Manga Reviews

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Death Note

Death Note
Author: Ohba Tsugumi
Artist: Obata Takeshi
Licensed by Viz

Topics: Shounen, Mystery, Detective

Death Note follows the story of a boy, Light, who discovers a means to easily kill people and his desire to use this power to rid the world of evil. He stumbles upon a notebook dropped in the human world by Ryuk, a shinigami. The person whose name is written in this shinigami notebook will die if other stipulations are met. Light wants to create a "better world" of his choosing by eliminating criminals. Light, called "Kira" by the rest of the world, meets his match in an equally brilliant and mysterious figure, called "L". L makes it his mission to discover the identity of Kira and punish him for his crimes. The story weaves itself around the manipulations of both of these characters as each tries to finish ahead of the other in a struggle between the preservation of humanity as it is and the creation of a new humanity controlled by Kira.

Death Note is interesting for the first few volumes; the mangaka presents good tactics and gives decent character interactions. The manga is suspenseful and hard to predict at times. However, with the more recent volumes, the tone of the manga changes. While the art is still good (by the mangaka of Hikaru no Go), the story loses value. It often seems the author forgot what the main idea of the whole story was - he has become too fixated on Kira and whatever hacked scheme is being cooked up. As a friend put it, Death Note has become like the poison scene of The Princess Bride in which that little bald man and our dashing hero try to outwit each other. Except Death Note does this for volumes on end without the humor or sarcasm. While the byplays are still interesting at times, they seem pointless. The characters are also too smart for the author. He has a hard time elaborating schemes to the extent he used to in the first few volumes. However, despite its shortcomings, Death Note is very popular among the shonen crowd. If you are able to forget what the story was originally about, it is still possible for you to enjoy the plot.

Rating: 5.0/10.0

-- Submitted by Snewcee


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