I often hear people say if you want a good introduction to anime, watch Death Note. But I have mixed feelings about this statement. It was a solid insightful review that convinced me to give it a try, but I can’t find the same review now that I finished watching it to go back for reference and give it credit. I like the ambitious story concept in Death Note but I didn’t like the art direction all that much. I find myself dragging my feet towards the next episode when one ends. It wasn’t binge-worthy because I sort of knew what was going to happen. The schoolboy is going to be reduced to a pawn for thinking he is above everyone.
You see, Light Yagami, the protagonist has it all. He comes from a good family. He is an honorable student. He is so attractive that schoolgirls turn heads at the sight of him walking past. He has a bright future ahead of him. So, what’s his problem? What’s there not to be content? The answer is in the first episode. He is bored and lonely out of his mind until he discovers Death Note. He thought he could create a perfect world where he is God and where everyone is kind. But during his process of killing criminals to build his utopia under the name Kira, L, a mysterious detective who works for the I.C.P.O (International Criminal Police Organization), starts to investigate who is the person behind Kira in hope of putting that mass murderer behind the bar. Thus, the game begins between two very intelligent people who have a strong sense of justice. The story is more than a cat and mouse chase, but more like a tennis match as the anime suggested in episode 10. The light finally meets his match, L. Now I have a question for the readers who have seen this anime. Whom did you side with?
So, let’s talk about what I like about this anime since this is a blog about metaphors. Right of the bat, I knew the anime was about morality and knowledge is being compared to an apple, and the Shinigami has that knowledge.
You see, in Genesis, the serpent said to Eve if she eats the fruit her eyes would be wide open to know between right and wrong. She’d have the conscience of God. On a side note, did you know that the fruit in Genesis is unknown? I would assume John Milton’s Paradise Lost popularized the notion that Eve ate an apple and not just some fruit, but please tell me otherwise. In a way, you can compare Light to Eve whom both have a hunger for knowledge and a hunger for perfection. Eve has good intentions even though she is warned by God not to eat the fruit. Can you blame her for wanting to be like God? He’s perfectly all-knowing. Likewise, Light has good intentions. He wants a perfect world where there is no crime. In the end, the show left me thinking about humans desiring to be God. For someone like Light, should we admire a serial killer who kills in the name of justice? Then is God himself, a murderer? That’s a mystery. The only conclusion I got from this anime is that God must be bored and humans are nothing but sport for Him to ease His boredom. If that is the case, then God is…
Like the saying goes… life is nothing more than a game of chess and that was exactly what I was watching. The undertone to the story is pretty dark to my liking or perhaps, the art direction failed to convey the manga artist’s true intent. Personally, I don’t think God (or a higher intelligence or whatever you believe in) to be that simple. There were other titles much better in my opinion such as Lain, Noir, and Now and Then, Here and There just to name a few that I enjoyed in the past which introduced me to anime. Maybe the manga is different, who knows?