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Death Note (Live Action)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: VIZ Pictures, Inc.
  • DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017SVH5Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,579 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Death Note

The first live-action feature based on the manga Death Note covers much of the same material as the first 12 episodes of the animated series. Handsome Light Yagami has just passed the bar exam, but he's repelled by the injustice of modern society. His life changes dramatically when he finds a Death Note, a notebook dropped into human space by Ryuk, a Shinigami (god of death). If anyone writes the name of a human in the book, that person will die within minutes. Under the pseudonym "Kira," Light launches a gradiose vigilante campaign to rid the world of criminals and create his vision of a perfect society. But the string of deaths attracts the attention of the police, who refer the baffling case to the eccentric but brilliant detective known only as "L." The police are reduced to pawns as the investigation becomes a high-stakes battle of wits between Light and L. Director Shusuke Kaneko and screenwriter Tetsuya Oshi add a dramatic subplot: the fiancee of one of Kira's victim deduces the killer's identity. Tatsuya Fujiwara makes Light more understandable and more likable than his animated counterpart. Kenichi Matsuyama looks properly pallid as L, but his addiction to desserts looks silly in live action and weakens the character's intensity. The hokey Ryuk never blends in with the real sets. Death Note ends inconclusively, but continues in a sequel.(Unrated: suitable for ages 16 and older: grotesque imagery, violence, violence against women, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

Customer Reviews

I guess I just need to go and get the second movie now!
M. Colson
Even if you did not watch or read the Death Note series, I highly recommend this movie for anime fans, mystery fans, and detective story fans.
The thrills/suspense are more CEREBRAL than visual with a very solid structure.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Woopak VINE VOICE on September 6, 2008
Format: DVD
Death Note is based on the popular manga (Japanese Comic) and loosely based on the anime series of the same name. I've never read the comic but I saw the anime series on imported dvd, and I have to say the Live-action version, Death Note and Death Note the Last Name does the franchise justice. This series is one of the best I've seen from Japan in a while. I will review both films because one movie while phenomenal and definitely can stand on its own, the story is very much linked together.

Plot synopsis loosely derived from the DVD cover:
In "Death Note", Tatsuya Fujiwara plays the role of Light Yagami, a genius law student who picks up the "Death Note" and uses it to "cleanse" the world of evil. Upholding justice obsesses him and he envisions himself as a god in the crime-less utopia he plans to create. As criminals continue to die in unexplainable ways, people start saying that it must be the work of a "messiah", of whom they call Kira. L, played by Kenichi Matsuyama, works for the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO) and is deployed to solve the Kira mystery.

In "Death Note 2: The Last Name", the story continues as Light devises a plan to be part of the Kira Task Force headed by L. While the two geniuses are busy dealing with each other, a second Death Note drops into Earth. Rem, a Shinigami (Death God), brings the second notebook and Misa Amane (Erika Toda), a pop star and Kira worshipper, comes into possession of it. Becoming a Kira herself, she accepts the offer to have the 'Eyes of the Death' which will enable her to know the name of any person without being told.
As Misa and Light work together to get rid of L, a new character, Kiyomi Takada (Nana Katase), comes into the picture as the third Kira.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2008
Format: DVD
"Death Note" was a much better flick than I was expecting. It was a huge hit in Japan, and because I had never read the original manga, I had avoided it thinking I wouldn't get the entire story. My loss, as it turns out.

The cat-and-mouse detective game mixed with the fantasy elements of the gods of death and their magical books makes for an interesting story. The two main characters, "L" and Light, are an intense duo, and like the best of this genre of film it is hard to decide who to root for. Light (Tatsuya Fujiwara, "Battle Royale"), known by the general public as the hero/murderer "Killer", is the holder of the Death Note, and has the power to kill anyone on Earth just by writing their name. A hardcore and brilliant student of criminal justice, he uses his power to erase the vermin of the world, serial killers, child rapists and gangsters. For the most part, his actions are praised, but he is still a murderer in the eyes of the law, and needs to be brought down. On his side is the Ryuuk, a Japanese god of death who gave Light the Death Note in order to keep himself entertained. Hunting him down in "L" (Ken'ichi Matsuyama, "Linda,Linda, Linda"), a young, oddball genius with a penchant for sweets who keeps his name hidden in order to protect himself from the powers of the Death Note. L hunts Light, and Light hunts L, and it is never clear who is the person a step ahead, and who is the fly falling into the web.

Director Shusuke Kaneko, who cut his teeth on Godzilla, Gamera and Ultraman flicks, managed to keep the story close enough to the manga to please the fans while making it complete enough that newcomers don't feel that they are only getting a part of the picture.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Steckel on May 20, 2008
Format: DVD
I just watched this in the theater as part of its (very) limited May '08 US theatrical release, and it was simply magnificent! There were a few slightly quirky or off-beat directorial choices, and somewhat rudimentary special effects; but overall, I found it exceptionally entertaining.

The premise is very clever, and the one-upsmanship of the plot twists are simply brilliant. Of course, I think the real appeal of a story like this is that there are actually TWO protagonists in fierce conflict with one other - a rare and difficult literary feat. On the side of the law, we have a neutral (perhaps even slightly evil) hero, known only as "L." Opposite L, we have "Kira," a chaotic anti-hero with a deeply twisted sense of justice. It's that highly satisfying kind of narrative that invites you to root for either or both side at the same time, depending on the color of your soul.

The roller coaster ride that unfolds - both in the movie itself and the depths of your own conscience - is a thrill ride not to be missed.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By trashcanman VINE VOICE on May 19, 2008
Format: DVD
So the manga was a massive worldwide sensation, the anime series is destined to go down as an all-time classic, and you people still can't get enough. Well, here you go: "Death Note" has now been quite successfully adapted as a two-part series of live action films. I put off watching them for some time out of fear that the story would be butchered, but -while neither are brilliant films- I'd have to say that I'm impressed by how closely the films were able to match the original storyline while adding some new flourishes that can only be seen as improvements. As long as expectations aren't too high, I think most will be pleased by this version of the story that every Japanophile knows by heart by now.

The film opens with a single black notebook falling from the sky, landing on the nighttime pavement during a rainstorm. Next, we see criminals performing violent acts and/or getting set free before their names are scrawled across the screen; seconds later, they drop dead. The news reports speak of "Kira", an invisible force that is delivering judgement on criminals that are escaping punishment and running rampant. Some people say Kira is a monster, some say he's a savior as the crime rate continues to fall. It is then we meet Light Yagami; a college student with a genius intellect, a loving family, a beautiful girlfriend, and a notebook that kills anybody whose name is written within it's pages. "Death Note" is the same as it ever was, a story about means versus ends, civil rights versus civil order, the line between good and evil, and the true meaning of justice.
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