Otaku Corner: Death Note Vol. 11

The light at the end of the Death Note tunnel is clear

Light, Light, Light. I keep finding more reasons for confining Mr. Yagami to a high-level mental health facility than having him in ANY level of employment in public safety. Throughout the entire series reviewing this manga series, the question of “How can one justify killing innocent people in order to make a better world,” keeps popping back in my head, with no credible answers.

Volume 11 begins with Light, Misa and the task force headed back to Japan to avoid capture by Near, the SPK and Mello. Light’s return to Japan provides him breathing room to set up his plans in controlling the Kira investigation and control Mikami’s movements as Kira. However, Near correctly deduces Light’s escape to Japan and follows suit to capture Kira in his own domain, using Hal Linder as a potential member of Kiyomi Takada’s female security team. At the same time, Misa is asked by Yoshida Productions to perform at the annual New Year’s show. Once Near arrives in Japan, he contacts Light to inform him that he is also in Japan to lure Kira out of hiding. Both L’s decide to use that call to begin preparations for their final plans to battle each other.

Further in the story, Light continues to use Takada to his advantage by exchanging written notes to avoid detection by the task force and communicate with Mikami. Takada is OK with the plan, but she began her own plan to secure her position with Light by asking Misa to join her for a late dinner. At the dinner, Mogi and Linder are present, but Linder was ordered by Takada to stand by in case Misa got belligerent. For the sake of time, I’ll say that the dinner didn’t not go well. Meanwhile, another SPK agent named Gevanni starts his stake out of Mikami and has noticed that he has killed a subway passenger for harassing a female passenger without using the Death Note. Acting on Gevanni’s report, Near and Rester began the final stages of planning to capture Kira/Light.

At the New Year’s show, Takada announces that Misa has not yet arrived, forcing Light and the task force to search for her and Mogi. At that moment, Near contacts Light stating that he has taken Misa and Mogi into protective custody. Light, inwardly enraged, acts concerned in front of the task force by telling Misa and Mogi that they are free to leave at any time they want.

At the same time, Gevanni follows Mikami to a local gym and was able to touch the Death Note that was in Mikami’s brief bag. With Gevanni’s report, Near decides to make a replica Death Note and set the date, time and place for the final battle: a warehouse near Daikoku Wharf in Yokohama. On the day of their meeting, Takada arrives at NHN Studio for her news program when Matt arrives firing a smoke grenade at Takada. While the security team surrounds her, Mello, disguised as a motorcyclist worshipper of Kira, tells Linder to place Takada on the bike. When Takada is on the bike with Mello, Linder has two security units to follow them while the remaining security team goes after Matt. When Takada was out of danger, Mello ignored requests from the security detail to hand her over to them and escapes into a narrow alley with Takada as his prisoner.

This volume is a nice way to setup a climatic end for the series. Every detail from artwork to storyline was strong enough to create their own impact without losing plot focus. I applauded the chess-like moves that Light and Near employed with Swiss clock-like precision in each of their plans giving them flexibility in each situation. Also, the development for each character was not stale, especially for Misa, Takada, and Linder, who all got equal scene time in each chapter. I found the dinner scene with Misa and Takada hilarious when Misa tells Takada that she and Kira will be killed when he is captured, and Takada counters with host authority of the New Year’s show to prevent Misa’s engagement to Light. Also, Linder was featured in superb multitasking as a most trusted bodyguard while being a double agent and referee between Kira’s two suitors. Ohba-san and Obata-san again showed their mastery in creating a worthwhile series. Credit is also owed to Tetsuichiro Miyazi, who performed adaptation and translation duties.

This is it. The battle that we waited for, dear readers, is here. L’s heirs and Light Yagami fighting to the death, not for praise but intellectual superiority. As I ready myself to write the final review of Death Note, I cannot find any reason why I should not re-read this series or re-watch the anime. Do shinigami really exist? Only time will tell. I can offer this analysis, though: A battle of anime and manga’s most intriguing intellectuals will end, with ONLY one left standing.

Brandon Beatty is associate editor of Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by email at brandonb[at]gaminginsurrection.com

Anime Lounge #18: Death Note Ep. 6 – 12

Series: Death Note

Episodes: 6 to 12

Premise: A young man named Light Yagami is bored and incredibly gifted mentally. He’s looking for things to do outside of hacking the national police database and is preparing to go to law school for a career in criminal justice. One day, while in school, he happens to notice a strange book appear outside. He opens it and finds a shinigami, named Ryuk, that’s bound to follow the person who finds it. Light’s discovery and subsequent dealings with Ryuk and his Death Note begin the twisted tale of justice as a means to an end.

