The first volume of a great manga series!
Summary: A high school student - Light Yagami finds a notebook called a "Death Note" (hence the title). The Death Note allows him to kill any person he recognizes by writing in their name. Light starts killing criminals with the Death Note hoping to create a world free of evil and become the god.
I decided to buy my best friend this Manga for her birthday, but of course I read it first to make sure that it was fine and that it was the right thing. I had previously watched the anime so I expected the manga to be 100 times better than the anime - which it was. It was amazing! The illustrations were absolutely amazing and the translation from Japanese to English was flawless - no mistakes.
For people who had never read a manga before it may be confusing at first because in manga you don't read from left to right, you read from right to left. However on this particular manga if you open it up from the wrong side it will tell you that you have opened it from the wrong side and tell you to open it from the right side.
The Death Note manga is definitely worth a read, it is brilliant! I don't want to reveal too much of the plot but if you are into detectives, psychological thrillers and/or supernatural manga/books/movies then you should definitely read this manga! It is amazingly brilliant!
After seing its rise in popularity I was finally urged into reading/watching the series by a very excited friend. Me being a person who has been reading/watching mostly shonen jump for her whole life was a bit skeptical in picking up a copy. However as soon as I did I was completyl intruded, almost addicted to it. Within a week I had already finished the series iching for more. Eventhough it was a complete change from the usual mangas I have read, I can confidently say that this was one of the best. Short, mysterious, addicting and totally worth it.
The story is realistic and quite relatable as a modern high school student, Light Yagami, picks up a ridiculous book which seemed to appear out of no where. At first sight it seemed to be a ordinary chain letter. Annoying, Spamming, Non-reacting. However as the bored teenager hears about a criminal through the media he tries it out. 'It can't harm, neh? BEST decision/mistake of his life.
As the criminal drops dead exactly 40 seconds after his name has been written in the book, Light life doesn't seem too boring anymore. The series follows this boy on his 'quest' of becoming the God of the world under the pename 'Kira'. As any normal human being which is handed ernomous powers, Light becomes almost posessed by it promising to remove all evil from this world. He is closely followed by a Shinigami (Angel of Death) who grants him this power through the book.
Things get more intresting when a unlikely hero, the super intelligent 'L' is set on the case to eliminate him. L and Light entangel in a epic chase game, one trying to kill the other before he is killed. Misa is another character added to the mix as a second person who posses a Death Note, and has a unhealthy possesion with Kira.
Overall it is a absolute thrilling manga, not recommended to younger readers, but definetly for mystery lovers or really anyone who loves manga. Good start for new manga readers who are looking for something dark and serious.
Deathnote is a japanese manga series now produced by Viz media. Written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata it is one of the most popular mainstream manga comics at the moment.
Deathnote volume 1 is the first in a series of 13, in which we meet Light Yagami. Straight A student that wants to be the head of the Japanese detective agency. On the way out of college he sees a rather odd notebook with the words "Deathnote" across the front and so in his curiosity picks it up and so the game begins. Unknowingly he has picked up a book of the death gods, by writing a name in this book that person will die.
Although initially sceptical, Light tests the theory out on a man who has taken a nursery hostage and when the results are a heart attack he begins to see that he holds something very powerful.
Light is followed by Shirigami (Death god) called Ryuk who is the origional owner of the deathnote, usually losing their deathnote means death for a Shirigami but Ryuk has managed to find another and been able to drop this one onto earth to see the results.
From this point Light begins a psychological descent as he feels more like a god and starts to kill of those who have sinned. But this has not gone unnoticed and a mysterious detective called L is on Lights tail. And so a thrilling game of cat and mouse unfolds.
Now this deathnote isn't as simple as it sounds and there are some terms and conditions which definatley need to be looked at before you start killing.
1. The name of the person you have written will die within 40 seconds.
2. When writing the name you must picture the persons face, this prevents everyone of that name being killed off.
3. Cause of death can be decided.
4. If cause of death is not stated then a heart attack is default.
5. Details of death can be written in the following 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
These are just the basics and as the book goes on more are revealed, which then allows Light to be more extravagent as he tries to throw L. off his scent.
One of the main hooks of this manga is its psychology. Inbedded within the thrilling crime story is an interesting set of questions posed to both Light and the reader. "Who deserves to live", "what happens if a mortal man was given god-like powers" and "does power corrupt".
