Death Note V01 (2006)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 27, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Madman (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 emhanced). English DD 2.0, Japanese DD 2.0. English subtitles. 91 minutes
The Movie
Director: Tetsuro Araki
Screenplay: Takeshi Obata, Tsugumi Ôba, Toshiki Inoue
Country: Japan
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
Japanese manga tome 'Weekly Shonen Jump', in its 40 odd year history, is responsible for a hell of a lot of popular anime that we in the Western world have taken on board as part of our pop culture Saturday morning cartoon set, like One Piece and Naruto, and also many of the anime DVDs released that worldwide otaku go nuts for, like Bleach and this, Death Note. Madman Australia has released the series Death Note in Region 4 land, both as the animated movies, and as this, the TV series (also available are collected volumes of manga).

Death Note tells of a young student named Light, who finds a book labelled 'Death Note' which contains several rules, and a long list of people's names and how they died. The rules in the book are simple: write the name of a person, whose face you can picture, and how they will die, and 40 seconds later that will be their fate.

Light experiments with the book and starts a killing spree of criminals he sees on TV or on internet news sites, and is soon visited by a creature named Ryuk, who is a Shinigami, a race of extra-dimensional monsters who extend their lives by taking the lives of others. Ryuk tells light that the Death Note belongs to him, and that he deliberately dropped it in the human world to see what a human would do if he had the power of death in this way. Light makes it quite clear to Ryuk that his intentions with the book are thus: he will kill every evil man or woman on the planet and create a utopia, where he will be the God ruling over the lives of every human, with no adversity to any decision he makes.

Ryuk is amused by Light's declaration, and even more so when he discovers the police decide there is a killer on the loose: all of the sudden all these criminals are dying without warning, so someone must be behind it. Light thinks he is safe, and even noticed that he is referred to as 'Kira', a Japanese bastardisation of the English word 'killer', on several websites who declare him to be somewhat of a hero for cleansing the worlds of these types… but the police aren't happy, and employ the mysterious 'L' - a highly intelligent reclusive investigator who, through various wily means, starts to narrow down his search for the one committing all these murders…

I like the idea of this story, but for me it sounds more like a great idea for a series of movies, rather than a TV series. Of course with these reviews I have to base my opinion of an anime from the first disc, and even though this appears to move along a breakneck speed, I just didn't find it interesting enough to ever be bothered with purchasing a second disc. I do have to say in its favor, though, that the character design in this anime is pretty cool, especially the Shinigami, who look like a rogues gallery for Batman designed by Clive Barker, especially Ryuk, who looks like DC Comics character 'The Creeper' by way of Hellraiser!!
This DVD is presented in a 16x9 enhanced 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is sharp and pristine all the way through.
The audio on this disc is presented in both English and Japanese stereo, and sounds great.
Extra Features
Some OK extras on this disc, but really, not more than the usual anime stuff from Madman.

'English Voice Actor Behind The Scenes Footage' is a series of interviews with voice actor Brad Swaile (Light) and the English Dialogue Director Karl Willems. The interviews take place of the first day of recording and it is interesting to see how the actor believes the character will end up. This would be even more interesting after watching the last disc to see if his impressions were true!! The two discuss the ins and outs of Voice Recording for animation. I have to admit it was a nice change to see an interview with the English actor instead of one of the Japanese actors, which is what I normally seem to end up with!

'Production Art Gallery' is a series of character reference sketches.
As usual on Madman anime releases, there are 'clean' open and closing credits which of course, show the animation without the hindrance of subtitles or credits. Why? Who knows…anime otaku insist on them I suppose.

There are also trailers for other Madman releases: Naruto The Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, Bleach Volume 1, Black Cat Volume 1 and Hell Girl Volume 1.
The Verdict
I like my anime series to grab me from the first DVD, and this just didn't. I appreciate it may get better the more you watch, but I just didn't find this too engaging. Sure the idea is great and the animation is nice, but the actual story didn't really capture my interest.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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