Title: Death Note
Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Illustrator: Takeshi Obata
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Released: April 2nd 2004
Pages: 195 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life?
So I've watched the entire anime series of Death Note (sob!) and thought it was about time I actually read the manga. So I went out and borrowed a copy from the library, despite the fact that graphic novels give me headaches (I don't know why, but it sucks). I originally thought that mangas and animes would follow the same rules as books turned into films; the books are always better. But actually, these two were on par with one another.
A Death Note is a notebook owned by a god of death, otherwise known as Shinigami. When a rogue Shinigami - Ryuk - drops his Death Note into the human realm, it is picked up by Light Yagami, an intelligent and hard-working student. The idea of the Death Note is simple: write someone's name in it with an image of them in your head, and they will die. Corrupted by the sheer amount of power he now has, Light sets forth to rid the world of evil by killing off criminals. However, this in itself is murder, which is where L comes in. L, with quick wits and a high level of intelligence, is recruited to capture the killer. Light must decide what's more important; his life, or becoming ruler of the New World.
This is actually the first manga I have ever read and finished. I've dabbled in a few other manga books to pass the time in German lessons, but I've never fully finished them (and the backwards reading completely confused me). Despite the headaches, I actually really enjoyed it. It was kind of nostalgic for me, to read the story and picture the anime in my head, if that makes any sense?
Before I picked it up, I knew that all the characters were fantastic - especially the Shinigami. Although it's a confusing concept to accept at first, once you've grasped it, you learn to love them. I was disappointed by the fact that you don't learn as much about the characters yet as you do in the anime, but maybe that's just down to the point I'm at in the books? Nevertheless, Death Note grasped my attention immediately and left me reading. Although I know the entire storyline, the end of this book makes me want to know what's going to happen next? A gripping cliffhanger if I ever saw one.
Overall, manga isn't everyone's cup of tea. I think that people should give it a go and see how they like it, but I know that a lot of people won't. A great series, most definitely.