Death Note Comes to Netflix

As you might have guessed from my last blog post, I'm a huge fan of anime and manga.  And so are a lot of my friends.  It comes as no surprise, then, that I would be hearing a lot about the new live-action film adaptation of the Japanese series Death Note.  In fact, it's been all over my Facebook feed.  As with any adaptation, of course, there is bound to be some debate about whether or not this is worth watching.  While I'm spare you the details, generally reviews have been mixed, and as a huge fan of the series, myself, I'm not sure whether I should watch or not.  But, dear reader, you can rest assured that the original Death Note series comes with only the highest recommendations from me!

 

The story itself is centered on Light Yagami, a nearly perfect high school student.  Light's grades score at the top of his class, he's popular with the ladies, although not currently interested in having a relationship, and all the guys all secretly wish they were him.  His father is a successful detective in the Tokyo police force, and you could say that life has been good to Light.

Everything changes, however, when he finds a mysterious notebook on the sidewalk outside of his high school.  The cover says it’s called a Death Note, and inside is a list of rules, beginning with "The human whose name is written in this note shall die".  Thinking it’s some kind of sick joke, Light takes the notebook home with him.  That night, while watching the news, he hears about a crime in progress and writes the name of the criminal in the book.  Then, on live TV, he witnesses the man die of a heart attack.

Of course, Light cannot believe what just happened, nor can he believe it when he turns around to see a hideous creature with black wings and bulging eyes in the room with him.  Introducing himself as Ryuk, the creature says that he is a shinigami (a god of death from Japanese folklore) and that the Death Note belongs to him.  But, he's going to let Light keep it for now.  He outlines some more of the details of the Death Note's power, including the terrible cost that comes with it: after using it, even just once, the new owner of the Death Note cannot go to heaven or hell when they die, but will be trapped in a sort of limbo, forever.

But, Light has bigger concerns than the state of his soul, and realizes that the Death Note will allow him unimaginable power and the opportunity to create a perfect world, free from crime and "undesirables," with Light at the top as the ruler of this new era of peace and oppression.  Of course, no one else knows about the Death Note or its power, and Light goes to extremes to keep it a secret.  But, once he starts on his killing spree, the deeds do not go unnoticed. Detectives come together from all over the world, including one in particular, the mysterious L, who sets his sights on Light with a terrible and deadly accuracy.  What follows is a game of cat and mouse unlike anything else I have seen--L knows that Light is the killer, but he cannot prove it.  And Light knows that L is on to him, but he cannot kill him until he knows his real name.  It is a fascinating, fast-paced series that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

We have Death Note as both an anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comic book) if you are interested in checking it out.  This is a great series for newbies to the genre, or for anyone who is looking for a great suspense story.

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