Death Note Review (Anime) – A Classicon February 1, 2017 by Mitch Jay
Chances are most of you have seen Death Note, one of the most popular and well-known anime around, as it’s pretty mainstream to the point that a Western movie is being made for Netflix. Death Note was recently released on Blu-Ray though which is a good time to re-visit the series.
Death Note follows Light as he comes across a notebook on the floor at his college and finds out that writing notes in it causes death — a Shinigami by the name of Ryuk dropped it on purpose to see what would happen if a human picked it up and used it, so that he could entertain himself. Light quick realises that he can rid the world of criminals or those that he considers to be ‘bad’ people, and it’s not long until he catches the attention of ace detective L and the police. What follows is a battle of wits between Light and L, and their battle will keep you engaged as they keep pulling the rug out from under one another.
Incredibly well-written and clever.
Admittedly, there is a point around midway through the series where I feel that it becomes a lot less interesting and slow, and although it picks up again towards the end the damage is done — it definitely puts me off re-watching the series. Regardless I’d still recommend watching Death Note as it’s a classic, and even though it dips in quality it’s still incredibly well-written and clever. There’s a pretty large cast of interesting characters and I like the bulk of them, but I detest Misa — she’s annoying, has a horrible personality and is overwhelmingly selfish. On the bright side though, this release packs in all 37 episodes as well as the OVA’s! I’d love to talk more about the latter half of the show but doing so would be indulging in major spoilers, so I won’t — if you’ve watched it though, you know what I’m referring to and I’d be surprised if you didn’t agree to some extent.
Madhouse have worked on a variety of shows, some of which have been hugely popular such as One-Punch Man and My Love Story!!, but Death Note is still the most prominent of their works — you don’t need to be an anime fan to know of this one. Madhouse, author Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata clearly went to great lengths to create the characters with more realistic depictions than exaggerated ones, and it’s part of the shows charm — it’s written in such a way that it doesn’t seem too far-fetched. The Shinigami range from looking pretty horrific and others look a bit funny, but their designs are creative and they provide some of the most memorable moments of the show. Death Note easily still holds up today and being on Blu-Ray only makes it look that much better.
Death Note is a classic.
Other than the second opening being an awful fit for the series in more ways than one, the first opening is brilliant and I’ve listened to it a fair chunk outside of the show. The English Dub is excellent and whilst you might not easily recognise their voices or names, it’s undeniable that Brad Swaile, Alessandro Juliani and Brian Drummond, who voice Light, L and Ryuk respectively, along with the rest of the cast give fantastic performances. Let’s face it, Shannon Chan Kent’s performance as Misa is the best thing about the character!
It goes without saying that you should check out Death Note and most of you probably have already, as it’s been available on DVD for years and those with an interest in anime will have heard of it. Death Note is a classic and whilst it may not be one of my favourite shows, it’s one that I can’t help but appreciate because of its role in getting more people interested in anime — of course, it’s a great show in its own right too. If you already own the set on DVD then I’d recommend selling it or maybe giving it away and buying the Blu-Ray to experience the anime in the best possible way, or you could just own both!