Death Note, Volume 1 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

deathnoteohbaDeath Note, Volume 1

by Tsugumi Ohba (Author), Takeshi Obata (Illustrator)

 

  • VOYA Coding: 3Q 2P JG
  • Lexile Levels: GN
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher:VIZ Media LLC; Shonen Jump Advanced Graphic Novel Ed edition (October 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421501686
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421501680

Seventeen-year-old Light Yagami uses his cover as a top student to rid the world of criminals when he teams up with a Shinigami death god named Ryuk.  The unlikely pair bond over a shared boredom and disgust with the world.  While on his “righteous” mission, Light attracts the attention of international police forces who enlist top detective L to solve the case.  Confident he can outwit anyone, Light begins experimenting with the powers of the notebook and soon finds himself being followed.  Using his intelligence and access to his father, the head of the Japanese National Police Agency, Light manipulates everyone around him to protect his cover and continue his mission.  Ryuk, meanwhile, sits back and enjoys the spectacle, watching with interest as Light follows through with his plans.  To complicate matters, the mysterious L is hot on his trail and proves to be a worthy adversary.

Readers may be interested in learning about the legendary Shinigami and the notebook that allows them to write in the name of any human they wish to kill.  In addition, many will identify with Light and Ryuk’s boredom and even be impressed with Light’s intelligence and ingenuity.  I suspect that many, however, will find Light’s mission and confidence disturbing, and his single-minded focus and manipulation of others does little to endear him to the reader.  Light displays no relationships with anyone other than Ryuk and his actions become increasinly zealous.  In theory, I believe the concept is interesting.  The characters, however, left me cold.  If Light displayed any trepidation or moral concern, more humanity and compassion, and less zealous confidence in his own intelligence and abilities, perhaps this would make a compelling read.  Perhaps.  Manga fans, however, will not be disappointed.

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