Light is an intelligent character and one of japans top students, but he has a bubbling hatred of criminals and their actions. As he commits more killings his belief that it is a righteous decision increases and that it is for a greater good. This means that very early on in the story we see the effects when his power is challenged or reduced, there is a moment in the book where the unknown L. challenges Kira (Light, but known as this name to the media) to kill him, but as Light hasn't seen his face or even his name he can't. This sparks rage and vengance in Light who decides to make it his aim to kill L. who isn't a criminal but another Righteous man doing the right thing.
This adds to the excitement as a reader because although Light is the main protagonist and were meant to be on his side, you can't help but think that the police are doing the right thing and that Light is becoming evil as power corrupts him.
As a main character Light does have a strong presence in the book, he has a lot of depth to his thinking and the effects of the deaths and police investigations do take their toll. Lights thinking does shift and you can sense the way his origional thoughts of good are becoming clouded as he soon wants to get rid of the people hunting him.
Ryuk is a shirigami (Death god) and has decided to drop a deathnote on earth out of pure boredom and to see how humans would handle the power and responsibilty given to them. To Ryuk it is a dull existence and he needs a form of entertainment, his life is only lengthened by killing people before their time and taking their remaining years and so he is otherwise immortal. He doesn't take sides with characters and to me is the exact description of a qoute by michael cain in batman, "Some people just want to watch the world burn".
L. is a hidden detective for this volume. Never seeing his face and only catching glimpses throughout the story. As a detective he reminded a lot of House, mainly because he only takes cases that interest him and that his thinking is very logical and clever, his methods are unusual and even proves a point about Lights power by having him sacrifice a criminal on live television.
Being my first manga I have nothing that really sets a benchmark before this, the level of depth in story as the two forces try to outhink each other is great, as well as character development being as good as any book. It's also not all doom and gloom with some clever comedy also being used throughout.
Quality of image is high, there is a good amount of detail to make it nice to look at as well as easy to read. Emotions come across really well and the range of panels used means you are dragged into the story and a big panel can mark a powerful point in the storyline.
I've never really gotten into manga , rather I never actually tried. But after nagging from freinds I was lent the first 4 volumes and having read this one I am suitabley impressed and can easily see myself ordering some more of the series.
Available on £4.25 , it is 7 chapters long and 200 pages. 1 volume may only take a day to read but its quality and story make it a worthwile buy. Although it can also be read for free online at Read manga share.
Also remember to read from right to left as this is kept in the traditional Japanese manga style.
*General review for the whole series*
A high school student writes the names of those he wants to kill in a notebook in order to bring justice to the world. Sounds like a horror movie, doesn't it? In a way, it is more aimed to older teens, and not only because of the suggestive content but also as it definitely follows a more complex basis for a plot.
Light is a an ordinary high school student, who finds a "supernatural notebook" on the ground, dropped on Earth by a Shinigami (aka God of Death) called Ryuk. The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose face they have seen, by writing the name of that person within its pages. The story then goes on to follow Light and his complex relationships with his family, the police force and a mysterious detective called L as he tries to bring justice to the world and rid the world of evil.
Tsugami Ohba, writes a tense and dark script, but satisfys fans of light horror with some dark humour. Ohba manages to keep you rooting for Light, even though, in the bigger picture, he essentially becomes a mass murderer.
The artwork by Takeshi Obata manages to display all the conflicts and action throughout the series with no problems, the whole manga is easy to follow and both the script and imagery conveyed mixes together the perfect mood for a suspense story.
Deathnote is a rare gem, and gives the reader alot to think about from beginning through to end. You won't be disappointed.
The first of 12 manga books in the series this volume sets the reader up for the wonderfully illustrated journey of the Death Note (a note book that if you write someone's name and a cause of death it happens). This series has quite a fan base and been made into both a TV series and full length live action movies and has a huge range of merchandise based on the gorgeous artwork.
It's rated T+ and I can see why it's more suitable towards an older audience due to the nature and reports of a few 'copy cats' (and with today's nanny culture anything with the slightest bit of violence or anything suggesting a harmful intent is deemed unsuitable for under 16s).
This series cost £5.99 rrp but in the past have picked up the first 3 from Waterstones when its 2 for the price of 3 (just checked Amazon and they are roughly £4 each new a lot less used). After getting hooked and misplacing my first book I did splash out for the box set and it is gorgeous (Amazon £49... Waterstone's £70 eeeeep) it comes with an additional little booklet that has the rules of the death note written out and a full sized book proclaiming to be the 'Ultimate Death Note Encyclopedia'.
