Death Note Review & Characters – The Power to Become God


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The power to become God

  • Episodes : 37
  • Genre :Mystery, Supernatural, Police, Thriller, Psychological
  • Airing Date : October 2006 – June 2007
  • Producers : Madhouse, VAP, Konami, Viz Media, Ashi Productions, Nippon Television Network Corporation

Death Note Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Would you be able kill people in order to create a better world?

How far are you ready to go for what you think is right? And can killing one person in order to save a few people ever be justified? Those are just some of the questions that you will ask yourself while watching Death Note. This anime is one of the must-watch shows whose name is often said together with anime legends like One Piece or Naruto.

For those few people out there that do not know what Death Note is about let me give you a quick overview.

The story centers on Death Note, a notebook that has the ability to kill a person if his or her name is written inside. Our hero Light Yagami is a high school boy who is tired of his daily life even though he could be considered a genius. This is bound to change on the day he finds a notebook with the words "Death Note" written on it. As soon as he discovers its power he uses it in order to achieve his new goal - becoming the god of a new world.

We have a huge variety of characters in this show and each character itself has a diverse personality. Light Yagami for example is split into three different identities: there's the caring and smart high school student that he presents his parents. Then again, his true personality is cold and almost heartless. Lastly, he creates another person named Kira. Kira is his alter ego that he made in order to hide the fact that he's the one killing people.

Also, there is a lot of symbolism and ethical questions going on in this show. Just looking at the first intro one can already interpret the red apple that turns into the notebook as a symbol for temptation. But before I get too caught up in meaningless interpretation let me just say that there is a lot of depth in Death Note. It's not simply relying on an entertaining story line but aims to touch the viewers on an emotional level.

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Who does Death Note cater to?

Death Note is a warm recommendation for people that enjoy anti-heroes. Light Yagami might argue that he's acting with best intentions but it's a fact that he's killing people in order to get what he wants. It's up to you to decide whether you're on his side or not.

But most of all, this is a must-watch for fans of thriller, suspense or psychological anime. Its dynamic plot and fascinating characters make Death Note an outstanding example of these genres. It feels so different from other anime and it managed to gain the reputation of a true must-watch anime.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

Death Note is one of the most versatile shows out there. It manages to create its own big universe even though the show itself doesn't have too many episodes. There are certain set-up rules and specific characteristics of Light's world, so you can get really into the story and continue to find out more about it. But you could also choose to "just" enjoy the show as it is and you still have a great viewing experience.

Secondly, the story starts with an everyday life scenario. It's so easy to imagine yourself getting a Death Note one random day and suddenly having to make grand ethical decisions. Questions like "what would I do if I were Light?" or "would I be able to use the Death Note?" start popping up inside your head as you watch this show. Light's decisions are reasonable enough, but you can question whether it's the right thing to do.

Death Note Trailer

Death Note Main Characters List

Light Yagami

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Voice Actor :Mamoru Miyano

Light is the protagonist of this story and the mastermind behind the figure of Kira. As I said before, he's an exceptionally talented person who is bored of his dull everyday life. He does not care much about the people around him and only acts for his own well-being. His father is the head of the Police Force and this might explain why Light has a strong sense for justice.

Once he obtains the Death Note he creates an alter ego, a second identity called Kira. He wants to achieve justice and therefore kills people that should not be part of the new world that he's trying to create.

L

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Voice Actor :Kappei Yamaguchi

L is Light's antagonist and a genius just like him. He's known as one of the world's best detectives despite his young age. He avoids the public and only communicates either through other people or through electronic devices, always being represented by the letter L.

He is one of the first people to suspect that Light Yagami is Kira and makes it his personal goal to prove it. He gets closer to Light by enrolling in the same university as him and pretending to be his friend outside the investigations. Members of the Japanese Taskforce refer to him as Ryuzaki, yet no one is quite sure what his true name or identity is.

Ryuk

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Voice Actor : Shidou Nakamura

Ryuk is the Shinigami or Death God who drops the Death Note that Light finds onto the human world. His dark almost rocker-like appearance hides a selfish character that does not feel any compassion or affection. He stays around Light simply for entertainment. Ryuk is intrigued by the young guy and wants to see how he's going to use the Death Note.

