Otaku #03: Death Note Vol. 2

Death Note Vol­ume 2 fills out its pages with inter­est­ing twists

Bran­don Beatty, con­tribut­ing editor

Pre­vi­ously in Otaku, I reviewed the manga Death Note, which tells the story of high school ace Light Yagami who finds a death note, a note­book with the power to kill any­one whose name is writ­ten in it.

Light, learn­ing of the death note’s pow­ers, decides to use it to kill off crim­i­nals. How­ever, when crim­i­nals world­wide start dying simul­ta­ne­ously, the author­i­ties send in L, a leg­endary detec­tive to track down the killer. In vol­ume two, the bat­tle between Light aka “Kira” and L rages on when Light uses Kirchro Osoreda, one of his reserved crim­i­nals to lure out Raye Pem­ber, a mem­ber of the FBI team sent to Japan at L’s request to inves­ti­gate mem­bers of the NPA’s Kira Task Force who are sus­pected of leak­ing infor­ma­tion on Kira. When Osoreda dies and Pember’s iden­tity is known, Light quickly hatches a plan which results in not just Pem­ber but all of the FBI agents in Japan dying simul­ta­ne­ously. As a result, L is forced to not only reveal him­self, but also to rely on the remain­ing six mem­bers of the NPA task force, includ­ing Light’s father.

Death Note Vol. 2/Photo cour­tesy of Amazon.com

At this point in the story, I’m still in awe of how Light has evolved from a model high school stu­dent to an indi­vid­ual of pure evil, who believes that his actions are shap­ing a bet­ter world. He proves this when he kills Naomi Mis­ora, Rayes’ fiancé and a for­mer FBI agent who was close to reveal­ing Light as Kira. As vol­ume 2 con­tin­ues, L, now going by the name Ryuzaki, is not out of the bat­tle yet by pro­vid­ing the task force with fake police IDs in addi­tion to mak­ing his hotel room the secret HQ for the Kira investigation.

Sus­pi­cious that Kira can still access clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion from the NPA, Ryuzaki increases the psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare by plac­ing a hid­den cam­era and lis­ten­ing devices in the final two homes Pem­ber was inves­ti­gat­ing where the Yagami fam­ily are sus­pects. Light, in the final pages of vol­ume two, dis­cov­ers that he is under sur­veil­lance and hatches a plan to counter Ryuzaki’s efforts using Ryuk to find the cam­eras. Read­ers pick­ing up the sec­ond vol­ume of Death Note will not be dis­ap­pointed, since Tsug­umi Obata has kept the plot fresh from the start of the series. His writ­ing has ensured that Death Note is more than a reg­u­lar who-done-it mystery.

The mas­ter tal­ents of artist Takeshi Obata will not dis­ap­point manga otaku. He reg­u­larly suc­cess­fully mixes super­nat­ural and phys­i­cal ele­ments with few hitches. The stage is set. Two cho­sen peo­ple are fight­ing in a bat­tle des­tined to be one of ages. Who will win? Stay tuned as we con­tinue to review a super­nat­ural mys­tery manga that’s tak­ing the world by storm.

Con­tribut­ing Edi­tor Bran­don Beatty can be reached via e-mail at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com.

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