So I just finished watching this amazing anime. There’s a manga, light novel, and even a game, too!
This was my third go at watching it, but the first time I made it past episode 4. I honestly don’t know why I quit watching there the past times. Probably just me getting interested in other things, I guess?
For those of you not familiar, the story follows Light, a perfectly ordinary (though very intelligent and rather popular) young male, who happens to come into possession of a notebook of a Death God. A so-called Death Note. Writing a person’s name in it will kill them in the way you specify. Interesting, right?
What’s more interesting is what Light plans to do with his new-found powers. He intends on ridding the world of the rotten people, to make it a better place. He starts by killing off imprisoned criminals. All those heart attacks (default cause of death if none is specified) start catching the attention of a variety of agencies though, and he soon finds himself in a constant struggle fighting them.
I won’t dive deeper into the plot, since that’s one of the things you really need to experience for yourself. Instead, and you may have seen this one coming, I’ll be going over the controversy of the topics addressed in the series. Making the world a better place (he did end wars and lower crime rates, after all) by killing off those who act unjust, is that really moral? Is that justice? Even if the criminals were bound to be sentenced to death anyway, would it still be a moral, right choice to finish them off yourself? Would using the powers of the Death Note for the better of the world really be righteous? Isn’t that all a subjective matter?
Without second thought you’ll find yourself rooting for either Light or the police trying to catch him. Why? And is that even the right choice?
Deep discussions on the morality of supposedly justified social cleansing aren’t the only food for thought the series provides though. It’s filled to the brim with symbolism. I’ve only noticed a few, but I am seriously considering rewatching the series later on to see if I can spot more. From names and the way they’re written, to the apples Death Gods love to eat, but also the gratuitous amounts of roses that pop up in openings and endings of episodes. I believe that’s only the tip of the iceberg though, so if you know your way around mythology, history and symbolism, give it a shot.
That’ll be all for today.