Monday, January 14, 2013

Manga Mondays #137: Death Note vol. 2 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?

Light thinks he's put an end to his troubles with the FBI - by using the Death Note to kill off the FBI agents working the case in Japan! But one of the agents has a fiancee who used to work in the Bureau, and now she's uncovered information that could lead to Light's capture. To make matters worse, L has emerged from the shadows to work directly with the task force headed by Light's father. With people pursuing him from every direction, will Light get caught in the conflux?(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.

I've gotten through the 2nd volume of Death Note and I'm definitely starting to see the appeal. I was a little unsure after the first volume. Light - the main character - is a vigilante murderer. I expected him to be portrayed as a "good guy". Someone who, although murdering criminals, is a good kid. But Light is much more complex.

So is Light a hero or a villain? He's a bit of both. I dislike him in many ways. He's arrogant, blood-thirsty, and seemingly has no conscience. The arrogance doesn't just stem from his "playing god" death notebook. You can tell that he's always thought of himself as superior to those around him. On the other hand, I'm cheering for Light. Any time someone gets close to discovering, I am rooting for Light to find a way out of it. Even though I also think he deserves a come-uppance.

L is the spearhead of the investigation against Light (or "Kira" as the media have dubbed the killer). He seems much like Light. Cautious, super smart, a bit arrogant. I'm guessing that he may be as morally ambiguous as Light, but I don't know yet. I like how he's been drawn - looking like a messy kid, which hides his brilliance. Light on the other hand is drawn looking uptight.

Once I got into the story, I was flipping the pages as fast as possible. In this volume, several people get close to Light. The drama is figuring out whether and how Light will outsmart them. I figured he would since there are still many volumes to go, but the suspense certainly made me nervous.

My only complaint is some of the dialogue. It sounds so stilted and fake. Stereotypical "Cops and Robbers" talk or B-movie "bad guy" talk. Maybe it comes from the translation, but there were a too few eye-rolling moments until the plot hooked me in.

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  1. I LOVE Death Note both with the show and with the manga series. I think I love it mostly because of Light . . . you know with him being a hero in his own mind but a villain in ours. He has this great appeal for some reason and I love him for it. Anyway great review!

  2. Glad you're getting into it! It's such a fascinating story of cat-and-mouse. It really takes it to levels you won't expect.

    I think you may have a funny translation because I don't remember the dialog being like how you describe. The anime isn't like that at all, so I doubt it was meant like that in the original Japanese version of the manga. Many times these manga get the silly "comic book" treatment, even though this one is too serious for that.

  3. I was so wrapped up into the story and the format (this was my first manga that I read) that I didn't really pay attention to the dialogue. This series really reminds me of Frankenstein and I usually pair the two together for my students.

  4. I got so hooked to this one, but the ending was a little disappointing.

  5. Kinda interesting when the hero of the manga is really a villain and you still want to root for him(:

  6. I watched the anime of this series never got around to reading the manga. The anime wasn't too bad but it ended kind of blah


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