Death Note presents the experiences of Light Yagami, a model student who, despite having all kinds of successes at hand, is fed up with decadent society and decides to use the tool of a shinigami (a notebook) to kill criminals and thus, impart justice by his own means. At this point I am already forced to get rid of compliments: the anime that we are dealing with does not present us with a "nerd" protagonist who ends up destroying each and every one of them just because, not even one whose psychopathy is born from the abuse he suffers. Light is a perfect character who does not seek to attract the attention of others based on trite themes, his motivations transgress hatred; he is above the vengeful drives, and that makes him a formidable character that represents a dose of quality in the meantime, generic "Kirito".
That pleasant feeling that comes from enjoying a great work enveloped me instantly, thanks to really powerful sequences and a soundtrack that darkens the set with great success. Aside from the fact that mind games can be somewhat forced and that the almost divine intellect of some characters allows them to take really complex and variable circumstances, the first ten episodes are, putting it plain and simple, outstanding. I remember that more than a decade ago L was my favorite character; curiously, today, I consider Light (to his adolescent version, so that we understand each other) the best in the series, since he is more credible and does not try to artificially attract the attention of the viewer with eccentricities that do not contribute anything. I guess years ago I was very impressionable.
However, the first half of the series is also not without its fair share of mistakes or minor errors: the pace, magnificent during the first several episodes, loses some steam when Light becomes part of the anti-Kira investigation team (although there are still very good times at throughout history). The locations are repeated too much and the situations feel a little forced when they resort to big conspiracies related to the notebook. It is possible to resolve the situation with strategies that work because, simply, they must work for the anime to follow its logical course (although the "rules of use" of the notebook are respected and these actually give a lot of room to play). The inclusion of a certain female character so deep into the story does no good to the series, not because she is or is not expendable (actually, to be honest, she plays a crucial role), but because her personality and actions are really hateful simply because they break the tone of the anime and they, somewhat, drift away from the essence of the anime.
But all that glitters is not gold. This is the moment when my nostalgia and my current criteria irreparably collide. After a certain sequence that happens approximately halfway through the anime, followed by a time jump, everything falls apart. You start to see characters that are not worth much, the interesting mental conflicts are replaced by absurd improper plans of the protagonist, large-scale maneuvers that only seek to artificially impress the audience. Truth is, in part I understand it: the story and the anime itself are just so good that the producers wanted to keep going that to give us more of something that we love. In short, this turns out to be nonsense in the form of episodes. You may very well have seen me defend the quality of the series in its entirety, claiming that the second half, without being as good as the first, complies and that it delivers complete amusement. Currently, I must say that my point of view has changed due to the passing of the years and looking back. Now that I have been able to see the anime with more perspective, I realize all the damage that the last ten episodes actually did to the whole story. The funny thing about all this is that even those responsible for the series are aware that the last episodes live in the shadow of the first episodes to have aired. They do not turn the page and instead try their hardest to introduce elements by force so that the spectators do not lose interest.
As I said, they introduce too many characters who do not bring anything new to the anime or who carry on their tasks in a rather poorly manner. On the other hand, the plot insists on showing the media notoriety that Kira has acquired through more or less credible absurd operations that are not without shame and that are not profitable in terms of entertainment.
Kira is deliberately made "stupid" to conclude the plot, while the rivals receive a mental "upgrade" that makes them always be one step ahead of Light with his strategies, strategies that may even be too forced and always end as expected, despite being subject to countless possibilities. However, something very important when enjoying any audiovisual production is the overall feeling that prevails after having finished seeing the episodes, the end being a crucial element when building sensations. I loved the end of Death Note. After several disappointing episodes, the anime comes to an end with the success of certain strategies (forced, as I have said before but that really work), which in turn lead to a conclusion as intense as it is brilliant that excites, makes your hair stand on end, and partly redeems what I consider to be “the disappointing second half”. I am not going to say that it is a perfect conclusion (surely it disappointed more than one since, obviously, the end of a series, manga, anime or similar will never be to everyone's liking), but let's take into account the huge amount of great anime that just at the very end is when they mess things up and the ending is straight on awful. The reality is that it is not an easy task to close a work with class. An anime as good and of such magnitude as Death Note is difficult to bring to a proper ending; something that I believe was accomplished.
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