Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Death Note - Vol. 1
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VINE VOICEon August 4, 2007
"Death Note" the anime is finally arriving on American shores and it's about time. The manga is hugely popular in both Asia and the USA and has even been banned in China due to it's perceived bad influence on students. There have also been two live-action films. So how does this story translate to the small screen? Having not read the comic, I saw this show with fresh eyes and it practically ruled my life until I finished it. This is one of the most intriguing, complex, and unique television shows of any genre and you will be missing out if you choose to pass it by.

The story focuses on a boy, Light Yagami, who comes across a notebook at school one day. He takes it home and reads it's contents, finding instructions for using this "Death Note" (as it's labeled). Any human whose name is written in it, dies. Naturally, one would assume that this was a joke, so he tries it out on a criminal holding hostages live on television. It works, all right. A normal child would probably burn it, or at least hide it away and never use it again, but Light is an exceptional boy, one with an (almost) unrivalled intellect and a severe hatred of crime; not to mention a megalomaniacal streak a mile across. So he decides to use his new found power to rid the world of criminals and establish a new world order with him playing God and delivering justice as he sees fit. Shortly after finding the Note, Light meets it's owner, a shinigami (death god) named Ryuk who is one of the most psychotic-looking anime/manga creations ever; like the Joker had a baby with a feathered demon or something. So why would a shinigami like Ryuk want to leave a Death Note in the human world? Why, because he was bored and that's just how Ryuk rolls. He's a disturbingly likeable character with an addiction to apples -which symbolize original sin, of course, and serve as kind of a symbol for the series- and an antagonistic nature that has him constantly cackling in the background as the events of the series play out. He also gives Light somebody to talk too in his solitude, lest the series get too bogged down with voice-overs.

Soon, people take notice of the deaths and the hunt for Light is on. He is dubbed "Kira", a Japanese corruption of "killer", and a special investigation team is formed, headed by a reclusive genius detective that goes by the name "L". L's intellect matches Light's and the chess-like move-and-countermove game between them is mind-boggling to watch and forms the base of the series. As a character, L is a true original: a pale-faced boy with deep black owlish eyes, a series of of unsettlingly bizarre habits and mannerisms, and an insatiable sweet tooth. He is the closest thing "Death Note" has to a true hero (discounting the side characters such as Light's father, who risk their lives by aiding in L's investigation) since the protagonist is a cold-blooded killer who soon begins hunting and killing those sent to investigate Kira. The result of all this is a wild ride that will leave your head spinning at times and make you appreciate just how good writing can get for a television series.

Once you start this show, you will not be able to stop as the plot constantly thickens, more characters are introduced and killed off, earth-shattering developments and brilliant schemes play out before your stunned eyes, and the story just keep adding more and more layers until you feel immersed in this world of constant struggle for the future of the earth. All this from one notebook. It was a cool concept to start with, but the unbelievable writing is what makes this anime must-see material. Welcome to your new obsession.
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on January 29, 2008
This is one anime that is rediculously good. Death Note has an incredible power that only anime has held tightly. The power to take an insane concept and actually make it make sense. Vandread is one I can think of right off the bat. Let me explain, The Death Note is a notebook caried by creatures caled Shinigami. The shinigami are said not to be either good or evil. The impossible or the seemingly impossible is the death note's poweres and how to make a story out of this. Light Yagami finds the Death Note one day lying on the ground.

Light is at the top of his class, the son of a great detective, and is going to be going to college soon. When he touches the Death Note he see's the previous owner, the shinigami named Ryuk . This shinigami is not so soft on the eyes but despite this Light gets used to Ryuk very quickly. Light finds that the Death Note can be used to kill people. If you write the name of the person with his/her face in mind, the person will die. If the cause of death is unspecified then the person will die of a heart attack.

Light comes to the conclusion to use this newfound power to eliminate evil people in the world. He goes after people in prison, people suspected of criminal acts that he believes are guilty, and though he does not blieve in killing the innocent he will kill whoever tries to get in his way. Somehow by a crazy hunch, the police figure that someone is doing this. They do not believe that all these criminals are dieing from heart attacks just by chance. Honestly the police would never have a chance at even getting a thoght of who was doing this. Then a new character is introduced. His name is simply L, L is an amazing detective and seems to be just as smart if not smarter than Light and he gives him some competition. This guy will definitely remind you of Monk.

I believe that Death Note was very well written. For one, the entire plot sound crazy and impossible but they make it cool and real with the adition of good characters. L gives the show exactly what it needs and so does the shinigami Ryuk. Just when you think you know,you have no idea and the carpet is pulled from under you. Light is a great main character and the battle to come from him and L will make this series exciting. The animation is incredible and fits perfectly. Great color and light and a great usage of darkness to give a gloomy feel to it. The voice actors are hot and the soundtrack adds an edge. This is a must see and a future classic, so don't miss it.
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on October 23, 2007
Death Note is truly the best adult anime, period. I say adult, because the story line is mature and complex. I do not think children under the age of 13 will get any of what is going on. The action is limited, but the dialog and writing is truly a piece of work. You wont find sex scenes or excessive violence, but if you enjoy a unique, well written story that forces you to watch episode after episode to see what happens next, then Death Note will not disappoint.