No matter how much time they spent together, Ryuk never becomes a friend of Light. The only real affection that can be seen throughout the show is his love for apples.


Contains Spoilers

Death Note Review

Here's what I love about Death Note: you cannot clearly distinguish between good and evil, because it is one of those shows that lets the viewers decide what the right thing to do is. Of course we can see the fight between Light and L. But you can decide for yourself who to root for and who's right and who's wrong. There is no right answer to this question.

Personally I see Death Note as the anime equivalent of a chess game. Like in the board game the story of Death Note revolves around how many steps you can think ahead. It's about being aware of your enemies’ knowledge and predicting what they are going to do next.

Speaking for myself, I eventually gave up trying to follow Light's or L's plans. They were just too far ahead of me and kept surprising me with each new move. That is one of the major strengths of Death Note: You can choose to follow every single step and think about what the characters are going to do next. Then again you don't have to do that. Like me, you can just relax and let the story progress without missing out on something.

Also, the love for details is incredible. What I mean is that you can see how much thought the producers have put into the story. Every possible plot hole got a reasonable explanation. Concerns like people sharing the same name for example all get a logical explanation. Check out the rules of the Death Note down below - they really don't leave much room for misinterpretation.

This being said, let me just talk about the second half of the anime for a second.

I have met quite a few people now who shared my dissatisfaction with the later episodes. It's hard to put into words but the story seemed forced and the main idea that was so interesting in the beginning lost its charm.

Don't get me wrong, I fully understand that if the anime didn't try out new things the story would turn boring soon enough. The producers have to introduce new characters or elements, but in the case of Death Note too many different ideas were combined. The introduction of more notebooks for example just complicated the plot unnecessarily.

Secondly, I wasn't happy with the way the main characters died. It just felt too unspectacular. Truth being told, I even forgot that L died half-way into the story. An epic battle between the two foes and a memorable death would have been more appropriate in my eyes.

1. Death Note

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The Death Note is a black notebook with the ability to kill people if you write his or her name inside. There is a set of strict rules that this notebook follows:

Any person whose name is written inside the notebook will die. The writer has to picture that person's face while doing so, in order to prevent confusion between people with the same name. If a specific cause of death is written next to the name within 40 seconds it will happen. If no cause of death is written down, the person will die within 40 seconds from a heart attack. If the conditions of death are impossible to obtain, the person will simply die of a heart attack.

2. Shinigami

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Shinigami are Death Gods that reside in their own world separated from humans. They are the true owners of Death Notes which they use to take human lives in order to extend their own life span. If their notebook drops onto the human world and gets picked up they have the ability to give that person Shinigami Eyes that are able to tell people’s names and their remaining life spans just by looking at them. However, this process shortens the person's lifespan by half. They are invisible to people not holding a Death Note.

3. Japanese Taskforce

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The Japanese Taskforce is Light's main opponent. This organization was established in order to investigate the mysterious deaths and the identity of Kira.

The members are Soichiro Yagami, head of the police force and Light's father, as well as other officers like Shuichi Aizawa. The leader of the Japanese Taskforce is L of course, Light's nemesis. He's also the one that founded the Japanese Taskforce and gives instructions to the other members. Later on in the story, Light himself starts working for the Taskforce.


So what are my final thoughts on Death Note?

Well, what I can say is that I could keep on writing about Death Note for another hour and still not have covered everything there is to it. This is what makes Death Note stand out from other anime. As you continue watching it you realize how much more there is to the story than a simple notebook and the conflict between a criminal and the police. It's about justice, morality and the question if humans are really able to turn into gods.

If you haven’t already watched Death Note give it a try. It’s a recommendation for fans of all genres and of all ages. Let us know what you think of Death Note down below.

Cornelia Wagner

Writer

Author: Cornelia Wagner

Coffee enthusiast, world traveler and writer at heart. Left Europe to live and study in the insanity called Tokyo.

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