Death Note: So you say you don’t watch anime but you’d still like to watch at least one, just to try. Death Note is the most common “anime initiation” that there is. Full of mysteries, plot twists, moral conflicts, charismatic characters, epic music and crazy animation. Death Note is a short but really intense and clever crime story that will have you in the edge of your seat since the very first minute.
In a Nutshell
Death Note is a story that introduces the existence of another world: the world of shinigamis (Death Gods). These gods have ‘death notes’, which they use to kill people. One day, one of these death notes falls into the human world, where Light Yagami, an extremely intelligent and bored high schooler, picks it up and uses it for his twisted morals. The police will try to catch him with the help of L, a very peculiar detective. The battle of brains and deduction begins.
Meet the Characters
Light is a very smart student who’s bored of the routine and normal life. He thinks the world is rotten and he wishes he could fix that. One day he finds a ‘death note’, and starts making it a hobbit to kill evil criminal. When the police realise all these strange mass murders are happening, his secret identity is born: Kira (‘killer’) and he has both detractors who will try to reveal his identity and catch him (the police, L) and fans who support his point of view and even create websites dedicated to him.
L is a detective who has never revealed his face or his name. He’s the same age as Light and he’s incredibly smart too, which makes him serve as the main rival for Kira. He has some weird habits like sitting in a strange way or eating a lot of sweets.
Ryuk is Light’s shinigami and the one who dropped the death note on the human world. Even though he doesn’t interfere in Light’s decisions, he gives him valuable information on the usage of a death note. He can only be seen after you touch a death note. He goes with Light everywhere and loves apples with a passion.
*There are other relevant characters but… spoilers!
A Brief History of Death Note: The When, Where and How
Death Note is a manga series written by Tsugumi Oba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata first released in 2003. The manga was fairly successful and it became a hit when it was made into an anime in 2006 by Madhouse. Death Note has 1 season of 37 episodes.
Ever since then, it has become an iconic animanga for anyone who ventures into the manga/anime world. Its success expands to a musical, several live action movies and a lot of merchandise.
Why It’s Awesome
As I’ve previously stated, this series is often used as an introduction to anime because it’s short, intense, convincing and incredibly good. Death Note has the ability to get you hooked from the first episode. 20 minutes and you’ll be clicking ‘Next Episode’. There are many reasons why this happens, the main one being that it’s got a very interesting and original premise. We have many animes about crime and detectives (Detective Conan,Psycho-Pass…) but Death Note offers a very interesting and different case. Another reason is that it doesn’t waste your time: the action advances quickly, every scene is crucial to the main plot and every character has its role to play. There are no fillers, no pointless conversations. Death Note is one of those animes that you just have to concentrate on watching because you can’t miss anything. But then again, the thing is, you won’t have to force yourself to concentrate. You’ll just be as focused as you can be because the execution of the story is just so captivating.
If that wasn’t enough, considering it’s a crime/thriller, the series has a lot of intense situations, mysteries, big reveals sick plot twists. Some conversations will have you so involved that you’ll be biting your nails watching the character’s choice of words and/or facial expressions. To be honest, a lot of it reminded me of some conversations that Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham from NBC Hannibal have.
Another reason why it gets you so involved is that there are a lot of moral aspects being discussed. It will make you think about life and death, right and wrong, and the death penalty. Are you on Light’s side or on L’s? On the other hand, it also hides the eternal debate of whether weapons should be allowed or not. Is Light at fault for all those murders? Or was he just corrupted by the death note?
However, nothing is perfect and Death Note is no exception. There is just one downside to this anime. And that is a certain something that happens in a certain episode (seriously, DON’T research ‘Death Note’ before finishing it, there are HUGE spoilers). Many Death Note fans and casual viewers agrees that the series kind of goes downhill from a certain event. It’s still good, but not as epic as the first few episodes. However, the ending is still worth it.
On an audiovisual note, you know a show is gonna have some crazy animation when it’s produced by Madhouse. And, given the year in which it was released, you could still see some pretty good animation compared to other Madhouse animes of that year (Black Lagoon, etc). TheOST is also praised by pretty much all anime fans. Also, it’s granted that it’ll make you feel 1000% epic when listening to it while writing (it actually feels like you’re planning to conquer the world).