Death Note - A Manga You Disliked Enough To Stop Reading

Death Note Cover
Death Note. Yawn.

This is one of those dark, edgy, morally ambiguous comics that everyone just loves. In fact, it's something I should love. First of all. It's dark, edgy, and morally ambiguous. Second of all, there are detectives and shinigami. Third of all, it's a high school drama. I love high school dramas. But, I don't like this one.

To fill you in, if you have never been anywhere near a manga shop or ever heard the word anime, Death Note, is the wildly popular story of Light Yagama, a high school student who is not a fan of the evil. Who is, really? Light is super smart, and good looking, and a little distant. He has deep thoughts about bad things, why they happen, how to stop them, etc. He studies hard and tolerates his classmates, because one day, if he passes his exams, he will try his hand at ending crime and starting a utopia or something like that. Anyway, Light doesn't have to wait to graduate high school in order to make things right in the world because he finds a notebook that allows him to kill hell-of bad people from the comfort of his writing desk.

The book was dropped to earth by a bored shinigami, Ryuk, and he's not the cute kind of shinigami you're used to seeing in manga. He's no Bleach-y type reaper or adorable Descendents of Darkeness one either. He's big and freakish looking, not exactly the type of thing you want to see when you're making the final transition, if you know what I mean. Ryuk suffers from supernatural ennui, which, I guess, is why the death note book ends up on earth and in Light's hands to begin with. Ryuk was tired of the scene in his realm, and he felt like being entertained by human-types. He decided to stir up some sh*t on Earth and hang out to watch the show.


There are a number of rules involving how the book works but the basic premise is if write someone's name in it while envisioning their face, they will die.  You can choose how they die or just let them spontaneously keel over. Light uses the book to anonymously kill a bunch of people he sees as bad. Since there are a lot of bad people in the world, a lot of people die. This raises some suspicions and a detective known only as "L" enters the scene.

And...this is where I fade out. I have tried a few times to read the manga or watch the anime but never get past this part. And, I don't even have a compelling reason. I guess, I don't like Light. I can't connect with him, and I don't like Ryuk for the same reasons. As a reader, I also feel a sort of manipulated like there's this obvious "there are no good guys; there are no bad guys; it's deep" kind of thing going on. Light is killing people to make the world a better place, but Light is a mass murderer who needs to be stopped.

But mostly, I just find the comic boring. I guess I can't like everything.

If you have read this, and you do like it, I'd love to hear about it. Does it get better? Is it worth continuing?


Dr. M said...

DUDE! No one likes Light...he's like the second worst villain in mangadom, after Dr. Muraki. Light is the worst. And Ryuk is hilariously apathetic.

This is one that got more complex as the plot developed. I understand not wanting to read it, Light is despicable. Just...horrifying.

Baron von Chop said...

My big complaint was with L. Why does he go by a single letter? Why does he look so freaky, when the other characters in the show look pretty normal? Are his bizarre personal habits supposed to be endearing?

While I could accept shinigami (I quite liked Ryuk actually) and a book that kills people, L broke my suspension of disbelief.