Comic Book Review: "Death Note"

>> Monday, April 02, 2007

I spent the whole weekend reading the series of "Death Note"s. The first episode that I've ordered from was lost in the mail, so I bought the english version from Borders instead. I couldn't have waited, I planned to spend one of my weekends reading them before watching the DVD version that I've bought. So I pretty much spent three whole days reading it until I literally felt sick from the whole thing. It's my obsessive personality, my shoulders and neck got so tense and sore from staying in the same position, but I can't help it, can I?

I've just finished all 12 episodes, I understand there is a 13th that further explains everything in detail and I would've read it if it wasn't lost somewhere between the shop in SF and here. But I really couldn't wait to give my two cents, afterall I've paid for the series and being a customer I know my rights.

It is a very cool concept, a notebook from death himself dropped on earth whoever picked it up can write names on it and the person with that name will die. Of course, the author also made a lot of "rules" along the way to make it more interesting, to fit the plot, to mend some holes as well as to promote their related merchandises which I find a bit shameless. (Oh... don't write my name in the notes) Some rules include: "You must have the person's face in your mind while writing their name on the notebook, therefore others with the same name will not be affected." "If you write the time, cause and method of death next to the person's name, it will be so unless it is impossible for the person to die in that situation.", "There are more than one notebook on earth and it maybe red, white or black in color but they have the same effects." "Blah, blah, blah..."

The hero (or anti-hero) of the series is a Straight-A student name Light who accidently picked up the notebook and tries to use the notebook to create a crime-free world. He writes down names of criminals he found on the news and online to send out a message to the world that if you commit crime, you'll die. Society responded by divided into two cults, one that whole-heartedly supports this phenomenon and one that denounces it and thinks they are being terrorized into submission. Investigation throughout the world has been established to find this person out and Light starts to abuse his power by killing not only criminals but people that are in his way from realizing his ideal world. L, a borderline austistic investigator, was sent to be in charge of this case and he is determined to find out the truth behind this phenomenon.

The first few chapters of the series deal with the discovery of notebook and the psychological development of a person who acquire such power which is intriguing. After that it becomes an all out psychological and investigational battle. At times, you can sense that the author tried too hard to maintain the logic of the whole story. Instead of being a comic, the whole page is filled with text after text forging a semi-logical story delicate enough that might shatter into a thousand fragments if not careful. Of course we all know that, if the story is as perfect as it seems, we wouldn't need to publish a No. 13 just to cover up more holes. But it is so heavy with "plotlines" that I'm bombarded with reasonings so much that I have lost tracks of my own thoughts and logic. I have to read a section more than three times just to get the point. At times, I wish it has more actions than watching them sitting in one place for 5 pages thinking to themselves. Bring the notebook outside, put them in more dangerous situation and kill someone to save their lives for god's sakes.

All in all they have an A for concept, but a D for logic. Plus other entertaining values, I'll say a B-.

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