Death Note Manga Series
Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Plot Summary: Light Yagami starts off the series as brilliant yet bored teenager. He is a straight A student living in Japan who excels at everything he does, but looks at the world and only sees evil, yet wonders why no one ever tries to do anything about it. One day he discovers a strange notebook called a Death Note. Inside the front cover is a series of rules that if one follows, the user can kill a person by writing their name in the book (the cause of death can be written in, but if left out the victim suffers a heart attack 40 seconds after the name is written in). Light decides to use the power of this magic notebook to fix the world, killing criminals when they appear on the news and such. Being called Kira, or killer, L dishes out his own brand of fataljustice.
Soon his actions attract the attention of cops around the world, especially the world's greatest detective, named L. L's identity is a secret kept from everyone but his closest allies. One of the rules for the Death Note is that the user needs to know the person's correct name to kill them, so a alias protects them. Kira is killing people, even if they are criminals, and needs to be brought to justice.
The majority of the series a battle of wits between these two giants, who attempt to trip up and outmaneuver each other in a battle that can cost the loser their very lives.
One of the major themes in the series is that of justice. As mentioned above, L uses the book to kill criminals. He doesn't believe in a grey area and never even bothers to consider if some might be innocent. A criminal is a evil person who deserves to be punished, in this case meaning death. This is an incredibly extreme approach to crime fighting, and something the cops discuss often, especially when the crime rates start falling fast. Is what Kira doing is good or ethical?From the reader's perspective, we see Light manipulate people who love and care for him, some of them leading to their own deaths. While Light is doing some good for the world, his methods for achieving them are incredibly appalling.
Another theme is a battle of the generations. Light is younger than L, and uses some of that to this advantage. Spoiler alert, Light does eventually defeat and kill L after a long series of manipulations. However after a two year time jump, two new opponents rise up, who both want the moniker of L. To get it, they are racing to solve the case that even the legendary L was unable to do so, the case of who is Kira. These two characters are much younger then Light, so the roles are reversed (and ends in the same outcome of the older person being defeated).
Book talk ideas
1. Do you believe that Light was doing the right thing? He was murdering many people without any conscience of the person, but was making the world more safe. Would you try to stop Kira if you were the cops?
2. What would you do if the Death Note appeared to you? Would you use it for good or for self gain?