Otaku #05: Death Note Vol. 3

Death Note Vol­ume 3′ adds faces, intrigue to Light’s saga

Bran­don Beatty, con­tribut­ing editor

This quar­ter in the Otaku cor­ner, I’m con­tin­u­ing the review of the biggest bat­tle of good ver­sus evil ever seen in Japan­ese ani­ma­tion in Vol­ume 3 of “Death Note.”

A word of advice: Buckle your seat belts because new play­ers arrive on the scene to shake things up and  set the foun­da­tion for more intense bat­tles in the manga’s future.

A small recap: “Death Note” is the tale of Light Yagami, an ace high school stu­dent with great prospects who is com­pletely bored with his life. That changes when he finds the “death note,” a note­book with the power to kill any­one whose name is writ­ten in it. Light, using the name Kira, vows to use the death note to rid the world of crime, result­ing in crim­i­nals drop­ping dead. This leaves author­i­ties no choice but to send in world-renowned detec­tive L to solve the case.

photo cour­tesy of Amazon.com

In vol­ume 3, Light has dis­cov­ered that L has placed 64 sur­veil­lance cam­eras and micro­phones in his home. Once again, how­ever,  Light/Kira man­ages to evade cap­ture: He uses a bag of bar­be­cue potato chips with a minia­ture TV inside and acts as though he is prepar­ing for col­lege entry exams as Ryuk, orig­i­nal owner of the death note and com­pan­ion to Light, searches for the cam­eras and micro­phones. L, not com­pletely fooled by Light’s tac­tics, decides to up the ante by enrolling at the same uni­ver­sity that Light is attend­ing using the name of Hideki Ryuga.

The mind games are tem­porar­ily stopped when Light’s father is sent to the hos­pi­tal with the spec­u­la­tion that Kira caused his heart attack. At this point in the story, I con­sider both the mind games and Soichiro Yagami’s heart attack to be a filler break , lead­ing read­ers to an action-packed stand off that results in the arrival of a “new” Kira as the femme fatale who, unknow­ingly to  Light and L, will have a major impact in upcom­ing chapters.

Tsug­umi Ohba and Takeshi Obata con­tinue to keep the per­fect fusion of para­nor­mal action and mys­tery through pre­cise writ­ing and ener­getic art in “Death Note,” refrain­ing from the use of fan ser­vice ele­ments usu­ally found in anime and manga. While read­ing Death Note, you will be chal­lenged to think more about their per­sonal morals while at the same time evolv­ing their appre­ci­a­tion for inno­v­a­tive storylines.

We’ll get fur­ther along with more Death Note action in future edi­tions of Otaku, so keep an eye out for more com­men­tary and analy­sis on the tale of Light, L and Ryuk. By the way if you root­ing for “Team Light,” be like Kira and sup­port your local shinigami by buy­ing them apples. They’ll thank you for it.

Bran­don Beatty is con­tribut­ing edi­tor for Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. He can be reached by e-mail at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

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