Review: Death Note & The Last Name

Ok. I finally got round to watching Death Note: The Last Name – around a year after seeing the first movie. Thanks to spoilers posted without any warning on Wikipedia (I was only there looking for general information), I already knew what would happen. I liked the way it worked out better than in the manga, if only because L actually managed to defeat Light – or you could say it was a draw, because he had to give up his own life in order to do so. And I also liked Matsuyama Kenichi, for bringing enough gravity to the quirkiness of L. It could have been too comedic – which is the impression that the the CGI used for the Shinigami give me. Although I still prefer Yamaguchi Kappei’s voice in the anime. *smiles*

But L was the best thing about the movies. I did not like Fujiwara Tetsuya as Light (though the below average screenplay would have contributed to that as well). And as mentioned above, the CGI were less than spectacular. Ryuk and Rem looked like plastic half the time, bringing no justice to the dark world that Obata Takeshi created, a grimness successfully replicated in the anime.

I also did not like the changes to Light’s character that made him seem evil right from the very start. Despite the impression that people often get about Light, he did start on his path with the noble intention of addressing the flaws in the legal system, even if he did take it too far and let the power get to his head. Although there was very little evidence of him having any limits, I always felt that he didn’t lose his way completely until he let his father die in the second half of the series. Unfortunately, the movie had him plot his own girlfriend’s death in order to escape the persistent Naomi.

The manga also raises many issues about our current justice system. Is it working well enough? If it has not worked, what can be done about it? If you could have the power to carry out justice, what would you do? Seriously, what would you do if you were in Light’s shows? What is justice? What is good and what is evil? Do we only know what evil is if there is good to compare it to? The movie alludes to few, if any, of these questions. Although I personally believe in Yagami-san’s sense of justice (as opposed to both Light’s and L’s), I feel that it is important to ask oneself why one has particular beliefs, and that is where the Death Note movies fail the most.

p.s. I was a bit surprised that the Red Hot Chili Peppers song, Snow (Hey Oh!), was the theme.
p.p.s. As I thought, the girl who played Misa was Shuuji’s girlfriend in Nobuta wo Produce.

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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