Monday, February 23, 2015

Mondo Bizarro Reviews Anime: Death Note

At long last, someone with talent reviews Anime on this site again.

Just kidding...although I am more talented in general.  Anyways, I decided to go back and cover the Anime that was also a Film that I actually saw first.  You may have heard of it.
If you don't know what this Show is about, here's a quick and easy recap...

Light Yagami is a promising High School Student (soon to enter College).  He has a secret though...
He has gotten his hands on a Death Note, the tool that Shinigami (Japanese Gods of Death) use to kill us on Earth.  The Owner lets him, since the chaos he'll create will ease its boredom.

As for Light, he wants to change the world!
The thorn in his side is L, a mysterious Investigator who is working the case of the mysterious deaths.

To simplify things, he discovers that the killer- called Kira- is in Japan (way too easily) right away.
The concept is simple at first, allowing for some interesting build-up as Light and L work against each other in various ways.  It does get a bit silly- like the bit where they dramatically play a Tennis Match- too though.
High points:
- The way it plays with how the Death Note works and how you can kill people.
- A whole Episode based around Light figuring out a person's identity in time to save himself.
- The build-up of the Light/L dynamic as they both 'work' the case.

Now here's the thing.  Without SPOILERS, I will say that the Show takes a big turn around the 25th Episode.  The Story seems to reach a big Climax...and then keeps going...only now with about a dozen new Characters like Near (who is way too much like L)...
...and Mikami, who becomes one of the many people who works with Light at one point or another.  Throw in a Story that mostly turns into 'I did this to trick you' followed by 'I know that you did this to trick me, so I did THIS to trick you into thinking you tricked me!' and the Show kind of goes on too long.

It is never bad, but it clearly peaks a good 10 Episodes before it really endsl
Damn shame that it kind of peters out like it does.  The Show starts out real strong.  The overall Concept feels strong and unique.  When it stays simple, it can be really engaging.  Unfortunately, the Show kind of wallows in its own Mystery at a certain point.  As most people know, you write Mysteries backwards- solve it and then explain how you got to that point.  By over-complicating the Plot and giving us too many Characters, the thing just gets bogged down.  There are a good dozen Characters to keep track of by the end- not counting those that have died over the years.  There's also ideas- like people giving up the notebook and getting amnesia- that are good they do them a bunch of times.  Some Stories shouldn't be too long and this is one of them.  I am sure that some people will disagree with me- the Show does have a huge fanbase- and they are free to.  My issues with the latter 3rd of the Show don't take away from the great Premise and overall good execution.  I suppose I should answer the Dubbed or Subbed Question (since someone else here does).  I watched it Dubbed for the most part and had no complaints.  Due to the Show's popularity, they got good people and money behind it.  It is a really good Show, but your mileage with it may change as it runs on.  Speaking of Death Note, I never reviewed the Live Action Films back in 2010 when I watched them.  I guess I should get on that sometime soon (or get Bob to)...
Next time, there's apparently a Comedy Anime about Satan.  That sounds like my kind of thing!  See you then...

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