shoujoboy's Death Note Tv Review

Death Note

Death Note tv Review

Story by Ooba Tsugumi; art by Obata Takeshi (The mangaka of Hikaru no Go).

The human world is rotting. The gods of death are bored.

Death Note begins when the shinigami Ryuk 'accidentally' drops his death note in the human world. It is discovered by 17-year-old academic genius Light Yagami, who decides that he wishes to create a world free of evil. To what extremes will he go, only needing a name and a face to kill? Or rather...how will he be stopped?

Story & Characters

I'm sure the most common reaction when people see a "shoujoboy" review on the frontpage is "what the hell is that anime?" I enjoy reviewing shows that the vast majority of anime fandom hasn't bothered with or simply showed no love for. I'm a niche title type guy and quite frankly I don't like getting caught up in the rabid fanboyism that follows some shows. Well sometimes I have to come down from "Mount Better Than You" and try out one of these said anime series. Too see what the common man is out there rambling on about. While I'd never touch the likes of Bleach or Naruto as I just can't fathom a triple digit episode count, I can deal with something like Death Note.

Reviewer's Note: Death Note presents itself in a three story arc fashion. Normally my plot description only entails the first few episodes, but with a show like this, a more in-depth description will be necessary. While I will dodge blatant spoilers, it will be necessary to delve into the story arcs. This may be considered a spoiler by some, so consider yourself warned.

One day whilst sitting in class, Light Yagami notices a book fall from the top of the school. He decides to investigate it after class and finds a black book with the words "Death Note" on the front. He takes it home and discovers that he can write names and details of their death in this book and it will happen. He tests to see if it works and after it does, decides that he will use this book for the explicit purpose of removing evil from the world and ruling over this new world of justice as a god.

Arc 1: Light uses the Death Note to kill criminals that he sees on TV or the internet. He figures that killing these people will make crime stop in the world, thereby making it a better place. Well these mysterious murders don't go by unnoticed, and eventually the manhunt for the man known only as "Kira" begins. Enter the world renowned "L". L has solved mysterious cases throughout the world and now he has set his sights on the newest mystery to keep his interest. While Light continues to destroy people in the name of justice, he must also stay one step ahead of L or his path to being a god will be cut short.

Arc 2: Light having been able to stay one step ahead of L has decided the only way to clear the suspicion that surrounds him is by joining L and his own father in the search for Kira. To make matters worse, a second person acting as Kira has gotten a hold of a Death Note and now commits their own murders in the name of justice. Now Light must continue hiding his real identity all the while controlling this other Kira.

Arc 3: After the Death Note has crossed many hands, it finally ends up back in the hands of Light. His devious plan to keep his identity secret has been successful and now he is back on track to dispensing out eternal justice. Now the successors to L have stood up to him and have used all the clues up to now to finally pin Light in the corner. His battle to stay ahead of the field of increasing competition continues on.

The Good: Death Note is a series that hits you in the gut right from the beginning. In the early goings, it reminded me much of a show called Spiral. It was nothing more than a battle of wits and the ability to stay ahead. Light used his flawless logic to keep L on his heels and made sure that no one could derail his plans or give him away. Light is truly a character that makes the viewer think. He is essentially committing mass murder, but he is only killing those people who are thorns in society's side. At the same time, his way of manipulation using even innocents can't help but make you proclaim "What a bastard!" at nearly the end of every episode. This conflict makes the show enjoyable and gives the viewer a character you can't help but love to hate.

The Bad: Death Note points the gun at it's own foot and pulls the trigger. From the beginning of the show it seems this is going to be one hell of a ride, too bad it really isn't. The story is great in the beginning and the end, but for the greater part of the series in the middle, it borders on tedious. Arc 2 is the biggest offender in this category as you really lose the things that made the series fun to watch. That constant struggle between the two masterminds of Light and L is nowhere to be found, so that feeling of an epic chess match disappears. I will solely blame the 37 episode count on this. This show should have been shorter with less of a need to stretch it out, and more of an emphasis on the story. The nagging faults of this series prevented it from reaching that "masterpiece" status.

Reviewer's Gripe: Ok, I'll admit that Misa Amane is ditzy and can be just annoying. But did she seriously deserve the crap she took the entire show? Nobody seemed to really give a rats ass about Misa and Light just used her as a puppet. Didn't poor Misa deserve any kind of happiness? Shame on you Death Note creators... shame on you.

