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Death Note Box Set (Vol. 1-13) by Tsugumi…
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Death Note Box Set (Vol. 1-13)

by Tsugumi Ohba

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Death Note.

Either you've heard raving reviews from friends and acquaintances about this series or you haven't heard about it at all. It's a series that could easily fit into several different categories such as crime, horror, thriller/suspense, supernatural, but I like to think that it's a successful combination of many different genres.

Out of all the things said and unsaid about this series, perhaps one of the most interesting facts is one that is described on Wikipedia. According to the Wiki-article, the Death Note series was banned in China, which in itself isn't surprising because China seems to be in favor of banning anything that they consider "bannable". The reason for the ban? Chinese children were changing their notebooks in order to make them more like the Death Note. I imagine that the official in charge of banning Death Note had his/her own name written in quite a few DN-wannabes!

The premise begins with Japanese mythology. A "shinigami" or "death spirit" possesses the item known as the Death Note. Any human with their name written in it dies (for more details, look at the books), and the remaining lifespan that the human had is given to the shinigami. The action starts when a shinigami named Ryuk decides to "drop" his Death Note in the human world and see what happens. The human that retrieves it, Light Yagami, (whose father just happens to be the Head of the Japanese National Police Agency) initially dismisses it as a hoax, but when the criminal whose name Light writes in the Death Note dies, Light's world changes forever.

The entire story spans over 12 volumes (plus a 13th "How to Read" volume). Several live-action movies have been made, as well as video games, and a highly successful 37-episode anime series.

Awards/Reviews
Nominated for Best Manga (2006 American Anime Awards)
[purportedly has received other awards, but reviewer was not able to locate any at time of review publication] ( )
1 vote PhantomoftheLibrary | Nov 28, 2009 |
Wonderful work. Few series have been so interesting! It's definitely a great masterpiece; this box set is very useful because you can store each tankōbon and keep them in a safe place. ( )
  librito | Sep 4, 2009 |
I once read a description of Death Note that summed the series up as 'a lot of people sitting around thinking - thinking really hard.' And that's, well, that's pretty much spot-on, especially in the latter arcs.

For a story about a guy who kills people but who is also on the detectiving team trying to find and capture the killer (er, himself), there's not a whole lot of action. There are pages upon pages filled with people thinking really hard, as evidenced by their 'this is srs bzns' faces. Of the three plot arcs, the latter two are possibly the worst when it comes to the slow pace.

The first arc is about Light Yagami, who discovers a notebook wherein one can write a name (and visualise the matching face) and that person will die. Light decides to rid the world of evil through the notebook, but of course not everyone agrees with his methods. The identity of the killer (nicknamed Kira) is a complete mystery to the world, so in order to track him down and stop him, a young detective known as L begins an investigation. Being the son of a police chief himself, with intentions of becoming a detective, Light joins forces with L to capture Kira while still acting as Kira, and this arc follows them and the investigation.

The second major arc begins after a time jump of several years, to pick up the story after Light has graduated from university. He has managed to evade capture as Kira all this time because of his position on the investigation team, but now new, topnotch detectives who had learned from L, have come out to track Kira down. The setting moves from Japan to LA and there are a lot of deep thoughts and telephone calls.

The third major story arc begins when Light moves his team back to Japan and, closely monitored by the new detectives, must take further efforts than ever to hide the fact that he is the one controlling the Death Note. I found that this arc was marked by Light's willingness to sacrifice many of his ideals (as shown early in the series) coupled with his frantic attempts to get rid of his tails. It dragged on too long for me, though.

I started reading this manga when it was being serialized in Japan, thanks to fan scanlations. I really liked what I was reading, and enjoyed the suspense and characters. Plus, I thought the art was pretty good. But the early parts of the second arc, coupled with the delays from waiting for fan translations, just couldn't keep my interest and I stopped bothering with the series. For me, the story ended with (*major spoiler redacted*) at the end of the first arc, and that was just fine.

But with the Death Note anime series showing on AdultSwim, my interest was piqued again, and I sought out the rest of the series. Without the delay between chapters, I didn't find myself getting as bored with the second arc, and I considered that a success. It drag on a bit for me, and I got terribly impatient with the third arc and denouement, but I think it was well worth my time to read. Death Note is a great story and I liked the artwork. I found myself really caring about most of the characters, and the ending was a bit of a blow (though completely satisfying).

I don't think the Death Note manga is an absolutely amazing must read (I'm told the anime does a great job fixing the pacing problems), but it is quite good and worth the time put into it, if you like this sort of story. ( )
1 vote keristars | Jun 17, 2009 |
Very complicated and intriguing! ( )
  Yoshikawa | May 14, 2009 |
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