Review: “Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom”

I believe the last time I read manga was sometime in high school and I was a bit apprehensive about reading a whole book of manga after a few years of rest. It turns out that my eyes very quickly adapted to the right-to-left format that manga is written in.

Death Note is an entertaining book, although it is also pretty depressing. A death death demon drops his notebook, his Death Note, into the human realm and then everything goes pear shaped. Death Notes are the tools that the demons use to kill off the humans and for it to end up in the hands of a human, well, that’s a really bad idea. Naturally this Death Note is discovered by Light, an ambitious teenager with a very flexible moral code. Light, with the help of the meddling demon who dropped his book, discovers how to use his new toy to kill anyone he wants prompting him to start a moral, and bloody, purification of the human race. The police, with the aid of a mysterious private investigator, begin to pursue Light and the story takes off.

What separated Death Note from your everyday manga is the way in which it examines how Light handles his new power. There’s a sick pleasure in watching Light become consumed with his god-like abilities.

Let’s be real. I found Death Note to be a good read but not particularly exemplary.

Death Note; story by Tsugumi Ohba and art by Takeshi Obata; SHUEISHA Inc, copyright 2003

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