Before going into my final thoughts about the series, I thought I’d share some exciting news. There will be a new Death Note coming out in 2016. This one will be using the Six-Note rule that was found in the manga.
One interesting note is that L and Light will not be a part of this sequel. Instead, it will be their successors who have their DNA. And cyber terrorism will be a major theme in the movie. so I’m kind of interested in seeing what kind of story this will have. Ryuk will be back, so that’s good. The movie will also deal with cyber terrorism, which could be interesting.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the 2015 live action drama that recently finished.
– expect spoilers
The live action drama of Death Note is officially over and I’m left with mixed feelings about it. If you’re a fan of the original work, then right away you’d realize that this is completely different. Some will turn away from the drama because of this, while others will continue on to see how the drama fairs with its new retelling.
As a standalone show, I don’t think Death Note was all that bad. The main theme was justice and how a warped view of it can corrupt people. The Death Note was never a gift or a blessing. It was a curse. And for the most part I felt like the show was consistent in delivering on this message. It still failed on some aspects though.
The original Light thought nothing of the world. In his mind, the world was useless, the people inside were all insects, and he was the best thing since slice bread. Light could still be charming, but he was a sociopath through and through.
In order to demonstrate that the Death Note corrupts people, the live action can’t really have that version of Light as the lead which is why he’s portrayed differently here. Instead of hating the world, Light seems to be just your regular Japanese guy. He likes hanging out with his friends, he loves idols, and he has a complicated relationship with his father.
Typical normal guy stuff.
So when the Death Note came to him, he thought nothing of it until those close to him were in danger. Instead of testing out the book, he used it to save someone. His friend and then his dad. Since using the Death Note damns you to a fate worse than Hell, he realized that he should continue using the book to help others, so that they can have a happy life. Then he gets a god-complex and dies.
Typical normal guy gets corrupted with a little bit of power and dies stuff.
Light’s reasons for using the book were noble, but because he tried to solve his problems in an evil way then it can’t be justice. His journey from a normal guy to a psychopath was fun to watch, because Masataka Kubota can play a psycho really well.
This was the best aspect of the show, because it was consistent, clear, and happened gradually. Unfortunately, everything else was disappointing. The police were incompetent and even though L knew that Light was Kira, he toyed with him instead of doing his job. With the original recipe L and Light, I did feel like they thought of themselves as equals and respected each other. I didn’t really feel that here. L was clearly the smarter one and Light struggled repeatedly when they clashed.
The mind games that made the manga and anime so popular felt flat and lifeless here. Since the police were useless and couldn’t solve anything, L had to leave multiple messages for them in order to solve the case. If he had all that time to make videos, why didn’t he arrest Light before getting himself killed? It just didn’t make sense to me.
The worst part was that everything was solved once people watched the videos. What are we suppose to do now that L is gone. Oh, there’s a video.
How can we find and trap Kira, oh there’s a video.
We’ve captured Kira, oh there’s another video!
Instead of thinking, “Wow, L was so smart that he left messages from the grave!” I thought, “Wow…that’s multiple deus ex machina on this show.” It just felt too convenient and reduced the impact of L’s death.
In the manga, L’s death resulted in the downfall of Light. Instead of keeping sharp and thinking 10 steps ahead, he got lazy and sought help from others in order to further his goals. This was something he never would have done if L was alive. Sadly, that’s not the case here. Light was always sloppy in his plans, so L’s death didn’t really do anything with this aspect. And since we kept getting multiple visits from L, I honestly have no idea why he had to die.
I don’t think the Live Action Death Note is the worse adaptation in the world, nor do I think it’s all that bad…it’s just not that good either. I think it’s fine that things were changed, but a lot of the intellectual aspects that I loved from the original didn’t translate as well here. I enjoyed watching Light’s fall from grace. But I hated that L became a deus ex machina.
L could have lived if he wanted to, but he didn’t. So while the Death Note corrupts people, and it definitely did with Light, I’m left wondering who did more damage to his psyche. The Death Note or his enablers who chose to let him continue being Kira instead of doing the right thing from the very beginning.