Is it worth watching?: YES. This is one of the best anime to be released in the past 20 years. It’s got everything you could want: Suspense, drama, several murder mysteries, a plot that makes you question life choices and characters to root for.

Breakout character: Misa Amane. Say what you will about the second Kira, but she is the breakout star here. She immediately makes an impact on Light, good or bad, and she joins the story permanently at a crucial time.

Best episode: “Overcast,” Episode 7. Light finally succeeds in convincing the watcher that he has always had less than noble ideals as he commits a shocking murder. Not only is the person he murders shocking, but also the way that he kills the person using the Death Note shocking: He causes them to commit suicide with his written command. This was the point at which you ceased to sympathize with Light in any way, but it now makes an interesting mystery even deeper because it’s now a race to see just how long Light will get away with his crimes as Kira.

Where it’s going?: The heat ramps up on Light as Kira, as he will have to juggle discovering there’s another Kira, L’s continued investigation and his life otherwise.

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

Anime Lounge #14: Death Note Ep. 1-6

Death Note-animeAnime-LoungeSeries: Death Note

Episodes: 1 to 6

Premise: A young man named Light Yagami is bored and incredibly gifted mentally. He’s looking for things to do outside of hacking the national police database and is preparing to go to law school for a career in criminal justice. One day, while in school, he happens to notice a strange book appear outside. He opens it and finds a shinigami, named Ryuk, that’s bound to follow the person who finds it. Light’s discovery and subsequent dealings with Ryuk and his Death Note begin the twisted tale of justice as a means to an end.

Is it worth watching?: YES. This is one of the best anime to be released in the past 20 years. It’s got everything you could want: Suspense, drama, several murder mysteries, a plot that makes you question life choices and characters to root for.

Breakout character: There are four: Light, Misa, Ryuk and L. Each of the four is central to the story and yet, all manage to steal the show in their own way.

Funniest episode: Episode 1, “Rebirth.” The opening episode finds Light interacting with Ryuk once he obtains the Death Note, which is hilarious for several reasons. Light doesn’t seem to be that enthralled with a death god near him and he immediately uses his powers of deduction and reasoning to come to several conclusions about the Death Note and its usage. Their interaction is always fun and serves to set up the way the rest of the series flows ultimately.

Where it’s going?: Light is in control for the first few episodes. He’s still learning the ropes with the Death Note and understanding how it works, and what kind of justice he can enact: Righteous or malicious. How Light continues to succeed in staying hidden and not getting caught is the name of the game going forward. It’s worth it to watch to see just how Light stays ahead of the game and avoids suspicion from the most talented investigator in the world, L.

Otaku Corner: Death Note Vol. 8

L continues to inspire justice in Death Note Volume 8

Brandon-2012-cutoutFour years after his death, the world’s greatest detective L continues to challenge Light Yagami in the most intense  game of cat and mouse via his successors. Will L and company triumph or will Light have the last laugh? The answer to these questions awaits in Death Note Volume 8: Target.
Written by Tsugumi Ohba, drawn by Takeshi Obata and published by Viz Media, Death Note Volume 8 lives up to its subtitle. At the end of Vol. 7, we left Light (Kira/the second L) — the newest member of the NPA’s intelligence bureau — unchallenged in making his idea of a crime-free world come to fruition. However, he was unprepared for a two-pronged attack from Mello and Near, L’s true successors. Mello joins with an organized crime group to kidnap Light’s sister, Sayu, while Near gains the support of the president of the United States to form the SPK (Special Provision for Kira). Both parties’ main objective is to capture Kira and the Death Note.
For a brief period, Light and Near cooperate to rescue Sayu while Light’s father, Soichiro, leaves for Los Angeles to deliver their Death Note to Mello’s henchmen. Although Sayu was safely recovered, the notebook fell into the hands of Mello, allowing him and the gang’s boss, Rod Ross, to eliminate individuals who sold various illegal goods without Ross’ permission as well as three senior members of the SPK.
As the psychological warfare continues, U.S. President David Hoope gets thrown into the fray via Mello, whoDeath Note Vol. 8 cover states that his group would give the U.S. Kira’s notebook in exchange for funding, weapons and shared use of the SPK’s satellites. Facing a potential global crisis, President Hoope briefly complies with Mello’s requests but also notifies Light. Light promised to protect the president but also requests use of special forces soldiers to combat Mello and his group. Unfortunately, Mello was able to use the shinigami Sidoh to eliminate the soldiers at the same time President Hoope was eliminated, possibly by Kira (aka Light).
Volume 8 continues the tried-and-true formula that made Death Note a smash success: A great storyline that combines action and mystery with elements of supernatural horror. I still can’t keep my jaw from dropping to the floor when I read about Light and his plans to keep him steps ahead of the task force, Mello and Near while acting as L and Kira. As Death Note continues, you will form a view of Light Yagami: On one side, you admire Light’s intelligence and his just goal to make the world a better place, while on the other side you despise him and root for his downfall.
The art by Obata-san is flat-out awesome, from character design to the locations in America. You will have to give Mello and Near credit; they’ve made some game-changing moves of their own such as Near letting Light take the lead while he still has authority over U.S. law enforcement, while Mello uses the mafia and resources to force the U.S. president to give him money and other support to slow down Kira and Near to stay on top. Viz media, again, did an excellent job of adapting and translating, this time entrusting both tasks to Tetsuichiro Miyaki.
Volume 8 continues the nonstop battle of good vs. evil with the victor claiming the  weapon to END all weapons. While reading, I felt like I got a front-row seat to a three-way battle of devious minds that are determined to be triumphant. Who will prevail?

