles, this story does the same with the conflicts between Light, Mello, and Near.
[Since writing this review originally, the two specials of Death Note Rewrite have been merged, this review refers to the first episode: Genshisuru Kami]
For all those who've seen the main TV series, this special episode is essentially a summary of all the events leading up until the end of L's arc in the overall story.
Story (8): Nothing new really. It simply takes the events of the main TV series and compresses it into the space of a little over 2 hours. I gave it an eight simply because it is essentially the overall story line which I was already familiar with. At first, I was a little bored to some extent with the story as I felt it was simply a bit of a cheat from the makers as, although it is meant to be the story told from the point of view of Ryuk, it just seemed like a shortened version of the story and didn't have the Ryuk-oriented spin which I expected. It does have some new scenes in there but they probably only constitute for about 15mins of the 2 hour 10 min running time. Unavoidably also, is because of the inevitable shortening of length you sometimes miss out on some of the more comical aspects of the show (in particular, that related to Matsuda and Misa).
However, if you can get past those facts, you can actually start enjoying it. If you watch it as though it is a summary of L's arc, then you'll likely enjoy it more than if treat it as some new item.
Art (9): All the same kind of animation from the show (which was very good), since it uses mostly the clips from the show.
Sound (9): Again very good. Uses all the original music and has the same voice actors for all the new, added parts. What I did like was the way that they managed to creatively use some of the music from the series to enhance certain scenes (e.g. the use one of the themes in the scene when chasing down the Yotsuba Kira).
Character (7): I gave this only a seven as I didn't feel the characters developed as wholly as they did in the series. For example, you didn't really get to the 'cleverness' going on in the battle of wits between L and Kira.
Enjoyment (7): I would say I enjoyed it a fair bit, but as mentioned above, it was nothing much new that I hadn't already seen.
Overall (8): If you're a fan of the series then I would say that this is probably a good recap for those who want to watch the series again but perhaps don't have the time to watch it all. A few more new scenes and maybe told more from Ryuk's point of view and it would have been a 9, but otherwise still a relatively enjoyable couple of hours.read more
Death Note Rewrite: The Visualizing God aired on Japanese TV on August 31st, 2007, and was produced and directed by Madhouse and Testuro Araki, respectively.
Death Note Rewrite is pretty much a recap of the first twenty-five new episodes compressed into two hours, with an alternate ending and a few minutes of new footage in the Shinigami realm added.
How much value you'll get out of it really depends on whether or not you've watched the series previously before going into this. If you're like me, and have seen the entire series leading up to this, then you'll find this pretty useless, except for maybe ten minutes out of the total two hours that's new footage, which is a pretty shit percentage. However, if you haven't seen the series at all, and are looking to get through the first half of the series in two hours instead of a half a day's worth of episodes, then this would be worth a watch, if you can figure out what's going on, as the recap doesn't really explain much.
Everything is pretty much the same as in the series, so I don't feel the need to reiterate what I said in my review of the series proper. Whether or not you get any value out of this "rewrite" really depends on if you've seen the show or not.
Hopefully, though, the next Rewrite will live up to its name and include more new footage.read more
Before I begin, I want to say that i'm not basing this review on the movie itself, i'm basing it on what it did differently from the anime. The reason being that the two movies are identical to the anime itself and there are no drastic changes.
If you've watched Death Note you'd know it's a spectacular show, one of the best Anime's out there. The movies don't change that at all, if anything the movies further show how good the series is, as well as fixing some things for the better. If you haven't seen the series, i recommend watching it because it's well worth the time. These movies were made for the people I assume don't have time to watch all 37 episodes. However this show is great and should be watched all the way through, consider these movies more like OVA's for people who already completed the show.
That being said lets begin. Both movies are essentially recaps of the series' two story arcs. Episodes 1-25 are captured in the first movie (Visions of a God), and episodes 26-37 are told in the second movie (L's successors). I'll first say that there is not much new content here, if you've seen the series you're not gonna see anything major that you haven't already watched. Still, both movies are an entertaining time nonetheless.
Visions of a God doesn't do anything major. At times the story can feel a bit rushed but it does help in the sense of eliminating any parts that felt slow during the series itself. It does change a few scenes, one being the way L and Light Yagami first meet. This was done to shorten it, however It doesn't take away from the depth of the story which is good. At the end of the movie there is a scene that we did not see in the anime, and it was cool to see something new. The story itself is told from Ryuk (The Death God)'s POV, I do wish we saw a bit more monologue or we could hear what he was thinking more often during each event. Aside from some other minor tweaks there's not much else to talk about, if you've watched the series or at least the first arc you're really not missing much by skipping this. Regardless i'd recommend it to fans of the show anyway. While it isn't the perfect recap I liked watching it nonetheless and enjoyed myself.
The second movie is the standout in my opinion, improving the second arc that I honestly didn't care for that much in the regular show. In terms of change, L's successors changed much more than Visions of a God did. It didn't change the plot, more or less changed some ways it was told. The movie actually made me appreciate the second arc alot more. There are a couple of parts to the story that are left out, but personally I didn't mind and if you haven't seen the show I don't think you'd realize you're missing much. Anyway, the pacing of the story is alot better than the first movie, even though the second arc is shorter, I didn't feel like the movie ever rushed itself. Just as Visions of a God did, the movie did add some scenes giving a bit more depth. There aren't many drastic changes even though I think the movie told the story of the second arc better than the anime in some ways. There are some things left out but like I said I wasn't bothered by it. Overall I did enjoy this movie more out of the two and It made me like the second story arc better than I initially did so that's a plus.
