in defense of the death note anime
dated animation? check. rushed second arc? check. glosses over most of L’s moral ambiguity? definitely. the entirety of episode 25? yikes.
the death note anime is far from perfect (as is its source material), and I agree 1000% with all the criticisms floating around the internet (halle’s interrupted shower, mikami and light in the final episode, the pseudo-biblical footwashing, near’s character assassination, certain changes to dialogue and flow of the story). but, all things considered, i think they did a pretty fantastic job. so here is an appreciation post for the great things about the death note anime:
- the music. I’ve seen this anime about 50 times and light’s speech in episode 37 always gives me chills, just because of the choral theme in the background. there are so many fantastic musical moments in the series: kyrie and all its variations in the first episode, misa’s waltz, the shinigami realm themes, light’s melancholy leitmotif (i am sorry), the gentle piano moments, L’s badass theme and its variations, low of solipsism for the energetic name-writing. musically, this anime is a masterpiece.
- no filler scenes, at all. even the recap episode is sort of…necessary, in a way, just because it comes after such a pivotal moment in the series and it’s nice to just sit back and recall everything that’s happened so far just to regroup.
- the voice acting. holy mother of god, every single cast member, japanese and english, was absolutely 100% on point. mamoru miyano is a legend. brad swaile killed it (lol). alessandro juliani is L to me. special shoutout to karl willems for arranging the english cast and bringing all these actors together. i usually avoid dubbed anime, but this is my one exception. the sound mixing was fantastic as well.
- (also: chris britton as soichiro. his delivery on ‘from one murderer to another, i’ll see you in hell’ has never not profoundly terrified me. what an amazing VA.)
- the color keys, the backgrounds, the ‘sets’, if you will. death note has some really beautiful, detailed sequences of skies and cityscapes.
on a more general note, just the fact that it exists and it got so many people (myself included) interested in this incredible story is a wonderful thing. it’s certainly not perfect, but i know that many, many people found the anime before finding the manga. here we all are today, making edits and writing meta and just having a good time. whatever the medium, i’m glad it exists.