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Death Note Black Edition, Vol. 1 by Tsugumi…

Death Note Black Edition, Vol. 1

by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata (Illustrator)

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Ohba, T. (2010). Death Note. San Francisco, CA: Viz Media LLC.

This is the first volume in a series about a high school student named Light Yagami who finds a Death Note dropped by a bored Shinigami. He quickly learns that if he writes a person's name in the notebook, they will die. He takes it upon himself to get rid of all of the evil people in the world, however a mysterious genius detective known only as "L" is out to stop him.

This is a very dark comic and I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of 14. The illustrations are not particularly gruesome, but the subject matter is heavy, dealing with murder, suicide, and judging whether a person has the right to decide if another should live or die.

The text is mainly dialogue and Light's inner thoughts as he learns what to do with the Death Note he found and how to avoid getting caught. The story is surprising since Light is an anti-hero but very much the main character. It's difficult to say whether the reader wants him to succeed or get caught by L. The plot is interesting and keeps the reader engaged as Light quickly tests the limits of the notebook and the Shinigami sometimes drops hints about what it can do. Every time it seems as if Light has figured out everything, something new and unexpected happens.

The illustrations are dark, with heavy shading, and detailed. The characters and background have a very Gothic feel, especially in the Shinigami world. The pacing is very fast and soon moves away from Light trying not to get caught and has him on the defensive to unmask and eliminate the mysterious L.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dark fantasy fiction, like Anne Rice's vampire series or anything dark and supernatural that leans heavily toward the horror or detective genre. ( )
  KellyHedine | Jul 31, 2017 |
Can't help but love this manga it's beyond great. It keeps me in suspense. ( )
  RinHanase | Mar 11, 2017 |
Can't help but love this manga it's beyond great. It keeps me in suspense. ( )
  RinHanase | Mar 11, 2017 |
Death Note is a Japanese, murder mystery, graphic novel. It is a realistic fiction scenario where a notebook falls to Earth from the realm of the Gods of Death. Any human's name that is written into the notebook will die. There are ways to control the death and there are rules that the owner must abide by. This story follows the path of Light, who is determined to use the book for justice to cleanse the world of evil. However, this notebook might just turn Light into the very thing he is trying to exterminate. Very much a teen series due to the thought process involved in understanding the story and the resolution. Highly recommended! ( )
  a.stone5 | Apr 2, 2013 |
Over the past three weeks I've been burning through one of the most exciting reads I've come across in a while. Death Note is a seat-edged battle of wits that left me exhausted by the end. Heck, I was exhausted by the halfway mark.

Let me start over. Death Note is a Japanese comic that tells it's story over the course of twelve volumes (on display now at your local Borders). If what I'm about to say sounds good but you don't feel like spending the eight dollars per volume, head to your local library - they almost certainly carry the books in the Young Adults section. In any case, it's worth your time. Here's why.

The story begins when Ryuk, a death god (known in the story's mythology as shinigami), drops a death note into the human world in order to alleviate the boredom that oppresses his everlasting life. A death note is a special notebook possessed by shinigami that allow them to take the lives of humans whose names they write into the notebook. Ryuk's dropped notebook "happens" to fall into the path of Japan's top high school student, son of the chief of police, and all around genius, Light Yagami.

After a couple tests of the book's authenticity and the boundaries of some of its rules (e.g., one must visualize the face of the person whose name he is writing for that person to die), Light decides that he will forge a new world, a utopia in which all criminals (those would would take advantage of the weakness of others) simply die. Rather quickly, the police around the world begin taking notice of the staggering number of criminals who have suddenly dropped dead of heart attacks. Suspecting foul play, they want to find the perpetrator because law-and-order and vigilantism have never been the best bed-fellows. And it doesn't help that Light has gained a popular following amongst the masses who dub him Kira (which sounds remarkably similar to the Japanese pronunciation of the English word, "killer"). So the authorities enlist the assistance of the world's greatest detective (an anonymous man known only as L) and he quickly narrows the range of suspects dramatically, instigating a pulse-pounding game of of cat-and-mouse between the figures - L vs. Kira.

Initially, as exciting as the first couple volumes were, I had a hard time seeing how the story could sustain itself across twelve volumes. The key to Death Note's happy success is the absence of anything really resembling a status quo. The story and its elements are continually in flux. If things remained simple, I could see the book resolving in four or five volumes but everything is constantly moving, constantly changing. It was a fantastic read.

And smart. The fact that you're reading about these very intelligent characters who think things through to incredible lengths only adds to the excitement. There were moments of revelation and counter-revelation that simply blew my mind. And then there are moments when you think the jig is up for one or more of the characters and then a flashback will reveal the would-be victims plan from the start and you get to see tables turn and over turn as these characters fight for their lives.

And even after that, the moral question that is explored by the book's author and artist really goes to lengths to get the reader thinking about means and ends and it's not at all clear who one should root for. It helps that Light, despite having an ego that won't quit, is entirely unselfish in his motivation. Death Note is almost a distillation of an important moral question.

In short, I highly recommend this series to just about anyone. ( )
1 vote trulak | Feb 19, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tsugumi Ohbaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Takeshi ObataIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Each "Black Edition" contains two volumes of the original manga. Please do not combine with "Death Note, Volume 1: Boredom."
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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. Will Light's noble goal succeed, or will the Death Note turn him into the very thing he fights against?… (more)

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