Otaku Corner: Death Note Vol. 9

Death Note wrap­ping up in its usual suspense-filled way

Brandon-2012-cutoutSchol­arly. Resource­ful. If I had to describe Light Yagami, I would use these words to char­ac­ter­ize him as well as to say that I could see him becom­ing a future min­is­ter of jus­tice for Japan. How­ever, since Mr. Yagami (aka Kira) has pos­ses­sion of the Death Note, I could only think of two words to describe him: tyrant and mur­derer. In the ninth vol­ume of “Death Note,” Light’s actions fit my lat­ter descrip­tions of him as his actions con­tinue to have dev­as­tat­ing reac­tions on the United States and Japan.
At the end of Vol­ume 8, Light’s plan to use U.S. Spe­cial Forces to attack Mello’s hide­out failed greatly because of the involve­ment of the shinigami Sidoh, the use of the ran­som Death Note and use of the Shinigami Eyes by one of Mello’s hench­men. As a result, the Spe­cial Forces mem­bers along with cur­rent U.S. pres­i­dent David Hoope were killed. Reel­ing from Mello’s bril­liant attack, Light devises an attack plan using Misa’s Death Note and hav­ing Soichiro make a deal with Ryuk for the Shinigami Eyes. Light’s plan worked suc­cess­fully in elim­i­nat­ing Mello’s hench­men in addi­tion to recov­er­ing the Death Note and find­ing out Mello’s true iden­tity, but Soichiro was killed by one of Mello’s men, who faked his own death.
Dur­ing these events, the SPK dis­cov­ers that they are being dis­banded amid a dec­la­ra­tionDeath Note Vol. 9 cover of sur­ren­der to Kira by act­ing U.S. Pres­i­dent George Sairas. This forces Light to go through a com­bined bar­rage of attacks by  Near and Mello in order to dis­rupt and expose Kira within the Japan­ese task force. Dur­ing this three-way bat­tle, Light’s, Mello’s and Near’s tac­tics result in  deci­sive wins for each man. In the final chap­ter, Light ulti­mately comes out on top by using Demegawa and Sakura TV to reach Kira sup­port­ers and rally them to siege the SPK head­quar­ters while taunt­ing Near to escape while he is able.
Like all of the other Death Note vol­umes I’ve read, Vol­ume 9 still keeps the intrigu­ing mix of super­nat­ural hor­ror and mys­tery. How­ever, this vol­ume had me think­ing that Ohba-san and Obata-san wrote and drew this vol­ume while watch­ing a marathon of the show “24.” While read­ing, I noticed that while Light has his keen abil­ity to take on many chal­lenges, he also knows that he has Near and Mello stand­ing in his way. I also like how Ohba-san and Obata-san set up Mello and Near as coop­er­a­tive rivals. Mello tells Near that he is not a tool to cap­ture Kira and threat­ens to shoot him, but they exchange clues regard­ing the Death Note when Near gives Mello the only pic­ture avail­able of him. As the Death Note saga begins to close, Light is so close to his dream, yet so far with Near and Mello on his heels.
Credit again goes to Viz Media as they con­tinue to do an excel­lent job of trans­la­tion and adap­ta­tion, this time assign­ing the tasks to Tesuichiro Miyaki. Miyaki con­tin­ues the challenging-yet-successful task of pre­sent­ing Death Note to the Eng­lish audi­ence.
I’m get­ting close to the end of review­ing the Death Note manga series. With only three vol­umes left, I’m kind of torn between root­ing for Light’s noble cause to erad­i­cate evil and L’s heirs con­tin­u­ing his legacy of genius. How­ever, after all that Light has done to crim­i­nals and non-criminals alike, I can only take one side: Team Ryuzaki.

Bran­don Beatty is edi­tor at large of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. He can be reached by email at brandonb@gaminginsurrection.com

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