Thursday, June 15, 2006

Death Note (4 & 5)

I love Death Note. If not for Nana, it would be my favorite manga that I'm reading. I hear that volume six has come out, but I have yet to see it, so for all intents and purposes, I am caught up on the series. Oh, and there are a few minor spoilers ahead, so if you've procrastinated like I have, you may want to hold off on continuing until you're caught up as well. In volume four of the series, we are introduced to Misa Amane, the second Kira, who we got a glimpse of at the end of the third volume, but finally have a personality to attach to her. It's really cool to hear the motivations behind the people who are in possession of the death notes, and their intentions and philosophies. They're all varied. The fifth volume has yet another Kira who takes a completely different approach to the whole thing, one more adult-oriented and selfish, but very probable. And what I find extremely exciting about the series is that the concept of the death note is a tool that can be used to comment on society and life and death, and power and corruption. It's an ingenius metaphor like zombies, and George Romero's intentions for like Dawn of the Dead, commenting on consumerism. Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata have found such a way to comment on human nature with an exciting plot device and great characters. And with the world and rules they've created, they can use them from different points-of-view, from the person in control of god-like powers, or from the people examining his actions and interpretting things in that manner, or like in the unique case of Light, from someone who was Kira but has no knowledge of the experience and how he would utilize such powers, commenting on how he thinks he would use them. I think the writer's interpretation of how Light thought he would use his powers was perfect, as you wouldn't believe yourself capable of such deeds unless you've had the power. But onto the view of humanity through Death Note, I thought that the shinigami, or death god, who surveyed the committee speaking so casually of murdering people for money and company stocks surmised it best as this disgusting creature thinks "Humans are such...ugly creatures..." Perfect. The detective work on the series is just brilliant too. It's all very intricate and thoughtful, with characters second-guessing things and trying to put themselves in other shoes. Then, the details of the death note itself are complicated... It's a very sophisticated story and there's so much there. Like I said before, Death Note is easily one of the best manga around.

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