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Death Note, Vol. 1 Paperback – October 10, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews
Book 1 of 13 in the Death Note Series

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From the Publisher

- Over 2.8 Million copies sold to date in Japan. - Characters from Death Note also seen in Japense Video Game Jump Superstars!

About the Author

Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Born in Tokyo, Tsugumi Ohba is the author of the hit series Death Note. His current series Bakuman is serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump.



Artist: Takeshi Obata
Takeshi Obata was born in 1969 in Niigata, Japan, and is the artist of the wildly popular SHONEN JUMP title Hikaru no Go, which won the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize: Shinsei New Hope award and the 2000 Shogakukan Manga award. Obata is also the artist of Arabian Majin Bokentan Lamp Lamp, Ayatsuri Sakon, Cyborg Jichan G., and the smash hit manga Death Note. His current series Bakuman is serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC (October 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421501686
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421501680
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Antonio D. Paolucci on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
We've all heard stories and myths of Death, the Grim Reaper, or, as in the case of Death Note, the Shinigami. We know that, at will, these creatures can bring death. We know that Death and the Grim Reaper are particularly fond of huge scythes. But what a lot of us don't know (mainly because it's an added fictional element presented in Death Note) is that Shinigami prefer to use note books, or death notes. And occasionally, they lose their notebooks accidentally-on-purpose so that a human can find it. That is the beginning of Death Note, a story of a genius student named Light who finds this strange notebook and decides he wants to change the world into a utopia by killing all of the world's most horrible criminals without any suspicion to him. All he does is write their name in the death note and they're dead.

The description above sounds dark, and this story is very dark. The lead character seems to have little care for those he kills and in fact finds some enjoyment in the unique ways he can bring about their death. His Shinigami shadow, Ryuk, bound to him because Light now owns the death note, guides him only to the point just beyond complete ignorance but otherwise lets Light do as he wishes. Thus, even despite the fact that it's nearly impossible to trace the murderer, suspicion does rise. This is when the true horror starts, as we begin to see what Light is willing to do to get himself free of suspicion.

Anyone familiar with Shonen Jump's Hikaru No Go will recognize the artwork here. They won't recognize, however, the deep themes of morality VS. immorality. While reading, you have to decide, based on your own personal beliefs, what side Light is actually on, moral or immoral, good or evil.
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Format: Paperback
Death Note is a very different manga from the others Viz Media has begun to release here in the U.S. It is thanks to them, however, that I learned of this brilliant series.

The story follows a teenager, Light, who is bored with his life and sick of the monotonous cycle. He stumbles upon a Shingami's (Death God's) notebook, or Death Note. The notebook has a dark power: a brief way to put it would be to say when you write down a person's name and have the image of them in your mind, they will die of a heart-attack in forty seconds. There is much more to it than that, however. Details can be added as to how and when they die, but they must be physically possible.

Ryuk, the Death God whose notebook Light has found, was also bored. He deliberately left the notebook there for a human to find. He is a very strange character with a very strange appearance. Nevertheless, he does play an important role.

Light's name seems almost contradictory. He says he is killing off violent criminals to make the world a better place. He claims that he is righteous. But is murder the righteous thing to do? Interpol begins to move and is forced to play it's trump card: L, a person whose face and full name are not even known to the NPA.

L and Light are both brilliant. Their plans, deductions, and observations never cease to amaze. Their battle and search continues as it evolves into a race to discover who the other is. Ultimately, you don't know who to cheer on. The protagonist is a bit crazy and is continously commiting murder and playing with peoples lives. Yet you find yourself still reading. The plot is engrossing; it is rare for me to find a manga that keeps me glued to the pages without frequent action scenes.

Dark, mysterious, and decidedly different, Death Note is a level above.
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Format: Paperback
The majority of mainstream manga released in America has, up 'til now, been easy to categorize into two genres: Shounen(boy-oriented, lots of action, fighting, magical weapons, heroes out to save the world, etc.) and Shoujo(girl-oriented, romance, emphasis on character development and emotions, girls with magical powers/boyfriends, shounen-ai, etc.)

Death Note, although serialized in Shounen Jump, doesn't clearly fall into either category. The main confict is the intense psychological battle between Light and L. Ingenious mindtraps, moral ambiguity, and strong suspense characterize the theme of Death Note. If you think this sounds more mature and complex than the average manga, then you would be correct.

The supernatural setup involving death gods and a lethal notebook may turn off some people who would really enjoy it. I assure you that the premise is not hokey, and the supernatural aspects are secondary to the suspense and plot. The exploration of the "Rules" regarding the Death Note, the intricate use of logic, and the slow moral decay of the main character are fascinating to watch.

The protagonist(he can hardly be called the hero), Light, is a brilliant young student who first decides to use the Death Note to rid the world of deadly criminals. However, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and his main goal shifts from promoting peace to avoiding capture at any cost. His pursuer is the international enigma who is known only as "L". This equally brilliant detective has a different idea of justice and is hot on Light's trail.

They soon become locked in a battle of life and death; the first side to make a mistake(or fail to anticipate the other's move) will die.
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