Rating: 7


It's typical to always mention character designs first, but not this time. The real star in the animation department is shadows and lighting. While the characters facial expressions did a good job in portraying the emotion at the time, the shadows that were used actually drove the point home. Light would be talking normally to L while the sun shined in the background and birds chirped, only to be engulfed in a menacing shadow with a red glow in his eyes when he was plotting against him. Pardon the bad attempt at a pun, but it did the best at foreshadowing the coming events as well.

Character designs were quite solid and the little details are what made it good. Light looks just like your preppy, better than everybody around him teenager/adult. He had that perfect hair, skin and posture. On the other hand you had L. L's skin tone was snowy white since he was indoors all the time and the underside of his eyes were pitch black from the constant staring at monitors. These little details helped create personality in every character. Then we have the shinigami. Ryuk was probably the optimal design for a shinigami to portray the truly gothic feeling of the show. Clad in all black with sharp teeth and brooding eyes. Of course we also have our female lead Misa. Fans of the gothic lolita will be full of glee when eyeballing Misa. Just looking at the quick shots of her in the second opening probably spawned hundreds of fan "drawings" *wink wink*. Since she is a fashion model, she will change clothes often and every outfit is complimented with ever changing hair and makeup. Again it's the details that makes Death Note look oh so good.

One more small note in animation. If you enjoy over-exaggerated animation, then you'll love Death Note. The simple act of writing names in the book can become an epic animation with sweat flying off ones brow, their arm flying off to the side and even standing up and spinning. It does help create an intense atmosphere, but does it really help when you just kind of laugh afterwards?

Rating: 9


Opening #1: "the WORLD" by Nightmare
Opening #2: "What's Up People?!" by Maximum the Hormone
Closing #1: "Aluminia" by Nightmare
Closing #2: "Zetsubou Billy" by Maximum the Hormone
Ep 37 Closing: "Coda ~ Death Note" by Yoshihisa Hirano"

ARE YOU READY TO ROCK!? I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!! I SAID, ARE YOU READY TO ROCK!? Death Note is rife with rock music and heavy metal. The opening and closing songs are all about getting the viewer amped up and ready for the ensuing insanity or just to keep them excited once the episode has closed. Of note in particular is the second opening "What's Up People?!" This is a Japanese metal piece at it's best. It's hard guitar and screaming at the top of the singers lungs with the words "Human sucker!" and "Human fu**er!" This song accomplishes two things: it gets you ready for an episode of Death Note, and encourages you to go on a rampage. I just started randomly breaking things and smashing my head into a wall and now I'm out a couple hundred dollars for repairs. Yea that just about covers the vocal music.

Next we head into the background music. Yes the hard-rocking is still hanging around in a few of the BGM's, but now we are given a much more diverse score. The most credit can be given to not only the atmosphere it creates, but the emotions it helps amplify. When Light is going on about a detailed plan or during a devious inner monologue, we are given an epic soundtrack that helps drive home the point he thinks he is a god. When the action heats up or revelations are being put on the table, we get a soundtrack that really immerses the viewer and helps absorb all that is going on. The acting itself puts you on edge, but when the music kicks in, it really evokes just the right emotion.

Voice acting is spot on for giving the characters that perfect sense of emotion. When Yagami would go into one of his inner monologue, you really got a sense of his conniving personality and he gave off a seriously sinister atmosphere. Truly Mamoru Miyano deserves high praise for the masterful job in creating the overall bastard known as Light Yagami. Where the show truly shined was when Light and L or L's successors would be in a verbal battle of wits. They would go back and forth trying to find weaknesses and then switch to inner dialogue giving the viewer the inner workings of their brilliant minds. This seamless transition between ignorance and confidence really helps keep the experience alive. And for those viewers who enjoy their cutesy characters with the high-pitched voice, you've got one of those too. While the show is typically very male dominated, you do get Aya Hirano as Misa. I'm a fan of Aya Hirano, but I'm not sure that her voice was quite fitting of Misa. It just doesn't seem to match the overall tone of the show. Other than that, the vocal cast did a top-notch job.

Rating: 8


Oh Death Note, what am I to do with you? I wanted to love you dearly and all you did was make my love unrequited. As I've said, Death Note IS good but it just isn't great. That feeling of intrigue that floods you in the beginning fades after a while, and once it does, that's when Death Note loses it's luster. From about the midpoint on, all you really want is a conclusion to it all but instead get many episodes of drudgery. When you do finally get to the end of it all, the storytelling is well done... BUT, it's a bit too predictable in a show that has been everything but.

