Monday, June 14, 2010

Death Note: A Review

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

Published by Viz

Volumes: 1-12

$7.99 each

What is the most dangerous weapon ever created?

Some would say the atomic bomb, because of its destructive power.

Some would say guns, because they’re easily available to the public.

Some would say alcohol, because of the many deaths it has caused.

Some would say the Notebook. The Death Note.

Imagine killing anybody in the world just by writing his or her name down in a notebook with that person’s face in mind. That is the power of the Death Note. Death Note is a manga series of twelve volumes created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. It begins with a high school genius named Light seeing a black notebook float down from the sky and hit the floor of his school’s yard.

He believes it to be a joke at first. Wouldn’t you, dear reader?

But once he tests it out, there is no turning back. Once he writes that first name, he couldn’t stop. He continues to write the names of criminals, who he believes to be evil and not deserving the right to live. His goal is to become the God of a new, clean world. Soon, the whole world is in chaos about the killings of criminals by heart attacks. Yes, heart attacks. If you write a name in the Notebook with the person’s face in mind without any specific thing about the death, the person simply dies of a heart attack. Light can even specifically choose what type of death a victim can have: run over by a car, murdered, cardiac arrest, or even suicide.

How does Light know how to use it? The Death Note comes with a set of rules. Light learns that there are several rules written down in the Notebook, but dozens of unwritten rules, too.

Where did the notebook come from?

It came from another world. A world of shinigami, death gods, or known to us in America as Reapers. Each notebook belongs to a shinigami and the shinigami that drops his/her notebook in the human world must follow that human around until he/she gives up ownership of the Notebook or dies.

All of this so far only happens in the first few pages.

The world of Death Note is a very intricate one, full of twists and turns, but also full of literary value.

Is it okay to kill someone who murdered a family?

Is what Light doing right or wrong?

Is it wrong to use the Death Note?

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an adventure and go through the ideas of good and evil. For once, a book takes the view from an anti-hero perspective, which is very “out of the box” and creative.

If you want to check out Death Note, there is an animated version of the manga that you can probably find streaming online or in stores. If you want to dive deeper into the realm of Death Note, I recommend getting the manga first and then watching the animated series.

Here’s a trailer of the animated version of Death Note for those of you who are interested.

Now, here are some questions to you, dear readers:

If you had the Death Note would you use it? What did you think of this review?


Anonymous said...

i dunno, this one sounded a little awkward. i think you had a couple of verb tense issues. w/e.

i highly recommend this manga and show to anyone, except that i recommend watching the show first rather than the manga.


Vatche said...

Thank you, Rafi, for your two cents on the article. I will definitely work on the verb tenses when I can. :D

Anonymous said...

I've read Obata's other works, but not Death Note. I've always found the idea of Death Note fascinating, but the potential unhappy (so I've heard?) ending put me off. I might be giving it a try, though, because I love the drawing style. :)

Vatche said...

Hey, Sandy! The idea is most definitely fascinating and it does live up to its potential, I believe.

I also agree that the art is fantastic and almost in a league of its own. Anyway, thank you for taking your time to write your comments, I really appreciate it!

Write on and read on!

Falen said...

Love me some Death Note.

We have this discussion in my hosue all the time. i think, unfortunately, you couldn't trust me with a Death Note. I'm quick to anger

Sandy, i don't know if you can really classify the ending as "unhappy" since the MC is more or less a villain...

Anonymous said...

Nicely done review!

I've read the entire Death Note series three times over. The story is complex, yet not overly complex to where I don't understand it, but enough to where I have to think about what I'm reading. I especially love the quandary we as readers are in: should we root for Light/Kira, or root for L? Criminal justice is fascinating, and it wasn't until I read Death Note that I thought about incorporating such a heavy theme into my book.

I have to say, I owe Death Note a lot.

Vatche said...

Hey, Amanda, thank you for your kind words! I've read the Death Note manga once, but watched the animated series twice.(I'm a sucker for the epic music they play.)

I agree with you that the story is definitely complex, but also not overly complex. I rooted for Light/Kira all the way through the series, because I always wanted to see what would happen if a bad guy would win.

Death Note has a lot of influence on my works, as well, because it's one of those works that I strive to be as good as. It was just an epic read really.

Write on and read on, Amanda!

Vatche said...

Hello, Falen! I love me some Death Note, too. :D

I, much like yourself, have discussions with my friends all the time about the Death Note and how epic of a series it was.

