I have finally completed the most popular anime according to MyAnimeList, and while I can definitely see why it is so popular, Death Note, just doesn’t seem to be something super special. The concept of the show is fairly simple, teenage guy gets a magical book that can kill people and uses it to try and change the world. The focus of the series is on how the main character, Light Yagami, is able to avoid detection as his alter ego, Kira, the one claiming to be committing murder on several criminals everyday. The show has a very prevalent mystery aspect, but based on the way the story presents itself (I’ll get into this later), the outcome is very easy to predict. While the thriller aspect still holds through, and moments of anticipation are prevalent throughout, the thrill aspect isn’t very high. Another problem is that Light Yagami (this may just be personal bias) is just not a very likable character, and so seeing him succeed is very uncomfortable and is a little off putting. And yes, while the point is to see him as a not so good person, the series makes little effort to frame him as a potentially good person. And here is where I get to the main problem of the story, how black and white it presents almost everything in it. There is very little gray in the series and I believe this is to its detriment. Light is presented almost as if he were a pure and true villain and is almost never shown as if he were a good person. The only times his framed in the light (haha) is when the show is trying to be symbolic of what Light is representing; that is something that I must give the series credit for though, it has some very well done symbolism and that isn’t something everything has. The character with the most gray in them, is Light’s main adversary, L, the super detective that is trying to discover Kira’s identity, and even he is generaly seen as a good guy. Almost every character is single faceted and that seemed very childish, there is very little gray. The only other character that didn’t seem to be so single faceted is Aizawa, and he is only a semi-major character. Misa Amane is just an infatuated girl with the intellect of a toaster, Matsuda, is a happy go lucky detective that sometimes knows what he’s doing, and Souichirou Yagami is the perfect law abiding citizen. All of these characters are exactly as I named them, and almost never stray from those descriptions, and the series makes no attempt to present them as anything else, and that’s sad considering they’re pretty relevant for most of the series. It is from this fact that the outcome, and inevitable conclusion can be predicted from almost the beginning of the series; based on the way the series presents its characters, there can only be one possible outcome, and for a thriller mystery series, predictability is not something you want. This doesn’t even mention the complete face-lift the series have after its second cour, where everything starts to go completely off the rails, and believablility starts to drop at an alarming rate. New characters are introduced left and right, and the pacing of the series goes into overdrive; the entire part thereafter is just radically different in the way it feels, it’s almost like it’s a different show. The problems of the series are very prevalent, but that’s not to say the show isn’t entertaining. While the show is incredibly black and white and obvious, it is still an enjoyable ride through. The conclusion, while predictable, was still satisfying to watch. The interactions between the characters is pretty great, and aside from some cringe worthy dialogue between some cookie cutter archetypes, the conversations are very interesting to listen to. The series also has a fantastic soundtrack the is great to listen to. While this review has been mostly negative, I would like to say that I enjoyed the series through to the end. While I do feel like it was a bumpy, and at times nauseous, ride the show kept me entertained the whole way through. There were no parts that were boring and it was very enjoyable to watch the plot progress the way it did. The series doesn’t try to ask some philosophical question, but instead shows a game between two incredibly skilled players and asks us to watch it in awe of how amazing each of the players is. The show isn’t about what is right and what is wrong, but instead about a battle of wits between some very intelligent characters; the show is much like a good ol’ fashion game of sports ball. If you want to see some competition, you came to the right place. As such, I give the series a score of a:
7 out of 10.