Anime Club: Death Note
Hello everybody! For this week’s anime club we have a highly-requested series Death Note.
DIRECTOR: Tetsurō Araki
GENRE: Detective fiction, Psychological thriller, Supernatural
YEAR: 2006 – 2007
Yagami Light is a 17-year-old genius from Japan who is tired of his life, school, and the state of the world as he knows it. One day, on the way home from class, Light stumbles upon a dark notebook with “Death Note” written on the front. Intrigued by its appearance, Light reads the first few sentences, only to find out that it states that anyone whose name is written inside will die. Discarding it as a joke, Light continues his daily activities. Soon after though, his human curiosity takes the better of him and prompts Light to try the notebook, discovering the truth behind first sentence. Now, with power in his hands, Yagami Light is on a quest to change the world and become God of the New World. His path to holy status won’t be easy however, as another genius, known as L, is working against Light’s beliefs and Light himself. Who will win this power of Gods between humans?
Death Note carries story elements and an intellectual integrity that is more commonly seen in your collegeate literary classics than your usual Shounen Jump title.
First we have the Platonic “Gyges’ Ring” scenario–in a discourse in Plato’s Republic, the integrity of mortal justice is questions and sequentially deemed fundamentally flawed by sinful, finite capacity of man and their deeply ruooted sense of pride and self-righteousness. The lead character Light is the incarnation of this discourse, a once seemingly flawless character driven to obsession over the notion of becoming like a god. At first his intentions are decent–rapists, child molesters, serial killers–deserve to die, right? The world would be better without them, right? But putting such power into the hands of a mortal–as perfect as Light might be–corrupts, as history proves time and again.
Accompanying the Death Note is its original owner, the Shinigami Ryuk. Rather than being morally bound to Light or serving as a conscience or guide, Ryuk hangs around simply to be a spectator–proclaiming humans to be “interesting.”
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 VA for the shinigamis really hits the spot with their hoarse voices. For the OP/ED songs, I personally believe they could find a better band to sing them. I find the OP/ED songs really weak in terms of dragging the viewers deeper into the show.
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.
- Production value.
- At moments, convoluted plot.
SCORE: 9.0 / 10
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