It has some great characters to love and absolutely abhor. A strong start and a strong finish. Music that amplifies the atmosphere as well as makes you lose your damn mind. It's got fun written all over it... just not masterpiece.

Now for the recommendation portion. I see this being a show loved far more by casual anime fans than those who are long time or "hardcore". So those who troll message boards discussing the last episode of Bleach as aired on Adult Swim, will likely foam at the mouth for Death Note. If you are looking for a serious show that is more about dialog than action, then Death Note is sure to fill that void. But if you are looking for that next thing to grab you by your very soul and shake you to the core, Death Note probably ain't gonna be it.

Rating: 6

Final Verdict

7.17 (above average)

Reviewed by shoujoboy, Mar 16, 2008


  1. MystikalLam Mar 16, 2008

    Hmm, nice review imo! It's not biased at all, and it gives a person new to the anime all the key points! I have yet to watch this anime, but from all the things that you pointed out, I've become a little more interested in this. Thanks again!

  2. rindinnikfindindiddles Mar 16, 2008

    lol Loved the bit about Misa. And this is a very well executed review, well balanced, and well done. I salute you good sir!

  3. Akaiken Mar 17, 2008

    Reviewer's Gripe... is that what you call a rant? XD

    Well... I do think that some of the parts of this review already acts like a spoiler but since you have that spoiler warning, I'll dodge that thing over, hehehe! Yeah, the story feels good at the beginning but it got just plain stupid at the last parts.

    And I still feel that Near sucks...

  4. BossMac Mar 18, 2008

    Quote: You are an idiot! Death Note deserves a 10! I will printscreen your review and post it in 4chan and put a caption saying "NOOB!" L is GOD! You suck!

    I was expecting a comment like that but looks like nothin's turn up yet.

    I already reviewed this damn thing so no comment! Read my review THEN punch a puppy!

  5. Lariel Mar 28, 2008

    I've watched Death Note, enjoyed it, and hated the rock.
    Just like what you said, it's good, suspenseful, but not great.

  6. angelxxuan Banned Member Aug 31, 2008

    nice review but I didn't care much for it, the music was great, I loved how it ended, on both endings but for some odd reason I liked the live action movies better ^_^

  7. peta14 Dec 24, 2008

    A good review. You had some genuine gripes about it. It was great at the beginning, fell flat on its face, but managed to finish off not too badly.

  8. beryl0402 Mar 15, 2009

    death note movie was awesome. it was the first japanese show i watched. it was full of suspense. however it deviated from the manga a little.

  9. ryanwho Mar 29, 2009

    Good review. Love the intro song, grow some balls ladies.

  10. rukasu04 Mute Member May 05, 2009

    Nice review

  11. excaliburer May 10, 2009

    I don't like Misa. She is too sexy. I love Mello and Near very much.
    This is a serious anime, I think. You can't leave the character's word, even one word.
    Don't you think this anime isn't good for children?

  12. pigmypuff Jun 03, 2009

    L M N n who's the next?

  13. pmgbapm Jun 23, 2009

    movie is better than anime and comic

  14. ResonantSoul Jul 23, 2009

    ohh death note.

  15. lordryo Jul 28, 2009

    Great review. Death Note was an excellent anime!

  16. Onlyrockman Aug 01, 2009

    The anime is actually very creepy, especially till the end when Light gets shot down.

  17. SchRita Aug 24, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  18. nainoi Sep 12, 2009

    nice story.

  19. Sanisa Sep 21, 2009

    Cool review

  20. Warpten29 Oct 13, 2009

    this anime is great!

  21. SchRita Oct 31, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  22. Baraka-Senpai Jul 05, 2011

    thanks for review, man!

  23. cheri-sama Jul 13, 2011

    Nice review.

    Honestly I didn't bother watching the Anime because I have read the Manga already. Based on the Manga, I have lost interest because of the


    dialogues were driving me insane. I may be the type that loves to see more action than explanation, but there are certain Animes with more dialogues that really made me hook into it. This isn't the one. This is just my personal opinion though. I recommend watching it first.

  24. hitsu-chan Jul 20, 2011

    thx for the review! :3
    I like the plot in this anime

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