That aside it's one of those books you just can't put down and will soon be shocked to discover you have reached the end and hungry for more.
The original owner (a Shinigami named Ryuk of the book drops it in the human world because he's bored and isn't disappointed with the results. You follow the journey of Light Yagami (aged 17) as he first confirms that the note book works then uses it to implement a better world punishing the wicked attempting to become 'God of the new world' earning him the nickname of Kira along the way.
Of course the police aren't too happy and they enlist the help of an investigator named L to find and bring Kira to justice. And the game of cat and mouse begins...
Death Note is a manga series by writer Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata. After its phenomenal success as a manga it has also been adapted into an anime series and three live action films, one of which is not based on the books, but follows on from the first two films.
I first started to read Death Note because of the art work. I love how it's drawn and the cover design is very eye catching and unlike any other manga I'd seen before, so I though I'd give it a go. It happens to be one of the most intriguing and cleverest things I've ever come across.
There is a world of the shinigami, or death Gods, that co-exists with ours. Each owns a Death Note, which is how they control the death of humans. A shinigami named Ryuk has let his fall to the human world.
Light Yagami is at the top of his class in every respect, to the point where he is so far above his classmates that school is just boring. He sees the Death Note on the floor, picks it up and takes it home. Having touched the note book and written in it allows Light to see Ryuk, who tells him more about his book. Light decides to test it out by writing in the name of a man on his local news who is holding some school children hostage. He is pronounced dead on the news as Light is watching. Light decides that he can use the Death Note to kill criminals that he feels are not getting enough punishment for their crimes. But the amount of deaths that occur soon alert the police and they try to discover what is causing these mysterious crimes. So far all the criminals have died of unexplained heart attacks, but there is too many to be just coincidence. As the Japanese police force is completely stumped they get the help of 'L' who only communicated from a laptop. Here starts the battle between Light, who is soon known as Kira (taken from the Japanese pronunciation of Killer), L, and the Japanese police force.
As i said, this is one of the most intelligent books I've ever read. Light and L are both extremely clever, which makes for a compelling and the way they try to out do each other at every turn never gets boring. The series also really makes you think about what is right and wrong, and a lot of people support Kira, as he kills more people crime goes down drastically until there is almost none in Japan. But the L argues that Kira is still committing murder and should be punished the same as everyone else. And should man have the power to play God?
This first book is a fantastic first instalment and really sets the whole story up. Light is introduced to Ryuk and the Death Note and his battle begins. It shows how he gets to grips with using the book and why he makes the decisions he does. It also shows how he starts his battle with the police and L. The series gets more and more intriguing, it's exciting through out. A must read for any manga fans!
Do those who commit crime deserve to live? A common question that has been argued for years in the real world. What if they didn't? Who should make such a decision? Raito (or Light) Yagami, a top class 17 year old student, seems to think he is that person to pass rightful judgement on the world with the power of the Death Note. In his eyes he is the only one who is capable of creating a new world free from crime where he will reign, as a god.
Light spots a black notebook with the words 'Death Note' written on the cover. He quickly dismisses it as a sick joke. He later discovers how very real it is and that with a name and a face he can kill whoever he wants, just by writing it in the notebook. This however does not fall unnoticed by the police.
The strategic conflict between Light and a detective known as L is mindblowing. Every move they make they have to take into consideration the consequences so that they can constantly out-smart each other. It is like a game of chess with the wager of death.
This was the first manga I decided to buy after watching the anime which was excellent. I enjoyed the story so much that I wanted to buy the manga in case there was anything extra I had missed. Death Note doesn't need swords, battles and kamehameha super powers to attract an audience. It tends towards reality whilst still having some products of the imagination to keep you interested. Death Note delves into your mind leaving you pondering for hours on a variety of subjects. What if I had the power to kill those who commit crime? Would I attempt to cleanse the world of evil, or would I succumb to fear and morality?
The characters are very well developed during this first volume where one of the most radical changes in personality occurs. There are a host of characters and 'Death Gods' to keep Death Note fresh whilst building on some of the already introduced characters. Both the progress of Light and L are closely kept up with providing an insight into their tactic-fuelled thoughts. This makes for a rather interesting situation. Its difficult to decide whom you want to succeed in the battle between Light and L and at times I've found myself alternatively rooting for one or the other throughout the manga which really sets you back to observe the full story.
