Death Note’s critically reviled second fifty percent may have actually hurt the show’s legacy, however it was all worth it in the end.
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By Shamus Kelley | June 3, 2021 | | comment count:0
This write-up contains significant spoilers because that both the manga and anime of Death Note.
There’d never been a manga (and later anime) quite like Death Note. A emotional thriller mixed with the supernatural, the series followed high schooler light Yagami, who’s provided a notebook with the capacity to death anyone whose surname is created in it. The premise alone is extremely enticing but it to be the way Death Note advanced that made that a beloved and also still talked about series to this day.
The funny yet dark interplay between Light and also the Shinigami who provided him the notebook, Ryuk. The means Light had the ability to creatively usage the notebook to kill. The absolutely bonkers methods he avoided getting caught, most famed of which made use of a bag that chips. Being compelled to job-related with the frustrating yet tragic Misa. The pure triumph of one episode whereby Light simply takes a walk with someone and desperately do the efforts to figure out their name in order come avoid obtaining caught.
The series’ greatest draw, especially after it gained started, however, to be the psychic game between Light and also police consultant L, who had a solid suspicion the Light being the killer. Their earlier and forth, Light avoiding being exposed, together planting traps because that Light to fall into, the friendship that might not have actually been for show on L’s side, deserve the series much that its acclaim.
However, half way through the series, l was eliminated off. It was a significant shock, the greatest twist yet. This adjusted everything. That else might compare come the guy who almost exposed irradiate time ~ time? to be this the end of the story? would certainly it be possible to produce a character not just beloved as L but likewise one that could keep the stress of the story as high together it had been?
For many fans, the collection never recovered after ~ this. Countless jumped ship solely due to the fact that L died. Others weren’t impressed through the attempts to replace L. The characters of Mello and also Near had actually some potential but it was never properly utilized. Many of their attempts to apprehend Light dropped flat in comparison to the first half.
This isn’t to say the second fifty percent doesn’t have some bright spots however it does traction in places and also many fans offered up before the story ended. I beg your pardon is a huge shame because the final story the Death Note, in particular the one that takes increase the final episode the the anime, renders up for its entire second half. The pulls everything together for what is an extremely satisfying conclusion that provides a crucial judgement speak to on every little thing Light had actually done approximately that point.
By the time Death Note reaches this last episode, it appears as despite nothing have the right to touch Light. He’s eliminated millions of people. Yes, Near has turned few of his team against him (except the loveable you are fool Matsuda), yet Light is still in control. He has a male named Mikami killing because that him, he avoids Near’s traps, death Mello, and also even boldly speak his team it’s okay for lock to occupational with Near. However, close to manages to obtain Light to agree come their very first in person meeting and also the two, along with their respective team’s, meet up in a deserted warehouse. It’s there that the phase is collection for the final episode.
Light has Near cornered. Near had actually made a setup to swap out Mikami’s notebook for a fake, yet Light saw v that and, through a trademark fatality Note convoluted plan, made that so Mikami actually had actually the genuine notebook hidden. He is won. Mikami write the name of everyone current besides Light. Light, his ego in ~ an every time, no hope tries come hold ago his laughter. He knows he’s won, that in moments anyone is going to die.
The final episode begins… and they don’t. Near had actually faked irradiate out and also did manage to swap the end Mikami’s notebook because that a fake. Irradiate is exposed… and also finally brings to the head a core inquiry the series had been asking yet refused to provide a definitive answer on, not even in the very first half: Is light justified in his actions?
Look, i love Death Note. That a really funny watch and, because it’s a item of fiction, friend don’t have to be completely disgusted by a male murdering millions of people. The truth he offers a magic notebook to do it renders it a distinctive take ~ above the thriller genre. The trouble is a big chunk the the series is told indigenous Light’s POV. He makes it clear he desires to death criminals the police won’t. That killing criminals renders the civilization a far better place. The are afraid of being killed by an unseen pressure deter others from committing crime.
