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Reviews & Ratings for
Death Note More at IMDbPro »Desu nôto (original title)

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Great adaptation for a great anime/manga

Author: Gabriel Teixeira from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
11 August 2013

A live-action adaptation of the anime/manga 'Death Note' is not something too far-fetched. Unlike 'Dragon Ball' or 'Saint Seiya', 'Death Note' is not flashy or fight-based, being much easier to be re-enacted with real people instead of drawn ones.

The story follows Light Yagami, a genius teenager who finds a Death Note: a notebook used by Shinigamis ('death gods') with the power to kill people whose name are written on it. Deciding to use the book to kill all criminals in the world and create an utopia, he ends up at odds with L, the world's greatest detective, who is tasked with finding the 'Kira' and bring him to justice.

The premise is rather strange and might sound silly, but it actually develops smartly and creates many thought-provoking points for reflexion. The anime/manga is possibly one of the best ones out there, and the confrontations between Light's and L's views create a splendid philosophical discussion on the nature of good/evil. Is Light right to kill others like he is doing? To have such a power over others lives, how easy is it to cross the line of good and evil? Is there such a line at all?

This film covers the first half of the story. As such, it is obviously convoluted and some of the side-plots are changed/discarded so as to keep the story's flow. The actors are good; in special, Ken'ichi Matsuyama is brilliant as L and manages to copy his mannerisms with perfection. Tatsuya Fujiwara also makes a worthwhile Light. Ryuuk, the Shinigami who gives Light the Death Note, is also present through a good use of special effects. The soundtrack is good at times too.

This is definitely worth a look for 'Death Note' fans, and possibly even for those with no previous knowledge. There are some deviations from the original story, true, but nothing that hinders the quality. A nice touch was having Light read 'Beyond Good and Evil' in one scene, a perfect choice for him.

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Great adaptation of one of my favorite animes

Author: filmfan1991 from Michigan
13 May 2013

Death Note is one of the best manga/anime out there. This live action adaptation is very close and well done for the most part. The live action actors who play Light Yagami and L do a wonderful job of translating from comic/animation to live action. The actor who stole the screen the most was Kenichi Mastuyama as L who was perfect in the role. For those who haven't seen the anime or manga the plot goes as this: an aspiring law student disgusted with the way justice is carried out one day finds a notebook that can kill people if you write their name down. He uses this notebook to take down criminals and become true justice aka Kira meanwhile a famous detective codenamed L tries to track down Kira and the cat and mouse chase between L and Kira begins. The plot is great considering that at least 12 episodes of the anime are condensed into the movie so some changes had to be made and the twists and turns are suspenseful.

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Pretty good!

Author: Peter Kets from Greece
23 April 2013

Having seen the anime version first I had great expectations of this film. And indeed it was a great pleasure watching this one.

The characters are fantastic,acting is great,the animations of the shinigami are well done,and the music is fine too.I personally enjoyed both Light Yagami and L very much.The build up for this clash was astonishing.

The only problem for the admirers of the original anime version is the fast forwarding of the script (cause it's a movie and not series) which forces the film to make alterations to the script at some times.That was the only reason I rated it an 8 and not 9 or even 10.

Definitely worths to be seen by admirers or not.

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Makes you want to immediately read the source material or watch the anime.

Author: lewiskendell from United States
11 October 2011

Light, a very intelligent law school student in Japan who's grown frustrated and disillusioned with the inefficiencies and limitations of the legal system, happens to acquire a Death Note, a book that allows you to kill by simply writing a name. As he picks up his pen and begins a crusade to permanently rid the world of criminals, he attracts the attention of L, an equally brilliant man who seeks to catch him like it's a game. The escalating game of cat and mouse between the two begins to involve more casualties than just criminals.

I've gotta admit, Death Note is pretty awesome. I'm sure some nuance or details were left out in the translation from manga/anime to a 2 hour movie (I haven't seen the series or read the manga), but what shows up here is a surprisingly smart and sharp story about the intertwining of good and evil, and what really constitutes justice.

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Playing god leads to behaving like a devil

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
16 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When a Japanese law student called Light discovers a strange notebook he has no idea how it will change his life. Inside the cover instructions explain that anybody whose name is written in the book will die in forty seconds from a heart attack unless another method and time is specified. Understandably he doesn't believe this at first but when he writes the name of a criminal in the book that person does indeed die. Soon he is writing the names of criminals; especially those who have evaded justice. The authorities realise that somebody is killing these people but have no idea how until a mysterious person known only as L contacts and starts to help them. Initially it is suspected that the killer must be a police officer as he has inside information but soon L begins to suspect Light who is the son of a policeman. Initially Light only targets criminals but as the net closes around him he starts killing law enforcement officers and anybody else who poses a threat. The ability to kill people isn't the only 'gift' given to the holder of the book, it also allows them to see Ryuk; a god of death.

