Welcome back to Part 2. Before I begin SPOILERS! I will be discussing the plot, twists, and ending of this great anime.
Where we left off in part 1, the premise of the show revolves around a high school student named Light Yagami who discovers a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes in it. Light sees himself as a moral crusader, using the Death Note to rid the world of criminals and create a utopia where crime no longer exists. However, as he continues to use the Death Note, Light’s sense of justice becomes increasingly twisted, and he begins to see himself as a god-like figure with the power to decide who lives and dies. This comes into question early on, as police in the show or justice trys to stop him or his alter ego you can say named Kira. At this point he writes those who try to capture him names into the notebook.
The show also introduces a second main character, a mysterious detective known only as L, who is tasked with finding and stopping Light. L’s methods are unorthodox, and he is willing to use any means necessary to catch Light, including manipulating and deceiving others. He is almost the exact opposite of Light, except he has to figure out everything and needs to, to bring Kira to justice. Things get even more complicated for L once a second Kira pops up that turns out to be Micasa, a model and a loyalist to the real Kira, Light Yagami. The two team up to stop L finding out who they are.
During the anime, L comes close and at times knows Light is Kira, but has no hard evidence to prove it. It’s a great chess match of mind games as they both try to stay ahead of each other. Light from being captured, and can’t use the book to kill him since “L” Light believes is not his real name. I loved how when Light tells Ryuk to take away his notebook and in doing so he forgets everything about the notebook and what he has done with it. You see Light become this innocent person, never wanting to bend any rules, and at one point L tries to convince Light to use his advantage over Micasa (who L also thinks is the other Kira) to keep her close. But Light says he does not feel morally right about doing that. However later in the anime he does that exact thing to two women, once he gets his memory back.
This made me thing about how “power” of any kind, money, influence to get followers, authority, or a book that gives you the power to kill anyone, changes the person and lets that “power” get into their head, or does this power amplify the person you are already?
The conflict between Light and L raises questions about the morality of using extreme methods to achieve a goal, as well as the nature of justice and who has the right to determine it. The show also explores themes of power and corruption, as Light’s increasing reliance on the Death Note leads him down a dark path.
The series caught me off guard when L died, and leaving Light to continue his what he believed was his moral duty. For the next 6 years it says in the this world of Death Note crime has gone down almost 70% around the world. Everyone on the planet knows the name Kira, to a point it looks like there is a religion that follows him. In these 6 years Kira continues to kill criminals. This made me think about what about those criminals who may have been wrongfully arrested, or framed. Did those folks need to die? But who would judge that, Kira? I’m sure justice systems around the world would arrest those they have proof should be jailed, but nothing is perfect. Then there was a part where folks could post a post on the internet and if it caught Kira attention he would act on it. Yeah the crime rate dropped by 70%, and there is a cost. I guess if we had that choice would you be okay with that. Or as Spock says “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Would this be one of those situations?
All these thoughts come to mind and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, but then we forward to the end when L’s next to take his place come into play. They find out L has died and two students of L step to see who ever solves the mystery of Kira takes L’s place. Those two characters are Near and Mello. Both smart individuals, and use their intellect and daring moves to capture Kira. Both already suspect Light Yagami as Kira, but again no proof.
Fast forward to the end it takes both Near and Tello to bring down Kira in his own ‘being a step ahead’ game. Not only do they get a confession, but they get evidence, witnesses, and humbles Light Yagami and brings him back down to earth. The option then comes down to kill Light Yagami or bring in to justice. When this scene plays out, you have to stop and think about how much influence the Kira character has and if taken to jail how big of a riot or mutiny or revolution the people who follow Kira would do to save him. Even if he did commit murder, killed anyone and everyone who was in his way, and put people in danger no matter the cost to protect his secret. One of those instances was the death of his father. One can debate keeping him alive could be a risk, but in the end its Justice that will decide his faith and Near and his team should bring him. At least that’s what I thought would happen instead Light with his last resort tries to kill everyone with a piece of the death note, but is shot by one of Light’s own team members. The end was sad, tragic, but with closure.
I think I can write more and more and I’m sure there are some parts that I am missing that I want to bring up, if anything maybe we can dedicate a podcast episode to this show. It’s definitely worth another watch, and is on my top list of great anime’s. With this one being a 37 episode series, this has to be the greatest short series Anime ever. I haven’t seen ALL anime, so as of right now this one is on that list for me.
Overall, Death Note challenges the viewer to consider complex moral and ethical questions in a compelling and thought-provoking way. The show is well-written and well-paced, and it encourages the viewer to engage with its themes in a way that few other anime or TV shows can match. Highly recommended if you haven’t watched it, even with these spoilers its still worth the watch.
Let us know what you think about the Death Note in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe/follow us on our social media platforms @unsunggamers. Until next time we are the Unsung Gamers, saving the world one game at a time!