Friday, October 26, 2012

Death Note

written by Tsugumi Ohba
illustrated by Takeshi Obata

Grade: 5 stars

For reasons that are still rather vague and unformed in my mind, I do not count graphic novels/manga/comic books when numbering the books I read each year. But it occurred to me for the first time the other day that this wouldn't necessarily stop me from reviewing them. So here goes.

Death Note is one of the coolest series I've read in a long time, and I'm including non-graphic series as well. It contains many of my favourite tropes: young, evil geniuses; Machiavellian characters; long battles of wits. What more could I ask for?

It's basically about a long series of mind games between Light Yagami, a boy who obtains the power to kill people by writing their names in a notebook (the Death Note of the title), and a young genius detective called simply "L". Light slowly gets more corrupted by the power of the Death Note, and L slowly closes in on him. And just when you think you might understand someone's plan, it turns out there was a whole other level going on above that the whole time. Awesome stuff.

Special praise also goes to the artist, Takeshi Obata. He's what got me into manga in the first place, with Hikaru no Go. His style is not as frantically busy as some manga tend to be, and a series as dark as this needs some realism in its art.

My main criticism is a lack of interesting girls. Any girls that did appear tended to be rather stupid, and have no purposes other than being in love with Light, and thus getting rather horribly used by him. The lack of good female characters did mean that there was no hackneyed Romance, which was nice. But I would also very much like some girls to add to my Evil Child Geniuses list someday.

It also gets into slightly weird philosophy by the end of it. Mostly this wasn't the focus of the story, though, so I was able to ignore it.

No comments: