Death Note is a 37-series anime inspired by the manga series of the same name and premiered from 2006-2007 in Japan.This series opened up anime viewership in western and other asian countries and popularised the “infamous” death notebooks that China had to ban the series as it was casting a bad impression on children. Yet, the series gained record breaking viewership and continues to be one of the most popular anime series of all times.
The series starts with Light Yagami, the protagonist finding the death note – a note where anyone whose name is written dies within 40 seconds of a heart attack. This may sound very superficial specially with the interference of Shinigamis and the ethereal world, but what drives the plot forward is the conflict of human emotions Light undergoes. It is an implication of how humans would behave when they have the power to kill anybody without fearing punishment.
Light is so frustrated with the people around him that he says he would be doing the society a favour by killing “everyone”. He uses the Death Note to kill all murderers and criminals as an act of protecting the world. He is ready to put his conscience and life at stake as he believes he has the power to eliminate evil and pass the right judgement to eventually become “the god of the new world”. With the ongoing mysterious killing of criminals, “L”, a detective is requested by the police to solve the case. Things get interesting when both Light and L have their own theories of justice and believe they are “justice” personified.
Also, the series explores human emotions with a new perspective. The people like Light or what they call “Kira” as they feel it’s going to make the world a better place where criminals who do not fear the law are scared of Kira. Everything goes fine until Light forgets his purpose of killing and is completely enslaved by power. Rather, he becomes cynical and is ready to kill anyone who opposes him, deviating from his mission of bringing justice.
IS IT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
The show deals with extremist and obsesssive nature of the protagonists and plays with your mind. It might put our rational thinking in jeopardy as unlike other movies or series that clearly bifurcates between good and evil, there is a very thin line here. Also, the premise of the show is complex and requires good psychological balance to stay unaffected. Hence, it may not be suitable for children below 16 years.
Power brings the best and worst out of a person. It relies upon us how we channelize ourselves into using it the right way. Before acquiring the death note, Light was a diligent, hardworking and ideal student. Though he despised the world and always had a sense of superiority in him, he was not evil. The power of the death note changed him into a heartless, cold and ruthless person. He fails to understand the emotions and feelings of people.
Light gets his way into the investigation to assist L in the Kira case. He thus becomes aware of the investigation information to help him plan his killings without getting caught. Though L is suspicious of Light, he does not have evidence to prove him guilty. Light forgets all his memories by relinquishing his death note as a part of his plan. During that phase, Light is ethical and says he would never kill a person as it is against his principles. It is a perfect metaphor of how humans behave when power is bestowed upon them. All morals stay only till he regains his memory and restores his power back.
L is the heart of the show. He is smart noble and an possess amazing deductive skills. Though, he was dealing with supernatural powers, he guesses each move of Light perfectly, but just lacks evidence. L calls Light his only friend, yet Light doesn’t shy away from killing him. (*SPOILER*) The death of L is a major twist in the plot and the most heart-wrenching scene in the show.
The show later progresses with the introduction of Near and Mello,who pursue the investigation as a mark of respect to L. Does L finally get justice? Is Light punished for his crimes? This forms the crux of the second half of the series.
The series puts its viewers in a moral conundrum.It questions and makes us confront our own beliefs and thoughts. Perhaps,that is the best part of the show. The intriguing plot,unpredictable twists and cliffhanger endings makes it a perfect binge watch that will stay with you even after you complete the show.Overall,an amazing mind-boggling series,it is a must watch for psychological thriller and suspense lovers.