Monday, 12 August 2013

Brianna Reviews - Death Note Vol.1 by Ohba & Obata

Published: 10th October 2005
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Format: Manga, Paperback
Synopsis: Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life?

-Warning this review might contain minor spoilers… Sorry.-
Death Note is a graphic novel/manga and it has also been adapted into an anime and a film. It was originally written in Japanese and the publishers have not flipped Death Note when they translated it (so the novel reads right to left) which means that all of the artwork is exactly as intended.  I liked the artwork, it was half of the reason I picked it up to read (the other half being the plot). The characters were instantly identifiable and unique from the other characters; I particularly like Ryuk and his facial expressions.
On to the characters, I don’t know if it is just because they are the main characters, or maybe just because the other characters didn’t get much page time; but the only characters I really feel anything for are Light, Ryuk and L. I don’t like Light. I may have liked Light had he not found the death note, but he did. Light went from being a dedicated hard working student with some sort of moral compass. When he finds the death note this changes almost immediately, the first person he killed he could be excused slightly as he did not believe the death note was real. As soon as he does know it is real he changes and develops a god complex which obliterates what was his moral compass. L is also morally ambiguous as shown in the way that he tests Light’s ability. Despite Ryuk being a death god I think he is actually quite moral if you ignore that fact that he dropped the death note as an experiment because he was bored.

The plot really interests me and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. The concept is intriguing and it raises good moral and social questions in nice bite-sized chunks. Although the plot line is quite serious and raises these moral type questions, it’s still light and not at all difficult to read or follow. I’m also interested to see what, if anything, has been changed in the transition between manga and anime.


Josh Caporale said...

Great review! Manga isn't necessarily an interest of mine, but I like the concept of "Death Note" and what can happen with a device where writing someone's name in a notebook would kill them instantly.

Loaded Shelves said...

Thanks. I love the style of the artwork. The concept certainly raises interesting questions. It's one of those classic "What would you do if..." questions. ~ Brianna

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