Death Note: Omega Edition Blu-ray Review
Despite its flaws, “Death Note” remains one of the best anime series.
Based on the manga series of the same name, “Death Note” is a 37 episode anime series about a high school student (Light Yagami) finds a notebook that allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes down as long as he knows their face. The notebook (who original is Ryuk) is a Shinigami who is invisible to everyone aside from the current owner and anyone who touches the notebook. Light decides to use this “gift” in order to rid the world of criminals. His actions do not go unnoticed, however, as an eccentric, but brilliant Detective (L) begins to investigate the mysterious deaths. What ensues is an intense cat and mouse game between the two as Light tries to hide his crimes while L tries to discover who is responsible for them.
Of course, that is not the only plot in this series. Expect to see other stories involving Light’s father Soichiro (a police officer), Light evading and killing the authorities, another Death Note owner named Misa who has her own Shinigami named Rem, a shady organization known as the Yotsuba Group, Kyosuke (won’t say who he is), a time jump, Mello and Near (characters connected to L), a Shinigami named Sidoh, and Teru Mikami (an integral character down the stretch).
Also included here are the 2 animated “Death Note” movies. The first (“Visions of a God”) is about a nameless skeletal Shinigami who learns the story of Light from Ryuk. The second film “L’s Successors” basically summarizes the Mello and Near arc. Essentially, both films are just glorified recaps with some new content.
“Death Note” is one of those rare anime series that become a global phenomenon and it’s not hard to see why. Not only is it entirely addicting, but it’s supremely well written for the most part. The first 25 episodes in particular offer up plenty of great characterization (especially from Light and L) and an intriguing story about power, corruption, and justice. Unfortunately, episodes 26-37 go off the rails a bit. I won’t spoil exactly what happens, but there’s a major event that occurs that changes the course of the series (and not for the better). On top of that, the show drags on a bit too long. Had it been slightly shorter and a bit tighter, it wouldn’t have to rely so much on stories about suspicions and death so much.
Issues aside, however, the atmospheric and adult “Death Note” is still entirely worth your time. The show feels fresh and it’s not a copycat of another series like so many out there. It doesn’t coast on trends and clichés and instead forges its own creative and influential path.
Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? While not the flashiest transfer, the series does look infinitely better in hi-def.
Audio Tracks: Japanese, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese DTS-HD MA 2.0. How do they sound? The original language Japanese track is undoubtedly preferred by most, but the English track is equally impressive due to some stellar voice acting.
* A thick booklet featuring the manga pilot chapter.
* Clean opening and closing #1 and #2, credits for L’s Successors, original Japanese promos for the 2 films, original Japanese interstitials,
* Production art.
* Behind The Scenes- Light, L, Misa, Ryu, Soichiro, Rem and Higuchi, L and Watari, Near, Mello and Matsuda, and Light, Mikami and Kiyomi- A behind-the-scenes look at the English voice actors portraying these characters. Interviews with the English dialog director are included as well.
* 2 interviews with Japanese animation director Tetsuro Araki and character designer Masaru Kitao.
* A solo commentary on episode 1 by Karl Willems, episode 7 by Jiro Okada and Tabitha Saint Germain, episode 11 by Karl Willems and the ADR writer, episode 14 by Jiro Okada and Shannon Chan-Kent, episode 17 by Karl Willems and Chris Britton, episode 23 by Karl Willems and Andrew Kavadas, episode 25 by Karl Willems, Colleen Wheeler and Alessandro Juliani, episode 30 by Karl Willems and Cathy Weseluck, and episode 37 by Karl Willems, Brian Drummond, and Brad Swale. Personally, I’m not a fan of the commentary tracks featuring the English voice actors and staff because they didn’t actually make the series so they don’t have much to say.
* Behind The Scenes: Japanese Voice cast featurette and a conversation with the original Japanese cast and crew. The titles say it all.
* “Death Note Rewritten With The Japanese Cast and Crew”- Interviews about the first movie.
* Production art for characters, props, and sets for the 2 films.
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