I am an anime fan, no, a HUGE anime fan but I haven’t seen highly popular animes like ‘ Dragon Ball Z’ , ‘Naruto’ etc. Their animation never attracted me and I am not that into action anime. Besides, such animes appeal when one is a kid and as a kid I never got the chance to watch them. So, well and good!
Death Note, on the other hand, is not an action anime. It’s more of a detective/ crime or better a Thriller anime. And it’s genre is one of the main things that drew me towards it. Lots of friends had recommended it to me but I got the chance to watch it , recently only. It is, like most other animes, based on the Manga series by the same name, created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata. The manga’s high popularity lead to its anime adaptation. And the anime, woah, became twice as popular as the manga. Yes, if you are a committed anime fan then chances are, you have already seen the anime and if not, then, well, you should better watch it.
Death Note’s storyline seems to be pretty simple. There is a Shinigami ( death god) Ryuk and he deliberately lets his death note fall on the land of the mortals i.e. Earth because he is , errr, too bored (!) and he wants to see how a human being handles it. So a very bright, highschool student, the protagonist, also the anti hero, Yagami Light gets hold of it. This Light guy is an idealist and he wants a perfect world- a world without crime. So obviously, he starts using the Death Note to get rid of all the criminals and crime suspects as well. Umm, did I tell you that the Death Note has certain rules that needs to be follwed? Well, yes there are quite a lot of rules and if you watch the anime you’ll get to know them by heart !!
But hold on, it’s not as simple as it seems. You can’t just get hold of a notebook and start killing the criminals without drawing some attention, can you? The criminals are dying in a certain pattern and the common people are happy. And this being the age of media, this pretty much becomes the story of the century. Everyone is talking about this Messiah like figure and the Media starts calling him Kira. But there is a certain group pf people who are troubled by it. No, not the criminals- it’s the law enforcement agencies. And here comes the match for Light- the world’s most intelligent brain, a person whose name nobody knows, he is just known by the letter ‘L’. And now the story takes a turn- Light who had been basking in the glory of his power, has now to face his nemesis- ‘L’. And, for what happens next, you should really watch the anime. Can L beat Light- who can kill anyone at his mere whim ( umm, not actually, there are rules)? Is Light doing the right thing? Ahh, lots of questions that can only be answered if you watch the anime.
I liked it pretty much. Of course, it’s not my most favorite anime. But the people behind have done a pretty decent job. The anime is fine, the story is good, specially the first half and then the last bit. If you are a big detective fiction nerd like me, there are certain aspects that will irritate you, that seem to be half explained, but uh, you can , at those points, try not to use the brains. It works. There are lots of plot twists and questions. The best thing about this anime is that both the protagonists- Light and ‘L’ are very finely drawn. Light is this guy with huge Ego ( google Max Stirner’s ‘ The Ego and its Own’ to see which Ego is being talked about here). He thinks that he is this Extraordinary Man, who can impose his own morality on the world. And who is ‘L’? L has an undefinable personality and it’s maybe because we don’t know his real identity.There are other characters as well but they are half as important as these two. Even if you remove those side characters, the anime seems to be working fine. Japanese animes are also known for their music and this particular anime has a lot of heavy metal music. I really liked the themes that are specific to a particular character.
Death Note is a fine anime. But if you have never seen an anime, are not that big crime and detective fiction buff and you are thinking of watching some animes, then Death Note shouldn’t be the first one. It will appear pretty slow to you. But if you like such stuff- then, yes, go for it. It’s quite different from other animes-it’s not that action oriented. The protagonist is not some quest ( that’s a regular anime story) and neither does he keeps meeting challenges to prove his mettle. It’s all about the mind games- a double detective story, where both the detective and the criminal are trying to discover each others identity. Sounds awesome, no? Well, that is what makes Death Note one of its kind in the genre of anime.