A week or so ago I reviewed the first volume of Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, and absolutely loved it! It’s the first manga I’ve read and I adored the story and the characters, and so have been on a bit of a Death Note binge since then.
I’ve now read Volumes 2, 3 and 4 of the Black Editions (which each contain two of the original volumes, so I’ve technically read as far as volume 8), and things have certainly got very interesting! I need to get hold of the last couple of volumes soon because I have officially become addicted to this! In fact, I’ve been getting through them so quick (as they obviously have a lot fewer words in them than your average novel) that I’ve decided that instead of reviewing each volume separately I’m just going to do a post of mini-reviews!
So as it says above, there will be spoilers, so don’t read on if you don’t want to know what happens! It just felt too hard to try and write spoiler-free reviews of these, I’m afraid!
Volume 1 left off with Light under suspicion by L and his team (which includes Light’s father!). L had had cameras fitted around the Yagami household in an attempt to catch Light out, but Light is onto him, and has Ryuk locate all of the cameras. When Light appears innocent, a still suspicious L decides to take drastic measures and meet Light in real life…
Going into this second volume I had kind of assumed that L would continue investigating Light from afar, so I was pretty surprised when he went up to him and simply announced who he was. His openness about his suspicions regarding Light makes their relationship very interesting – they are actually very similar, and would probably be really good friends if it weren’t for the fact that L is a detective and Light is actually the criminal he’s chasing.
I really liked the growing mystery of the second Kira, and how they are introduced through a deadly stand-off at Sakura TV. The action and the team’s attempts to stop this second Kira kept me anxiously turning the page, and I liked how this meant L and Light were both completely in the dark this time.
The second Kira turns out to be Misa, who is a character that I immediately grew to love, despite her obviously dubious morals. I just liked the juxtaposition with her: she’s so cutesy and innocent (and has a pretty awesome dress sense!), at the same time as being perfectly happy to commit terrible crimes with no remorse. Not to mention the fact she is absolutely crazy in her fervent pursuit of Light!
This volume left on a pretty interesting note, with both Misa and Light being taken into custody. It seemed like L and his team were closing in on both Kiras!
Volume 3 took a very interesting turn, and one that I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t like when it first happened, but that I actually really enjoyed in the end! I didn’t like the idea of both Light and Misa forgetting that they were actually the two Kiras, but this turn of events definitely grew on me as Light officially joins the investigation team and works with them to discover the newest owner of one of the Death Notes – a corrupt employee of the Yotsuba company.
This twist allowed for Light and L’s friendship to grow (aside from all the random fighting and continued suspicion) in the face of a common enemy, and it was certainly interesting to see what Light would have been like had the Death Note not fallen into his hands. He refuses to so much as play on Misa’s feelings for him to help the investigation, and certainly doesn’t seem like a person capable of murder!
This volume was really heavy on the action and intrigue which is something I really liked, and I found the new villains – 8 shady businessmen – to be pretty intimidating opponents for the team. I was left wondering at the end of this book though whether or not Light and Misa would somehow regain the Death Notes (presumably evil genius Light made provision for that!) and therefore their memories, and if Light would have a better moral compass after the events of Volume 3.
My reaction to the first part of this book was pretty much ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!’ I was in shock and disbelief!
As I predicted, Light and Misa got back their Death Note’s and memories (the ‘how’ of this really confused me – something about notebooks being swapped and buried? I couldn’t quite follow Light’s explanation!), and if anything Light was more devious than before! I had thought that despite his memories of being Kira he would still have a genuine regard for L and the rest of the team, but he really doesn’t seem to care who he hurts or kills, as long as he isn’t discovered.
And L. Poor, poor L! I genuinely thought that he wouldn’t truly be dead, but apparently he is, and the story just won’t be the same without him! There has been some attempt to replace him in the second half with Near and Mello (who appear to be L’s traits split in two – Near has the weird sitting position and rumpled clothes, whilst Mello has the sugar addiction), but they are pretty pale imitations, and whilst I still enjoyed the book, I feel like it took a bit of a nose-dive after L’s demise.
I’ll hopefully manage to pick up copies of the final two volumes soon, and whilst I’m eager to read more, I’m still pretty disappointed that L’s dead. I feel like Light is getting closer and closer to being discovered though, and I’m certainly curious as to where things go next!
So have you read Death Note? What did you think (and please no spoilers for the final volumes!)? Can anyone recommend me any other manga series for when I finish Death Note?