Posted in Anime, Film Reviews, TV Shows

Original Versus New: Death Note

Rule # 1: The person who watches this film expecting no deviation from the original and a completely faithful adaptation is stupid.

Rule # 2: After starting the movie, drastic changes from the Japanese version will become evident withing six minutes and forty seconds.

Rule # 3: A person who still doesn’t get over it and rages at the variation should a) watch the Japanese adaptations instead or b) get a life.

Rule # 4: If you are reading this, expect spoilers.

Just sayin’.

Willem Dafoe’s Ryuk voice is DA THANG, YO HOMMIES!!! He absolutely nailed the “Humans are so interesting” line. I didn’t catch wings on his Ryuk, though but that is probably because I didn’t pay much attention. Otherwise, his rendition was flawless and so damn scary.

So, shall we begin?

Differences between the Anime version and the Film version:

    • First of all, Light Yagami, or, Light Turner as he is in this film. He is not an asshole, he is not a psychopath, he is not a veritable JERK and he’s not messed up in the head. He’s a teenager who has a somewhat difficult life after losing his mother and he’s bullied in school. Relations between him and his dad are strained because he blames his father for not doing anything about his mother’s murder. Long story short: His life’s not perfect, he is not completely evil, his motivation for picking up the death note stems from his tough experiences rather than idealism.
      Whereas Yagami was the exact opposite: horse’s ass, perfect life, evil and idealistic.
    • This is a 2-hour film which adequately explains the fact that a huge chunk of the original story is missing. In fact, apart from the central idea and a few main characters, everything is new. So no Matsuda, Aizawah, Rem, Near and a lot of other characters.
    • The film does a much, MUCH better job at explaining things, particularly Light and L’s pasts and why they are what they are. With the anime I was disappointed in terms of L’s origin story.
    • Misa Amane is Mia and she as worse as the original one. While Misa was gullible, willing to go to extreme lengths for Light, Mia displays the same love but it’s overshadowed by her need to have the Death Note. In this version, she is more idealistic than Light himself. He tries to draw a line multiple times but she fights against it.
    • Their relationship is obviously not one-sided this time as Light isn’t dead inside.
    • Ryuk is considerably more malevolent. The shinigami don’t  goad the owners or “keepers” of the Death Note but he coerces Light whenever he gets the chance.
    • Yagami encountered Ryuk in his room while being calm AF while Turner lost his shit while inside a classroom during detention. It was hilarious. Nat Wolff really has a very nice scream.
    • L remains L and Watari remains Watari. I have EXTREMELY mixed feelings about the American version of L. He’s black, which in itself is absolutely fine, BUT, I wanted to see him, above all others, true to the anime version. He’s supposed to be pale as death, queer in his habits with dark circles under his eyes, evidence of his lack of sleep and sun. I put it past me after a while and was able to enjoy the actor’s portrayal. His mannerisms, way of speaking and the incessant munching was so accurate I was almost delighted. Until, L turned out to be insane. Yup. He’s aggressive, hysterical, he shouts (which the original L never did) and he seems unhinged. Again, the L I love was odd and everything but he had this way about himself, that soft way of speaking. The actor mimicked this softness pretty well but it didn’t last long.
    • The gory details, though.

  • I loved how Light turned the situation in his favor at the end despite being double-crossed by Mia. I thought that was AWESOME and reminded me of  Light Yagami for a second.

I had my qualms but this was as good as it was gonna get. I’m chilled but that’s gotta be because I’m not a die-hard fan of Death Note. If someone did something like this to, say, Harry Potter I would have totally flipped out and destroyed everything in my path, BUT, the thing is, where adaptations are concerned, you have got to keep your head and realize that if a different country/language is interpreting something, they’re likely to either modify things according to their culture or take some form of artistic license. You want a faithful adaptation? Well, then go watch the Japanese versions. Easy peasy. But showering a man with death threats AFTER he was given permission to do his own spin by the CREATORS? You are messed up, people. That’s all I have to say.

My Rating: 6.5/10

 

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Posted in Anime, TV Shows, Uncategorized

Death Note Episodes 31-37 Review: Well, it’s certainly been Interesting!

That’s the one word I’d use to describe this show: interesting. I loved the idea. The concept was so fresh and unique. Instead of a protagonist, we had an antagonist as the main character. 37 episodes were spent hating his guts and cursing his soul. Maybe that is why I didn’t completely go ga-ga over this show. It’s hard to like something when it’s dominated by the thing you hate the most.

And so, Light Yagami suffered the fate he deserved. He didn’t die quick, that is my only consolation. Misa attempted suicide and Matsuda and Aizawah came away unscathed. Phew. As for Riyuk, he was true to how he was when he first met Light: bored and in need of entertainment so as Light lay dying, Riyuk could be heard saying that he had an interesting time in the human world because of Light. He was never as emotionally attached to Light as Rem was to Misa. I wish he could have said all that to Light’s dying face.

