Deathnote Movies I & II

Life outside anime/manga has been keeping me busy recently, what with my 19th just yesterday. So I finally got around watching both Deathnote movie I and Deathnote: The last name. My overall impression, they were fairly good adaptations of the Manga (a pretty decent job for cramming a very complex story spanning 12 volumes of manga into two 2hr movies) even though the producers obviously changed much of the plot to make the story flow better, without compromising the overall message and story line too much.

More info about the plot can be found here but anyone who finds the movie interesting should definitely read the manga since it gives a more detailed story and it’s just so intelligent. I also previous wrote a rant/review of the manga. My expectations of the live action movie were mixed. I was really looking forward to see the manga adaptation (I’ve yet to watch the adaptation into anime, but I hear is good and my presumption is that the anime follows the manga, hence it’s good 🙂 ) but at the same time expecting the live action to spoil the the show. So I’m pleased to say it didn’t, too much anyway.

Movie I was actually quite good I found. The story unfolded quite closely to the manga, but portraying Light as more human and directly showing why Light uses the Deathnote to “save the world”. In the manga, we follow Light’s life from High school through to Uni and then worklife as part of the detective squad working on Kira’s case. Where as in the movie, we enter Light’s life as a Uni student in one of the smartest Universities in Japan. He’s portrayed to have a normal student life, having fun, winning basketball against “bad guys”, has a girl friend who likes him very much and has a loving comfortable near perfect family. He’s studying law to one day work in the police force as a chief detective. His world is perfect, only for the criminals who destroy happy lives and are set free to destroy more. He finds life unfair, where criminals get away with crimes. This is what motivates his egotistical ideal of creating a world free of crime by ruling by fear.

There are so many moral issues that accompany this film (or 2 films for that matter) that can be argued for or against. Everyone has different views, but clearly ruling by fear to create the perfect world is not the way to go. While Light’s motives are good, as he got deeper into the deal, he was fighting for the survival or Kira more so than punishing criminals. There were a few differences between the movie and manga but overall, the same message and story line was carried out.

The first movie led into the second movie by introducing Amane Misa, the 2nd Kira who loves Light because he punished the criminal who the law and police could not protect her and her family against. One memorable quite from Light’s father which is think sums up the plot and moralissues fairly well is “law is imperfect, because humans and imperfect”. It’s a never ending battle, to protect society against criminals, that’s why people must work hard together to create a better world and not a world created by fear.

While the second film didn’t follow the manga as closely, since they really had to condense quite a bit of info into 2 hours. The way L and Light died are obviously different from the manga, which is this is WHY people might not like the movies as much. Personally, how L and how Light died in the manga was brilliant, that was what made the story so captivating, to find out how  they will eventually die. Not for one moment did I expect Light to live. If he did, does this mean it is OK to rule by fear and individually judge the guilt of a person without fair trial?

It felt like the only reason the directors made L write his name in the deathnote (hence dying in 23days) is that L had to die somehow, which was a very dissapointing way of killing off L. However, Light’s kill was satisfying, essentially he was killed by Ryuk anyway, its just the situation under which he was kill is different. But I think ultimately Light was killed by Ryuk not in teh literal sense but because Ryuk felt it was “fun” to see what a human would do had he the power to kill anyone he wants. That is probably more evil that anything else. In a way it was Ryuk that made Light evil. So I guess it’s fitting that it is Ryuk who kills his “evil creation” that is the human nature.

The ending of the second movie I found painted a nicer picture of Light, which perhaps what it should be. As I don’t belive he was evil. If someone else and not him was Kira, he would be like L trying to find the killer, being a normal smart guy with a great family supporting him. But hey, it’s not longer an interesting story if life is so perfect right? One thing I’m please is the ending, In the end, Light was killed by Kira. At least Light’s family didn’t lose both a son and a father all in one case.

But maybe life is just about fighting to live. In the manga’s final chapter, one of the detective say, “I didn’t say it was alright [for Light to die], but because he did, we are alive”.

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1 Response to “Deathnote Movies I & II”


  1. 1 M April 24, 2010 at 11:17 am

    When I first saw the anime I was astonished by the coincidence: I use to hold my thumb nail on my lower lip the same way L does. Weird.


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