Also, I think a Death Note is not safe in anyone's hands really...

As for Sandy's comment about the bad ending... Kira/Light was a villain, but I believe the ending was not really "unhappy", because *SPOILER ALERT (READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK)*
we knew that Light would have to die sometime and he was warned that he would not enter Heaven or Hell, but MU (or Nothingness). Still, it was a great read throughout.

Write on and read on, Falen!

melissa said...

I really like your blog! I'm a new author and have enjoyed this new experience. I find that it's the most difficult and most rewarding. I'm also a graphic designer and love having that creative outlet as well.
Thanks for your post! I will be back for more updates. :-)

Melissa Nielsen

Vatche said...

Hey, Melissa, thank you! No problemo on the posting, I hope you enjoy my blog more in the future, I guess. :)

I'll also definitely check out your blog, as well.

Write on!

Anonymous said...

Yes I would use it :) I even bought one from the anime convention here but it didn't work :( And Death Note is one of my all-time favourite anime next to Naruto. Me and my kids (yes I'm 41 and into anime, what?) went to the DN live movie and it was awesome. I even bought the DVD as well as the first volume of the series. If you want to read something just as good I suggest Trinity Blood manga series. I can't put it down.

Vatche said...

Sucks that you got a defective Death Note at the anime convention, Owning the Words. :(

It's cool that you're 41 and into anime, I wish there were more people who understood that Japanese anime and manga aren't for kids. I mean, look at Death Note, it talks about death, the ideas of justice, and murder.

Is that for kids?


I have the DVDs of the entire season, too, and all of the manga volumes. Plus, the spin-off light novels. I'm a huge Death Note fan, because it has touched me deeply as writer and as a fan.

I'll check out Trinity Blood, too. Thanks for the recommendation! :D

Write on and read on!

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Oh I like it.Very 'Great power, great responsibility' and all that.

You've been lovely to me and my blog. I'm grateful.

Warmest regards,

Vatche said...

No problemo, Simone, you and your beautiful poetry deserve it.

Also,the theme and idea that "With great power comes great responsibility" comes into play in these twelve volumes of Death Note.

Thank you for your comments and write on!

Journaling Woman said...

I too might not be trusted with the Death Note- sometimes fast to anger. I best leave the draw of death to God.

Great job on the review!

Vatche said...

Hey, Journaling Woman! Thank you for your comments and for following my blog! :)

As for trusting God with the draw of death, yeah, I completely agree. Like I said before, no one should have the Death Note.

Write on!

Anonymous said...

That's a really interesting, and terrifying, idea. It doesn't allow much leeway for the wrongfully accused! It'd be nice to get rid of some of the evil in the world, but who really wants that responsibility? Sounds fascinating :)

Vatche said...

It really is a scary thought. The wrongfully accused do have a say sort of with the police defending the criminals by saying criminals shouldn't die.

Apparently, Light wants that responsibility, because he wants to be the God of the new, clean world. It's an awesome series of books and I recommend you check it out.

Write and read on, Wen!

Nicole MacDonald said...

Eeeeee creepy idea, I might have a hunt for the anime :)

Vatche said...

It is an awesome creepy idea though. Good luck hunting!

Jemi Fraser said...

Interesting idea. It would be an incredible amount of pressure for anyone with the notebook. The desire to make the world a better place would be huge - but the repercussions would be just as huge. Sounds like an intriguing series.

Anonymous said...

you coulda talked alot more about light though. its a review and you havent even given his full name in ur blog.


Vatche said...

Hey, Jemi! It is a very interesting idea and the pressure would be incomparable to anything in our normal daily lives because the MC, Light, has control over the life and death of anybody.

It's an interesting series, so check it out! :)

Vatche said...

It was already a page long and I didn't want to spoil a lot of the story. I wanted the bare minimum (NO SPOILERS) and to keep the reader interested.

Plus, Light's last name is a twist in the beginning chapters of volume one.

Anyway, thank you for your input Rafi! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jemi. What would the results be when trying to make the world a better place? And how do you judge what is better? This does sound intriguing and I may just check it out. It's not my usual genre, and need to explore more. Thank you for the review.

Vatche said...

Hey, Lynn! Thank you for following me and joining me on my journey! :)

It is an intriguing story and you should go out of your usual genre to see what is out there. I do it all the time!

Anyway, write and read on!

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