on July 4, 2007
Let's just get this strait... Death Note has never been an action manga. What action there is has always been the direct result of characters enacting a careful strategy. Death Note has maintained it's ingeniously balanced tension by having characters constantly trying to outTHINK one another in order to gain a strategic upper hand.
That being said, this final volume is the perfect and perfectly consistent climax to the story. Yes there is a lot of dialogue in this volume, but that dialogue is an integral part of Death Note, and removing it would remove everything that makes it great in the first place. You can't expect characters to enact a carefully, near-insanely granular strategy and then throw it all out the window and instead vie for a high-speed car chase or gun fight.
If you've made it this far into the series and have hated it, you will probably not like the ending any better. If you've made it this far and loved it, if you are consistent, you will most likely be satisfied with how the series ends. It's the culmination of everything that makes Death Note the most original manga out there today.
on June 25, 2007
I had a horrible night's sleep after reading this volume. I knew how it was going to end because, unfortunately, I read a blog where someone completely spoiled the ending for me...or so I thought. Even knowing, or thinking that I knew, what was going to happen; I was still shocked by this ending. It was disturbing, very graphic and completely satisfying. I have never been so shocked but so happy with the ending to a manga series.
Okay, I do have one little gripe about how rushed the Mello-Takada situation was handled but the rest of the volume more than made up for it.
If you stuck it out for all 11 volumes of this series and found after L's murder some of the volumes were a little slow (I've heard that complaint); your patience will be rewarded. If you gave up halfway through the series for the same reason, volume 12 is more than enough reason to pick this series back up and read it to completion.
I can't really say anything else without spoiling the ending for everyone so...just read it! It is worth it!!
on January 31, 2012
I finished this book maybe 5 minutes ago, and am left reeling with after-book-jitters. But these are no normal after-book-jitters, these are the absolute largest I have ever experienced. I think my pupils are dilated.
It starts off with the Takada kidnapping incident, of course. As the book progresses, we get into the mind battle that we had with L. I miss that character, even if he wasn't my favorite. I don't think Near is half as good. But he'll do. As I was saying, the plans they set are so complex, you don't get it until they explain it. They don't even tell you how far ahead they planned until they are faced with a challenge and bypass it with confidence. And the ending was perfect for the series.
(If I say the victor won by pure luck, would that be a spoiler?)
I had a five minute freak out/hyperventilating break; actually I was hoping that writing this review would lift the anarchy inside my head. It kind of has, I guess. But what I came here to say was, that is the best book of the series. No doubt. Read it.
on July 1, 2007
As Deathnote Volume 12 opens, Mello has just kidnapped Kiyomi Takada, the official mouthpiece of Kira and Light's girlfriend and only love. At least that's what he keeps telling her. Mello's interference disrupts the carefully laid plans of both Near and Light, but the two decide to go on with their face to face meeting in a couple of days anyway. Both of them are so confident in their own intelligence that nothing can dissuade either of them into thinking the chips will not fall on their side. Near believes he can finally pin Light down as Kira with indisputable evidence and Light thinks that he will finally eliminate the last vestiges of L's legacy and the Japanese Task Force orginally formed to catch Kira.
If you're expecting a great finish to a great series, you're going to be disappointed in this last volume. Most of the climactic scenes consist of talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.....and MORE talking. The artist Takeshi Obata seems hard pressed at times to make room for his art with all the philosphizing that goes on and explanation of motivations. Frankly, you get bored at just the moments that should have been the most satisfying as the characters launch epic spiels to their own godlike oracular takes on predicting every action of their adversaries. With all the suspense that Deathnote has accumulated over 12 volumes you would expect a big payoff at the end of the series, but in reality, it ended up being one of the worst installments yet. The art was great as usual, but the writing suffered from way too much dialogue, going far beyond the range of an already talky manga. Overall, Deathnote was a great experience to read that was marred a bit by a mediocre conclusion.
on May 17, 2010
I was sceptical about reading the Death Note series, due to its popularity and accolades it received. Usually anything this well like or over-sold is generally a let down. However, I did enjoy most of the series, paricularly the first half. It was if nothing else incredibly suspensful, as many have mentioned until Volume 7 or so.
AS I WRITE THIS REVIEW,I WILL ASSUME YOU HAVE READ 1-11, IF NOT STOP READING IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS!
Light and the oringinal "L" are great foils to each other. Equals in age, ability, maybe even demeanor. So much is similar except for their ideals. The interactions between the two the thoughts and dialougue are in itsef interesting enough that I could have read either a script or novel and been just as entertained. The art of course only adds to the experience. You are never sure who has the upper-hand and who will win in this contest, obviously until "L" dies. I admit I had some smug satisfaction as "L" dies, as I sided with Light. (In as side note, for some reason, L always graphically reminded me of a Shinigami due to his posture/eyes. I wonder if that was intentional or not.) Does anyone understand why Light's father says that Light isn't Kira before he dies? Doesn't he own a Death Note then? (I could be wrong.)
