Monday, November 26, 2012

Manga Mondays #130: Death Note vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 and a half years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Death Note vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata


Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life?

Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note's powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily Light's father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father's files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn't know?(courtesy of Goodreads)


*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

Starting a new manga series is always a treacherous endeavor. Each series has its own feel, own drawing style, own cast of characters, etc. I often find that the plots are confusing for the first several volumes and it takes me awhile to get invested in the story.

The first volume of Death Note is not particularly confusing, but I'm curious to see how it can get more than a few volumes out of the plot. Light - the main character - is a teenager who becomes a renegade hitman when he finds a Death Notebook, which allows him to sentence anyone to death.

I can't decide whether or not I like Light. He is a smart, confident, genuine boy at the beginning of the story. He remains so when he first gets the Death Notebook. To his credit, he only thinks about killing criminals (well, mostly) and sees his "privilege" as an opportunity to make the world a better place. But this is where he becomes much more morally ambiguous.

Light is obsessed with creating a utopia. He figures that if he kills all the known criminals then people will be deterred from committing crimes out of fear. Light is horrified when the police start going after him and go to all sorts of levels to evade identification.

Part of me is cheering for Light to figure out a way to stay ahead of the plot while part of me wants him to be caught. He gets increasingly arrogant as the volume goes on and I don't like the way the power of playing god has gone to his head. Still, I'm curious to see where this goes and I will definitely keep reading.

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  1. I've always thought Death Note had a really cool concept. The moral ambiguity, like you said, is interesting. Hopefully it'll end up being a good manga :).
    Ninja Girl

  2. I loved Death Note! It has such a unique and amazing story. It's definitely one of my favorite (maybe even my favorite) manga.
    I agree with you on the liking Light thing. I also sometimes found myself rooting for him but at the same time wanting him to get caught.
    I love the twists and turns in the story. It never happens how you expect it too and the story really blows my mind!
    I hope you like it as much as I did! :)
    ~ Hira

  3. Death Note...what an ominous title! It'll be interesting to see how Light uses that power. Sounds like he's got good in mind but you know how quickly that can be corrupted.

  4. Death Note is such a fun series, especially if you like the psychological thriller aspect of the novel. Watching Light's journey is fascinating. This was my first manga series that I read and I was sucked in right away. I have no doubt that your reaction to Light will change several times throughout the story. Enjoy the ride!

  5. "Part of me is cheering for Light to figure out a way to stay ahead of the plot while part of me wants him to be caught. He gets increasingly arrogant as the volume goes on and I don't like the way the power of playing god has gone to his head."

    That's exactly how I think I would feel Alison! I'm definitely intrigued by Light and his growing arrogance, and I'll be really interested in seeing how things develop for him if he continues to elude the police:)

  6. Death Note is one of my favorite manga of all the time. I even watched the anime :)
    I <3 Light, but yeah he does have God complex^^
    My other favorite is the Shinigami, Ryuuku and later L.

    Fab review!

  7. Death Note is one of my favorite manga and anime series :) I believe it has one of the greatest mind battles.

  8. I've always loved Death Note (the complex characters and morals behind it is so thought-provoking). And it's also relatively short, so I always recommend it.

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  9. Haven't read the manga but the anime is so good.

  10. Oh, this is one of my all-time favorite mangas! There's no way you're going to like Light during this read, but there are other characters to like, believe me. You haven't come across them yet. Light is the protag, but he's also the antag. Read this like MacBeth and that will make the most sense to you, if you know anything about MacBeth, that is.

    Let the mind games and mental chess match begin! :D


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