DEATH NOTE – Review by a New Weeb (Part 2)

You can read Part I of this piece here

To think that the show owes its reputation to just Light and L, would be incorrect. There is Ryuk who is constantly surprised by the way human beings act. To him,” the human world is a boring place with boring people doing boring things“. However, humans and their choices are a matter of great interest to him.. To simply amuse himself, he constantly challenges Light’s belief, and points out the most glaring contradiction in his ideology – ‘letting only the good ones live will make him the only bad guy left’. His relationship with Light is the core of the story. 

“I couldn’t care less whether finding the notebook’s made you happy or unhappy. As a rule, they say humans haunted by Shinigami have nothing but misfortune.”

Misa Amane, the lovestruck girlfriend of Light is someone most would pity. She lets Light brazenly use her to get away with anything and carry out his ‘responsibility’. Mikami, a devotee of Kira, is another interesting character who comes from the cult-like group of followers that Kira’s power created. To him, anyone who defies Kira, his God, has to be erased from the world. Matsuda, a task force member, supported Kira with the belief that if the crime rate is declining because of Kira, why not just let him handle the punishments for criminals? The sceptics of all the characters, mentioned and remaining, build a great narrative. The grey line between right and wrong is crossed over and over again as every character defines justice in their own way.

“The real evil is the power to kill people. Someone who finds himself with that power is cursed. No matter how you use it, anything obtained by killing people can never bring true happiness.” 

The animation was again fantastic. The colours showed the essence of darkness perfectly. Being a psychological thriller, it was mostly about the characters thinking or talking but the depiction of expressions was amazing. The expressions amplified the emotions that the dialogues hit you with. There is so much detail in each shot, especially how they show L’s hyperactivity when he investigates. The scenes were no short of powerful, at par with those of live-action scenes, leaving a mark even when they’ve ended. In 37 episodes, I probably said “What a scene!” over 200 times. Every frame has new information and pulls you more into their world. Even the smallest of scenes is dramatic. Truly great!

The almost holy, intense opera music captures Light’s character and conquest well. The complexity and suspense are brought to life with scores and individual theme songs. Sometimes, for example, the second intro— might feel a little off, but gradually it fits Light’s crazy mind and the falling apart of everything he achieved. The song with which the series ends is magnificent as it syncs perfectly with the last scenes.

The most common rant that I have heard about the show is that the series emotionally ends at a particular point in between, I’ll save you the spoilers. To me though, it got more intense as it felt like falling into the pit of hopelessness. Everything was worth it in the end, especially in the last two episodes, ‘the 40 seconds’ (no spoilers), when it was all redeemed. I am no nit-picker, so I couldn’t find flaws in this critically acclaimed show.

The fact that I watched Death Note so late is sad.I did understand the broader theme of the show and all that the show has to offer, and that is what matters. Of course I’ll pick up more things everytime I come back to the show, which I am sure to do. Thanks to Ryuk for getting bored, we got to dive into the dark world of Death Note. For those who haven’t watched it yet, you are missing out on one great experience! And if you want to enjoy (and appreciate it), try to think while watching.

Here’s an additional suggestion though, watch the original series. Not any movie,Japanese or Hollywood live-action movie – they are worse than Tanishk Bagchi remakes.

-Pratyusha Pathak


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