Around Volume 7 or whenever everything seems to be going Light's way it seems to slow down and take more odd twists. I admit, I wasn't sold on the additional notebooks/Shinigami at first earlier in the series, but the seemed to ease their way into the story and be there to advance the plot. I never was a big fan of Misa, but she did offer some comic relief. I think what was really off were the heirs to L: Near and Mello. I wish that I could read the book in it's original language to see more of the quirks of names, and their additional meanings, or at least have some insight. Mello was more interesting than Near due to his reckless nature and methodology, and I would have like to have seen more of him, or have him have a fitting end. I do understand and somewhat appreciate that Near and Mello are two aspects of L's personality: action and thought.
I also didn't identify/side with Light in the last chapters. I dont' know if this is the author's intention or not, but it is interesting to think about. Light is obviously manipulative and calous throughout the whole series, but some reason he crossed the line somewhere. First, I didn't like the way he used Misa. Granted, I don't think anybody (even the audience) likes her, except Matsuda. She is annoying, flighty etc. She was a pain to Light and sometimes caused more trouble than what she was worth. However, I thought it was awful that Light made her make the eye bargain for a second time. Even if she was supposed to live to 100, now she would only be left with 25 years! That almost seems worse than what Light does to Takada. Even all the other killings, (the FBI, etc. who weren't evil) didn't seem as bad as manipulating these girls who were in love with him.
Now I'll finally get to the subject at hand, the last book in the series. I did feel some suspense in this last chapter, but it did drag on a bit. I have no problem with some inner dialouge or spoken dialogue but this last book did seems overloaded by dialogue. It seemed somewhat anticlimatic, as I imagined that these two evenly matched opponents would probably both die. I imagined early on that Mikami with his sense of justice might judge his God to be unjust, which would have been interesting. However it seems like in a classic situation of: (person 1)I out-thought you; (person 2) NO, I outhought you; (1) No, I really outthought you, as I outthought you outthoughting me. That last sentence I wrote was almost as tedious as those few pages in the book. And Near and Light of course also have to spout of pages of rhetoric about what they believe justice is. Both have their own clear cut view, which could have explained in much briefer way. Despite this lack-luster climax, I thought that epilogue and downward action was fitting and somewhat tied back to the rest of the series.
NOW, FOR THE REAL SPOILERS:
I did enjoy that they drew out the reveal as to whether Mikami had killed the SPK and the Japanese Task Force, that had some of the old suspense. Of course, the pace slowed down to reveal that even though Light had an almost perfect plan, Mello ruined it. If Takada had not been kidnapped by Mello, Mikami would not have revealed where the real Death Note was. So only by fate causing Mello and Near to unwittingly work together, were they able to win. I did like that plot twist even though I did kind of see it coming. Then I enjoyed how Matsuda did finally do something significant and shot at Light, I thought this was a great developement for his character. I still wish that Light had been able to finish Near's name, but at the same time it lead to his ultimate fate. I like that Light brokedown and tried to call on all the people he used and disposed off, and they could no longer help him. Then, he tries to appeal to Ryuk, who he views as his "buddy" to help. Despite Ryuk's earlier friendliness, he is a Shinigami and ultimate wants his notebook, so he decides to kill Light instead of waiting for him to die in prison. (Also I just realized that killing Near might influence Light's lifespan and end in Ryuk's destruction.) This moments has been foreshadowed, first because Ryuk continually says that the Death Note leads to misfortune, and (as I and imagine many forgot), Ryuk told Light he would write his name in the Death Note at the beginning of the series. Lastly, my favorite part might be that scene of Kira worshipers at the end. (possibly lead by Misa?) What a wonderful look into the foolishness of human nature. Their great "God" is lost and gone to nothingness, but they misplace their faith in this false deity.
I would say that this last book is disappointing, but mostly because the overall the series was so good. This last book seems preachy in tone and with a few exceptions, shows little character developement. The series biggest fault is that it doesn't comfortably put to rest many of questions about morality that it has raised. Overall seems to champion all life in general and claim that the ends don't justify the means. However, no one gives a satisfactory retort regarding Light's comments about his "Utopia" based on fear and killing of the "unjust." Despite all the drawbacks, it is a world of cooperation, some kind of warped hope, without war and much less crime. Not that I think this kind of Totaltarian Empire is ideal, but nobody really argues against Light's vision in a satisfying way. They only point to his megalomania and unsavory methods to get his goals. Not that I'm looking for a definitive answer to these questions, but just perhaps more discussion (maybe prior to this chapter, or in the epilogue.)
on June 20, 2007
Death Note has been an incredible ride. In this final volume in the series, the writer Tsugumi Ohba resolves the cliffhanger from volume 11, and proceeds to the final showdown between Near and Light in a secluded warehouse. The writer does a wonderful job in tying together the behind-the-scenes actions taken by each side, as hinted in the previous volume, to set up the showdown, and one side conclusively triumphs over the other. And then---finality.
Death Note is an intense, original, detective type story that manga lovers and non-manga readers will appreciate. I highly recommend it.