Last weekend, our whole family watched Death Note and its sequel Death Note II: The Last Name on DVD (Japanese audio with English subtitles). I first heard about Death Note as one of the On Demand movies offered by Singapore Airlines during our recent trip to Singapore (it is a 7 hour flight from Tokyo to Singapore).
Death Note is a Japanese manga series created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata, first serialized in 108 chapters in Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. It was adapted into live action films in 2006, directed by Shūsuke Kaneko, produced by Nippon Television and distributed by Warner Bros. Death Note, premiered in Japan on June 17, 2006 and topped the Japanese box office for two weeks. Death Note II: The Last Name premiered in Japan on November 3, 2006. Both movies very briefly appeared in North America in 2008 and are now available on DVD.
A 37 episode anime series developed by Madhouse aired in Japan from October 3, 2006 to June 26, 2007. A light novel based on the series, written by Nisio Isin, was released in Japan and various video games have been published by Konami for Nintendo DS.
The series centers on Light Yagami, a university student who discovers a supernatural notebook dropped on Earth by a shinigami (death god) named Ryuk. The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose face they have seen, by writing the victim’s name in the notebook. The story follows Light’s attempt to create and rule a world cleansed of evil using the notebook, and the complex conflict between him and a mysterious detective known to the world only as L.
We all enjoyed both movies – highly recommended. As usual, the first one was better than the second one. Death Note II seemed overly complicated, with (spoiler alert) two death notebooks in play, with more rules in effect. I think we have to watch Death Note II again to figure out all the nuances of the plot.
Have you heard about, read or seen the Death Note series in one or more of its various formats?