Ah, Death Note. An anime that so many people hold dear to their hearts – and for good reason. Death Note is definitely among the select few unique anime of our generation. With it’s heart wrenching plot, compelling cliff hangers, and well developed characters, this anime surely has something wonderful to offer even those not yet familiar with the amazing world that is anime.
The story: The story is certainly unique, dare I say, unlike any other anime I’ve watched. One day, a bored death god named Ryuk decides to drop his notebook from the sky in order to have some fun in an unusual way. This notebook is called, you guessed it! A “Death Note”. This notebook allows whichever human who finds the book to become the temporary owner of it. Becoming the owner of the book basically replicates becoming none other than a death god himself. Whenever the owner of the book writes a name in it, they are able to kill the individual pictured in their mind in whichever fashion they so choose.
Enter, Yagami Light. A college student who happens upon Ryuk’s notebook. Upon acquiring this notebook, he undeniably obtains the power to kill anyone he wishes as well as interact with Ryuk himself. So, how does Light decide to use his new found powers? By killing criminals, of course! This presents the viewers with many opportunities to really consider their concepts of morality, right and wrong, as well as ponder questions which cannot easily be answered. When watching this anime, I often times found myself wondering if it was really “right” to kill criminals, or if it was truly wrong to do so.
(Light on the right, Ryuk on the left)
By killing criminals, Light aims to create his own version of utopia: One where evil simply doesn’t exist. Besides himself of course. Throughout the anime, Light meets several people along the way. One character that stood out to me, however, was L.
Enter L, an Insomniac who consumes entirely too much tea and coffee. L is a very slim, tall young man with messy black hair and dark eyes. L himself is actually quite secretive and only communicates with the world through his assistant Watari. After meeting the Japanese task force, L decides to work with them in order to apprehend the new found terror that is “Kira”. Kira was a name created by the public in response of Light’s use of the Death Note. Some people considered Kira to be righteous and good, others considered Kira as an evil force needing to be destroyed. Specifically, the Japanese task force and thus L himself.
Throughout the anime, Light slowly begins to lose more and more of his humanity. This inevitably leads him to become selfish, arrogant, and reckless. Tasked with attempting to rid the world of evil (yet unconsciously becoming more evil himself), he also juggles the futile task of avoiding the Japanese task force who are dead set on apprehending him.
What’s more? Light decides to join the task force himself and work along side his father Soichiro with hopes of throwing off the agency’s ever growing trail on Kira!
With enough of the plot out of the way (Which I consider to be a solid 10 out of 10 by the way ), what else does Death Note have to offer?
Beautiful art and animation: When I say beautiful, I mean BEAUTIFUL. The dark colors portray the anime perfectly, and the characters and scenery are done exceptionally well. In terms of art and animation style, I give it a solid 10/10.
Sound: Without the soundtrack, I truly believe that the anime would not be near where it is today. The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal and captures the different situations perfectly. Be it in order to build suspense, to go along side an amazingly tense and epic encounter, or to give aid to a typically depressing scene, Death Note surely has it all. In terms of sound, I rate a solid 10/10.
Overall: I began watching the series when it was ongoing, and the weeks of waiting for a new episode to be released absolutely killed me (figuratively, of course). This, however, accurately depicts just how well done this anime is! The suspense build up was amazing. The character development was amazing. The soundtrack was amazing. Of course, the plot itself was astoundingly amazing! Many people who watch this anime will come to encounter the same situations I and many others have, carefully examining the choices that the characters make. It is the sheer amount of thinking this anime has you do that allows it to really shine. I definitely recommend adding this anime to your “To be watched” list if you have not already.
“Well, wait a minute?” you may ask “Does this anime have any bad sides then?”
Of course, this is a topic that would get a different answer from everyone you pose this question to. In my opinion, if you like to think, enjoy suspense, epic music, and an amazing plot, Death Note might just be your newfound drug. This anime, however, may not be good for someone who’s not into the whole “Killing people in order to create a just world” type of thing. Really though, it’s up to you to be the final judge when it comes to how you feel about this anime. So, get out there! Start your very own descent into the insanity that is Death Note and prepare to be amazed!