This i will not ~ be an problem if the display made it clean from the jump the this is still wrong, however it proactively plants seeds of stare doubt that possibly the authorities shouldn’t also be trying to capture Light. His actions space extreme, sure, however aren’t they required to make the human being safer? It renders viewers or reader ask the question: Is irradiate committing mass killing making the world a much better place?
This is a danger topic to play with. I’m every for making use of fiction to explore hard concepts but the display needed come come down hard on his actions. They can not condone them; it would be the display telling its audience, “Hey, mass killing is legit!” also if the display left Light’s action as faint that also would have actually been a problem. It would leave too much wiggle room. Too lot of a possibility for Light’s actions come still be viewed as viable. In ~ first, the seems prefer this is specifically what the last episode is doing. After ~ Light’s finally found as the serial killer that is, he goes into full ego mode. He declares self god, the only hope for mankind and explains that because of his actions, “wars have actually stopped and global crime rates have actually been decreased by end 70 percent.”
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Light doesn’t also frame this as an evil action he needed to take it in bespeak to make the civilization better. No, instead he sees himself as good! He speak everyone that someone has to perform this… yet no one would have actually gone as much as the did. The civilization needs that to settle it. He needs to keep killing. This could have to be the show’s only statement top top Light’s actions. The he had actually a point, flawed as it was. The would have actually been so simple to leaving the door open, to do the series as edgy as possible and have actually Light be sympathetic right to the end.
But it doesn’t.
In the most an essential moment in all of Death Note, right after Light gives his large speech, near shuts the down: “You’re simply a murderer, irradiate Yagami. And this notebook is the deadliest weapon of mass killing in the history of mankind.” he goes on to say the Light has confused himself with a god as soon as in fact, “you’re nothing much more than a stunner serial killer. That’s every you are. Nothing much more and nothing less.”
Light is not justified in his actions. This is the concluding declare of Death Note. It’s can be fried answer to the concern of Light being justified or not. It no entertaining the idea that Light’s actions. Any type of reason the display has provided you to sympathize v him goes out the window. He’s completely in the wrong. Yes sir nothing noble around what the did. He’s a murderer and simply killing every criminals without any kind of kind of oversight is wrong. He thought he to be god for doing this yet in the end that was what did that in.
Light’s autumn from grace and ultimate rejection by the series is additional driven home when Matsuda, the clown pair of shoes of the series, shoots light in the hand. Irradiate tries to appeal to him however he refuses to listen, shooting light four an ext times. He’s just prevented native killing irradiate by the various other offers. Light manages to acquire up after this and also run away and also Near allows him. He knows Light is about to die. This to be yet one more moment the show could have make the efforts to make you feel pity for Light. The yeah, he to be wrong, yet he at the very least had an excellent intentions and also isn’t that sad he’s around to die?
Nope. Ryuk come along and also writes Light’s surname in his very own notebook. Light has actually truly lost. Before Light die though Ryuk reminds both Light and the audience the what light said early on in the collection when asked why he to be passing referee on others: He was bored. For every the grand posturing of gift god and also making the human being a better place, this was all because Light to be bored. He is no hero. His philosophy shouldn’t it is in looked upon together something noble or horrible however necessary. He’s just a horrific human who die alone.
Even the brief manga sequel to Death Note drives home the point that Light to be wrong. One more human, Minoru Tanaka, is offered the death Note years after Light’s death and Ryuk marvels if irradiate is thought about one of the greats the history. Minoru explains that when some think about Light god, it’s actually taught in ethics classes that Light is evil. That was additionally taught in world background classes the Light was, “a mass-murdering terrorist, the worst in current history.”
The story actively refuses to offer Light’s actions any type of justifications. He to be committing fixed murder. If the story had simply finished at the fifty percent waypoint, L’s death, the would have actually been deep problematic. That wouldn’t have answered the concern of whether Light was justified or not. That would have left open the idea that maybe he was, at least from the view of the narrative itself.
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This is what makes the last episode for this reason important. It not only answered that question of whether Light was justified, but additionally took a very hard and definitive stance versus it.It refuse to entertain any notion the Light remained in the right and Death keep in mind was all the better for it.