I may be a HorrorGeek girl, but I’m not one that is typically big into anime… well, that is, until recently. I was browsing Hulu and stumbled across a 2006-2007 series called Death Note. I’m always looking to expand my cinematic horizons so I figured why not give it a shot- and I’m so glad I did!
Death Note has only one season with a total of 37 episodes, making it an easy and fun binge-worthy series. It is based on the manga series of the same name that was written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The cast includes Mamoru Miyano, Brad Swaile, Vincent Tong, Brian Drummond, and many others.
The story revolves around an intelligent high school student, Light Yagami, who discovers a notebook that is capable of killing anyone whose name is written in it. Although hesitant at first, he decides to rid the world of all the criminals, one bad guy at a time, meanwhile gaining a god-like complex. Despite the cops (including the chief, who happens to be his dad) and the highly skilled investigator named “L” being involved in the case, he continues to do the killing even when he’s their number one suspect. Will they discover the truth behind the killer known as “Kira”?
Before I dive into why I love this series, here’s a little history about the anime. The notebook’s original owner is Ryuk, a Shinigami, aka Death God, who was bored and purposefully dropped the book to the human world. Once Light has the notebook, he can also see Ryuk and interact with him. Beyond this, the name Kira is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the word “killer”.
This was such an absolutely captivating series from beginning to end. Death Note had just the right amount of episodes to deliver the perfect story without leaving the audience yearning for more. The power of the notebook not only takes control over the person using it but the audience as well. We can’t help but think how we would use it if the opportunity fell into our hands and what that kind of power would do to someone. At first, I sympathized with what Light was doing, what’s one less criminal in the world? However, as the season goes on, you start to question his motives and his cruel way of doing things.
Throughout the series, you’re wondering if they’re ever going to discover the truth about who the real ‘Kira’ is. L, from the very beginning, assumes it’s Light- despite his claim of innocence. I love the banter between the two, plus the thrilling moments every time L is close to catching him are fantastic.
The characters are what make this series extra special, though. What’s funny is my love for certain characters changed throughout the series. At first, I related to Light and what his plans were for ridding the world of evil, but after awhile I couldn’t stand him. I found L to be annoying and bizarre at first, but then I began to look forward to quirks and intelligent wisecracks.
Another character that is brought on a little later in the show is famous model Misa Amane, who is in love with Light/Kira and will do anything for him. She was terribly annoying and a bit of a push-over, but as the series progressed, I began to adore her and appreciate her loyalty. Ryuk, however, stands to be my favorite character of them all. He was such a chill Shinigami with awesome one-liners that got a kick out of seeing Light screw up. Along with him, I also enjoyed the Shinigami Rem, who shows up later in the story. She’s quite different from Ryuk, but had a cool vibe and felt a connection with her.
In the end, there were only a few episodes towards the middle of the series that moved slowly and felt unnecessary. Once those passed, everything came together again and lead to a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat type of ending.
Overall, Death Note is a series that is totally worth your time. Each episode leaves you wanting to discover what will happen next and the transformation of the characters makes you fall in love with them or despise them completely. If you’re digging this series, you should also check out the trailer for the upcoming Netflix American film adaptation of Death Note – here!