Matsuda was the BOSS in the last episode. He was hurt beyond imagining by Light’s revelation and when he tried to be smart Matsuda shot at him with quick precision. BANG BANG BANG. So satisfying.

The creepy asshole that Light picked as his ‘chosen one’ or second Kira also died a death that was hilarious to watch. He and Light both turned so effing scary at the end. Light came completely unhinged as he wasn’t familiar with defeat, humiliation and being caught so he became a deranged lunatic in a matter of seconds.

I think the whole ‘successor of L’ thing was completely unnecessary. L could have been alive and had he been the one solving this case and convicting Light, it would have been much more satisfying and fitting. The incorporation of Near and Mellow was pointless as little to no backstory was told by their inclusion.

My favorite characters have been L, Matsuda, Aizawah and Chief Yagami. Two survived, two didn’t.

Oh, well. I had a jolly good time. Sometimes I was bored, most of the times I wasn’t but it was an excellent show regardless. There’s nothing more I can add to this, my mind is totally blank at the moment.

Now, I’ll get to the thing that prompted me to watch this in the first place: the Netflix movie!!!

My Rating for this show: 8.5/10

Posted in Anime, TV Shows

Death Note Episodes 21-30 Review: Scared New World

Before I begin the review, lemme just say, …

WHAT THE FRICKITY FRACK IS THIS NEW “THEME SONG”?

Heavy Metal? More like Hideously Mental.
The first one was so catchy and fitting and perfect and I had just warmed up to it and started enjoying it. Curse you, you, who is responsible for the change. May your name be made public.

.

So, about these 10 episodes. To summarize: SHIT HIT THE FAN, YO.

  • For starters, L and the investigative team finally discovered that the tool of death for Kira was a notebook. AND they saw the shinigami. The scene where Light recovers his memories in the helicopter scared the living shit out of me. That asshole.
  • L AND WATARI DIED. LIKE ASDFGHJKL, SURE, WHY NOT? HE WAS THE ONLY LIKABLE CHARACTER ON THE SHOW.
  • Well, that’s strictly not true. There is also Chief Yagami. WHO DIED IN THE 30TH EPISODE WHILE LIGHT BEGHAIRAT COULDN’T GIVE A FLYING FOTITTI THAT HIS FATHER WAS ON HIS DEATH BED.
    • That leaves Matsuda and Aizawah. I’m scared.
  • The entire investigative team saw Riyuk and Matsuda fed him apples.
  • We sort of maybe kinda learned about L’s past and where he came from (SERIOUSLY, WRITERS? Itni zehmat bhi karney ki kya zaroorat thi. Rehney hi daitey)
  • L HAS A SUCCESSOR AND I’M PRETTY SURE HE’S VOICED BY A WOMAN. Why am I shouting again?
  • People have started to accept Kira and his methods so much so that the president of the United States stated in a press conference that he and his country won’t oppose Kira.
  • Aizawah CUT HIS HAIR AND HE LOOKS SO DAMN FINE.
  • Oh and lest I forget, Light considered killing his sister at one point.

Like the asshole is leaving no stone upturned to prove that he is an asshole and deserves to be executed by being burned alive.

Misa is such an extra. She likes licking Light’s low feet (ALLITERATION FOR THE WIN!!!!). He behaves as a jerk, because he is one, uses her, manipulates her, controls her, and she just lets him do it. Ugh. She’s just as bad as he is.

As far as my expectations are concerned, since the show is quite steady going both in terms of pace and the “shocking moments” it provides, I’m not too worried about being disappointed by what happens next. I cared about L, and they killed him off so there’s nothing that can upset me more.

Things I would like to see:

There are literally only 7 episodes left so I’d appreciate it:

  1. L’s past in detail.
  2. Misa’s decapitation.
  3. Light being stabbed at the heart.
  4. Matsuda and Aizawah walking away unharmed.
  5. Riyuk realizing what a world-class a-hole Light has been and leaving him.
  6. All the Death Notes being destroyed.
  7. New theme song.
  8. A little more humor.

Uh, yeah. That’s it for now.

My Rating: 8/10

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Posted in Anime, TV Shows

Death Note – Episodes 11 to 20 Review

I became quite bored during these episodes. Same old, same old. There were some major developments and crazy plot twists that I’ve come to associate with this show.

Riyuzaki/L suspects Light and keeps him under surveillance, Light succumbs to the pressure and feeling cornered comes up with an elaborate plan that involves him and Misa Amane, the second Kira, relinquishing their ownership of their respective Death Notes which ultimately leads them to forgetting everything to do with the shinigami and the terrible power they both possessed.