The movies aren't anything spectacular but I do think they're worth the watch just the same. They do add some cool scenes that we otherwise would've never seen, and the movies eliminate slow pacing issues even though there aren't many to begin with. If you truly don't have the time to watch the anime then this is for you. However if you're at least interested in Death Note i recommend watching the anime before these two specials. The movie had few plot holes but still, the anime is much more vast. Like I said though, the two relight specials are a good enjoyable watch if you're a fan of the series like me.
If you agreed give my review a thumbs up please (: thanks!read more
Due to this being a review of the second of two specials which condensed the entire 37 episode TV series into roughly four hours, I'm going to skip describing the story and covering what all semi-decent reviews of the TV series should by default, such as art/animation and sound. If I covered those aspects, I might as well be typing a review for the TV series instead. As I type this, I'm assuming the readers will already by familiar with Death Note, though I will hold back in order to avoid revealing all to those not in the know.
First of all, don't assume I hate Death Note because of my 5/10 score. The reverse is true - I love Death Note, it being one of very few titles to receive top marks from yours truly. Madhouse did a wonderful job of fitting 50+ chapters into 11.5 episodes with the last half of the story. The sappy 'original ending' marathon aside, it's the best manga adaptation I've seen to date, it actually improving on the manga by removing the content that slowed down the second half of the story needlessly. However, when they tried to fit the entire second half into 90 minutes - INCLUDING an introduction and two minutes of credits - the writing was already on the wall.
Right from the start, I had a feeling it wasn't going to be very good.. or, to be more precise, I had a feeling I'd be here, trying to express why I hated it. It started with L making a 'surprise' return, summarizing the first half, with new... animation. But there were only two shots of L - one with him standing at a distance and one from the side of his face - and only his lips moved. At that moment, I couldn't help but think of how little effort went into this special. And this turned out to true in the case of nearly all of the 'new' footage created in a failed attempt to connect a butchered version of the story, with a lot of awkward looking facial art and limited animation.
...Oh, yes, I mentioned 'sappy' above. If you happen to approve of the Madhouse ending and are in desperate need of something else to complain about, Madhouse delivered with one of the few truly new scenes added - one not added to simplify the story. The scene in question involves L, via a TV screen, explaining to the kids at Wammy's House how he's an idiot (I'm quoting him here) and, because he's an idiot, how he's afraid of being lied to. He rambles for awhile, pointing out how he loves the human race for their idiocy (the kids all pay attention because of this dramatic speech), and then it was over. I'm unsure if the Japanese > French > Engrish translation improved this scene or not, but it added nothing of value.
Anyway, moving away from sappy goings on and onto inconsistencies. Because of the huge amount of content that was cut (removal > rewrite), there are numerous inconsistencies present. The most bothersome inconsistency occurred towards the end, when Aizawa entered THE warehouse. In the full story, he goes in to confirm the identity of those inside, him having seen them all already beforehand... but the scene where he saw those people prior to that wasn't included in this special. How in the name of God could he have known if they were the real deal or not when he'd never seen them before? Was he upgraded to a psychic in order to further shorten the length? HOW!?
Maybe even worse yet, Near knew right from the start the identity of Kira. Death Note fans should be aware that Near, though suspicious, only became certain of the identity of Kira after interacting with him for awhile and nearly getting burned as a consequence. But in this woeful attempt at shortening the story, he just knew.
There are many other points I could mention, such as Light acquiring the services of Mikami and Takada before Near came into the picture - the special not even showing why Mikami or Takada were selected - but I won't to avoid going on forever. Just believe me when I say it's as much of a mess as you'd expect an attempt at condensing an already condensed last half of a story to be.
Fear not, though, as we aren't done yet. Not even close. I've saved the best for last.
Remember Light's dad? You know, that guy you never remember the name of and instead just refer as Light's dad? Yeah, him. Did you like the drama involving him in the TV series, where the climax of his story resulted in Light showing his true colours, and later played a key part in Matsuda's anger towards the end? Well, too bad - he isn't even mentioned in this... you know what, I'm tired of calling this a friggin' special. He isn't even a part of this SHIT. No shot of him, no explanation, no nothing. Madhouse remembered to get re-voiced Light dialogue to work around Matsuda's rage, but they couldn't be bothered to explain why Light's dad vanished into thin air. If it was me, and I wanted to butcher one my favourite things in existence, I'd at least have the decency to pull a sudden retirement out of my arse.
Linking into this wonderful omission is Mello, also known by the name of a certain Al Pacino movie in certain circles. But, clearly, Madhouse are not fond of his other name because, like with the poor old father of Light, they forgot to mention how he got his scar. He enters the picture without a scar, the ENTIRE mafia story is removed and then he re-emerges with a surprisingly more attractive face. Why even bother explaining such things? It isn't as if a Death Note newbie is going to be unlucky enough to watch only the... not-so-special-specials and wonder why such an illogical story is so loved. No siree bob!
...You know what, enough of this. All you really need to know is that this is garbage, with a high average rating only because of fanboyism beyond even my Death Note loving understanding. Even the music placement is off, Light's marathon being made worse as a result. If you like Death Note, stay the hell away or you'll more than likely end up imitating me, maybe with a slightly lower paragraph count. If you hate Death Note, by all means watch it - you'll find a lot to moan about and fulfillment. But, whatever you do, don't make the mistake of judging the manga and/or TV series based on this or its slightly less disappointing but by no means special prequel.