This contains some SPOILERZ for Death Note and, uh, the Godfather movies. Yeah.
Posting a pic of Sayu since she is the hottest girl in Death Note.
It’s not really like me to be a fan of such things, but I think Death Note is a pretty neat story. I just have a thing for stories that involve young men getting addicted to power and eventually destroying themselves by way of that power. However, this post isn’t really about that, but more about the end of the story. People often complain that the post-time jump stuff is extraneous, poorly written, and that the ending is a disappointment. I will agree that the second part of the story certainly does feel like a money-hungry Shounen Jump editor had something to do with it, but the ending is spectacular, and I feel its impact is so great because of this extraneous arc. Maybe if Tsugumi Ohba took some time to think through that last arc more clearly, the series may well be one of my most favourites.
I’ll back up a bit. I’ve not read any kind of creator’s commentary for Death Note, but I’m going to assume Ohba wanted to end it at the L-arc. I’m also going to assume that Light was going lose to L, simply because the entire story would lose its point if Light didn’t lose. However, if it ended like this, I wouldn’t feel too satisfied. Yes, the mind puzzles were fun, and the random twists were neat, but it’d just feel so small. The great part about the second arc is how over-done it is. Sure, sometimes it’s a bit too over-done for even me (hi, purple-tipped penis rocket.) but the post-L stuff expands the story to a global scale, suddenly making it feel a lot more important.
However, the scale of the second arc isn’t really important, but it definitely helps. The main thing that makes this second part is the fact that Light won against L beforehand. To me, it wouldn’t make sense for Light to lose to L, since they were more or less one for one, and the only reason Light came out on top was because he had dark voodoo magic from another world. Light’s victory over L made him cocky, and that’s part of what lead him to his demise. Light’s loss to Near works well, because on top of him losing simply on account of being cocky (though Near had some Jesus magic going for him) he lost the entire world he had created. In the L-arc, Light’s influence was there, but he didn’t have television programs devoted to him, nor did he have entire nations that accepted him. The fact that he lost so much and got reduced to a wreck waddling on the floor of some warehouse emphasizes the point of the story much more than if he had just lost to L.
Switching gears a bit, the reason why I mentioned The Godfather in the opening line was because I feel these two stories are rather similar. I’m sure you can liken Death Note to many other stories, but The Godfather story is one I’m most familiar with, so I’m just going to roll with it. Death Note and The Godfather both involve young men who possess great power that turns them into cold blooded killers, and they both have shitty conclusions that are kind of worth it in the end. I do feel that Death Note’s shitty conclusion is a bit more necessary than Godfather’s, since by the third movie you realize the last two had essentially the same plot just the second was grander and the third one also has the same plot but Sophia Coppola can’t act, and Al Pachino is always over-acting. But I digress.
Michael and Light are in similar situations. Michael eventually becomes the head of a giant syndicate and can kill anyone who stands in his way with the push of button, and Light has a magical notebook that can kill people. The ways they get to these points are different, though. It takes Michael an entire movie with a lot of profound character development to whack mugs, and it takes Light no more than 15 minutes with a brief read over the notebook rules before he’s killing dudes left and right. Their approach to their killing is different as well. Light pours emotion into each name he writes down, while Michael treats each murder as another business decision. Basically Light has more fun.
Despite these differences, their situations are basically the same, and the messages in both works are very similar. They both end with the main guy biting it: Michael dies alone as an old man, and Light gets reduced to a bloodied pump in some random warehouse. It’s pretty clear what both stories are telling us, considering these characters’ actions and their respective endings.
Ok, so I’m really reaching. But I’ll take any chance I can to talk about some of my favourite non-anime movies in an anime context. Next time I do one of these serious posts, I promise it’ll be on something far more interesting…