I find that a lot is stuffed into each volume compared to many Manga I have purchased, making for greater value for money and longer reading sessions. There are pages and pages of beautifully crisp artwork by Takeshi Obata . Although, it has been troubling me why a certain character's hair direction seems to shift every so often.
Death Note is an intense thriller that is difficult to close. It is mentally engaging and fantastic value for money at £4 per volume from Amazon. It sparks some great morality conversations and is most definitely one to pick up!
'The human whose name is written in this note shall die'. Death Note is a story about a shinigami notebook that can be used to kill anyone whose name is written in it.
I was recommended Death Note by a friend and i liked it so much that i recently ordered a set containing all the books in the series.
The story centres around Light, a student genius, and his battle with L, the worlds greatest detective.
Light picked up the Death Note when it was dropped into the human world by Ryuk a shinigami and then began to use it to create his vision of a perfect world. As the police tried to capture Kira, L;s help was quickly enlisted and the battle of wits began.
Death Note has an amazingly complex plot and is fascinating to read. The characters are well crafted and their depth greatly enhances the story. I would recommend the entire series to everyone as it is definitely one of the best i have read.
This review is about volume 1 of the Death Note series published by Viz Media and part of the Shonen Jump Advanced books.
The story is by Tsugumi Ohba and the art is by Takeshi Obata.
Death Note is rated for older teens.
The book is in the classic right-to-left style of most popular Japanese manga but if you're new to manga then there's a handy 'how to read' guide on the back page (or what would normally be the inside front cover).
This manga series is so popular that it has been turned into anime and even a live action movie!
Volume one is subtitled 'Boredom' and has a black cover depicting Light and the Shinigami Ryuk.
So, what is a 'Death Note'? It's a notebook of death - whoever's name is written in the book will die. They're usually used by gods of death, or Shinigami, but what would happen if one entered the human world? Read on and find out!
All the artwork is in black and white but as I became more involved with the story I hardly noticed this. Sometimes the art is very simplistic, with no background but other frames are highly detailed with every line and hair on the characters clearly shown. I think this really helps the reader to focus on what's important at the time, either the text being spoken or the expression on the characters faces.
I personally think the art is fantastic; it really portrays the emotions of the characters. The story is very well written, with many twists in the plot but it's still easy to follow. The translation from Japanese to English has been carefully thought through so that the word order and word choices all make sense.
Each chapter ends with more detailed instructions of how to use the Death Note. It's written with white text on a black background which is a little difficult to read.
There's a bonus Christmas cartoon featuring Light and Ryuk at the back of this volume!
As soon as I'd finished this volume I had to rush out to buy the next one as it had me hooked so, if you're a die-hard manga fan (sometimes called Otaku) or just a newbie, I highly recommend getting this.
The blurb says:
"Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life?
Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note's powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily Light's father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information lying around the house. With access to his father's files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn't know?"
"The human who becomes the owner of the Death Note can, in exchange of half of his/her remaining life, get the eyeballs of the God off death which will enable him/her to see a human's name and remaining lifetime..." (How to use it before chapter 6 of death note vol1)
First impressions. The front cover is dark and mysterious. It contains our protagonist wielding a scythe large and powerful looking which in theory could only belong to the grim reaper.His name is Light and he is seventeen years of age.
Behind him stands a shingami or demon who brings death in the human world. His name is Ryuk. He looks like a cross between Frankenstein and one of Time Burtons characters from "Beetle Juice" or "A Night Before Christmas".
The plot comes together when Ryuk decides he is bored. He drops his own death note in the human world outside Lights school. Light picks it up and reads through it. He takes it home not quite convinced that this book has the power to kill anybody he desires to kill in anyway he wants.
A few chapters in Ryuk appears in Lights bedroom. Initially to inform Light of how the book works, then just to observe what he does with it.
In the first volume Light starts to get to grip with his powers and does start to kill off people with bad criminal records while his relationship with Ryuk develops further.
Which seems quite bizzare as Ryuk is 6ft+ tall and incredibly creepy looking! Most people would get rid of the book straight away, but Lights intelligence proceeds him. He is also bored with life and wants to make a big impact on the world.
