Friday, July 16, 2010

Manga Review- Death Note Box Set

Death note- You might surely have heard this name. This manga is a recent craze among worldwide shonen fans. Written by the mysterious Tsugumi Ohba and the well known illustrator Takeshi Obata, this dark shonen has captured the imagination of worldwide shonen manga fans.

RThe story centers around Light Yagami, a high school student who gets good grades, who accidently stumbles upon a black notebook called 'Death Note'. He discovers that he can kill people by writing their name in the notebook. The notebook comes with a shinigami called Ryuk. Light realizes that this notebook will help him fulfil his ultimate dream of creating a utopia with no criminals and uses this notebook to get rid of criminals. He goes by the name Kira whose aim is to destroy evil. Soon, the police get to investigating this Kira's case.He then uses this notebook to get rid of all those who get to know of his identity.

Death note is really something different. In a world dominated by fist fighting, no thinking shonen mangas like One Piece, Naruto, Bleach and the legendary Dragon Ball, I am surprised Death Note mangaged to gain popularity. Still, I must admit that the manga is fabulous. The plot is unique and has its share of uniqie twists and turns.
The first arc which ends at chapter 59 or 60 is flawless. L and Light's mind war is stimulating and very exciting. The nail biting excitement completely rules the reader. You can't put this manga down once you pick it up. Every chapter seems like it is the last chapter and has the edge-of-the-seat excitement and anticipation.

It is extremely well plotted. Hats off to Tsugumi Ohba. However, there is a short period of boredom or inconsistency in the 8-10th volumes. After L's death, the story more or less keeps worsening. However, it picks up in the 11th volume and the ending though sad is fabulous. Illustrations are good but the manga is dominated by dialogue.

It maintains a dark atmosphere with constant excitement and anticipation.
However, this manga has some cons too.
It is extremely inconsistent after L's death and the characters in the second arc are not very strong.
The use of excess dialogue also makes it hard to read because the dialogue is crammed in small font.

Story- 4.7
Art-4.1 (there were only dialogues, no art)
Characters- 4.3 (Some charatcers like Light, Near and Misa were pretty weak)
Overall- 4.4

Light Yagami was not a good option for a hero. He is the evil one in the story. Throughout the story, I was rooting for L and not Light. Light is a strong villain but a terribly weak hero. He however possesses lots of intellegence and has a good understanding of human psychology.
Misa was another terrible character. She is unbelievably weak and naive. She just pushes the story forward. Near too did not deserve to be the one to defeat Light.

Overall, I would recommend this series to everyone. If you're getting bored, you can skip the 8-10th volumes and just read the summary. Still, Death Note was a good buy.
The box set comes with a Death Note Encyclopaedia which contains character profiles, interviews, a new manga chapter and some other extras. It was very good. There is also a 'How to Read Death Note' booklet. The box set is a good baragin at


Good plot
Mentally stimulating
Strong villain (L)


The crammed text definitely
Inconsistent plotting
Weak characterization (one some)

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