This was a fairly exciting story even though it is clearly only the first part of a longer story, as by the end little is resolved. The way Light quickly began to abuse his power was well illustrated when even the God of Death believes Light is a devil! The CGI used for Ryuk was good enough although the character was more comic than scary surprisingly. Having watched this I'm looking forward to seeing how the story works out in the next film.

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Very enjoyable... if a little long...

Author: ajs-10 from United Kingdom
13 March 2011

I reviewed this film earlier in the year and on re-reading the review I find there's little I would change. The reason I gave it a re-watch is because I have finally tracked down the sequel, which I intend to watch very soon. Anyway, here's the review, (with a few edits).

It's in Japanese with subtitles although I'm led to believe there may be a dubbed version out there somewhere. It is an adaptation of a very popular Manga which I found pretty enjoyable, if a little too long. A very interesting film that asks some intriguing questions about the law and how criminals are brought to justice. More of my thoughts later, after this very brief summary.

Criminals are mysteriously dying of heart attacks. All over the world murderers, rapists, thieves and criminals of all types are randomly dying in unusual circumstances. In Japan the police have dubbed the man responsible 'Kira' and he is revered by many of the public. There are those, however, who would prefer the legal process took its course and have dubbed 'Kira' a serial killer. The young man behind all this is called Light Yagami, the son of the policeman in charge of the case, Souichiro Yagami. He is a law student and, having become disillusioned with the law, found a notebook one dark night. He also met one of the gods of death, Ryuuk, who was to stay with him as long as he had the book. The instructions for using the book were simple, just write the name of the person you want dead while thinking of their image and they will die of a heart attack within forty seconds if some other means of death is not specified. The police seem powerless to stop him until a mysterious stranger who calls himself 'L' offers to help… I'll leave it there so as not to enrage the Spoiler Police (Ancient Gods Division).

This is a very well made film with very much the feel of a Manga. I always find films from different cultures interesting and this is no exception. At times some of the CGI (used for Ryuuk) looks a little ropy, but apart from that I found it very well made. All the lead actors did a very good job; Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light Yagami, Kenichi Matsuyama as 'L', Asaka Seto as Naomi Misora, Shigeki Hosokawa as FBI Agent Ray, Takeshi Kaga as Souichiro Yagami, Yu Kashii as Shiori Kashino and finally, Shidô Nakamura as the voice of Ryuuk.

At the end of the day I found this film very enjoyable, if a little over-long. The story does move along a quite a pace, but I found that at just over two hours I had really had enough (maybe that's just the fact I had to read subtitles for all that time). The end of the movie leaves it on a real cliff-hanger and so I'm waiting to the sequel to appear in the listings again (I missed it first time around). One thing that did strike me on a second viewing was that the film is maybe trying to be a little too clever for its own good. It's not really a bad thing, it just makes for an, at times, very elaborate plot line that some may find hard to follow. Over all though, a pretty enjoyable film with some very clever plot-twists and a real cliff-hanger ending… Recommended.

My score: 7.6/10 IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 11,483 votes at the time of going to press).

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A real treat for Death Note fans!

Author: Dazz Camponi ( from United Kingdom
7 October 2010

Death Note has caused quite a bit of controversy in countries such as America, some even banning the show because students started writing names in homemade Death Notes which worried parents and police. Being a big fan of the show, I couldn't wait to watch this movie and after watching it, I wasn't disappointed. The story was handled very well and followed the anime better than I thought it would. The characters were written well and most of the cast looked like their characters from the series. The actors did a great job as their characters and the CGI was great. The scenes were well executed and the writing and dialogue is great and smartly written. This is definitely a must for fans.

I loved this live-action movie, I thought it was brilliant. Although it's bad news for people who hate reading subtitles since it's Japanese but the good news is it is dubbed and, I never thought I'd never say this but fans of the show must watch this in English dub! The reason why is because all of the cast who did the English voice-overs in the anime series do it in the movie series too, although there are a few scenes that look weird. Even though it's nice to see and hear the original cast of the English voice actors play their roles again, I preferred watching this with subtitles. Overall, it's a great movie and a brilliant addition to the Death Note franchise. If you are a fan of the series or you like horror fantasy movies, then you will like this.

