Anime Review | Death Note

Death Note is a 37-episode anime that came out in 2006. It was directed by Director Tetsuro Araki in coordination with the animation studio, Madhouse. Originally, Death Note was a manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata. Since its release, Death Note’s popularity has grown not only throughout Japan but also throughout the western countries, like the Unites States and Canada (through popular networks such as Cartoon Network and Neon Alley). What has made Death Note so popular, you may ask? Well, I’m getting to that part, starting with its plot.

Plot: 8/10

The story is definitely intriguing, mainly because of the battle of wits between Light and L. Almost every episode had an ending that made you want to see more. The plans that L and Light make are definitely not cliché. If anything, the plans that they make to counter each other are very clever and mind-boggling indeed. Some of the plans even made me go “Holy cow! He got you there!”. The only problem that I had with the show, plot-wise, was the second half of the series, where almost all the “Holy cow! He got you there!”-moments became non-existent, effectively leading the show to a dwindling road that almost sends it to hell, if not for the climatic ending. The story, and the way that it is set up, also makes you think about the ideologies and principles that the characters are motivated by, whether it may be Light or L’s or some other character, and that is always a wonderful touch.

Sound: 10/10

The soundtrack for “Death Note” consists of various orchestral pieces, with choir parts sprinkled into it, effectively adding to the epic nature that the show possesses. Although some of these pieces are used over and over again throughout the series, its execution makes up for it ten times over. Combining the soundtrack with the amazing visuals of the show makes the climatic moments of the show all the more memorable. All the opening and ending themes convey the series’ supernatural and psychological theme and are…unique in their own way (I’m looking at you, “What’s Up People”) and are really fun to listen to on their own. Both the English and Japanese dubs were amazingly done as well, with the voice actors for both Light and L (for both dubs) portraying the characters in such a way that you just either love them or hate them more (in a good way, of course).

Characters: 8/10

There are many reasons to love Death Note’s characters. From Light to L to everyone in the Kira investigation team all served a purpose in the show and are not just there because the director needed someone to fill up space. Both Light and L are really unique characters in their own special way, with L being the strange, socially-alien, but quirky, genius, and Light as the perfect model student with delusions of grandeur. Speaking of Light’s transition into his delusions, there are also other characters who received a good amount of character development, which makes them all the more interesting.

Seriously, these two are one of the best cat-and-mouse teams out there, almost on par with Tom and Jerry

Animation: 9/10

Madhouse is, definitely, an animation company that goes the extra mile when it comes to animating their works. With a mixture of unique color palettes and superb camera angling, Death Note has made even taking a potato chip and eating it really epic. The aforementioned color palettes also deliver a stunning effect that raises the level of suspense and keeps the viewers excited for what’s going to happen next.

Enjoyment: 9/10

Death Note was my first take into the psychological thriller genre and will definitely remain as one of my most favorite anime ever. The story really entranced me with its suspenseful climaxes. Every turn, every plan, and every moment was enjoyable. Even the second half of the show was entertaining, albeit containing less suspenseful moments than the first half.

In essence, Death Note is an original, suspenseful, mind-boggling, and tantalizing take into the psychological thriller genre. With the precious combination of its gorgeous soundtrack, enthralling storyline, captivating animation, and unique characters, Death Note is definitely a must-watch! And if you aren’t interested in it by now by my review, may I please have your full name?

I hereby award Death Note with an overall score of 8 Shinigamis out of 10


                                       Imagine seeing this guy in a 7-11…

One Comment

  1. I think the plot was pretty perfect up until the second season… Perhaps that’s because I watched the movies first… Might have to review this awesome anime myself because I don’t think 8/10 does it justice for me.

  2. Overall, I think you are right about the seasons. I personally thought that the show should have ended with L’s death, and I think that it continuing on, while not horribly terrible, kind of weakened the story a bit. I think there was so much more they could have done, or if not then where they could have ended it, but instead they kind of dragged things out.

    Still, all in all it is a solid show.

    Great review! 🙂

    1. Mark your SPOILERS! More SPOILERS here:

      I don’t think the show could have finished with Kira still being alive. Stories tend not to end in such a way that the universe they inhabit is at the start of some sort of change. If it ended when L died, the world would still have a lot of changing to do before it reached a stable state, but we’d not see that. Since explaining the consequences of a successful Kira at the end of the series would be a bit boring, the only options were to kill everyone or kill Kira.

      1. Perhaps, but there is something to be said about leaving things up to the viewer to imagine, or coming back later and telling more stories. I just felt the second half of the show was considerably lacking compared to the first 🙁

  3. I read through the manga of Death Note but I never did finish the anime. It’s a strange thing, I’ve seen random episodes of Death Note so frequently that I might as well have watched the anime (I know I’ve seen almost all of part 1 at some point at least), though I never did stop and just watch through it all. One day I do want to give it a full watch since I thoroughly enjoyed the manga.

    I feel like Death Note part 2 gets more hate than it deserves. Granted, I really loved L and Mello and Near weren’t all that memorable to me in comparison, but I felt it added a bit more variety to the story and added more dimensions to the conflict, I doubt the story could have adequately continued the one-on-one psychological warfare of part 1 for an entire stretch, especially given that it’s really hard to top L (as shown by viewer response to Mello and Near) and making a clone of L not only as far as role goes but also as a plot device might have been more disappointing. I did enjoy part 1 more but I felt part 2 wasn’t all that bad.

    Death Note has a pretty likable cast but I’m not so sure I can say it’s especially developed. Despite my personal strong dislike of Light, I feel he’s a very well-written character that perfectly illustrates the themes of the series and drives the story in a very entertaining way. Aside from him, however, I felt a lot of the characters were one-dimensional. Most of them don’t grow a great deal throughout and a lot of them just serve as pawns in the cat and mouse game. One exception is actually a character not from the anime or manga, but from the Another Note novel: Beyond Birthday. That entire novel did a great job of adding to the Death Note world and giving more insight on the nature of Wammy’s House while building an intriguing story with a very fascinating character. It doesn’t have the constantly thrilling plot of the anime/manga or the time for enough development but it’s a pretty entertaining detective mystery style novel with a fantastic twist at the end.

    Anywho, I’ve been writing a lot so I’ll just end it here. I really want to watch through the whole anime just to see how the manga is adapted throughout. What I’ve heard of the music is quite fascinating and the directing does do wonders for its presentation (like you mentioned, the fabulous potato chip eating is especially memorable). Even though I already know how the story plays out (and I’ve seen the last episode so I know the differences from the manga anyway), DN really is a tale more about the thrilling journey than it is the destination (though that too ties in with the overall themes) so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it a great deal.

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