Tuesday, June 8, 2010

19. "Death Note" by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

Ohba, Tsugumi and Takeshi Obata. Death Note. San Francisco: Shonen Jump, 2003. Print
12 Volumes
Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love

I originally became interested in this series because a friend of mine recommended the anime version to me. I watched the anime up to a certain point, and then when I lost my internet, I started reading the manga series.

Death Note
is about a notebook, a very deadly notebook. In fact, whenever a name is written in the notebook that person dies of heart attack shortly after the name is written (unless a specific time and mode of death is written).

The notebook belongs in the Shinigami realm, or, the realm of the gods of death. When a Shinigami gets bored, he decides to drop his notebook to earth and see what happens. A teenager named Light Yagami finds the notebook. Once he learns of the notebook’s powers, he decides to become the new justice system for planet earth. He kills anyone who commits a heinous crime, but eventually, Light gets drunk on power and begins to venture outside just criminals.

The story spirals out of control much in the way Light does. The problem grows bigger and bigger and eventually ends up on the world stage when Light takes political control of the world.

This series is so complicated and layered. Generally, it is a fast-paced read with the exception of a few lulls here and there. The characters are very well developed and the art is great. I’m no expert on film analysis or art, but the graphics in this series are creative and thought provoking, adding a new layer to the already complex narrative.

While I loved almost all of this series there was one thing that bothered me: the representation of women. There were very few female characters in this twelve volume set. The few women characters that were included were objectified as sexual objects, dumbed down, and used as dispensable plot devices. While this series isn’t nearly as terrible as other manga I’ve seen in terms of its representations of female characters, it still does no justice to women.

Aside from that though, there is little that I didn’t like about this series.

3.5 darts out of 5
Bookshelf Project Status: NONE (I don't own them.)

No comments: