Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Anime Corner: A Review of Death Note (the Anime)

"" is a name you may have heard by now, thanks largely to a devoted fanbase of teens and older anime fans.It has also created its fair share of controversy across the pond, as several countries have seen their schools ban the books for fear of kids emulating them.So you just KNOW it's gonna be good!

The idea behind "" is that there exists shinigami (basically gods of death), horrific looking creatures who keep with them a notebook called a Death Note.But the Death Note is no ordinary notebook.It can actually cause a person to die by simply writing their name in it.The person who controls a Death Note can even determine the specific way a person dies by simply writing it next to their name.

The story focuses on Light, a young bored genius who happens to find a Death Note lying on the ground.Glancing through its pages, he learns about the rules of the Death Note and, unable to resist, tries it out.After discovering the book does indeed work as promised, Light meets its previous owner, a shinigami named Ryuk.Light tells Ryuk of his plan to rid the world of criminals and become ruler of a new utopia.

But Light's actions do not go unnoticed.After taking the name "Kira," Light's murder spree of the world's criminals brings him the unwanted attention of Interpol and the infamous-but-eccentric-detective known simply as L.A battle of wits between the two dominates the rest of the series, playing out almost like a chess gamebut one with deadly consequences.

As you can imagine, this is not a show for little kids.While there's nothing overly graphic, the series IS basically about a serial killer creating terror throughout the world.Some scenes might be too intense for younger viewers, and the heavy themes certainly will be boring or go over their heads.But putting that aside, this is a show for older teens and adults, who will appreciate and embrace those themes.And it is amazing.

The constant back-and-forth mind games of Kira and L are cleverly done, and just when Kira thinks he's won L finds an opening to continue the battle.Or vice versa.Light, for all his good intentions, is a power hungry killer who cares for little but creating his utopia, even if it means complete domination over others.L, however, is Light's yin to his yang: an equally brilliant young man with a lot of eccentric quirks, determined to protect the world from Kira.He is incredibly strange but also fascinating to watch.Even more fascinating is the strange semi-friendship he seems to develop with his target.There is a mutual respect between the two geniuses, but ultimately only one can walk away.

"" has its flaws, however.There are times when it tries to make mundane things seem dramatic, but ends up looking incredibly silly instead (the chip eating scene, anyone?).Also, the ending is a mixed bag for some people.I personally enjoyed it, but others felt it was a let down from what the series had been building to.

But ultimately that's a matter of opinion.Whether you end up hating the ending or not, the ride getting there is well worth it."Death Note" is a visually beautiful and intelligently written story about two of the world's greatest minds locked in a duel of superiority.Morality isn't as important in this series as much as the mental chess game L and Light play.

If you don't like your anime to have a dark tone, you may not like this.It certainly gets dark many, many times and 'happy moments' rarely factor into the story. But if you enjoy a good 'ol fashion battle of wits, one person trying to outsmart the other, you may find "Death Note" to be exactly what you're looking for.

-Jacob, Turner.

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