Death Note Vol. 1

What would you do if you found a notebook lying on the ground, that when you wrote a name in it, would kill that person 60 seconds later? How would you react if you suddenly had a seven foot tall Shingami (Japanese Death Spirit) hanging out in your room, telling you the rules of the note book it dropped? Would you decide to start killing off all the 'bad' people in the world, to ensure that world peace would reign? Would overwhelming boredom color your decision making skills? These are the exact same questions Light Yagami faces. A top student, all but guaranteed to be accepted to the best schools in Japan, is bored out of his skull when he discovers a notebook with the title of "Death Note" stamped on the front. Not really believing what he has found, he tests it out on a convicted criminal who drops dead of a heart attack a minute later. Shortly thereafter, he meets Ryuk, a Shingami who was bored of the Death Realm and 'dropped' his notebook in the human world for entertainment purposes. Quickly discovering his power over life and death, Light starts a campaign of eradication against convicted criminals, and draws the attention of the world famous detective 'L'. Thus begins a tense game of cat and mouse between two brilliant minds - 'L' and the newly dubbed 'Kira'. Will 'L' be able to determine who 'Kira' is in time, or will 'Kira' deduce the real identity of 'L' and assassinate the detective? Death Note has joined the hallowed halls of Manga that has shaped the western world, joining such titles as One Piece, Naruto, and Dragonball. Tsugumi's taut writing style really drives home two different narratives - one of a man driven by desire to attain something at any cost, and a Sherlockian mystery with unimaginable stakes. Takeshi's artwork allows us to experience first hand the evolution of Light Yagami into the feared godling Kira, who can kill with the simple stroke of a pen, as well as the manic intensity of 'L' and his search for this delusional monster. The whole of Death Note covers 16 books, and the late game gets a little long in the tooth for many readers, but the end of the series rewards you for sticking with it until the end. Even though Light becomes a heartless monster, you can't help but feel pity and sympathy for him at times. His cause was just, but like they say... "all power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Death Note is a mature title due to themes, language, and indiscriminate murder.

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