Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $69.98 US
Running Time: 500 minutes
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The human whose name is written in this note shall die.
When Death Note was introduced to audiences outside of Japan, its supernatural and suspenseful tale of one young man’s pursuit to cleanse the world of evildoers and the genius detective out to stop him was undeniable gripping enough that even up in Heaven “Master of Suspense” Alfred Hitchcock was utterly captivated. Yes, Death Note was just one of those series had viewers on their edge of their seats wanting more after each episode. Death Note, Volume 1 Box Set spans 20 episodes in five discs with more than enough goodies to make this a Box Set you must seriously considering buying right away.
You see, Death Note tells a most unusual and cleverly convincing story of young high school student named Light Yagami who makes a most interesting discovery one day during class. A mysterious note book suddenly drops from the sky and the brilliant-yet-bored Light picks it up only to discover that it’s been given the intriguing title of Death Note. It’s rules are simple: the name of the person you write in the note book dies. It doesn’t take Light very long to test it out and imagine his surprise when it works!
So begins Light’s quest to rid the world of criminals and the sudden and unexpected arrival of a Shinigami (a sort of God of Death) named Ryuk pushes Light into seeking to become a God of this new world without crime. However, Interpol and various other law enforcement officials from around the world see it differently. Dubbing Light as “Kira,” the thought of a person who can kill without making his or her presence known is unacceptable. It doesn’t take long before the mysterious genius detective known simply as L offers to catch Kira and put him to justice. On top of that, Light’s own father happens to be a top investigator in Japan who is the only one willing to do whatever it takes to help bring Kira down.
The episodes that follow become even more interesting when Soichiro Yagami (and his carefully selected group of loyal SPK task force) are invited to meet L. What they discover is an unusual young man who walks around barefoot and has a selection of sugary snacks around him at all times. It also becomes apparent that there’s more to the mysterious L than meets the eye and Light’s father begins to realize that, while his methods are considerably extreme, L truly is a genius. It doesn’t take long for L to devise a trap for Kira on live television.
In a mere matter of a few episodes, a considerable number of events take place. The cat-and-mouse game between Light and Kira take various turns as the two bright young men try to top each another. Using his powerful deductive skills, L comes to the conclusion that Kira might just be Light Yagami and has him followed by an FBI agent. When something out of the ordinary occurs to the FBI agent, L takes it upon himself to finally meet Light and even offers him a place on the Kira task force. Seeing this as a chance to figure out L’s real name (the Death Note doesn’t work unless you write down a person’s real name), Light does accept.
Oh, but this series contains no shortage of surprises as a Second Kira makes an appearance. We’re introduced to Misa Amane, a bubbly up-and-coming idol who instantly falls in love with Light the minute she lays eyes on him. To make matters worst, Misa admires Kira on a very personal level and when we first know of her existence we see how far she is willing to aid Kira on his quest to rid the world of criminals. It also helps that Misa has a Death Note of her own as well as a Shinigami that – unlike Ryuk – is willing to protect Misa with its own life if necessary.
The five discs cover a good deal of storylines, including Misa’s abduction by L as well as Light’s voluntary incarceration to prove to L that his is not Kira. Light’s plan does take some of the suspicion off of him but L is still convinced the Light and Kira are one and the same. We witness a number of really memorable moments from the manga, such as Light tricking the FBI agent to reveal his name to him. In another scene, Light and L get into a fight and clumsy task force member Matsuda infiltrates a corporation L has targeted as the hiding place of the new Kira.
Death Note’s Volume 1 Box Set is easily one of those series that deserves a box set like this one and if you love the series as much as we do then you really should not pass up the chance to own it. What else can be said about the riveting, fast paced and utterly fascinating story that make up this 20 episode set? If anything, this set caters to the Death Note fans and anyone looking for a series that’s smart and completely entertaining.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
There are very few anime series that are genuinely gripping and compulsively watchable like Death Note and this Box Set certainly proves it. Whether you’re cheering for Light or L during the course of the 20 episodes, the story is one hell of a ride worth taking.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
A crisp and clear picture is what you can expect from all five DVDs and that’s a good thing considering the fact that the animation was one of this series’ many highlights.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The quality of the audio is handled superbly and it sounds good coming out of a great sound system. This is one series I can say I enjoyed the English dub just as much as I did the Japanese voice acting in the series and the music is rightfully suspenseful.
At last, a box set with everything a fan can ask for in terms of bonus material and extras. The audio commentary is fun to listen to and the various interviews with the English dub cast is wonderfully insightful. There are interviews with the director of the anime series as well.
Truly one of the most enjoyable cat-and-mouse suspense anime series out there, Death Note’s Volume 1 Box Set treatment is absolutely one of those box sets anime fans can’t live without. If you haven’t experienced this anime before, then the box set is the perfect introduction to one seriously clever and enjoyable series.