Although from the outset of their actions they develop a powerful enemy by the name of "L" who wants to put a stop to Lights random Death Note murders. Mainly as he gets mistaken for someone called "Kira", who was said to reappear and has a large following on the internet.
Over all I am generally skeptical of shonnen Jump manga productions (the company which produced this series as well as naruto and dragon ball z). However this one does seem to hit a higher level and is quite original. It is a fairly interesting read if you are into the whole Death and Gloom idea.
The illustrations are very original and detailed too and fall away from the stereotypical generic big eyes spiky hair technique. Light actually looks like quite an attractive young man so far in this series.
This manga was another one of those overnight success stories which was put into anime (Japanese animation) production straight off the mark. I was never very into the whole long running Shonnen Jump anime sagas so I intend to just stick with the manga it generally seems to be better.
This sort of plot maybe isn't my sort of thing but I would still give it a worthy 4/5 for plot and individuality among other Shonnen Jump mangas. This one is rated "older teen"which generally means 16+.
Here we have the most popular manga series for the older audiance. I can assure you its poularity is justified. Also expect death note to really take off in a few months time. There is a live action movie that is going to come to britain soon!
Anyway lets get down to it. Death note isnt your standard story. First of all the main character - Light yagami - is not a hero. We meet him and find he is very intelligent and popular. Unfortunately for him his world is about to be turned upside down because of a notebook! This of corse is the death note. In its natural form it is a book used by death gods to kill people. If the name of someone is wrote in it they will die. The writer has the option to expand on the deatils of their death but if not they die of a heart attack. When light finds this with the rules of use inside he naturally thinks its a practical joke. The mang invites you to answer questions of what you would do. Would you try it and see? what if it works? Who would you wirte in it.
The story progresses and light is tempted by the book. His true personality comes out and he decides to use the note to kill evil people. This includes prisoners and such like. Eventually people start to notice and we meet a man named "L". He is the best investigator in the world and is determined to stop what he considers to be murders. The result is a series of mind games and rather clever sequences that is an engaging read. You litterally will not be able to put this down! On top of that you have an amazing artistic backdrop in the normal manga style. A great book and a must for all manga fans.
I was recommended this by a friend, and watched the anime even though I'm not into anime or manga. It was amazing. I immediately ordered volumes 1, 2 and 3 of the manga off amazon. I have lent them to my dad, who I doubt even knows what manga is, and he enjoyed them just as much.
~~Plot~~ Very sinister and entralling. Yagami Light is a school student in his final year at school. Brilliant academically, Light is often bored, and is sick of a world that is full of cruelty and suffering. When he finds the "Death Note" in his school grounds, he is fascinated. "The human whose name is written in this book shall die". At first he thinks it must be a prank, but after testing it twice, he convinces himself that he has the real thing.
The Deathnote will kill whoever's name is written in it. Time and cause of death can be specified, but the default death is from cardiac arrest, ie a heart attack.
What Light proceeds to do is to make a start on eliminating cruelty from the world by killing all criminals. After having had the Deathnote for 5 days however, he is visited by Ryuk, the Death God that the book belonged to. Ryuk is not intereted in getting the book back though; he just wants to watch as events develop on the human world.
Naturally, the police start noticing that many criminals are dying. The police are flummoxed until they call in the help of super detective "L", who communicates only through distorted voice messages, but who is the only one intelligent enough to find the killer, or "KIRA", as Light has become known in the media.
~~Analysis & Conclusion~~
This is an excellent book for anyone you would like to introduce to manga. It is not stereotypical manga, and has a gripping plot and characters. The drawings are mostly dark and sinister to fit the plot, but very stylish and clean. The characters, especially Light and Ryuk, have obviously been incredibly well thought out, and things that come up in the first volume turn out to be important later on. The whole thing just sucks you in and you find yourself completely absorbed in Light's schemes.
The fact that the main character is so evil leaves the reader rather at a loss at what to think of him. He is kind of charismatic as well as being dedicated to killing thousands, but just when you're getting to like him, you remember what a cold-hearted killer he is. I still don't know what I think of him.
Really, you won't regret buying this. I completely endorse it.
For many years, a long made piece of paper, called a chain letter, supposedly gifts people with different abilities of luck or of death. Nowadays, they are considered as spam, to be ignore completely from all of the world. To be frank, I positively hate chain letters, but I always did wonder as to what if they were real. What if chain letters actually gifted you with such fortune? What if they really gave you the power to kill anyone? That fantasy draws along in people's minds, questioning as to if you could really do good things for all living kinds. And that is where one manga artist by the name of Tsugumi Ohba has shown a concept of what could happen.
