Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why Death Note Is Confusing

If you're like me (and I really don't suspect that you are), you've come across a discussion about Death Note, the manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata or its anime adaptation, at some point in your life.

But before I advance with this post, I want to warn you: Spoilers abound! Potentially up to volume 10.


Now on to the good stuff.

In the past, whenever I came across a Death Note reference, I never had a clue what people were talking about.Not a clue.I used to frequent a certain anime-related forum, and you couldn't swing a proverbial dead cat without hitting a Death Note reference but I didn't get it.And that made me hesitate to read the manga.

But I did, or rather I am in the process of doing so, years later.What I realized is that Death Note isn't actually that confusing at first.The brilliant Tsugumi Ohba - definitely a "genius type" as Mashiro and Takagi would say in the Ohba/Obata pair's other hit series, Bakuman (as opposed to a "calculating type," who has to formulate the best way to create a hit) - pulls the chaos together.One crack in the plan and it would probably all fall apart.So maybe he's a hybrid "calculating genius type," who doesn't necessarily calculate how to grab readers, but has a mind like Light Yagami always testing the waters, waiting, and planning far in advance.

But Death Note became more confusing to me as it when on.After volume 7 things fell apart. As a result, I'm hoping to analyze what makes this series so complicated.


* LIGHT AND L - so, it's easy to think, when you're reading a conversation about Death Note, especially on the internet, that

"L" is just an abbreviation for a character named "Light."But then you start reading and Light isn't L, they're two different characters entirely.And then volume 7 happens and suddenly Light is L sort of.The real L is dead, and "L" was just a fake name for him anyway.From this point on, Light has the "L" identity in the eyes of the general population. * KIRA - Kira isn't somebody's name.Light is Kira.But Light is trying to catch Kira.

* "DEATH NOTE" IS AN ITEM AND A PROPER NOUN - So when people say "Death Note," are they talking about the title, or the Death Note itself, a notebook/weapon?

* THERE'S A GUY NAMED NEAR - "near" is a preposition, and people on the internet are often careless about capitalization, punctuation, and such plus, who would initially suspect that "Near" is somebody's name?


* Death Note was not confusing to me at all until the end of volume 7.I think the most significant reason is that LIGHT BECOMES L, as I mentioned before.It sounds like a great idea, but actually I think the real L was the character that explained everything.Light's a psychopathic mess.

* THERE ARE LOTS OF RULES - There are so many rules that the shinigami (who are the original owners of the Death Notes) must follow that even the shinigami themselves can't keep them all straight.

* THERE ARE MANY DEATH NOTES - they just end up being called "notebooks". At my last count, there were five in the human world: Light's, Misa's, Ryuk's, Rem's, and Sidoh's.The ownership has changed hands many times. Light's is the one Ryuk dropped, and it was originally owned by Sidoh; it was once owned by Higuchi of the Yotsuba group, and the Japanese taskforce was forced to give it to Mello. Misa's is the one Rem gave her, and it's currently buried. Ryuk still has his and has all along. Rem's was left in the human world when she died; the taskforce picked it up. Sidoh got his back from Mello and returned to the shinigami realm so that leaves 4 notebooks

I'm not sure that's even correct.I don't know which notebook Misa's using right now to do Kira's criminal extermination, or if she's just using the pages she ripped out.I think the taskforce has oneAll I can do is finish the series, and hope that it all falls into place.

- Perplexed K-Tosh
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