The rules keep coming in every episode but I’ve sort of stopped paying any attention to them. There are a few fun episodes in between but mostly it’s just L sitting in front of the screen spying on his targets. He chained himself to Light which I thought was particularly awesome. As for Misa, she’s probably the most useless and annoying character in the entire show. I say useless because I dislike her but in actuality, she’s quite resourceful and Light took full advantage of her misplaced loyalty.

The guy just cannot stoop any lower. I haven’t seen that part yet but I bet all eyes of the shinigami that as soon as Light recovers his memory, he’s going to have zero remorse over what he has done.  My favorite episode out of these 10 would have to be “Matsuda”. He’s plain adorable and I hope nothing happens to him.

You know, it shouldn’t be this hard to reveal a little bit of a character backstory at this point. I’ve seen 20 episodes, for God’s sake and I still don’t know why L does not sleep. Why he walks bare feet and why he always sits hunched. Eccentricity alone isn’t enough, there MUST be a reason.

I absolutely LOVE how he speaks. It’s so gentle, his voice, almost soothing and bored out of his wits. He is my favorite character of the show. And Matsuda too. They both deserve hugs and kisses but L probably more.

There has been no sign of Ryuk since Light relinquished his ownership although we do see Rem, Misa’s shinigami now and again.

I can’t say I’m exactly “hot” for this show. I would not miss it, now that I’ve come so far. But days go by before I’m tempted to watch anymore.

Posted in Anime, TV Shows

Death Note – On A Knife Edge, Episodes 6 to 11 Review

L is not a teenager, and he is certainly isn’t homeless but the guy stoops, has dark circles under his eyes, walks bare feet and sits crouched. Intriguing? Why, yes. But apart from the fact that he is rich and has a butler, we don’t know anything about him yet. I really like his voice, the English dubbed one. So soft yet intelligent and eloquent.

Both Kira and L stopped their dance around each other and came out in the open. Well, at least L did. He’s gauging his suspicion of Light as Kira by percentages and it’s growing slowly. Meanwhile, Light in all his psycho-genius glory continues to meet L’s challenges head on while continuing his “purge”. I still don’t understand the guy’s deal. Had he always been like that or is there a reason behind this behavior. Hopefully, it’ll become clear in the later episodes. I’m impatient to understand what brought him to this line of thinking.

I have to say, episode 7 (“Donten” (曇天) / “Overcast”) was my favorite. It kept me on my toes. I fully expected Ray Penber’s fiance to get out of this alive but Light’s quick thinking saved his hide. Damn him. He keeps killing the innocent.

L’s constant scrutinizing of Light and vice versa was one of those things that you enjoy at first but they quickly become tedious due to the fact that it’s all happening inside their heads.

I didn’t know what to expect when it comes to Light when I started this but now I’m positive. The dude deserves no mercy and needs to be put down ASAP. He’ll just keep on eliminating anyone and everyone who comes in his path, be it a criminal or an innocent.

Going back to what the shinigami were discussing a few episodes earlier, it seems as if Light has figured out that another shinigami came to Earth with another Death Note because, God help the people of Japan, there’s another Kira masquerading as the original one. We even got to see her and her shinigami. What’s worse, she has the eyes of a shinigami. Yikes. That certainly complicates things, doesn’t it?

Posted in Anime, TV Shows

Death Note: Our Dark Duet – Episodes 2 to 5 Review

No, I haven’t read Victoria Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology but I think the second book’s title fits here perfectly. Light Yagami has made an enemy and they are dancing around each other, taking equal steps to uncover each other’s identities to take the other person down because as they both declare at the end of the second episode: they are “justice”.

I’ve seen 4 more episodes and they are titled:

  • “Taiketsu” (対決) / “Confrontation”
  • “Torihiki” (取引) / “Dealings”
  • “Tsuiseki” (追跡) / “Pursuit”
  • “Kakehiki” (駆引) / “Tactics”

Here’s a brief summary of all four episodes:

Light’s obsessive scribbling into the death note doesn’t go unnoticed, there is some concept of right and wrong left in the world after all. So even though he is killing off criminals who he deems “vermin” the world would be better off without, the law doesn’t agree. They bring in “L”, a notorious detective with a 100% success rate in all the cases he has ever taken and he’s given charge of the case.
What these episodes do is prove how disturbingly intelligent and perceptive Light, who is now being called “Kira” (Japanese for “killer”) by the masses, and the mysterious L are.
They go back and forth, making their moves, seemingly defeating the other until he strikes back and again and again and again it goes.

