Anime Review – Death Note

Death-Note-series-imageWhen I first looked into watching Death Note my thought process was a little strange…

“It says it’s about a deadly notebook.” *Peers closer at synopsis*. “I don’t see any guns or over-the-top super powers yet…All I see is a notebook. I’m not sure I really like stories about notebooks…what if it’s a dull colour, then what? But the reviews…the reviews. Damn they’re good.”

Moral of the story – internal monologues are my strongpoint. Also, trust the reviews. Trust my review. If a duck reviewed Death Note you should trust the ducks review – because anyone and anything can see that this is a great anime. Also, ducks are just too damn cute not to trust.

So there you are, one hand on your chin, thinking, “ok, I might give it a go…but still, like…it’s about a notebook.”

One of the most amazing things about this anime is that it takes this relatively simple concept of a death-inducing notebook and builds arguably the most incredible detective story around it. It’s like a magician who present a plain hat before making doves fly out of it. Suspense is continually built up and plot twists are struck at opportune moments. You’ll get pulled in trying to figure out which way things will go as the anime’s events set a perfect pace – bringing you along with it.

His name might be Light but he's continually surrounded by darkness. Like adorable Ryuk standing beside him. Source: Madhouse
His name might be Light but he’s continually surrounded by darkness. Like adorable Ryuk standing beside him.   Source: Madhouse

As episodes unravel the plot thickens – it gets darker, increasingly dangerous, and most of all, smarter. This anime is a battle of psychological intellect – so put your swords down and get ready to impress with those brain cells. As powerful minds lock your jaw will drop (and we all love a good jaw-dropping moment).

From L to Light and Misa – all characters in this series are brought to life like a Picasso painting – colourful, unique and interesting to their core (however they’re also a little more organised). Their development can be tracked, their emotions seem real, their quirks and flaws are apparent. However most importantly, their actions make complete sense and seem highly probable despite often times being incredibly extremist. Achieved through clever casting and defined character traits it’s an element not many series can pull off. Misa’s obsessive antics, Souichirou’s drive for justice, L’s intellectual ingenuity and Lights desire to be seen as a God all contribute to manifesting an enthralling story.

Personally, Misa is my favourite character. Partly because I love her ditzy nature and frazzled tantrums. But more importantly because after watching L and Light for so long I started to feel really dumb. Seeing Misa appear gave me that small confidence boost which reminded me that I wasn’t the dumbest person on the planet. The shinigami are also pretty awesome with their unique quirks and unusual ideologies.

Something about Misa being incredibly impulsive when surrounded by calm and collected detectives is oddly satisfying. Source: Madhouse
Something about Misa being incredibly impulsive when surrounded by calm and collected detectives is oddly satisfying.   Source: Madhouse

If this anime does have a flaw it’s that the quality drops off a little about two thirds of the way through (intentionally vague). As a major event shakes up the main game there’s inevitable change. Unfortunately this is not like the surefire good change of going from wearing speedos to boardshorts. This is a little more grey. To say it’s horrible as some people do isn’t right. The show simply loses a bit of momentum and with it a tiny bit of its dazzle factor (yes, dazzle factor is a thing now).

But this is the only thing you can fault (if you can even call it a fault – i’m sure there are people out there who genuinely liked the change of pace). When looking at the art and animation it’s important to realise this anime started in 2006, like, way back when Paris Hilton was still a thing (I secretly love Paris Hilton). Yet despite this anime being relatively old the art is well-defined and the animation fluid. As a side note this dub of this anime is by no means bad, so don’t feel like you’re restricted to the subtitles!

This will be you staying up to all hours of the morning because this show is way too good. Source: Madhouse
This will be you staying up to all hours of the morning because this show is way too good.   Source: Madhouse

Simply a “story about a notebook” no more. I hope i’ve convinced you that this anime has so much to offer. It’s an intellectual masterpiece filled with one-of-a-kind characters and just the right amount of plot twists. Don’t hold back. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll enjoy watching this.

Thank you for reading my review!

Rating 9.5/10

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