MiNiSoTaN's Death Note Review
Hello. My name is Neill or "MiNi." This will be my in depth review of Death Note, the 2007 adaption of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata's critically acclaimed manga. With all my reviews I will score the anime discussed based upon 5 categories that include: Story, Characters, Art, Music, and Personal Enjoyment. Each category will be given a score between 0 and 10. The ending score will be what I determine the show deserves overall. Keep in mind I will be talking about spoilers that occurred during the anime along with spoilers of the light novels that proceed after. Now, without further ado, let's get into this.
Tsugumi Ohba's magnum opus will be Death Note. He crafts a story so masterfully that to say it is brilliant would be an understatement. Death Note's story is so unique and so twisted that it truly is one of the most original stories of the modern age.
We begin inside the mind of Light Yagami, just an ordinary high school student following the motions of his boring day to day life. Ohba portrays Light in such a cunning way that the audience both is both rooting for and against him by the end of the series. The way Light evades the police and L through his carefully constructed plans is incredible to watch. The back and forth nature of who can outsmart who has you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire story. I cannot stress enough how intrigued I was watching the plot unfold. Even today, I go back and forth between supporting Light and L. I never decided who I wanted to win. This is due to how well the and complex the story is. There is no real clear answer to who is the "better" one. Both Light and L have valid reasons as to why they think they're superior.
Each twist and turn in the plot is a train ride as well. From beginning to end you believe one character has the other outclassed, but there is always another card to be played on the table. This game of cat and mouse never never gets old even as the series grows in length. Even during the later half of the season I was still enthralled by how this tale would end, and honestly I still don't quite know how I feel about it. On one hand I was rooting for Light and his conquest to be the king of the new world. On the other, I did want to see him fail and see how he would react. The ending to this show left me with a hole in my heart I don't know if any other series can fill. The only gripes that I had with it were some of the dragged out arcs during the mid season that I felt could be been cut down a little bit. Other than that however, the story exceeded my expectations upon the first watch and I am excited to experience it again.
Overall, the story of Death Note is unparalleled. There will never be another anime to do something that Death Note did. For how long it stays its welcome it almost never feels boring or unnecessary. Death Note bring fourth to the screen a masterclass story that will forever be unrivaled.
Light Yagami: Each and every character are written incredible well within the world of Death Note. But two stand out above everyone. One of those characters is Light Yagami. The way he can switch back and forth between his two personalities that of Kira and Light is amazing to watch. Not only his tone of voice, but facial expressions, actions, his entire personality. Light is extremely cunning to everyone around him. It is easy to see how he evaded the police for so long, there would be no reason to suspect him. His plan to be the god of the new world although seemingly far fetched would have easily been obtainable if it were not for one person.
L: You remember how I said there were two characters that stood out in terms of how brilliant they were? Well, the second one is L. We are introduced to him very early on in the series, but even then it takes quite a bit of time before we even see his face. L is the main antagonist for the series. The Ying to Light's Yang. L and Light compliment each other so well. The mannerisms that L displays were a shock at first but eventually you begin to understand as to why he does them. Being the greatest detective in the world, watching L deduce to probabilities of who Kira is is fantastic to watch. Obata clearly put a lot of time into fully fledgling out the characters of Death Note in order for a character so absurd as L to fit in so well. It is easy to see why many regard him as one of if not their favorite character in all of anime.
Ryuk: The world of Death Note doesn't actually begin in its actual world. Rather, we are introduced to the world of the Shinigami. Ryuk ends up getting bored of gambling bones and decides to drop a Death Note into the human world and see what will happen. Ryuk is one of the many highlights of the series. Although his appearance is scary, he often adds moments of humor to lighten up the show. His addition of dialogue allows the viewers toidelve deeper into the lore of the Shinigami and the rules of Death Note as well, which is something I personally enjoy quite a bit.
Misa: A character introduced later into the series, Misa is someone who at first I didn't really understand. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but there was something off with her where I felt she didn't fully below. As the show progressed I became to empathize with her and liked her much more as she was fledged out. Although not a super important character in the series she does play a role that I as a viewer greatly appreciated.
Near: Near is the one character I believe will have the most divide amount Death Note fans. Seemingly a copy of L, Near makes his entrance immediately after the death of L in order to finish the job L began and put Kira to justice. This is the point in the series where I felt like dragged a little bit. I still felt it was executed well, but to many, seemed unnecessary, included with that notion is the addition of Near. Near again to any viewer literally is a clone of L. He has the similar quirks and sleuthing skills. It seemed a little odd to kill off L only to add basically the same persona. Regardless, he is written and portrayed well just like every character within the series.
Death Note is one of the few anime you can watch that has a distinct art style. No other anime combines the jagged and sharp look of characters hair and mixes it with softer more playful looking eyes. Unlike other more traditional styles of anime where the personality and character is told in someone's eyes, Death Note places the emphasis on every other part of the person's body. Most of the eyes are soft with little detail. The absence of detail is not an insult, rather it is something unique noticed throughout the art style.
Beside the design of character the general art of the world is very grim and gray scaled. It fits perfectly with the theme of the show. Very rarely will you see happier looking colors. More often than not the scene will be set in a room of drab browns, blacks, and grays to wash out any onset of happiness. This is something that was deliberately shown to keep the watcher fixated on the sad and dull outlook of the world. I believe it was done exceptionally well. Although not going out of their way to create something never seen before, Death Note delivers on the art style to be exactly what you would expect.
The music of Death Note is something anyone will enjoy. Every single song makes you feel something. The uncomfortable and eerie chord changes throughout each of Light's Theme leaves your skin crawling with goosebumps. The quite twinkling of piano combined with subtle but sharp guitar picking is something I will never get tired of. Every scene has music that perfectly accompanies the atmosphere. You never feel as if something is off in terms of sound. Death Note strikes a perfect chord in my book on how to make sound good within an anime.
Personal Enjoyment (10/10):
It's easy to say that Death Note is one of my favorite anime of all time. There should be no question as to why many regard this as one of the first classics of the modern age. It's combination of incredible story telling, perfectly written characters and an amazing score to accompany it, solidifies Death Note as a unique work of fiction that comes once in a lifetime. I was left on the edge of my seat after each episode wanting more and wanting the series to go further with more risks and it always delivered. I could go on and one about how much I love this series, but I will leave it at this. Death Note is amazing, and truly one of the only unique stories in all of anime.
Final Thoughts and Score:
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Ep 1. Rebirth
Ep 2. Confrontation
Ep 4. Tactics
Ep 5. Unraveling
Ep 6. Overcast
Ep 9. Encounter
Ep 14. Friend
Ep 15. Wager
Ep 25. Silence
Ep 26. Renewal
Ep 35. Malice
Ep 36. 1.28
Ep 37. New World
Personal Enjoyment: (10/10)
FINAL SCORE: (9/10)