This is part of What I’m Watching.
Since I’ve been on an anime kick the last few months, I’ve been searching for various series and movies to gorge. My brother-in-law was recommended Death Note by a co-worker and he in turn suggested that we try it out. The premise is that a shinigami (god of death) drops his Death Note–a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it–in the human world to alleviate his boredom. The notebook is discovered by genius high school senior Light Yagami. Following the book’s instructions, Light tests the notebook on a few criminals and discovers it’s inherent power is legitimate. His handling of the notebook also allows him to see the shinigami who initially dropped it. Quickly developing a god complex, Light becomes determined to shape a new world free of crime and evil using the notebook, eventually gaining media infamy and the nickname Kira (derived from the Japanese pronunciation of “killer”). The mass murder of criminals via (largely) heart attacks leads the world organizations to turn to an anonymous super sleuth that goes solely by the alias L. The two engage in a increasingly complex game of cat-and-mouse as the two seek to bring about their conflicting views of justice.
The story alone intrigued me. That’s what kept me going after the first episode. But it was the introduction of L and his first confrontation with Kira/Light in Episode 2 that made me go all in. You can watch it below.
Watching the two attempt to outsmart each other was exciting, at times jaw-dropping, and occasionally absurd. In fact, I loved the unorthodoxy of L so much that I ended up with a T-shirt (much to my wife’s dismay). Unfortunately, the freshness of the series wears off in the last 1/3 with its attempts to be more and more clever and the introduction of new, but unoriginal characters. Furthermore, the emotional impact of the show is a bit stunted due to a lack of true connection with any of the major players (the exception for me being L). Nonetheless, I was satisfied overall. Definitely worth checking out.1