After falling in love with the Death Note anime I have decided to look at the manga series to see how it compares. I found the story really compelling and the opening theme of the anime strangely hypnotic…
Death Note is a manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The story follows protagonist Light Yagami, a student with great prospects but unsatisfied with his life. This all changes when he finds a notebook that has the powers to kill people dropped by a rogue Shinigami named Ryuk. Light vows to use the powers of the book to kill criminals, but when the authorities discover the pattern they send the legendary detective ‘L’ to track down the killer.
I don’t think I’ve seen any other manga in the N00b series so far that is as wordy as Death Note is. It feels like it should be a novel rather than a manga series as it needs a lot of descriptive text to explain things such as the theories behind using the notebook, which seem to be too complex to describe simply using images.
What I liked:
One thing that particularly stood out to me about Death Note was the fact that even though the protagonist is an anti-hero we still end up rooting for him despite him killing millions of people even when they are innocent. We can’t help but side with him as we believe in his cause and the fact the reason he is doing it is for a greater good; to rid the world of criminals.
At the same time we admire L for his attempts to catch Kira (Light’s alter ego) and enjoy how mysterious and quirky he is. The central plot of Death Note revolves around the cat and mouse chase between L and Light, and this element is what makes this manga so engrossing; waiting to see how the two of them will try to out-think the other.
What I disliked:
As I’ve stated one of the major flaws with the Death Note manga was the fact that it was very wordy and often felt like it should be a novel rather than a manga series. The other thing that I was slightly disappointed with was the second half of the manga series as a lot of the main cast changes and the new characters feel a lot weaker. Although despite this the plot tricks and twists are just as good in this half – in fact some of the better ones happen towards the end.
How does it compare to the anime:
The anime gets off to a great start with this brilliant opening sequence:
Stunning visuals, addictive theme song, and the fact that it spans over 37 episodes and still keeps you interested. What’s not to love about this adaptation?
With long-running anime series there can often be a lot of filler episodes but with Death Note this isn’t the case at all and leaves very little out from the manga which is definitely very satisfying to see.
This series is simple enough to understood universally no matter of age, but at the same time deep and clever enough for those looking for something more meaty to sink their teeth into. Additionally, this series offers something that not many other series do–a moral conundrum. What if we had a Death Note? Would we use it? How would we use it? Is it possible to use it without turning into what Light becomes?
If you’re a seasoned anime fan or a N00b like myself I think this is a series you should definitely check out. Especially if you enjoy a mix of mystery, horror and crime thriller.
Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.