Buy it, love it.
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on November 1, 2015
Sherlock vs. Moriarty, Dr. Who vs. The Master, Dracula vs. Van Helsing. Death Note is a must see if you like genius types dueling it out. At times the story drags but you overlook that with the excellent voice cast, music, and animation.
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on October 25, 2012
Never did I realize until my son got me hooked into this script, which is very creative, that I would enjoy anime so much. Now I am hooked. However, I have been informed that Deathnote is truly one of the most popular anime series, so it may be hard to find a theme that is so well conceived.
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on December 12, 2014
Favorite anime series to date. I've recommended this to friends and have received comments like "not enough action" and "slow". There is action in this series,but it is not non stop and Death Note is more of a psychological thriller. The animation is gorgeous and the story line along with character development is intelligent and beautifully orchestrated. While this series is not for Naruto or SAO fans, Psycho Pass fans may enjoy it.
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on June 20, 2012
As the first few episodes in an amazing series, these are awesome. They set up the plot and drama really well. There are some cheesy scenes (like Light using his pen like a sword) but they don't detract from the fact that this is a very serious, mature drama and definitely not meant for children. One of my friends saw me watching this and was like "aren't you too old for cartoons?" but once I sat her down and made her watch the first episode with me, she agreed that it was great and definitely not for kids. There is nothing in this volume that is particularly violent (even the deaths are just heart attacks) but it IS a story about a mass murderer and a death god. Show it to children with great care, or not at all. Sometimes the actors do use swear words, but once again, it is not very often. I love how you can watch it in original Japanese as well. Some of the japanese voice actors are much better than the American ones. Light's english VA, however, beats out his japanese one, imo. The evil laugh is perfectly psychotic and he captures Light's sociopathy and "innocence" perfectly. Ryuk's voice actor never seemed to fit (I could only keep imagining the OVER 9000!!! crap each time I heard him), but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the series.
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on December 2, 2014
Death Note volume 1 is wonderfully depicted! I love that it is in English. I can't wait for volume 2! Amazing story line and beautiful like like animation. I love that you know what the characters are thinking. I highly recommend this one.
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Because so many others have praised this so highly and so well I will not add a great deal here. The brilliance of the show lies not in its premise, but in what it does with that after initially established. A brilliant high school student named Light Yogami finds the Death Note, a notebook that can literally kill a person once you have entered their name in it. Light proceeds to make the world a better place by entering the names of as many criminals as possible (though one wonders why he focuses so ardently on those who commit violent crime, when some political leaders cause far more destruction than even the worst -- it would have been interesting to see Light enter the names of Taliban leaders or the president of the US). Worldwide authorities quickly surmise that the rash of deaths of inmates in prisons (especially in Japan) due to heart attacks (the default method of death unless further specifications are made) is the work of person or persons unknown and they recruit the world's foremost investigator, known merely as L (voiced in the English language version by BATTLESTAR GALACTICA's Allesandro Juliani aka Gaeta aka Butter Fingers). The ensuing chess match between Light, who is megalomaniacally determined to remake the world according to his personal moral standards, and L, who is determined to stop anyone striving to make themselves the world's grand executioner, provides most of the focus for this first disc in the series. The two are constantly represented as each other's opposite, though interestingly both are seeking justice and a better world, though by different and incompatible means.

What sets DEATH NOTE above other animated series is the brilliance of the writing and its patience in exploring ideas. This is a show of ideas and not of action. In fact, in many episodes virtually nothing "happens." Even on a visual level there are long stretches where there is little or no actual animation, but instead a "camera" panning over a still painting. But the show is never, ever boring or less than fascinating. The most fascinating moments in the show consist of the patient, methodical working out of ideas, often in conversations between Light and Ryuk, the death god from the Shinigami realm (who looks like a cross between a very small dragon and the Joker from Batman). If the ideas permeating the show were not so fascinating, the show would indeed be dull. As it stands, this is one of the most original, fascinating shows on TV.

I have a couple of minor quibbles with the show. The FBI features prominently in the series. Of course, the FBI has no jurisdiction outside the United States and would not be employed on missions in Japan. And as I mentioned above, I think many social and political leaders do far more harm than violent criminals. From my own perspective Jim Dobson or Karl Rove have done far more damage to the world than any bank robber. But perhaps they realized that ridding the world of social and political leaders would have been too controversial. It would also have been politically divisive, since one person might find George Bush to be a source of great evil while another sees him as a beacon of light. Criminals are another matter entirely. My other complaint is with the price of the discs. The series as a whole is now up to 28 episodes. At this pace a show with about the same amount of total minutes as a full season of the American TV comedy THE OFFICE will cost four times as much (after Amazon discount). Hopefully when the series is complete and all "volumes" have been released they will repackage it in a more affordable form.

But these are minor quibbles beside the brilliance of the series. I strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys intelligent, brilliant television. If you have never watched anime before, this would be a superb place to start. TV, let alone anime, doesn't get much better than this.
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on November 15, 2015
Death Note is an anime based on the Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The series tells the tale of Light Yagami, a high school student, who discovers a supernatural notebook that grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name and face they know. As Light descends into darkness, an eccentric detective known as L arrives and attempts to stop him.

Rather than review this, since reviews are entirely subjective, I've decided to try something new. Below, you will find simple points that will help you determine whether to watch this series or not.

Fun Factor
Dark.

Harem Factor
None.

Sex Factor
None.

Nudity Factor
None. However, some cleavage is emphasized.

Oddity Factor
Minor. The characters of L and N are extremely eccentric.

Gore Factor
Minor. Some blood is shown.

Language Factor
None.

Violence Factor
Major. It's all about death.

Verdict
Incredible. Death Note is an incredibly complex, well-thought-out anime with an engaging soundtrack that will have you glued to the screen.
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