‘Death Note’ Summary & Analysis – Art Of Crafting An Anime


Death is the veracity of life and if you are alive it is certainly because of a reason. Your mind might dwindle with the fear of the unknown but is death really a stranger? If someone is thinking about a better life, isn’t he simultaneously wishing for a better death? The questions are in number and sometimes we don’t ask questions to find the answers, but to seek those answers from someone else. The answers might vary but the end is similar for all of us. Death Note is a psychological mystery thriller based on the famous manga series created by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata.

Death Note Animated Manga Series ‘Season 1‘ is directed by fabled Attack On Titan director Tetsurō Araki of Madhouse and originally aired in 2006 and garnered a cult following around the globe. It is inarguably the best manga series ever with its distinctive storytelling and a comparatively dark setting.

“I Can’t Develop Feelings. That’s How Most Idiots Screw Up.”


‘Death Note’ Summary

In a world where the feeling of being lonely amongst a crowd is prevalent, a guy named Light Yagami stumbles upon an odd black book, the ‘Death Note‘ which belongs to a Shinigami- a God of Death. The death note has the power to end lives if the name of a person is written in it while looking at him/her. The Shinigami that owns this death note has dropped it on purpose in order to see how the mortals will use it and what happens next becomes a series that stays with you, days after watching it. After a few days of getting the Death Note, Light is visited by Ryuk and he cannot be seen by anyone except the one who has touched the Death Note. Ryuk reveals the reason for dropping the note and it turns out to be nothing but boredom.

Following these events, we come to see the various reports about the death of a number of criminals around the world. The cause of death is extremely vague as the criminals around the world are perishing due to heart-attacks and accidents and the media terms the deaths to be planned by a single mastermind, Kira, which literally translates to ‘killer‘ in Japanese. The law enforcement agencies and the public cozied up to Kira but the Interpol looks out for the assistance of L, an enigmatic and highly esteemed detective. L tracks down Kira stage a TV broadcast and tracks down Light Yagami to be in the Kanto region of Japan. Light is infuriated by this and vows to kill L as he is a hindrance to the execution of his plans and whilst all this L is trying to piece everything and determines that Light Yagami is the prime suspect. Graduation comes along for Light and after school is over Light is inducted into Kira Task Force set up by L.

The story takes a turn that changes the perception of the people as the crime rate around the world has dropped significantly and cults have been established with people who are patrons of Kira. Potential successors of L are revealed: Near and Mello. They are aware of L’s death and deduce that Light Yagami to be the prime suspect. The story continues with the plotline explanation which is done minimalistically but closes all the loopholes and loose ends of the story. The narrative is extremely precise and character arcs are totally justified by the end of the series.

Years pass and the new Kira appears who is simply on a killing spree, consequently, the people find the new Kira to be “boring” and monotonous. The attention-seeking traits of this Kira are evident and is a turn off for the public that revered the former Kira. Ryuk looks at all this and tells Midora that no other human will supersede Light as the new Kira.

Art of Crafting an Anime

The popularity and fanbase for death note are humongous due to the on-point characterization and the forethought on the various theories inculcated in the series. The artwork acts as a support pillar for the success of this series as the whole thing feels extremely raw and rustic in nature and gives a vibe of those Naruto-Esque art done for a gothic style storyline.

The repetition of the significant apple in various parts gives it a Christianity counterpart where the Death Note is the apple of Eden. The symbolism followed by the series is second to none and acts as an amazing addition to the already entertaining viewing experience. The way of associating the mythological essence with the character arc of Ryuk substantiates the series and provides an angle of morality that makes the viewers ponder over the premise. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and maybe that is why the viewers do. To give you an example, the way L carries himself is stereotypical, not the way a grown-up does but it makes you relate more by humanizing the characters.

Death Note dictates how a manga should be adapted to the different forms of expressing art as it transcends the global boundaries. The series is primarily set in Japan with the various nuances stemming from the native land and the release of the anime was in a time when internet access was not as prevalent as it is today. The series breaks the preconceived notions attached to the genre by appealing to the masses all around the world. The reason for this was the intertwining of the events to have a global impact and allowing the entry of diversity in thoughts.

This manga series is a work of art and gives a new take to the psychological battle between Kira and L acts as the pivot for the war of intellect between the two, which is extremely fun to watch.

Death Note Season 1 is streaming on Netflix.

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Shreshtha Shukla
Shreshtha Shukla
"Thou art the suffering from which unwarranted melancholia emerges" Shreshtha Shukla is a writer, teacher, and a film enthusiast.

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