Light Yagami is a top honour student in his last year of high school. – He is popular with the girls and has the respect of his peers. His father is the city’s police chief, and Light has in numerous occasions helped his father solve crime mysteries that have baffled even the experts. – Some call Light a genius, and everyone expects great things from young Light in the future.
But in truth, Light is bored out of his mind. – Although he acts kind and sympathetic on the outside, he really views those around him as inferior beings since they can’t possibly match his intellect. – Light – is an egomaniac and with his warped sense of justice has little regard for other people’s lives, even those of his own family should they get in his way.
One fateful day, Light discovers a black notebook with the words Death Note written on the cover. – In it, written in English, were instructions, the main one being: – The human whose name is written in this note shall die. When a test on the book out proves its validity, it opens up a whole new world for Light. Wielding the power of the Shinigami (Death Gods), Light, or Kira as the world will learn to know him, sets out on his crusade to wipe out criminals and create the perfect Utopia, a world completely free of evil.
But as Kira reigns terror down on the world, a super detective known only as L takes an interest in the case and so begins the most intense battle of wits and intelligence that you have ever encountered. In the end, only one of them is going to survive.
Death Note has to be put down as one of the best anime series I have ever watched. Tense, gripping and full of surprises, Death Note grabs at your throat and doesnt let you sit back for even one second through its tumultuous rollercoaster of twists and turns. Difficult to put it in any specific genre, Death Note can best be described as a supernatural thriller drama. Though not overly graphic, death follows this show at an unrelenting pace where no character is safe from the grim reapers blade for long.
The writing on this series is particularly strong and shines through in almost every episode. Characters are carefully created and moulded, leaving you fully immersed in a deep and rich world, full of mystery, intrigue and surprises. Using the predefined rules set out in the Death Note, the writers do their best to throw a curveball at you every step of the way, constantly leaving you guessing as to just who is winning the battle of wits between Kira and the detectives out to get him. Six years pass during this 37 episode long series, and you watch how the characters develop and mature, before bringing this epic story to a deeply satisfying ending that leaves no dangling threads to annoy watchers wishing for a proper conclusion.
The animation on Death Note is top notch, dark, broody and very detailed, using brilliant contrasts in colour. Character designs are rich and the backgrounds are all well set out and fantastically populated. Although this isnt an action title per se, you can be forgiven for thinking that as the intense action sequences are forced upon you so strongly youd think you were watching a full out fighting anime. Sound-wise, Death Note makes use of a rich set of background musical pieces and sounds, combined with an edgy soundtrack and absolutely stellar voice acting. Special mention must be made Light and Ls voice actors – they convey the mood and tone of the story so well that its scary.
All in all, this is one anime title the mature watcher should not miss out on. It is simply one of the most spell-binding dark pieces of fiction out there at the moment.