Death Note: Season 1 (Ep: 1 - 25) ReviewAlexandra Sloan
Granted the power of a god – to kill at the writing of a single name in a book – Light Yagami has the ability to take justice into his own hands. There are gods in the world of Death Note, called Shinigami, and they drop notebooks in which mortals can write names and how someone dies, then within 24 hours (If a time is not specified) they die by the means written. If no means is written, they die of a heart attack. Death Note has taken a step in a different direction than a lot of Anime. It's dark, without being too dark. Death Note presents a world where the lines of justice are blurred and it presents you with the need to really think. What would YOU do if handed the ability to judge and sentence people? It is a fascinating tale of morality and ethics – without tip toeing around the subject matters and making every decision easy, vague or naive. It's hard to summarize the first season without giving away major plot lines, but it is wonderfully done and elegantly executed. It makes perfect sense and fits with the anime.
The script is written with enough dramatic flair to keep you interested, but doesn't drown you in theatrics or too deep of a philosophy. The animation is a high point of the series - the characters are detailed, the animation crisp and beautiful. The producers made sure to get a good feel of the characters' facial expressions, immersing you in the world itself and matching scenery to the mood of the scene. Death Note's animation and aesthetics reflect the storyline – dark, gritty but surreal and beautiful, too. The shadows are well placed, with colors playing an important role in darker scenes, reds popping and whites stark and brilliant. It's seamless, while not being overly complicated looking.
The Characters are well developed, dynamic and interesting. Each character is developed through the series – exploring each change that comes over the characters as the story progresses. There aren't too many useless characters that just fill a void; the story focuses on a relatively small number of characters, with characters having a defined role (or roles) to play. The first 26 episodes focus on the story of the Death Notes and the characters who acquire them, building them up and preparing them for the second season. The main character, Light, meets his antagonist, L in the first 26 episodes – and they begin a subtle war with L trying to discover who the mysterious killer Kira is – while Light is hiding (wonderfully so) that he is Kira while working with L.
Overall the anime is well put together, beautifully done and a pleasure to watch. It is one of my favorites and it's easy to see why it has such a large fan-following from Japan to the United States. The characters are all likeable, the visuals are pleasing, and it's a true pleasure to watch. The twists and turns throughout the story keep you engaged, while minimizing downtime that can leave you bored. If you are looking for a darker themed anime, that's thought provoking and intelligent while still being visually enticing, Death Note is for you.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.