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

Otaku Corner: Death Note Vol. 7

Death Note Vol. 7 digs deeper with shocking results

Brandon-2012-cutoutWelcome to Otaku Corner, the spot of The Strip where we bring you the finest manga and anime. I’m continuing my review of the series “Death Note,” the mystery/supernatural manga of geniuses Light Yagami and L, the legendary detective. When Light finds the death note dropped in the human world by a shingami named Ryuk, he uses it to kill off criminals, hoping to create a crime-free world. When criminals worldwide begin to drop dead, L (Ryuzaki) is called in to find the murder known as “Kira” (Light).

Written by Tsugumi Ohba, drawn by Takeshi Obuta and published by VIZ Media, Death Note Volume 7 continues where the previous volume ended with Light, Ryuzaki and the rest of the task force finally capturing Kyosuke Higuchi, the latest Kira. Upon recovering the death note, Light regains his memories as the original Kira allowing him to continue his main goal: killing L.

Using a hidden piece of the death note placed in his watch, Light — without anyone watching — kills Higuchi, thus focusing his attention to L. In the next set of pages, Light shows how far he is willing to use not only his “girlfriend” Misa Amane and her shinigami Rem, but also to have Ryuk write two fake rules about using the death note. Sensing that there are two fake rules, Ryuzaki attempts to have another country test the fake rules, but he and Watari are killed by Rem, who is also killed because of her actions that allowed Misa to live longer. Before his death, L erases all of the investigative data on the task force computers, but Light is able to recover the information, allowing him to kill Ryuzaki’s associates Aiber and Wedy as well as the remaining members of the Yosuba group who were involved in the Kira killings. Light, during this time, plays the roles of Kira and L while joining the NPA’s Intelligence section, securing his position as murderer and law officer.

Unknown to Light, however, L’s proteges have begun to avenge their fallen mentor. One of them, Near, gathered enough

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

evidence to convince the U.S. government to set up a Kira investigation unit known as SPK. The other, known as Mello, joins up with a major mafia organization to acquire the death note and to also become No. 1 over Near. While Light is enjoying his long-awaited victory, Mello has taken the NPA director hostage and when the director is killed, Mello orders his henchmen to kidnap Light’s sister Saiyu. When Saiyu goes missing, Light deals with two new adversaries who are determined to destroy Kira at any cost.

Death Note continues to be a smash hit, thanks to its perfect mix of mystery, horror and supernatural elements. I guarantee that you will be in complete awe as you witness Light’s complete transformation from a young man who hates evil to a murderer who will kill anyone in his way to create his perfect world. L, while not entirely evil, did himself justice despite his willingness to test the death note among other questionable tactics to solve the case, leaving a legacy for his heirs to fight one of the greatest evils ever known. Viz Media also gets credit as well, as Alexis Kirsch performed excellently with handling translation and adaptation writing duties.

Death Note Volume 7 left me feeling sad and happy about its continuation. Although I’m pleased that the story will continue with new plot twists and nonstop action, I’m saddened that a great main character has fallen at such an early point in the series. Yet, I am confident that he will be avenged thanks to the efforts of his proteges. Keep reading Otaku Corner for more reviews of Death Note as its second act begins. RIP Ryuzaki and Watari. You WILL be avenged.

