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October 24, 2014

Finally, an anime that doesn't fill my soul with loathing

by Annie Wu, posted Sep 12th 2007 5:42PM
Death NoteAs you may have been able to tell from my last name, I am Asian. Anime was a big part of my childhood, especially when I lived overseas in those early years. I even went through that awkward Sailor Moon phase in third grade. However, by the time the anime craze hit America, I was over it. So while my classmates traded Pokemon cards and donned cat ears, I quietly filled my heart with loathing and silently complained about the newer animes that everyone else seemed to love so much. In my eyes, nothing seemed to deliver.

But just this summer, not only did I manage to tolerate an anime show, I fell in love with it. Enter Death Note, an incredibly engaging anime that just wrapped up its run in Japan three months ago.

The series is based on the manga of the same name and focuses around a young student, Light, who comes across a supernatural notebook (the Death Note) that will kill anyone whose name is written in it. He plans to use this notebook for good by ridding the world of wanted criminals but quickly becomes drunk with power. Aided by his death god, a sort of bizarre goth-rock monster, Light attempts to carry out his mission without getting caught by the super-mysterious super-genius, L, and his team of detectives.

I'll just stop right there because simple description doesn't really do it justice.

What I love most about this anime is not its unpredictable twists and turns and amazing characters, but... it's not annoying. That was the biggest problem I had with most animes: I could not sit through more than ten minutes before feeling the need to stab myself in the eye because of some stupid big-boobed character with an obnoxiously high voice flouncing across the screen or a "giant sweatdrop" gag or something equally cliche and ridiculous. It's not a comedy, but the jokes are funny. The characters are who they are for very human reasons, and even when Light is at his most heartless, it's strange how easily it is to understand why he pushes himself the way he does. Plus, it's incredibly refreshing how the characters are not drawn as the same face but with different hair (yeah, Sailor Moon, I'm talking to you).

Thanks to the magic of the Internet and devoted fans who are fluent in both English and Japanese, there are fan-subbed episodes uploaded everywhere for streaming. Of course, I only resorted to the Internet because the anime is not currently available in America. A Region 1 DVD with bilingual subs will soon be available. For those who are too lazy to read, a dubbed version will probably come out soon as well, because the English voice cast has just been announced. Naturally, I'm always wary of dubs. I'd rather go through the trouble of reading subtitles than deal with bad manipulation of dialogue to fit moving mouths. However, this announcement also means that the show will be more easily available to English-speaking viewers and that can only mean good things.

Anyway, I urge you all to check it out. It's not just a fantastic anime, it's an excellent television show.

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HineyWipe

Put me in for Cowboy Bebop fan as well. Still got the "tank" theme in my head...

September 13 2007 at 8:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Neshill

It's one of the best anime I've watched (and I've watched a few). That is, up until episode 26. That plot becomes so crap. After that major plot twist, I think they should have finished it. The manga kinda too, but the manga has a better, more symbolic ending than the anime. Don't let me start on the movies. Those should just be ignored.

September 13 2007 at 7:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
M.E. Williams

I've read the first volume or two of the Death Note manga and really disliked it (the detective is kind of interesting, though). I was disappointed, because it came with such high praise. I'll give the series a try when and if it makes it to the US, but I'm not optimistic. =/ (There are anime series I like without liking the manga, so it's possible!)

Someone said "Bleach got really weird at the end, there" - Bleach hasn't ended in Japan or the US (if it ended in Japan, it's within the last month, but I don't think it has). I love Bleach, but I do have the issue with it that is similar to my issue with the far-more-annoying InuYasha: as a shonen anime, it has to have endless, drawn-out battle scenes. I don't watch Bleach ahead of its Adult Swim airings, but I am spoiled w/r/t the overall plotline, and I've gotten slightly annoyed with how long the "rescue Rukia and figure out what happened to Captain Aizen" arc has gone on, with a new battle occupying half of every episode. However, it does give viewers a chance to get to know the shinigami (another take on Death Gods!) very well.

Most of the stuff they show on Adult Swim is unexpectedly really good. Blood+ is uneven (some parts are good, others seem to be filler), but Fullmetal Alchemist is probably one of the best anime series ever made (you have to stick with it, though); other people prefer Cowboy Bebop (which is good but very fanservicey); Ghost in the Shell: SAC is great and intelligent. I'm enjoying Bleach a lot, except the issues I mentioned above.

People who think they "don't like anime" have probably mostly been exposed to Pokemon or Dragonball-Z or Sailor Moon; they should try some of the stuff AS airs, then branch out. I suppose one of the first keys to finding decent anime is not watching anime that's made for younger kids. The other two big issues are "How much will the action overwhelm the story?" and "How much fanservice is there?"

September 13 2007 at 5:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
radwimp

the manga was good up until a certain part, then it dragged its feet and introduced some lame characters and ideas. i think it got so popular in japan that the creators were forced to continue it longer than they intended, it's pretty obvious if you do a marathon view/read.

luckily the anime didn't spend too long on the last arc, and mainly focused on the first 3/4s. i don't read or watch much manga, but this one was certainly unique and worth the time for the most part.

September 13 2007 at 4:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Montusama

Death Note for me was unbelievably good it always had some sort of action or drama and it just kept growing, true some eps were kinda lame but those were few in between and the ending was very complete (something you don't really see that often) on top of that who couldn't love misa-misa (she's not big-boobed....) btw Gankutsuou also rocks but is totally different (though is deep in both action and drama)

September 13 2007 at 1:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bash

How dare you say that big-boobed characters ruin anime! I could say the same about magical- and/or catgirls *yuck*

Wake me when and if there's a new FMP or GitS:SAC. Those had fanservice and robots! The best combination of them all :-)

It all started for me in 1996 with Tenchi Muyo! and NGE. The latter sucketh extraordinarily so it took me another five years and DSL (ahem) to get back into it ;-)

September 13 2007 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
J8675309

a 3 Hour Re-cap episode aired in Japan on Aug 31st, it's currently being subbed.

Keep your eyes peeled on the your torrent sites.

Also, I have declared Death Note my favorite television show, ever, period.

September 13 2007 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yeehaw

They'll butcher it soon enough with an American live-action feature version.

September 13 2007 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam

Nu? No Wolf's Rain fans?

September 13 2007 at 12:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Raj

Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Wing (original and MS800 one), Outlaw star, those are my favorites, i'm looking for a new one so i think i'm gonna start with death note haha

September 13 2007 at 12:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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