Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $69.97 US
Running Time: 392 minutes
Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
Release Date: Available Now
The end is Near.
It’s been a tug-of-war of wits between Light Yagami and the genius detective that is L but seeing as both seem so evenly matched the investigation to catch Kira has hit a wall. Then again, another opportunity always comes up and the investigation – this time with Light offering his input – seems to be close to being cracked … or so we come to think in the opening of the Volume 2 Box Set of Death Note that reaches its astonishing conclusion.
With the Kira Task Force keeping a close eye on the Yotsuba Group rather than focusing its attention on Light – who, at the moment, has no memory of the Death Note or of Shinigami – L has found a way to infiltrate the corporation in search of the new Kira. In the opening episode of Volume 2, Light and L set up a trap for the group using Misa Amane to lure Kira out. It’s a plan that actually does work when Higuchi (who is the current Kira) falls for Misa and reveals to her that he has been carrying out murders as Kira. With the trap set, it is Misa’s Shinigami, Rem, that approaches her and tells her that she is the Second Kira and that Higuchi is an imposter that took over for Light.
With Misa finally aware of her role as Second Kira, a new trap is set by Light with the intention of finally getting rid of L. As the events unfold and Higuchi is captured, the Death Note finally reaches the hands of the task force as well as both L and Light. Their reaction to seeing Rem is classic but all of Light’s memories flashing back into his brain is what really gets the ball running in these final 17 episodes of the series. With Misa and Light regaining their memories, the tables are turned on L.
I won’t get into too much detail of what happens to L in episode 25 but this episode is by far one of the most jaw-dropping, surreal (Misa sings a creepy song) and brilliant episodes that deserves to be recognized as a compelling work of art. Really, this episodes is handled so differently than the other episodes that you’ll wonder how the series will be able to top that one.
All I can say is that L and Rem are no longer a problem for Light and he takes over the Kira investigation while carrying out his mission to create a new world. What he doesn’t anticipate, however, is that L set up a sort of fail safe mechnism that if something were to happen to him that his successor would take his place. We are introduced to The Wammy House where one of L’s young proteges named Near becomes the new L while the second one, Mellow, follows a more destructive path.
Despite being just a child that still plays with toys, Near’s investigative approach is similar to L’s only to a higher degree that makes him an even formidable opponent to Light. Somehow, watching Light and Near mentally spar just isn’t as fun as watching Light and L do it. Still, it’s hard to ignore some of the more things get a bit more convoluted when the notebooks are passed again but you can’t deny how satisfying it is when Near’s trap brings the case to its unforgettable close.
While the ending was nowhere near as gratifying as the ending in the manga, it personally worked for me. Our little office is somewhat split between having liked this second half of the series and those that didn’t think it had the impact as the first half. The truth is that there are moments in this second half of the series that held the suspense back but then again there were moments that reminded us why we like this series so much and why we are so invested in the outcome. I even love the juicy extras packed in the five disc box set.
With that said, Death Note, Volume 2 Box Set, is Required Viewing for anyone who likes a smart and mature anime that will keep your eyes glued to the screen. A lot happens in the final 17 episodes of this set and there are episodes that will have you thinking that anime this good should really be a crime to miss.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Light Yagami’s continued insistence on becoming the God of the “new world” takes him to a darker place now that he’s won a major victory over his biggest rival. Still, even with the driving force behind the investigation out of the way, a new face of justice emerges to put an end to this game.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The series still sports some beautifully detailed animation whether it’s the character movements or the surroundings. Boy, this series really does look great on DVD.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
With a number of really amazing performances in both the Japanese and English dub cast, Death Note’s cast deserves a big round of applause. The score is still intense but the new opening theme song “What’s Up People?” is like a dentist drill to the brain.
All four discs contain great audio commentary tracks and production art but the extra goodies don’t stop there. There’s a bonus fifth disc packed with a number of featurettes with promotional material including some very interesting (and occasionally funny) look into how the Japanese voice acting crew worked on this series.
The Volume 2 Box Set of Death Note finishes up one of the most impressive and thoroughly riveting psychological cat and mouse games we’ve seen in a suspense anime in a long time. While the first half of the series is clearly the better half, it’s hard to ignore the standout moments that will not only surprise but will have you picking up your jaw from off the ground. It’s not a bad way to end a great series like this one.