Death Note: All-in-One Edition MANGA REVIEW

Death Note: All-in-One Edition MANGA REVIEW

0 comments 📅25 November 2017, 15:05

With Netflix’s new – albeit misguided – live-action adaptation of Death Note making waves amongst the fandom, Viz Media has taken the opportunity to re-release Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s original manga in its entirety …and in a single book to boot.

We say ‘book’, but perhaps ‘tome’ might be more fitting. Its dozen volumes, including a bonus chapter not officially available in English before, take up no fewer than 2,400 pages. Forget having your name written in the deadly notebook; this Death Note could prove lethal if someone dropped it on your head. But while voluminous, it’s still a damn sight more portable than the previous box set edition of the series, being the thickness of four-and-a-half standard volumes. The not-insignificant £40 price tag is also decent value when you consider how much you’re getting – and how good a read it is.

What makes Death Note a classic? Principally, it’s down to the manga’s lead character, Light Yagami. The 17-year-old genius is the one who finds the titular Death Note, a supernatural notebook that Ryuk the Shinigami – a ‘death god’ – uses to kill humans. After discovering that he can off anybody provided he knows their name and what they look like, Light begins a campaign to rid the world of evil …by killing anyone even remotely suspected of wrong-doing.

In a textbook example of absolute power corrupting absolutely, the teen’s attempts to usher in a better world make him one of history’s most prolific serial killers, complete with attendant god complex. It’s not long before brilliant but mysterious detective ‘L’ is put on the case to bring ‘Kira’ (as the police and public know Light) to justice.

Genius; ruthless; megalomaniacal; passionate; misguided; enigmatic; charming – the multi-faceted Light Yagami is one of the all-time great manga creations. Ohba and Obata’s homicidal anti-hero may be one of fiction’s deadliest killers, but there’s a dark part of the reader that, well, kind of wants Light to win. Even though we know that he’s as much of a monster as any of the criminals he murders with his little notebook, there’s a guilty allure to Light’s ‘end justifies the means’ approach to making the world a better place.

Some real-world authorities have certainly been spooked by Death Note’s popularity. The manga has faced bans in parts of China, an attempted ban in Russia and has led to kids being expelled in the USA and Australia for making their own notebooks. Even a real life murder in Belgium was reportedly inspired by it! But while the series’ notoriety may be the product of absurdly overblown moral panic, its cultural impact should not be underestimated. Death Note isn’t just a great manga, it’s a great book. Period. Reviewed by Ian Wolf

Credits: Tsugumi Ohba (story) and Takeshi Obata (art)
Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £40
Rating: 16+

© 2003 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first one to write a comment

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.