Hey folks, Valkor here. I don't mind live-action adaptations of a cartoon or anime series so long as everything is kept true to the source - then I'm all in. Recently I picked up the live-action version of Death Note, which is based on the popular anime and manga series of the same name. I've watched my share of episodes and I will say this: Death Note and Death Note II: The Last Name both kick some serious ass.
In part one of Death Note, we're introduced to Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara - who is famed for his role in "Battle Royale"), who, after leaving a bar, he happens to find a book lying around on the street called the "Death Note". So, what is the Death Note? It's a book that if you write a person's name, they'll die of a heart attack 40 seconds after it's written unless the wielder specifies how the person dies. So Light, with the use of the Death Note decides to kill off all the criminals in Japan to make it - and the entire planet, a safer place. His sudden rise to power doesn't go unnoticed and it causes conflict amongst the people of Japan; on one side, he is praised and is called "Kira", whom people believe is doing everyone a favor by ridding the world of criminals. But on the other side, you have those who think Kira is a bigger murderer than the ones he's killed. Within the latter group, you have law enforcement who want to find Kira and put a stop to his murderous ways. Leading the Police is a young man simply known as "L". L thinks he sees a pattern in the sudden deaths and uses this information to find Kira, setting up a trap, and deducing that Kira is in Japan. On Light's side, he is joined by Ryuk, a twisted looking death god with a grin bigger than The Joker's. Ryuk is the actual owner of the Death Note and his reasons for helping Light aren't really malicious - he's there to help Light in the use of the book as well as watch how he uses it because to Ryuk, he thinks "humans are interesting and fun". So L has deduced that Light is possibly Kira and he is set on proving it. However, Light is always able to stay one step ahead of L, even going to the extreme. I won't spoil it here. But I will say this - part one ends with Light and L teaming up. So you know I'm down for part 2.
In "Death Note II: The Last Name", Light is now part of the task force to help find Kira as well as to keep suspicions away from the fact that he's actually Kira. However, L knows something's up and does his best to stick close to Light. Also, there is the appearance of a second Death Note. This new book is found by Misa Amane, a TV personality whose family was murdered when she was young. But their murder was avenged when Kira killed the murderer. Misa does the one thing Light refuses to do and that is to give the death god half her life in exchange for Death God's eyes. This gives her the ability to see the names of the people and see how much time they have left to live. The owner of this particular Death Note calls himself Rem and he acts differently than Ryuk as he wants to protect Misa more so than simply having fun. From the start of part two until the very end, it plays out like a game of Chess between Light and L, right up until we get the climatic ending.
Death Note and Death Note II: The Last Name both rock hard; combined, the two films make for one solid story with nothing too complex, but enough twist that won't make it seem too predictable. Even without the Death Gods, this would still be a great tale. But I enjoyed the two films more so because the Death Gods play a subtle role; They don't offer much to begin with and they're simply... there. And speaking of the Death Gods, freaking amazing CGI was done on both of them as they look like their anime/manga counterparts; Ryuk looks awesome with his wide, sick grin. But Rem looks the coolest, Nuff said.
The acting is a mixed bag Tatsuya does a freaking awesome job
and never gets cheesy. Ken'ichi
There isn't too much negative to say about Death Note or Death Note II: The Last Name; the
story is so fluid and consistent because it looks like the film was shot back
to back rather than a year or two apart, so it doesn't appear to be any extreme character
changes. And the characters themselves are well developed and performances were on point. This is
the best translation from an anime to live-action or anything to live-action I
have ever watched. Death Note and Death Note II: The Last Name is available now only in