 

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

Otaku Corner: Death Note Vol. 6

Light learns a few lessons while wheeling and dealing in Death Note Vol. 6

Brandon-2012-cutoutWelcome back for another edition of Otaku Corner! As all of you know, this is my little corner of GI where I bring you the best in manga and anime that will keep you entertained and free from having reader’s remorse in time and money spent.

I’m continuing the most epic battle of wits mixed with a splash of ethics and a good pinch of the supernatural. We’re following up with Death Note, written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata.

Death Note volume six continues the story of Light Yagami, a high school genius who obtains a Death Note, a notebook belong to the death god Ryuk. With the Death Note and Ryuk, Light vows to rid the world of crime. However, when criminals worldwide began to die in record time, the ICPO calls in L, a legendary detective to bring in the serial killer. With L closing in each day, how long will Light be able to retain his noble goal and his life?

In volume six subtitled “Give and Take,” the task force was able to determine that Death Note Vol 6 coverthe new “Kira” has been working to commit murders among the Japanese business community that not only benefit himself, but also the Yosuba Group. However, there is debate among the task force members about the methods of capture, which causes a brief rift. Light and Ryuzaki decide to use Misa to further gain information on the current Kira and the seven Yosuba members’ plans. During an interview to become a Yosuba spokesperson, Misa was briefly reunited with her Death Note’s shinigami, Rem, who tells Misa not only about Light being the real Kira, but also reveals the current Kira: Higuchi.

Upon learning that Higuchi was the third Kira, Misa pretends to go on date with Higuchi while secretly recording him stating that he was behind the recent killings of Yosuba’s rivals and regular criminals. As a result, Ryuzaki plans to use Sakura TV to trap Higuchi using Matsuda as bait. When Higuchi discovers that Matsuda is still alive, he sets off a high-speed chase throughout Tokyo, while at the same time trying to kill Mastuda. In the end, Higuchi fails miserably as the task force and a small contingent of police officers led by Aizawa and Ide trap Higuchi, which leads to major changes for all of the main characters in the next volume.

Brandon Beatty is editor-at-large for Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by email atbrandonb@gaminginsurrection.com

Otaku Corner #12: Death Note Vol. 5

Death Note heats up in Vol. 5

Brandon Beatty, editor-at-large

Hello readers, and welcome back to “Otaku Corner,” the section of GI that covers quality anime and manga series for those who deserve the best in Japanese animation. Thus, with this great expectation, our motto is “For the otaku, by the otaku!” (patent pending). I’m continuing our coverage of the worldwide smash manga series Death Note, written by Tsugumi Ohba, illustrated by Takeshi Obata and English adapted by Viz Media LLC.

Before I get into the review, I want to give those who have not yet read the manga a quick summary of the story plot: Death Note is the story of Light Yagami, a top student with immeasurable prospects who suffers from an extreme case of boredom. That changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook of death dropped by a shinigami (Japanese god of death) named Ryuk. Any human’s name written in said notebook dies, and after a few uses on known and would be criminals, Light vows to use the Death Note to rid humanity of evil. However, Light’s work does not go unnoticed by law enforcement authorities who, in turn, send world-renowned detective L to stop Light aka Kira.

In volume five of Death Note, Light and L (aka Ryuzaki) are playing masterful-yet-blistering mind games via TV, hidden cameras, police officers and even on a college campus! These actions ultimately led Light and his cohort (yet disposable girlfriend) Misa Amane to be confined by Ryuzaki in separate locations. After weeks in confinement, Light was able to dispose of the Death Note and his memories of using it. As a result, Ryuzaki forces Light’s father, Soichiro who is head of the Kira Task Force to perform a final test of Light’s and Misa’s innocence, which resulted in Soichiro performing a mock execution that not only clear Light and Misa, but also continued the partnership of Light and Ryuzaki. Later on Ryuzaki and company established a new base of operations ( largely bankrolled by Ryuzaki), that with new resources leads the task force to find that Kira has returned; only, this time he’s using his powers to the benefit of the Yosuba Group, an multinational business group.

However, this victorious gain is not without setbacks as Aizawa leaves to return to the NPA because of a disagreement with Ryuzaki, and Matsuda’s near death forces the task force to form a new plan. Fortunately, clear heads prevail, and at the end, readers are introduced to the Kira Eight, a group of men who work for Yosuba who are  dedicated to destroying anyone (including their own members) who would stand in their way to obtain absolute power. This is seen at the very end when one of their members is “sacked,” meaning that poor individual is another victim of Kira.