Ryuk’s amusement knows no end. The shinigami is enjoying himself and that is what he wanted in the first place. His brethren in their world made an interesting comment about him having another Death Note. Ryuk, you sneaky little bastard. He informs Light about some more rules and Light himself does a shit ton of horrible experimentation to test the Death Note’s limitations. The death god also makes an offer which is as ghastly and sickeningly fascinating as his face:

The shinigami can see a person’s name and life-span by looking at their faces and their eyes can be exchanged for half of the person’s life span, thus giving that person the power to know someone’s name just by looking at their faces.

Surprisingly, Light refused. His reasoning was perfectly sensible and equally twisted; if he’s to be the god of this perfect new world, he needs to live long. Funny that I’ve just read a book about villains and anti-heroes to stumble straight into this.

So the new rules were:

There were a couple more about shinigami in particular, how they don’t interfere with the person who has the Death Note and how they increase their life span by either making nefarious deals with humans or if one dies before their time is up, taking the remaining years for themselves.

Light took a step too far. Not that he was being entirely sane in the first place. He is the chief of police‘s son, for the love of God, has a sister and an adoring mother. WHAT is the guy’s deal? What’s the reason behind his God-complex? I’m understanding his psyche I just don’t get why. So what did he do that was a step too far? He killed all the FBI agents in Japan involved in his investigation just ’cause they were. Bye bye sticking to criminals alone.

L looks like a homeless teenager so far. He sits down in front of the computer on the floor in an otherwise bare room, is bare feet and walks like a zombie. His name starts with L, just like Light. How curious.

My interest is developing for sure.

Rating (for all 4 episodes): 3.75/5

Posted in Anime, TV Shows

Death Note – Let the Carnage Begin

I’ll be honest with ya. It was the trailer for the upcoming Netflix film that spurred me on, otherwise it would’ve stayed on my radar forever. Years ago, my brother told me about this anime show that he was watching about a guy who comes across a notebook that lets him kill whichever person’s name he writes on it. That’s all I knew and even though I wanted to watch the show it just never seemed like the right time. Until now.

I saw a clip from the film yesterday in which Light (really stupid name) meets Ryuk for the first time and I saw the first episode of the anime today. Since I already knew the most important thing of all, the rest didn’t impress me much. There is other stuff but I found the first episode to be a little, um, shall we say, plain?

I know nothing about the changes they’ve made to the film from the original and I don’t want to know. The only thing I do know is that they could NOT have picked a better or more fitting person to play Ryuk than Willem Dafoe. This guy does creepy like you wouldn’t believe! If you’ve watched the very first Spider-Man you will know.

At this point in the story nothing is a spoiler so here’s a recap of the episode titled “Shinsei” (新生) or “Rebirth”:

Light Yagami is a bright (I am too good) high school student who gets straight A’s in class. He is bored of the mundanity of his life and so one day he’s staring out of the window during class to the background of his teacher’s droning when he witnesses a book falling from the sky. He checks it out after class and the claim of the notebook is almost absurd enough for him to walk away. Almost.

The notebook has very specific instructions.

Seduced by curiosity, Light decides to confirm the hoax, only it isn’t a hoax and the criminal whose name he writes to test the notebook’s validity turns up dead. Believing it to be a coincidence, he writes again and realizes the enormity of his possession. That’s where we meet Ryuk, a shinigami or the god of death. (The dude is horrifying and creepy AF with that ghastly smile permanently fixed on his face. Like the joker, only a thousand times worse)

He and other shinigami live in another dimension apparently and he throws out the notebook into the human world out of boredom. Yup, everybody was bored, me included. The demon, that’s what I would call him, informs Light of some further rules:

How cheerful. Of course this doesn’t faze Light even though he is warned of the trauma this would induce. Instead, the episode ends with Light exclaiming in all his anime passion that he would rid the world of vermin and become humanity’s savior.

Hello? Are you just bored or completely insane? Cause that escalated quickly.
This was the first episode and I definitely need to learn more about Light’s personality and life that would justify him having a superiority complex. Boredom alone doesn’t cut it.

What I would have done if I had found the Death Note:

Alarmingly, I would have done the first two things Light did:

  • I would have picked it up.
  • I would have checked.

A 1000 points to whoever guesses correctly what I would have written in the notebook. I’ll give you a hint: his favorite word is “stupid”.

If it had worked I would NOT have written another word, unlike Light, and would have thrown the notebook at the bottom of the ocean. Good riddance.
Then again, maybe it wouldn’t have worked. You see, the notebook clearly states that the one being entered must be ‘human’. Even though there are distant similarities, I think it would not have affected an ape.

So, yeah. I’m continuing on with this, there are only 37 episodes. But I wasn’t blown away by this one.

My Rating: 2.75/5