Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Death Note

Ooh, notice the date -06/06/06- hmmm does it tell something like doomsday or anything like it? Talk about misfortune, I didn’t come to work today, I’m not feeling well, but I realized, it sucks more to get stuck in the boarding house, thank goodness there’s a phone. But this have to be real quick because if the owner finds out that I have this laptop, he’ll charge me for the electricity I’m consuming… Going back to doomsday, kinda related to my addiction right now. Well not exactly, but it has something to do with death and judgment hehe…

I’m currently hooked on “Death Note” a manga by Ohba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi. Now, I haven’t had any information on the creators, except that I know that Obata Takeshi is the manga artist of “Hikaru no Go”. Anyway, just a background, I first came across this manga a couple of years ago, it was just a one shot pilot manga that I’ve read, but it was so interesting that I wished there were more. 2 years fast forward, lo & behold there is actually a series! A friend gave me the complete scanlations (12 tankoubons!). Also, sometime ago, I learned that it’d be adapted into anime, though I can’t remember if it’ll be a TV series, OVA or movie… whatever it is, it’s something for me to look forward.

Okay now let’s get on with my review. Death Note is a supernatural notebook used by shinigamis in taking the lives of humans. The mechanics is simple, they just write the name of the person and imagine his face (this way, people sharing the same name won’t get affected), then write the cause of death and its details in a specified span of time, and the details would take effect. If the cause is not written after 40 seconds, the person would immediately die of a heart failure. Enter Ryuku, a bored shinigami, who’s tired of seeing the monotonous activities of his fellow reapers. So what he did was, he purposely dropped his death note, if only to watch what a human might do with it. When a death note was accidentally picked up by a human, he gains the ability to see the shinigami who owns it, and that shinigami would follow him everywhere he go. The notebook can only be retrieved if that human dies or had the notebook fully filled. The human have the option to give it to someone else or return it to the shinigami who owns it if he doesn’t want to use the notebook. But in doing so, all of his memory of the death note and the shinigami will be erased. Lucky for Ryuku, his death note was accidentally picked by the genius –and gorgeous- Raito Yagami. Your ‘usual’ teenager who always got the highest scores on national exams. After reading the instructions, he first thought of it as a bluff. But his curiosity proved him wrong, when he tried using it and saw its effectivity, he came up with the idea of building a better world, by eliminating the criminals using the death note. When Ryuku and Raito met, Ryuku was surpised to learn that Raito had entered significant number of names (all criminals) in such a short period of time. This made Ryuku happy, and remarked how interesting humans think (of course!). The fun starts when an international intelligence agency took note of unusual deaths of most wanted criminals which took place on the same day, and of the same cause –heart failure. A mass murder, it must be. Enter L, the world’s greatest detective, whose real identity and image was kept in secret. But the FBI highly trusted him because he solved every case given to him and his deductions were always correct. He immediately identified that the deaths are not mere coincident, that a person is behind these deaths. He instantly determined that the culprit is in Japan, based on the first murders that occurred. This notion was supported when they made it appear the L is aware of this murder, by faking a TV announcement in Japan, and imposed a fake L. When Raito saw the fake L, by the name Lindt Taylor –whose also a detainee sentenced for death penalty- on TV, he immediately killed Lindt. L immediately identified the requirements for Raito to kill his target, which is by knowing its name and face. Raito (though unidentified) gained fans and followers with his actions and was called as “Kira” . The quest to find Kira started, FBI agents and L’s right hand man were deployed to Japan and collaborated with Japanese police to work on the case. Another interesting fact is that the leader of the Japanese investigation team was Raito’s father.

Okay I’ll stop from here, giving more information would spoil it. Now, for my personal views, to date, this is the best ‘detective story’ I’ve ever encountered. Combining paranormal situations with realistic and superb analysis of events, this is not your usual Sherlock Holmes, Conan Edogawa or Sano Ichiro stories. And the fact that there is no branded villain in this SHONEN manga, makes it outstand the other shonen manga I’ve read. It’s not a battle of good versus evil but an argument of proper delivery of justice. It’s not a mere pursuing of a culprit plot, but a battle of wits between the L and Kira. And what makes it more interesting is the developing love & hate relationship between the pursuer and the one being pursued. This is a topnotch manga. Every brain stimulating freaks would definitely enjoy it much more than Da Vinci Code –oh there goes this Japanese-biased kid hehehe- Plus Takeshi’s design of shinigamis is quite astounding to me, they’re not the stereotypical skeletons in cloak nor the bishie Tsuzuki and Hisoka f or the bashful Ichigo (is that right Bleach fans?). Everything in this manga was rather new and innovative to me.

Hmmm, if I’d have a deathnote, who would I write there? Maybe I’d be doing the same thing that Raito did. Those crooks who committed heinous crimes, those corrupt government officials starting with GMA, FVR, Cory and Erap hehehe… anyone who’d try to hurt my family… anyone who’d try to hurt –toooot- (and there goes my stubbornness!). Now back to more reading I’m already at chapter 37.

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