Fans of Death Note will not be disappointed in the new arc as it forces the main characters to again join forces against Kira in a new persona: Greed. As I continued reading, I realized that these eight men are after power and are determined to use Kira to achieve these goals, instead of simply joining forces to use their combined talents to be a success. Obata-san has again performed the skillful combination of plot and philosophy, this time adding in a mix of corporate corruption. The usual supporting cast of Ryuk and Rem (Misa’s shinigami) make their appearances but do not endanger the new plot, coming in only when absolutely needed. Obata-san’s drawings continue to succeed in keeping the plot fresh, especially when presenting the Kira Eight where one of the men truly has the appearance of a demon. I have, so far, in reading this series, not been disappointed as every new volume has without fail brought the elements of ethics and mystery without being silly. I also would be wrong in not giving Viz Media their lion’s share of the credit, thanks in part to the great translation and adaptation of Alexis Kirsch and the Shonen Jump graphic novel team. This again proves that Viz was the right choice in unleashing Death Note upon the U.S.

Will the Kira Eight prevail? How long will Ryuzaki and Light continue their “alliance?” Will the Death Note claim more lives? And, will Misa succeed in wrapping Light around her little finger? The answers to these burning questions and more are coming in the future of Otaku Corner.

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

Otaku Corner #09: Death Note Vol. 4

Death Note Vol. 4 slows action

Brandon Beatty, editor-at-large

Readers, welcome back to Otaku Corner. In this issue we continue to look at the worldwide smash manga series “Death Note.” For those that have just started to read Otaku Corner and Death Note, I would like to get you up to speed.

Death Note is the perfect blend of gothic horror fused with an intriguing storyline in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, only this time it is in manga form. So far, I have reviewed three volumes of Death Note and took some time off to only review other animated series to keep from exhausting Death Note. So, hold one and get ready: Your friendly neighborhood otaku will once again present to you a battle of wits between high school achiever Light Yagami and ace detective L, two chosen men brought together by the Death Note, a notebook that will kill anyone whose name is written in it. Light aka Kira, who has one copy of the death note, vows to rid the world of violent criminals, while L vows to stop Kira’s numerous killing sprees and restore justice.

In the fourth volume of Death Note, written by Tsugumi Ohba, illustrated by Takeshi Obata and published by Viz Media, we last left L (aka Ryuzaki) and Light (Kira) recovering from an attack on TV news personalities. Light’s father, a top officer in Japan’s National Police Agency, was instrumental in uncovering evidence at a local TV station of a second Kira. As a result, the two dueling geniuses called a truce to track down the second Kira, who is later revealed as Misa Amane, a up-and-coming model/actress who not only has her own death note, but the shinigami with her, Rem, has given her the ability to see people’s true identities. The drawback is that it would cost half of her lifespan.

Light, as a member of Ryuzaki’s team and Kira, is found quickly by Misa who offers to help him kill L in exchange for Light becoming her boyfriend. Light, at first, tries to threaten Misa with death, but Rem threatens to kill if any harm falls upon Misa. At the same time, Light tries to balance life as Kira, an investigator and college student while plotting to kill L. When Misa arrives at Light’s college and tells him L’s real name, Light seems ready to declare victory. However, L’s wits strike again as Misa is taken into custody by the NPA and is held by L in an undisclosed location.

Light, noting that the odds are against him, acts on his plan to keep suspicion from himself and Misa by begging Ryuzaki to confine him for a period of time. Light’s father, Socihiro, protests Light’s decision, which results in him requesting confinement as well. L agrees to Soichiro’s request except that his confinement would be different in that Sochiro would still have access to information, while Light is separated and cut off.

DN Vol. 4 keeps all of the thrills and mystery intact, complete with the psychological tactics that L and Light use, which are associated with high risk and high rewards. L decides to go underground to protect himself, while Light, who has a an ally in Misa, ponders if she is either a liability or an asset to his plans as Kira.

Obata’s illustrations are still top notch, capturing every character’s emotion, while at the same time Obha’s story line remains flawless by keeping the fusion of supernatural and mystery elements intact. I also like the backstory to Misa in how she received her death note and Rem via another shinigami’s death in which Rem killed her stalker. In short, the fourth volume of Death Note, while short on high-octane action, continues its lure of preparing readers for the next action-filled volume.

Volume 4 has take a break from the fast-paced action and focuses mainly on emotions, yet continues the strong pace of supernatural horror and mystery. You should be warned that the action and mind games will pick up again in its high-paced style with even more twists and turns that will keep you guessing who has who. My fellow otaku, come back to “Otaku Corner” for more Death Note reviews. A piece of advice: be wary of the gothic blondes. They are VERY possessive.

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

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