Death Note for Dummies
At a time when I was more or less unfamiliar with the world of anime and manga came a franchise that absolutely got me hooked. I am talking about none other than Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba’s masterpiece, Death Note. The franchise, which has spawned a critically lauded and highly successful anime adaptation and an even more acclaimed and popular movie series that has spanned four installments to date, has become one of the most popular titles to recently come out of Japan, and it is truly worth it. So much so, that the American movie industry has decided to take a huge, runny shit on it by making a film adaptation on its own not unlike what they did with those wonderful Japanese horror movies in the early 2000s and that piece of nuclear waste that is the American Dragon Ball adaptation. Still, I don’t want to be unfair and immediately conclude that the Western adaptation of Death Note will suck some major balls, but I don’t really expect anything at all from it.
The thing is, even if you look at movie adaptations of famous manga properties coming from their very own country of origin, such as Shingeki No Kyojin (that’s Attack on Titan) or RuRouni Kenshin (Sigh. That’s Samurai X, you nerd), you’re likely to find out that crappy versions of whatever series you like are not hindered by geographical lines; crap is crap, and quality is quality. Thankfully, the original Death Note movie series – meaning the first two movies – are an exemption to that statistical likelihood. So, I highly suggest you watch those first before risking it with the Netflix adaptation coming out soon. If you’re one of those extreme right wing hicks that only likes their shit all ‘Murican (i.e. fat, whiny, loud, and entitled), then it’s your loss. That’s the price you pay for being an ignorant scumbag.
So, for you noobs who are unfamiliar with the wonderful franchise that is Death Note, allow me to give you a brief introduction. Death Note is set in a world where Shinigami, who are Japanese death gods, exist. One of their tools is the eponymous notebook in which they write the names of any human whose time in the mortal coil is up. One day, however, one of these notebooks fell on Earth. Obviously, an object that can kill a person just by having their name written on it is one hell of a weapon, especially if it falls in the wrong hands.
Now, whether it came into possession of the absolute worst or best person (or, spoiler alert, persons) that could have it is one of the main questions that Death Note makes you ask, and it’s one of the reasons it’s such a great series. The main character, who hides under the name Kira, is an extremely clever extremist that kills criminals with the Death Note. There to oppose him is the prodigious L: an equally clever detective who makes it his mission to stop Kira. What unfolds is one of the greatest cat and mouse games to have ever graced the world of comic books, movies, and animation. So, if the Netflix adaptation does indeed suck, don’t dismiss the whole franchise. Opt for the anime, manga, or movies instead.