Death Note: Write it Off (Get it? Ha!)

Just finished watching the entire Death Note series. Spoiler alert!

I have some mixed feelings on it. Originally I began with the manga, and I was super impressed. The beginning was smart, creative, and suspenseful. I loved the idea of a bored and mischievous shinigami tampering with modern humans, and thought Ryuk’s character design and quirks (the apples for instance) were great. I was curious to see if we would find out more about the shinigami realm, and if this opened up the possibility to other aspects of mythology also existing.

Once Light and Misa were detained however, the manga fell into a rut and I lost interest. I tried to stick it out but the long detention period and the whole “not Kira anymore” thing just seemed to turn the story in a totally different direction. No longer did it seem to be about a young genius with a supernatural gift (and sweet shinigami side-kick) outsmarting his captors’ next moves; it turned into some boring shounen police drama. Yawn.

I gave the anime a chance because I remembered how much I liked the beginning of the manga, and I know how occasionally a show or movie interpretation can differ for the better (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I & II! You saved book 7 for me!). What do you know, I got mentally stuck around the same time I dropped the manga! The only thing keeping me watching at that point was L. For all L’s weirdness (the slouching, the gross feet), I became pretty attached to him. Nay, attracted to him. Probably because Light, as his foil, was supposed to be physically and outwardly perfect but had an interior rottenness.

And then halfway through the series, they kill off L. Tha fuck?? Now why am I supposed to keep watching???

I haaaaaaaaaattttteeeeeeeeeeeeeed Light. I couldn’t even get fangirlie on him just based off his looks. He disgusted me to the core. I really disliked Misa. I felt sick about the fact that she was so in love with Light when he was clearly using her and had an abusive personality. The only thing that kept me going to the end was my stubbornness about finishing what I start, because I had already quit the manga once before. And I was crossing my fingers that Light would get what’s coming to him in the end.

Once L died, the show was needlessly complicated just to reach its final conclusion. A couple arcs were introduced that didn’t really inspire anything in me. That big corporation? Mello and Near… who cares?

Going back to Misa… there are a couple things about her that I don’t get. In the anime when they flashback the story about how Gellus saves her life, they show her with dark hair. She has blonde hair in the show. I’m assuming maybe this was before she took up a modeling career and lightened her hair, but it bothered me that such a large visual detail would go unexplained. Also, shouldn’t there have been three notebooks getting passed around? Rem gave her Gellus’ notebook first. And Light had Ryuk’s second notebook. Then when Rem died for killing Watari, Rem’s notebook was left behind and that was the one Light grabbed before anyone else came into the room. Three notebooks. I must be missing some detail here that makes it actually two. Help a sister out, someone!

I was annoyed with how the series had no strong and interesting female characters, or else they were killed off/rendered useless after a couple episodes. Lame! That FBI chick engaged to Raye Pember was cool–for like 3 episodes. I also had hope for Sayu once she was reintroduced as an adult. Nope, she’s just good for notebook bait. And then unexplainedly ends up in a wheelchair, not to be heard from again.

Probably the thing that bugged me the most is how shortly before L’s death, the entire investigation team became aware of the existence of shinigami and they all touched the notebook and confirmed their existence. And after that, the team basically ignored the shinigami! Like… seriously? The entire investigation centers around this supernatural notebook, which shinigami know a thing or two about. I’d definitely be spending a lot of time watching the shinigami, getting to know it, and trying to ask as many questions as possible. Obviously they can lie too, but even knowing that is something. I just feel like that was a total wasted potential plot. No one tried to get on friendly terms with the shinigami, learn more about their realm, or even really thought about how remarkable it was that they existed.

It was hard for me to even have strong feelings about the ending. Light dies. Thank fuck, we can all get on with our lives.

Conclusion: Starts out really strong, L was a great and interesting character and I feel like killing him off so soon was a huge mistake. The rest of the show dragged on and on. There are worse things to watch though, if you’re bored. C+


2 thoughts on “Death Note: Write it Off (Get it? Ha!)

  1. I absolutely loved the anime up until the point L is killed off. After that when they bought in Near and Mello and such, I lost a lot of interest very quickly. I think the first half of the anime is strong enough to make me give the series a high rating overall, but there’s no doubt the second half is vastly inferior. The live-action films, on the other hand, have an excellent ending – I like to imagine the ending to the anime was just a bad dream I had and the live-action ending is how things really went down.

  2. Haha! I may have to check out the live action films then! Although I’m a little scared because I feel like no actor could really accurately portray L’s awesomeness. You’re right about the first half of the anime/manga being exceptionally strong, which is why I would never say Death Note is 100% a waste of time.

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