Death Note, you can tell by the name itself, is an incredibly dark concept. Light Yagami is one of the highest-minded Japanese high school students of his generation. However, he is bored with having to tend to these repetitious chores of work that are so easy to do. It goes on, day in and day out, with him studying and studying. No real social life at all.
Ryuk is a shinigami, or Death God, who lives in the Death God world. Death Gods carry notebooks which are called Death Notes. These Death Notes are what let shinigami kill humans who are meant to die or just kill them anytime and anywhere, by writing the soon-to-be-deceased's name in the notebook. However, Ryuk is bored in the living world, tired of all silence and bad apples in their world. So, he drops his Death Note in the Human realm intentionally, hoping for some random human to try it out.
Well, it just so happens that it drops right in front of Light Yagami's eyes, who is intrigued by it. After joking around with the book a little, and finding that there are actually some rules to the book, he tries it out on a criminal he hears about from the media. To his shock and amazement, the criminal dies after 40 seconds have passed, leading him to experiment with the book a little. After these experiments, Light finally concludes that this Death Note is the real thing, resolving to use it for the greater good. Well, the greater good being of him eliminating all criminals of this world and rising as GOD.
Now, the previous paragraph is already good enough as the entire story, but then things grow trickier. After these sudden deaths of criminals, the world's greatest detective, who only goes by the name of "L", is called in to find out who's committing to these murders. After finding out that L is on his trail, Light begins a cat-and-mouse game with L, swearing that he will find out and kill L before he himself is found out.
And that is essentially how the storyline plays out, but it is one of those stories that you will NEVER know what's coming next. There are always twists and turns throughout the entire volume, which, in itself, can become rather short for readers, but it just sucks you dry and leaves you wanting more and more.
Another thing I do like about this series is the modern setting of the 2000's. Most manga/anime are usually fantasy places with no connection to reality. However, "Death Note" just breathes reality because of it's complex nature and modern connections. It even gives everyone the chilling idea that this could certainly happen here, if it were possible. It would be almost exactly like this!
As for the drawing style, I do like it, but I'm not too much of an artist to fully explain some things. But, the characters are well-drawn, Ryuk terrifies me a bit, L looks exactly as he should with barely any sleep.
Overall, however, I feel this is a must-read for any older manga fan OR any person who questions the concepts explained within the series. So, with a proper bow, and a final write, Death Note gets a creepy 5 out of 5
Time: 5:42 PM
Date: Sunday, December 09, 2007
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Tsuguni Ohba's article about the death note shows that he was bored but on getting that notehe became awre of his surrounding and this made him busy trying to also contribute to riding the world of evils. This is to teach us to be positive in our lives.
Death Note (Desu Nōto) manga series first serialized in the weekly 'Shonen Jump' magazine in December 2003. It ran until May 2006, with 108 chapters in total.
Written by Tsugumi Ohba, with illustrations by Takeshi Obata, the series is incredibly popular, and its 108 chapters have been published in their entirety in 12 volumes in Japan. There have also two part live-action films released, an anime series, and last year a novelized version, written by Nisio Isin, was released.
This review is about volume 1 of Death Note, which contains the first 7 chapters of the story:
* Chapter 1: Boredom
* Chapter 2: L
* Chapter 3: Family
* Chapter 4: Current
* Chapter 5: Eyeballs Volume 1
* Chapter 6: Manipulation (Control)
* Chapter 7: Target
Death note centres on Raito Yagami (Light) a brilliant but bored high school student, who stumbles across a strange notebook, where he reads the line "He whose name is written in this book will die", which he naturally dismisses as a joke. However, when he gets home, he can't stop thinking about it, and decides to experiment with it. But, he's also worried that killing someone (if the book does work) would make him a killer, so he decides to look around for a target, someone who won't be missed. He hits inspiration while watching the news, and writes in the name of a killer who is currently holding several people hostage. He's then shocked by a newsflash announcing that the killer had died of a sudden fatal heart attack.
Armed with this information, Light sets out to become the god of the new world, writing down names of criminal as fast as they are convicted, helped (and sometimes hindered) by a Shinigami named Ryuk, the god of death who out of boredom dropped the notebook to the human world in the first place.
