It has been a decade since the first animation of Death Note was made. The anime was based on a Japanese manga of the same name by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. Later in the same year, two live actions; Death Note 1, Death Note 2: The Last Name, was showcased and two years after that, in year 2008 a spin-off, Death Note: L Change The World was released. There was a long pause until a miniseries; Death Note A New Generation was released in 2015. Following it was a sequel from Death Note 2; Death Note: Light Up The New World, released in 2016.
I have been following the series quite well (except for the miniseries and I have my reason why I left that missing) and to see some changes in the movies, actors, and plots are somethings left to ponder. I am not a fan of its manga or anime; I never read the manga or watch the anime version but I am satisfied by live actions’ version and quite loving the concept of the story overall.
For those who are not familiar by the story, here is a quick summary of what this story is all about. The story centers around a high school student, Light Yagami who discovers (or very well ‘receives’) a supernatural book given by the ‘death god’ (or they call him Shinigami) named Ryuk (reee-yuuk). The book grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name and face he knows, written in.
So the big question here is:
‘Is it okay to just kill anyone?’
I will not be talking about all the series in the past years but more to a recent one. On August this year (last month), a Netflix version of Death Note was released. Upon hearing about this version plus after watching the trailer, I was anticipating the actual film. I was quite shocked about some major differences from the original copy. Don’t get too serious. It isn’t that bad and not a problem at all to have such differences from the original one as long as the concept of the story do not astray too far from the original. The characters, the plots and the scenes are up to the producer, the script writer or the actors themselves. I am going to explain more of ‘what differences’ in the next paragraph.
First of all, the character ‘L’ himself. In the original 2006 film, I would say that the character ‘L’ is unique and self-composed. Now, no fear because in this version they do not astray too far from the original character, as far as the behavior itself; I mean the way he sits, how he eats his candies and the lack of sleep. However, they change the personality of ‘L’ a bit and that what shaken me. If you follow the story back to the first film made, you will say that ‘L’ has a very calming personality and his judgments do not base on emotional or personal situations. But not in this version. It does not take long for ‘L’ to appear in the movie but he does not contribute much to find the Kira.
Now, one reason I said ‘they didn’t astray much from the original ‘L’ in term of behavior’ was because in the 2015 miniseries they changed ‘L’ character to be clean freak, not an all time candy-eater (oops there a little spoiler there). I do not watch the series because they change the character that way. But my friend, F and I discussed this over last time and he said what good about the miniseries is he could watch ‘character development’ (and I didn’t understand what the hell he means haha) and see how in the middle of the series a character changed to suit the purpose of the story and ended well.
He said he was quite satisfied by the series. And I trust him. So you all can trust him as well.
Second big difference that I noticed is about a character, Kira. Kira is a wicked and clever man. In the first film I watched, Kira or he goes by a more typical, neighborhood-friendly name, Light Yagami; who is a detective not a high school student. He is clever and has several tricks up his sleeves (you can see this by how he saves himself several times despite being on the verge of being exposed). He doesn’t care for people as much as he cares on how to save his ass. In the Netflix version, Kira goes by the name Light Turner (there not much difference). However, I can’t say he is as clever and bright compare to the Japanese version. I can’t see any decisions he made benefit him two or more steps ahead. Until the last scene. You can say, this version of Kira is more lenient and less-cruel even though the methods of someone dying in the movie are much worst.
The third major difference which I think worth giving a thought is the relationship between Kira and ‘Misa Amane’. In this version, it’s a whole 180 degree turn. You should give this film a shot and tell it by yourself. In original film 2006, Misa Amane lives to serve as Kira’s right hand. She is deeply in love with Kira and willing to do anything for him even that means giving up half of her lifespan to REM, her death god. In the 2017 version, (spoiler) this girl known as Mia doesn’t even have any death note to begin with. And the major turn about this piece happens in the last scene, so you better watch it on your own. I won’t tell anything further as it will only kill the mood and suspense or rather leak the important piece.
I don’t know if actually, Mia is Misa Amane or … if there is another ‘Misa Amane’ out there which the producer decides to ‘keep’ and use it in the next sequel, I don’t know anything. I don’t have any theory and I don’t want to falsely predict anything. If, say they are gonna do the sequel, I would be happy to watch it and put expectations in what directions they will point the film further.
Last comments I have on this film are one; the way people die in this version is much crueler than the original one, and that’s what interesting. I mean, decapitation?! Western people know how to turn this ‘viewer-friendly’ film into some gred-A thriller scenes which disturbing enough to the eyes. People, it is uncensored! Second, Ryuk here is no different to the original. Greatly filmed, only that they do not bring Ryuk into the light. I couldn’t see his face and the details. But I am quite satisfied by how they show Ryuk in the movie. Third, you should expect a westernized concept in this version. For every aspects you can think of; scripts, loves and relationships.
Changes are good. To move steps ahead, there will be changes and as an audience we have to accept and quickly adapt to them. It’s good to see the remake of your favorite franchise in different views. Views which you less expect and wouldn’t possibly be as accepting as you are the first time the film was introduced. Even though there are big changes, as long as they don’t change the core story, how and with what the director wants to show the audiences his piece isn’t a problem at all but a good way creativity meets its beholder.
(this cannot be used with Attack On Titan, because say whatever, for me it was a total failure. They should change the producer/director because I don’t know whose fault it is, or do something to fix the big mistakes they made in the very first film, or just stick to the animation because its Season Two anime was dope enough. I don’t know if the producer or the director intended to make the live action ‘that’ way because I was not happy. Not even a bit)
Together I put down the link for Death Note (2017). Go watch it and give comments down below. Or if you already watched it and had same damn things in mind as me, please comment down below. I won’t give any rating here (even though IMDB rated 4.6/10 which is bad, I don’t know) but there is this one comment I found. It said:
“If you forget that this was originally an anime, it is genuinely a great film”
On side notes: I enjoyed the sequel that came in 2016, Death Note: Light Up The New World (which I put the link, just click it) because you can see the ‘new Kira’ and ‘new L’ and even ‘new Misa Amane’ (even the actual one is not literally dead). And how similar they are to the characters they play (in the past). Watch it and crack the code of similarities.