Death Note is such a good anime. But also highly overrated.
Should I even bother to make this spoiler free? I don’t think there’s an anime fan out there who hasn’t watched this show, and if you haven’t, shame on you. Go watch it now.
In the end I decided to just share my thoughts instead of making a traditional review. So yes, this contains spoilers, lots of them, please proceed with caution.
I think the story in Death Note is incredible. It’s original, and has a way of catching the viewers’ attention with it’s little tricks mind-games.
It’s very interesting to see how Light is able to work his way around the police in the early episodes, and I loved his stunt with Raye Penber. However, when L is introduced and they start investigating each other... it kind of becomes boring after a while. L refuses for the entire remaining part of his life to let go of the idea that Light is Kira, and I’m still not sure if I find that annoying or that it shows how truly magnificent a detective he is. Either way I’m getting sick of hearing the same discussion every single episode. It’s like the story doesn’t progress, L and Light keep going in circles around each other.
Until, of course, L dies, and that is probably one of the saddest moments in anime history. Because L is such a fantastic character. And he truly deserved to live.
|I love this scene.|
Enter the second arc of the anime, where L’s successors are trying to do what L couldn’t (or could? I’m still not sure...): prove Kira’s true identity. Although there’s more action here as opposed to the first part of the anime, where there was just talk talk talk, this part isn’t really better. It’s not the same without L, and Near and Mello are cheap characters. Mello is tolerable, just because he’s a mafia badass, but Near’s a plain copy of L (and it irritates me to death how he immediately concludes that Light is Kira). Both of them are results of creators trying too hard to make original characters, and that’s not a good thing.
At the same time, I have to admit, the second part of Death Note isn’t all that bad. There are some interesting plot twist and some of the new characters introduced are pretty cool. I think we all agree that Matt is a gem. (In all seriousness) I really like Mikami Teru though. He is a truly well-made character, I think.
|Probably my favourite character in this show.|
The award for most dramatic soundtrack ever goes to Death Note. It helps increase the tension a lot, and as I was watching, I was sure had it not been for the background music, my heart rate would have been much slower for sure. And let’s not forget about the potato chip scene. That still cracks me up.
That brings me on to the topic of sub vs dub. I’d say either. The Japanese version includes some very talented voice actors, including my personal favourite, Miyano Mamoru, who did such an incredible job I can hardly recognise his voice. Still, the English dub is pretty good, at least up until the introduction of Near and Mello. I hate their voices. One major problem I had with the dub though, was understanding the plot and what was happening, especially at the end. But maybe it was just my hearing that sucked? “English is not my first language!” I shout in defence.
I don’t have much to say about the animation. It’s perfectly fine. Not astonishingly beautiful like Hyouka but not at all ugly either. It’s good. It fits.
|I'll admit that Light can be kinda hot tho.|
The ending? Hm. Well, the last two episodes are painfully awkward to watch. I kept hiding my face in my hands out of embarrassment. But except for that part, it’s quite satisfactory. And I’m glad the “good guys” win after all. Even though Kira’s ideas are interesting to think about, I don’t really like Light. I mean, he’s a pretty good main character, but he’s such a jerk. Still, it would have been so cool to see and alternative ending were Kira won and he created his “ideal world”. I think I would’ve liked to see that.
I like Death Note a lot, I really do. But it’s been so disgustingly glorified I have put some distant between myself and this anime. Because people all over the world seem to put this anime on a pedestal. Or maybe I just completely overdosed on it it when I went to that convention at 15, and every other person was cosplaying either L, Light, or Misa. C'est pas grave. (It doesn’t really matter.)
|This guy was in two episodes and yet he is insanely popular. This logic I do not understand.|
It’s kind of sad that I don’t have a stronger attachment to it than I do though, because Death Note was actually the first anime I watched. Ever. And I’m happy about that. I’ll always remember discovering this back when I was 13 or 14, and had to google the word anime without even realising this was something that was going to change my life forever. Death Note still holds a place in my heart, at least the fan art does, since that was what first led me to watching it, and I will forever continue to consider this anime a classic. And I will always come back to see it just one more time (this was my third watch!). A must-see for any person with even the slightest bit of interest in anime. 8/10