However, although Kira (the name the population give to the heart attack curse sweeping the prisons) is popular with some, the police aren't too keen, and enlist the help of a mysterious person known only as "L" to help catch the murderer. But how do you catch someone who can kill without touching without ever meeting or speaking to his victims.
Rules of Death Note
In order to understand the plot of this easily, its important to understand the basic rules Ryuk wrote down in English (believing it to be the most spoken language in the world) These are not the only rules more of them are revealed throughout reading (and in later Death Note volumes, some of them are a lot of fun!)
The rules written by Ryuk are the following:
The human whose name is written in this note shall die.
This note will not take effect unless the writer has the subject's face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
If the cause of death is written within 40 seconds of writing the subject's name, it will happen.
If the cause of death is not specified, the subject will simply die of a heart attack.
After writing the cause of death, the details of the death should be written in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
The Main Characters
Lights an unusually gifted high school student in fact, he considers himself a genius. After finding the death note and proving its effectiveness, he also considers himself the god of the new world and makes it his goal to eliminate all criminal activity from the face of the planet. You see a few flashes of his genius in this volume, such as the inventive measures he takes to hide the notebook, and the cryptic clues he leaves to test Ls abilities. He can seem quite heartless, but he seems to seriously believe he is doing a good thing. That said, he does seem rather petty, and doesnt like anyone getting the better of him.
Ryuk is the mysterious, mischievous Shinigami (death god) who dropped the notebook to earth out of boredom. Despite gruesome looks, hes not frightening, and I dont think hes intended to be. Nor is he evil hes just livening up a dull job. He makes it clear from the start that he doesnt take sides, and seems to delight in being vague, finding great amusement in the many ways that Light tests the books powers, and often expressing his admiration for Lights courage compared to other humans hes played this trick on. Hes also very clever- usually Shinigami notebooks if lost would cause death to a Shinigami, but he managed to trick his way into getting a spare.
L is Lights nemesis a mysterious detective who solves cases through a computer screen. He has immense brains, and is able to successfully trick light into slipping up a few times. He regards the L VS Kira as a bit of a challenge (Kira being the name the population have given to Lights mysterious killings) and is determined to win, at any expense, even if it means sacrificing another victim, and his anonymity prevents him from being a target.
Soichiro is Lights father, and is the leader of the police investigation into the Kira Killings a fact which Light uses to gain information on the case and stay one step ahead. Soichiro shows no suspicion of Light, and seems to be a good policeman, hardworking and diligent.
Death note gives you the basic plot outline in the first few pages, and then takes you into a plot thick with twists, turns, and mystery. You really get into the characters, and there are some pretty funny moments. Its really very well written and is interesting the whole way through where some manga volumes can be a little slow to get off the ground. Its quite dark in places, cheerful in others, but certainly easy to get into.
I liked the style of illustration very much clean lines, plenty of detail, and a LOT of character on the faces. Its very easy to tell one character visually from another (which has been a challenge with other manga Ive experienced, and the illustrations fit perfectly with the storyline and speech, with consistent good quality through the whole 200 pages. I also very much like the cover illustration, which you can see in the small product thumbnail.
I personally enjoyed it a great deal (the fact that I have all the comic volumes, the entire anime series and 2 movies should testify to this) however, I dont think everyone will. Firstly, if you are not used to reading Japanese manga, the fact that the pages read from right to left, rather than the other way around may confuse you slightly, but is easy enough to follow if you are prepared. Secondly, the plot may be a bit dark for some there is some violence, and a lot of death. Its also very complex, so if you prefer light, easy reading, it may not be for you. For me though, the complex mind games between Light and L as they each seek to better each other are amazing in this volume, and continue getting better as the series progresses.
If the book does sound a little complex for you, perhaps look into watching some of the anime episodes. You can do this online for free, and Ive put a link at the bottom of the review.
Madonna is apparently a fan of Death Note and has read the manga. Her favourite character is Mello, (introduced in later volumes) and this character was the basis for her look on her jump video.
Price and where to buy.
This book costs 4.04 from Amazon.co.uk, with cheaper copies available through the independent sellers.
www.amazon.co.uk to order
http://www.animeviewer.net/category/anime-episodes/death-note/ - to watch anime episodes.
http://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz2462551c31d10.html Already a fan? Complete this quiz and prove it!
Thanks for reading.