Death Note – 2015 [review]

“Any human who uses the Death Note can’t expect to go to Heaven or Hell.” – Ryuk (Death Note 2015)

Japan really loves Death Note a lot. This shows by how many works share the same name and premise. From manga, anime, novel, movie, game, musical and this year a serial television joins the list also don’t forget that the 4th movie will be out next year!

I’m a fan of the anime and the movies and when I saw the drama version without any second thought I watched the first episode and I loved it. Watching the same material over and over again can be boring and takes away any sense of suspense so that’s why I didn’t have any expectation when I started this. I knew exactly what’s going to happen but Kubota Masakata‘s acting blew me away. His acting was solid and I wanted to know how they would re-tell this infamous story so, I gave it a go! 🙂

Masakata Kubota was an amazing actor. He is one of my main reasons why I watched this series. His dark and angry expression was seriously chilling. When the note finally took over his logic, he acted so good and it looked like he was  a psycho. His acting was seriously top notch. He gave me goosebumps. One of his strongest element was his gaze. During the interrogation L conducted his gaze was no joke. He changed his gaze so gracefully, from Kira to Yagami Light. From a psycho to an innocent guy. Bravo! You just earned a fan!

Not going to lie, I expected someone who could give off L vibe. Yamazaki Kento simply didn’t give off strong L vibe. Unlike in the movies and anime, where L and Light are equally strong, in this one Light was too strong. L’s presence was pretty weak compared to other Death Note works  and I think half of the responsibility went to Yamazaki. He did good though but I expected more from this character because simply I am so used to the usual L and when I saw this L, I wonder why the casting team courted him. His face is “too soft” to be L.

I don’t know the acting standard for Japanese actors but is it only me who thinks Yuki Mio was damn stiff? Her acting was bland and at times it felt so forced. Maybe the acting standard in Japan is a little bit different than in Korea, but seriously, I think Yuki Mio was stiff in this drama. I’m new to J-Dramas by the way so I don’t know exactly how Japaneses rate their actors’ acting.

Now the plot! There are many differences between the drama and the anime. Not that I’m disappointed but at first it just felt weird but seriously, the changes didn’t affect the plot much and that’s the only thing that matters. It bothered me at first, but over time those changes actually added the fun. I’m not the type of person who insists that the new work should follow closely the resource. BUT, of course there were few changes that I didn’t like, really don’t like. I’ll be telling you those things on the next paragraphs.

Now, let me break down the differences that I actually liked.  Kira. In the anime (especially, tbh I haven’t read the manga) Kira was a total bastard. He used everyone he knew for his own benefit while on the TV series, Kira still used people but it’s still at the acceptable level. I want to point it out first, I seriously couldn’t stand the Anime Kira because he was too cruel. He literally used everyone,  and only thought of himself, sacrificed directly and indirectly, killed so many people for his own benefit. One thing that bothered me the most, he even thought of killing his biological younger sister. Drama Kira’s cruelness was toned down a lot but that selfishness, ignorance, fear, and agony were still there. Drama Kira used people, too, but he knew the limit and he had heart. In the anime, I just straight forward didn’t support Kira -and his Death Note- but for Drama Kira I can’t say I didn’t support him but I also can’t say that I supported him. Anime Kira just approached me the wrong way.

Killing is never an option.  I just want to leave that sentence here, in the middle of the post.

Now, the changes they made that I didn’t like. Forget about L, the drama decided to change L almost completely! It still boils my blood until now that L in this one is rather weak compared to L in anime and movie. I wanted to watch a genius L once again after bitterly watched his last day on the 3rd movie and his death in the anime but Drama L couldn’t live up to Anime/Movie L. I wanted Drama L to bend as low as Movie/Anime L. L’s unique personality, he’s such a quirky character, no no, you can’t find it in the drama. Such a pity.

Second, the whole thing about Mello Near. Apparently Near is suffering from DID everyone. There’s one bad personality growing in him. And, Near was supposed to be a boy why casted a female T_T Ok, according to the movie, it’s a boy, guys. I still can’t tell whether Anime Near is boy or girl though LOL. But seriously, Mello Near sharing one body is just plain stupid.

The tense between L and Light was lacking. Flat…..

The final episode!!! It’s so nerve wreaking! I found that Light’s last scene to be extremely disturbing. He was shot like at every joint of his body and they still needed to burn him alive on top of that. While reaching out for the note… on top of that. Kira’s greed was still strong even on his last minutes. This is just like a reflection of human’s greed. Our greed has no limit and it’s really scary to think about that.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable drama. Some avid fans may not like this version because there are so many differences with the main 3 characters. Watching this as a stand-alone drama is pretty much impossible because of the infamous Death Note franchise. You’ll end up comparing this to the anime or movie or manga and some things may let you down. For those who haven’t seen any Death Note works, it’s probably a wise decision to watch the drama first then proceed to the movie/anime/manga just to let you not have high expectation on the drama. It’s still an enjoyable drama, guys.

It’s 23:30 right now, so good night!

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