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Good adaptation of the Manga

Author: plsletitrain
16 July 2010

Having finished reading the manga, I can very well say that this movie(albeit with some minor deviations) was, generally speaking, very faithful and stayed true to its original source. Let me start with that one major element often used in comparing adaptations:the characters. Wow, what can I say..the characters were very much how I pictured them while reading the material. Raito, his dad, Sayu, Misa, Watari, L, Matsuda...everyone! I can actually say that I am very happy with the cast. The way the actors played their part felt like I was just reading the Manga, really.Now there are two characters though that really deserves special recognition. Ryuuzaki/L and Ryuk.L being my favorite character, I was very elated when I saw how the actor played the part. With the exception of his ghostly white face, he did a very good and effective portrayal of the character of L. The way he looked, the same face shape, the hair, the way he eats, his mannerisms, everything! Even to that very minute detail of how L holds his food. Wow. This is definitely a work of someone who has sufficient background about the source material. Now let's go to Shinigami Ryuk. I was actually curious how will the gods of death appear in the movie. I was wondering if they'll do some prosthetics(which I think would be laughable) and its good that in this case, they stuck with CGI.

Now to the storyline. I'm a bit divided on this one because as much as the movie did some changes, I can actually say that I'm not against it. In fact, I'm fine with it as long as the main theme of the story is there:that is, Kira's issue of self-righteousness vs. L. The changes they injected were imo, not that substantial for it to affect the worth of this awesome movie.As far as my memory can remember, these are the changes they made:1)Kira in the movie was in law school(in the manga, he's still in high school) 2)The killing of Raye scene..actually in the manga, he didn't write the names of the FBI agents. He supplied the info to Kira through files/folders 3) the manner of killing of Naomi Misori(Raye's fiancée).Now since I have poor memory, I can only remember Naomi to have died through killing herself(her actual death wasn't shown though-it was just said that she went "missing") but there was never a confrontation to make Light confess his identity in front of several people. There was no killing of Shiori in the Manga. In fact, there was no delving of the love story between Light and his girlfriend to begin with. She was not a major character in the Manga(I have forgotten her existence tbh).

Those were just as far as my memory can recall. But as what I said, those changes are alright because the gist of the storyline was there. I really love this adaptation and this is definitely one of those movies you can say that did justice to its source material.

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So you're though with the anime? Wanna see something different? Then this film is for you...

Author: mystery_guy-1 from Philippines
25 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you're expecting that this film will be exactly like the anime and manga, Then you're wrong. If you're one of those persons who always gives a damn about something that isn't the same about its book or manga, even though they made it better, then don't watch this film. This film doesn't exactly follow the anime or the manga. Some scenes were different but the dark aura that many of us, Death note fans, still remains. One of the major kickass scene in this film is Light has a girlfriend, that he's confused whether he loves her or not, other than Misa and Takada which he definitely doesn't love, but completely used and killed her to enter L's investigation team. How bad-ass is that? Plus, they replace the tennis match, which IMO doesn't really fit Death, with a chess match, although it isn't long enough. And the one who plays L's character, Ken'ichi Matsuyama, plays it pretty well. But the one who plays Kira, Tatsuya Fujiwara, IMO is disappointing. Doesn't really look like him. Plus that backshot basketball thing he did in the beginning doesn't sell very much. Ryuk's CGI? I'll give it 6.5/10. So what? He also looks like a dummy even in the world of anime.

Overall, Not perfect but definitely recommended for the Death Note fans.

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Yeah, I have to say if I had that notebook I would be way to tempted to use it.

Author: Aaron1375
4 May 2010

I had heard about the anime, but have never seen it. I have always wanted to watch it, but it is always so hard sometimes to buy all the volumes and as with most anime shows you really have to see all the episodes in order to get what is going on. So when my girlfriend bought the live action movie I thought why not give it a try? I was not to disappointed with it as it was a rather interesting movie. The story has a mysterious notebook falling in the hands of a college student named Light. What makes it so special you ask? Well, whoever's name is written in this particular notebook will die, whether by a heart attack forty seconds after having their name written in the book or by means left up to the writer of the name. There is more to it than that as there are a bunch of rules as to what you have to do. Well Light at first seems to want to do good with the book by killing those who have escaped justice. Then he takes it further, taking out those accused, but not convicted of crimes and even killing those convicted and behind bars. The public dub him Kira and Kira quickly becomes a wanted man if he exists at all. Well a mysterious detective known as L proves he exists and quickly finds the location of this man who can kill while being no where near the individual. Very interesting film, I started sort of pulling for Light, but by the end I was feeling a very strong dislike for this character. Meanwhile, my respect for the mysterious L skyrocketed as he was able to use very clever tactics to pinpoint the location where Kira was hiding. There are also bizarre apple loving gods of death in the film too, but he is not really on the side of Light, though he is sort of bound to him as he is just enjoying the show. The main problem I had with the movie is that Light changed so much during the course of the film. He went from someone who seemed to have noble ideals, to someone who would do anything to keep himself safe. My girlfriend though told me in the anime he was a bit more crazy seeming right from the get go. Still, overall this film was very interesting, I know there is an American version coming at some point, and I just know chances are it will suck. This one though was very interesting to watch. Loved the end with L and Light meeting for the first time setting up part two which I have not seen yet.

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